Nutritive Value: Green pods and flowers are used as vegetables. The green pod contains 87 percent water, 3.7 percent carbohydrates and 2.5 percent proteins, and is a rich source of minerals like calcium and iron and is rich in vitamins B and C.
Soil and Climate: It can be grown in all types of soil with a good drainage. If it is grown in very heavy and deep soil, vegetative growth becomes profuse and yields lesser number of pods providing more fodder for domestic animal. It can grow in all types of climate but is best grown in a humid climate with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30°C. It is observed that flowers drop at temperatures above 40°C.
Important Varieties: Jaffna, Coimbtore 1, PKM 1 and PKM 2 are the most popular drumstick varieties grown in South India. Jaffna is a Sri Lankan variety extensively grown in South Indian states and yield 60 to 90 cm long very tasty pods.
Planting and Irrigation: Drumstick is propagated by seed as well as by stem cutting. Seeds are collected from selected healthy pods in summer months. Fresh seeds are directly sown in pots or in soil or, often, seeds are sown in polybags to produce seedlings. Seedlings get ready within 30 days after sowing. Seedling or
prerooted cuttings are planted in the 30.48 cm (1 ft.) long, 30.48 cm (1 ft.) wide and 30.48 cm (1 ft.) deep pits filled with garden soil mixed with a lot of farm yard manure. After sowing or transplanting they should be watered. The drumstick crop requires a lot of water but excess watering may cause rootrot disease. Direct contact of irrigation water with the stem can cause rotting of the stem.
Plant Protection: Stem borer and leaf roller are the important insect pests that attack drumstick. Stem borer bores the stem enters it and eats its internal parts. It can be controlled by putting a petrol soaked cotton plug in the hole bored by the stem borer while the leaf roller insect attacks tender leaves, roll them and eat them. This pest can be controlled by spraying neem cake extract or neemark based insecticides on the entire plant.
Harvesting: Twisted pods on plants are immature and distinct ridges on pods are overmatured and should not be harvested. Full grown and tough but not overmatured pods are harvested. One full grown drumstick plant can yield 15 to 20 kg of pods a year, sufficient for one family and its friends.