Introduction of Tulsi Cultivation
Let us discuss today Tulsi Cultivation Practices.
Tulsi, in Sanskrit, means a matchless one, botanically Ocimumtenuiflorum, otherwise known as Blessed Basil or the Holy Basil is an aromatic herb which can be grown in tropics or subtropics is perennial (permanent) in nature. It is widespread for its medicinal and healing properties, as a cooking herb, and most popular in the Hindu Community for religious and ceremonial purposes. Tulsi is one of the major sources of a large number of drugs and medicine. It has very effective and remedial uses which are harmless and effective, economical in relation to its accessibility. It belongs to the Ocimum genus and family Lamiaceae identified for their medical significance.
Two major varieties have been identified, namely i.e. 1) black (Krishna Tulsi) and 2) green (Rama Tulsi), both have related chemical ingredients. The contributions of the medicinal values of the Tulsi properties are not limited to Ayurveda and Siddha but also actively contributes to Greek, Roman and Unani systems of medicine. In China, Tulsi was the first used herbal preparations having therapeutic uses. Tulsi is found growing all over the world having moist soil and is a widely grown, sacred plant. The extraction of essential oil of Tulsi is carried by steam distillation from the leaves and seasoning tops are used in foods, in fragrances, dental and oral care products, and in traditional customs and medicines.
Read: Growing Lemon Grass.
Tulsi plants can be grown both at the garden and at a large scale industrial level. The Tulsi leaves are grey-green and bloom in summer, producing spears of small pink flowers. The plants are highly cold sensitive. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors annually in warm climates. The height of plants is generally 2 to 3 feet.
Steps for Tulsi cultivation at Garden level:
- Peat-based potting mixture
- Stone flat or narrow container with drain holes
- Plastic polythene cover or large plastic sack
- Spray bottle
- Small dishes with drain holes
- 6-inch deep dishes/containers with drain holes
- 5-10-5 liquefied fertilizer
The first step is to pour the potting mix into the seed flat or another narrow container. Pour water in room-temperature over the potting mixture for soil moistening. Plant the Tulsi seeds 1/4-inch deep. Place a plastic polyethyene cover over the container or place the container in a large plastic sack and cover it.
The second step is to put the container in sunny, indirect light where the temperature is approximately 75 to 80 degrees F during the day and around 5 to 10 degrees cooler at night. Check the potting mixture in every few days and spray it with water in room-temperature if it begins to dry out. Keep it wet at all times.
The third step is to transplant the seedlings into separate small dishes after they grow two or three sets of true leaves. Continue to keep the soil wet, but not muddy. Uncover the plants to small periods of direct early morning sunlight. Slowly, increase the length of direct sunlight contact over seven-eight weeks. Place them in front of a window facing south- or west-facing after seven-eight weeks.
The fourth step is to transfer the Tulsi plants into 6-inch deep dishes/containers with holes in the bottoms when they begin to expand the smaller dishes/containers. Water the plants when the top of the potting soil just begins to dry to some extent. Do not leave the containers sedentary in water. Give them a 5-10-5 ratio liquefied plant fertilizer at half the dilution rate as manufacturer’s recommended every four to six weeks.
The fifth step is to plant is pinching the tips of the branches off once or twice a month to boost bushier growth. Relocate the Tulsi plants outdoors in the summer. Place the container in a location that receives straight morning and evening sunlight. Also, make sure there is gloom in the afternoon and protection from a strong breeze. Relocate them back indoors to a sunny window.
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Growing Conditions for Tulsi Cultivation:
- Temperature- 14-30 degree Celsius
- Sowing Temperature- 15-25 degree Celsius
- Harvesting Temperature- 25-25 degree Celsius
- Rainfall- 80-120 centimeter
- It should be grown in a vast array of soil.
- Cultivation in highly alkaline, saline or waterlogged conditions should be avoided as it is not good for yield.
- Best yield is produced when planted in well-drained soil with organic matter.
- Soil ranging best for its growth is pH 5.5 -7
Land Preparation for Tulsi Cultivation:
- Plantation requires well-drained soil.
- FYM to be mixed well with soil after ploughing and harrowing land several times
- Relocation of Tulsi is done on the fine seed bed.
Sowing Time of Tulsi:
- Nursery beds should be prepared in the third week of February.
The spacing of Tulsi Plants:
Seedbeds to be prepared of size 4.5 x 1.0 x 0.2m, depending upon its growth habit. A distance of 60 cm by 60 cm should be maintained while sowing.
Sowing Depth of Tulsi Seeds:
A depth of 2 cm to be maintained while sowing seeds are sown.
Method of Sowing in Tulsi Cultivation:
6-7 weeks after sowing crops can be transplanted into the fields.
Seed Rate in Tulsi Cultivation:
A seed rate of 120 grams per acre is adequate for Tulsi plantation.
Seed treatment for Tulsi Cultivation:
Treat seeds with Mancozeb @ 5 gm/kg of seeds before sowing to protect the plantation from pests and soil-related diseases.
Nursery Management and Transplanting of Tulsi Cultivation:
- Adding 15 tonnes of FYM in the soil before sowing is good for yield.
- Seeds to be sown with convenient space on prepared beds.
- It is favorable to sow seeds in advance of monsoon by 8 weeks.
- Seeds to be sown at a depth of 2 cm.
- Usage of sprinkler hose for irrigation.
- Application of 2% urea solution 15-20 days before transplanting aids to give healthy and strong rooted seedlings for transplantation.
- It is advisable to transplant in the mid of April when seedlings are around 5-6 weeks old and have 3-5 leaves on seedlings.
- Keep seedling beds moist 24 hours before transplanting so that the uprooting of seedlings can be done easily and the seedlings remain affected during the time of transplantation.
Requirement of fertilizer (Kg/Acre) in Tulsi Cultivation:
Requirement of Nutrient (Kg/Acre):
While land preparation, FYM (Farmyard manure or cow dung) to be well mixed with soil. A dose of fertilizer in the form of Nitrogen at the rate of 48 kg per acre, potash at the rate of 24 kg per acre, phosphorous at the rate of 24 kg per acre in the form of urea at the rate of 104 kg per acre, MOP at the rate of 40 kg per acre and SSP at the rate of 150 kg per acre
It is advisable to spread over half dose of nitrogen and a full dose of phosphate pentoxide to be spread as a basal dose, spread it at the time of transplanting. Mn@50ppm conc. and Co@100ppm conc. are to be spread over as micronutrients. The remaining dose of Nitrogen to be spread over in 2 splits after first and second cutting.
Weed Control in Tulsi Garden:
To keep away weeds and other unwanted plants away from field weeding and hoeing is compulsory. If no proper check and control are put on weeds, then there will a drastic reduction in the growth of crops. It is advisable to start weeding after one month after planting along with the second four weeks after the first. An ideal system of weed control is hoeing after two months of planting.
Irrigation requirement of Tulsi Cultivation:
An ideal irrigation system is a minimum of three irrigations per month during summer. During rainy season no irrigation is required. However, twelve to 15 rounds of irrigation should be done in a year. The best time of first irrigation is after the transplantation. And the best time second irrigation is during the establishment of the seedlings. These two rounds of irrigation is a must and depending upon the season rest irrigation may be planned accordingly.
The yield of plants begins 3 months after the transfer. Harvesting is to be done when there is a full blooming period. For further redevelopment of branches, cutting can be done when the plant is a minimum of 15cm above the ground. Leaves can be used fresh or it can be sun-dried for future use.
Post-harvesting, drying of leaves needs to be done. The process of steam distillation is done to obtain Basil oil from the leaves. It is packed in airtight bags for transportation. Leaves need to be stored in dry places. Several herb products like Tulsi Powder, Tulsi Tea, Pancha Tulsi oil, Tulsi Ginger, and Tulsi Capsules are made after processing.
If you are cultivating Tulsi plants on a commercial scale, it is better to go for contract farming. otherwise, it will be tougher to market tulsi leaves in bulk quantities. You can post requirement for Contract Tulsi Farming at Kisan Classifieds.