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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

PEPPER-Queen of spices.

Pepper is one of the world's most widely and frequently used spices all over the world. It`s medicinal value is also internationally accepted   It grows to a height or length of 10 m or more. When its main stem is established, it grows lots of side shoots to create a bushy column.  It is native to Kerala State in India where it still occurs wild in the mountains.

Pepper prefers well drained soil rich in organic matter. It requires warm and humid climate. For triggering of flushing and flowering process rainfall of 70 mm within a period of 3 weeks is necessary.

Flowering stage
Pepper is propagated by cuttings. Select runner shoots grown at the base for planting.
Separate them from mother plant during February-March. Avoid tender and too hard shoots. The shoots are cut into pieces with 2-3 nodes in each. The cutting should be planted in nursery at least one node deep in soil for rooting. Watering is unavoidable for establishing the plants.

Pepper grown on standard
Standards for growing Pepper are planted immediately before the onset of southwest monsoon in Kerala. Murukku (Erithrina indica),Gauruga pinnata , Ailanthus sp., Subabul(leucaenea leucocephala) etc.are suitable standards. With the onset of monsoon in june-July,2-3 rooted cuttings are planted in the pits at a distance of 1 feet away from the standards. The growing portions of the plants should be trailed and tied to the standards. Manuring for Pepper may be done in basins around the plants. Cattle manure, compost, green leaves etc.can be used @ 10 kg per plant as manure.

During flowering, frequent rain is needed to induce fruit formation. The flowers develop into round, berry-like fruits. There may be 50-60 fruits on each spike. They grow to a diameter of 4 to 6 mm, each containing a single seed. Fruits are green at first but they turn red as they ripen. These fruits are picked when either green or red to produce black and white pepper. 

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