White cardamom cultivation can be done easily in your garden. Follow these nine steps and you’ll be able to harvest some fresh cardamom.
Cardamom is a medicinal plant commodity native to tropical and subtropical Asia. It is used as a raw material for the seasoning, herbal, perfume and pharmaceutical industries.
There are three types of cardamom that are generally cultivated, they are white, green and black cardamom.
In Indonesia, cardamom plants have been cultivated since 1985, farmers mostly cultivate white cardamom (Amomum compactum) variety, also known as kapulaga jawa. This plant spark their interests because it has a high economic value, easy to cultivate, and is suitable for cultivation in tropical climates.
If you want to learn more about how to cultivate white cardamom plants, this article might be useful for you. Learn more about white cardamom cultivation down here.
How to Grow Your White Cardamom Plants
White cardamom only grows well at altitudes ranging from 0 – 700 meters above sea level. This type of cardamom produces at the planting age of 1.5 years with good saplings. The fruit has a round shape with a diameter of about 1 cm, the seeds are black and the skin is brownish white. Per hectare, white cardamom will produce about 2.8 to 3 tons of wet fruit per year.
Before you start growing white cardamom in your garden, it is essential to know the right soil and climate that is required by white cardamom to grow properly. This way, you are going to help the plant grow better and get the best cardamom spices in high quality when it is time to harvest.
Your white cardamom plant wants to stay moist all the time. This spice plant will not tolerate drought. If you live in an arid and hot region, it is crucial to provide extra humidity through your white cardamom leaves.
White cardamom is an understory plant, it needs soil that has a bunch of humus and is slightly acidic. You need to sow about 1/8 under the fine soil. It is also crucial to keep the soil evenly moist so that the seeds can grow more optimally.
2. Land Preparation
When you are preparing the right place to start white cardamom cultivation, make sure the location you choose is in an open area. It must be a well drained area as well. If possible, you need to prepare a place or location that is close to perennial water sources in order to keep your plants hydrated.
You can start applying fertilizers in the second months after cultivating white cardamom. Use NPK fertilizer with 48:48:96 g ratio per sucker in between 2 and 3 splits. Or, consider using neem cake about 100 to 150 grams per plant. Apply neem cake along with your fertilizers.
Propagation is another process in white cardamom cultivation. Many people love propagation by vegetative. Producing the planting materials by using seeds or through tissue culture can be the alternative propagation methods.
When the seedlings are ten months old, plant the seedlings in your main field. You can also plant the seedlings when they are about eighteen months old. Prepare your land by contouring the terracing. But if you are planting white cardamom in open areas, raise some shade trees before planting seedlings.
6. Intercultural Operations
In order to help the plants grow better, you need to clear the ground first. If you are planting the seedlings in a new area, make sure the ground is properly cleared. And if you are cultivating cardamom in a replanting area, remove the entire old plants. Then follow these steps below.
Mulch the bases of each plant at 5 to 10 cm thickness. Simply use the shade trees’ fallen leaves to mulch white cardamom plants. Remove the mulch in May and June in order to facilitate the movement of honey bee. Fork your plant base to 90 cm around the plant and 12 cm deep.
In the first planting year, you need to weed your white cardamom plants frequently. But later, you only have to hand weed your plants in May, September, and in December or January. You are also suggested to do slash weeding between those months.
Carry out trashing once a year. Avoid thrashing from November onwards or during summer. It is crucial to prune your white cardamom plants in January and September.
D. Shade regulation
During summer months, between March and April, prune the branches of shade trees in order to provide filtered light between 40 and 60%. To make sure there is a balanced canopy, the north eastern slopes need to get less shade than the south western slopes.
E. Earthling up
This white cardamom cultivation step needs to be done between October and December. You need to provide suitable drains between two cardamom rows if your plants grow in valleys or areas with high rainfall and medium slopes.
7. Pest and Diseases Control
Cardamom thrips is a pest you need to eliminate. It breeds inside leaf spindles that are unopened yet. To remove this pest, you need to regulate shade by pruning the shade trees’ branches. Spray insecticides during March to May and in August to September.
Hairy caterpillars are another problem that will ruin your cultivation. They may appear in large numbers then destroy your cardamom simply by defoliating your white cardamom plants. Quinalphos or the other contact insecticide will help control the larval stages and protect your white cardamom plants.
White cardamom will start bearing between 1,5 to 2 years after you plant the seedlings or suckers. Then the fruits will ripen between 120 and 135 days after they are formed. The best time to harvest the fruits are between December and February.
Usually, the harvesting can be done once per 15 to 30 days. Harvest the fruits when they reach physiological maturity. It is when the color of rind becomes dark green while the seeds becomes black.
In order to process the fruits of cardamom and get white cardamom, consider using the most natural method: sun drying. Dried the capsules directly under the sun for at least five or six days.
When your white cardamom is ready and the capsules already split, you can use the black seeds to cook or season your favorite meals.
White cardamom cultivation can be done easily in your garden. Those are nine easiest steps to follow in order to get the best cardamom spices in high quality.