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Thursday, 24 May 2012

NUTMEG – A homestead spices tree

Nutmeg is a spices plant to be grown easily in homestead. Dried nutmeg and its mace (red feathery aril) are directly used as spice and also for making their derivatives. Nutmeg grows well in hot, humid climate. It prefers half shady area. The soil should be rich in organic matter.
Nutmeg is dioecious plant which is propagated by sexually and asexually. Sexual propagation by seedlings produces 50% male plants which are unproductive. As there is no method to determine male and female plants till flowering, propagation by grafting is better. Grafts can be planted in pits of 90x90x90cm size. For planting, the pits should be filled with top soil and compost. The best time for planting is May-June. If seeds are used for propagation, it can be sown in polythene bags. It germinates within 50-80 days after sowing. When the seedlings are 20-30cm high, they can be planted. One plant is enough for a family.
Apply 10 kg cow dung or compost during first year. Gradually increase the quantity of organic manure in later years. Fertilizers @ 100gm Ammonium sulphate, 100 gm Rock phosphate and 100gm Murate of Potash may be applied during first year for better growth.
Regular weeding, manuring and watering during summer are essential for growing Nutmeg.
No major pests are seen in case of Nutmeg. The important diseases of nutmeg are Leaf spot and shot hole, fruit rot and Leaf blight. To control these diseases 1% Bordeaux mixture is effective.
Harvest: When fruits are fully ripe, the nuts split open. These are either plucked or allowed to drop. The two major products are nutmeg and mace. After de-rinding the nutmeg fruit, mace is separated from pericarp and dried in the sun for 3-5 days. The nuts are dried in the sun for 6-8 days till they rattle in their shell.


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