The following details are about Growing Tamarind Fruit.
The Tamarind is scientifically named as Tamarindus indica. It belongs to pea family called Fabaceae. It is an evergreen tree. The native place for the tamarind is tropical Africa and is believed to have originated in Madagascar, but now it is extensively cultivated in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Thailand, Southern Africa, Central America and South America Countries. But today, India is the largest tamarind producer all over the world. In India it is chiefly produced in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These are widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It was firstly cultivated in the late 16th century in Mexico.
It is an edible fruit. The tamarind tastes sweet and sour and is pulpy in texture. The pulp is extensively used in the preparation of foods, traditional medicines and beverages. In the Indian subcontinent the plant is highly popular. The cuisines which are prepared in Central America and Mexico, tamarind is used as the main ingredient. It is also cultivated for ornamental purpose and the wood of the plant is used for carpentry work. The oil extracted from the seeds of Tamarind is also used for various activities. The fruit which is produced by the tree is in the shape of the pod.
Characteristics of Tamarind:
- The tamarind trees are slow growing, long-lived and are evergreen trees.
- The length of the tamarind tree is 80 feet and width of the canopy is 20-35 feet.
- The foliage is bright green in colour; they are dense and feathery in appearance. It gives an attractive look with open branches.
- The sessile has nearly 10 – 20 leaves which are ½ – 1 inch in size, pale green leaflets, the leaflets close up at nights.
- The flowers of the tree are inconspicuous, inch wide and have five petals. They are yellow in colour with red or orange streaks. The buds are pink in colour.
- The fruit is long 3-8 inches, brown in colour, the pod is irregularly shaped. Even to the new branches it doesn’t take time to form the fruit.
- When the pod is fully mature, it is completely filled with the pulp, which is brown or reddish-brown in color.
- The pulp contains embedded seeds of 1 to 12; they are large, flat, glossy and brown in colour.
- The pulp contains a sweet-sour flavor which has both acid and sugar. It contains rich vitamin B and high calcium content.
Cultivars/Varieties of Tamarind:
There are different varieties of tamarind. They are Australian tamarind, Manila tamarind, Velvet tamarind, & Spanish tamarind.
Soil and climate requirement for Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The tamarind tree can thrive in all varieties of soils. But they are good in deep loamy soils and alluvial soil with rocky porous land. The soil should contain pH level of 4.5 – 9.0. All the tamarind plants can survive under the temperature of 0˚C-45˚C. For the plant the rainfall required is 5-15 cm in a year.
Land preparation and planting for Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The hole should be dug of root size for two plants. The plant should be detached from the container and the dead and damaged roots should be removed. The plant should be placed in the hole and it should be filled with the soil. The plant should be firmed thoroughly with soil and water.
But the commercial farmers have a benefit point with the planting density. The spacing of each plant will be 5-15 cm and it depends on the variety of the tamarind. It may also take more space than this.
Propagation method for Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The tamarind plants are propagated from seeds. The seeds get germinated within a week. The seeds are sown ½ inch deep in containers which are filled with soil. The seeds which would be sown should be selected from a good tree were the quality of fruit is efficient such that the yield also comes accordingly. Before sowing the seeds they should be soaked in water to increase germination rates. After sowing them in soil the seeds will germinate in 1-2 weeks. Through the seeds it takes more time for the plant to grow, may be around 6-7 years after planting.
Manure and fertilization method in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The tamarind is a quite nutritional plant. So it doesn’t demand extra nutritional supplements. For every 2-3 months the young plants should be fertilized with Nitrogen: Phosphorous: Potassium @ 6:6:3. For adult plants farmyard manure should be supplied @ 25 kg, the N: P: K @200: 150:250 per tree in a year. Neem cake should also be a nutrition supplement to the plant @ 2 kg per plant.
Irrigation methods for Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The tree is capable of withstanding drought conditions. Until the young plants get established, they need moisture in the soil. The grown up trees do quite well without any supplemental irrigation. Sometimes over watering results in soggy soil. The soil and plants should be irrigated when the soil gets too dry.
Flowering and pollination for Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The flower inflorescence is small and is white or cream in colour, the petals are flecked with pink. The diameter of the flower petals is 2 cm. Normally, all flowering occurs in the spring or summer season. Through self pollination also the fruit may be set, but for good yield the cross pollination is more effective and efficient. The bees are attracted to the nectiferous flowers due to which the process of pollination is done.
Weed control measures in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The weed intensity should be controlled without harming the tamarind plant and its roots. The weed around the tamarind trees can be controlled by applying herbicides. The selection of herbicide should be efficient such that it destroys only the weeds and doesn’t cause any harm to the tamarind plant.
Intercultural methods in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
Pruning: The tamarind trees which are young are pruned for 3-5 times to space the branches and develop the structure of the tree. Pruning is done to maintain the tree by removing all unwanted branches.
Training: Training is only required to prepare and develop the structure of the scaffold branches and to help the tree grow to a certain height.
Mulching: A thick layer of mulch should be spread at the beginning of the spring season. The thickness of the mulch spread should be at least 4-5 inch. This protects the plant from weeds and also keeps the soil moist.
Pest and diseases control measures in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The pests which infest the tamarind plants are Storage beetle & Leaf caterpillar.
Control of the pests:
- The storage beetle can be controlled by spraying Quinalphos 25@ 2 ml per one litre of water or Monocrotophos 36 @ 2ml per one litre of water.
- Leaf caterpillar can be reduced by spraying Quinalphos 25 @ 1 ml per one litre of water
The disease affecting the tamarind tree is Powdery mildew.
Control for the disease:
- The powdery mildew disease is reduced by spraying Dinocap 1 g per one litre.
Harvesting techniques in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
Generally, for the best yield the tamarind pods are left on the tree for 6 months even after they are completely mature because this reduces the moisture by 20%. They are immediately processed after harvest by pulling the pod away from the tree which is attached to a long, longitudinal fibre. The general technique of harvesting the tamarind pods in India is by shaking the tree so that the matured pods automatically fall down. The remaining pods will naturally fall down once they are completely ripe.
Post-harvesting techniques in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
Storage: When the harvesting is complete the pods of tamarind are spread on the floor and they are cut into pieces for 6 -7 days. In this process the tamarind shell and seed will be separated from the pulp. The pulp is collected and is stored for 6 – 12 months. The pulp is properly dried in the sun.
Quality: To maintain good quality, the tamarinds can be preserved by merely shelling; the sugar should be layered in boxes and are covered with cloth. The boxes should be kept in cool and dry place.
Packing: To keep them fresh they should be packed with the stalks clipped to them so that the shell doesn’t get damaged.
Marketing: Sometimes the entire field is marketed to the person who can handle well and who knows better and efficient business and marketing techniques. The pulp is also exported to other countries.
Yield in Growing Tamarind from seeds:
The average yield per the tree is 150 – 200 kg of fruits per year. The pod contains 30-35% of pulp. However, many factors such as climate, soil type, water and age of the tree impact the yield.
Read: GROWING PLUMS.