Karkkadakam, the final month of the Malayalam calendar (July-August) when rains lash Kerala, has been rebranded because the season of wellness and rejuvenation. It is promoted because the interval finest fitted to sukhachikitsa or rejuvenation remedy as per Ayurveda custom to develop immunity and keep wholesome. Not simply people, even jumbos endure sukhachikitsa throughout this time.
But are you aware that it’s the proper time to provide sukhachikitsa to crops as nicely? “It only means that they should be pruned and nourished with nutrients during this period. Pruning is necessary for plants and most fruit-bearing trees for their healthy growth and better yield. We have to do it once the monsoon becomes strong,” says T Pradeep Kumar, professor and head, Department of Vegetable Science, and director of planning, Kerala Agricultural University. His division has been doing it yearly for the crops grown on the campus, particularly curry leaf and drumstick.
Pruned curry leaf crops on the campus of Department of Vegetable Science, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
Curry leaf crops are grown on the median alongside the highway resulting in the division and contained in the campus. “Earlier, there used to be bougainvillaea. But in 2015, we replaced them with curry leaf,” says Pradeep. The present batch of crops had been pruned just a few weeks in the past.
“Pruning involves cutting the branches so that the plant is one meter high from the ground level. In addition, the area around the root of the plant (basin) is dug up and fresh cow dung is applied. This results in bushy growth with plenty of leaves,” he says.
Usually the cuttings are dumped in a compost pit on the campus. But this year they were collected by the Vaidyaratnam Ayurvedic pharmaceutical group. “This is a first for us. The cuttings and leaves are used in the preparation of various Ayurvedic medicines. The moisture content from the cuttings was removed using a dehumidifier before we handed them over,” he says.
Pradeep observes that pruning of curry leaf crops hardly ever occurs in homesteads. “We don’t bother to do it and thus the plants grow tall to become trees and then it becomes difficult to pluck the leaves,” he provides.
T Pradeep Kumar with a pruned drumstick plant from which new shoots are rising | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
In the case of the drumstick, they’re pruned to table-top peak and natural manure is utilized. “This conserve the moisture which helps in the initiation of new roots, and in turn, to the sprouting of new shoots. We re-plant the cuttings for propagation,” he says. If they aren’t pruned, the crops develop tall with a number of branches and few leaves. Since flowering occurs close to the branches, harvesting turns into troublesome.
For higher yield
Except for papaya, pruning is suggested for many of the fruit-bearing timber. According to Dr Sarada S, assistant professor and head, Department of Vegetable Science, College of Agriculture at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram, pruning is useful for perennial varieties, particularly fruit-bearing timber resembling mango, guava and pomegranate. “Pruning stimulates the formation of stems, leaves and roots earlier than the plant develops flowers, fruits and seeds. In the case of mango, particularly grafted varieties, pruning helps in vigorous progress,” she says. She factors out that pruning ensures a greater yield for these farmers rising drumstick crops for harvesting leaves. Also, for the reason that crops usually are not allowed to develop tall, they will domesticate extra crops within the obtainable space.