SCIENTISTS AT the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), Kozhikode, Kerala, have developed three improved varieties of ginger, namely, Varadha, Mahima and Rajitha, which are suitable for growing all over India.According to Dr. Sasikumar, Senior Scientist, Department of Plant Breeding,all the three varieties are characterised by bold rhizomes and give a better yield compared with other local varieties.The crop comes to harvest in about 200 days after planting. It is grown mainly as a rainfed crop in Kerala and in north-eastern parts of India. It can also be grown as an irrigated crop.Ginger is known as Adrak in Hindi, Ingi in Tamil, Inchi in Malayalam, Allamu in Telugu and Shunthi in Kannada.About 1,500-1,800 kgs of seed rhizomes are required for planting in one hectare, according to Dr. Sasi. Before planting the seeds, the field has to be ploughed well and suitable beds prepared.25-30 tonnes of farmyard manure and 2 tonnes of neem cake have to be applied over the beds. "Healthy seed rhizomes cut into small pieces should be selected for planting," he said.Farmers are advised to treat the seed rhizomes with 2-3 gms of mancozeb and 2 ml of monocil diluted in one litre of water for 30 minutes and dry them under shade before planting, according to Dr. Sasi. The seeds are then placed in suitable shallow pits prepared on the beds 20-25 cm apart and covered with farmyard manure and a thin layer of soil.
About 50 kg of phosphorus and 25 kg of potash are to be applied as a basal dose at the time of planting.After 40 days, about 37 kg of urea has to be applied as a side dressing. A second application of 37 kg of urea and 25 kg of potash has to be made after three months as a side dressing, Dr. Sasi explained.Mulching the field beds with green leaves is an essential practice to obtain more yields in ginger, according to Dr. Sasi. "It is advisable to mulch about 10-12 tonnes of green leaves at the time of planting. The mukching must be repeated at 40 and 90 days with 5 tonnes of green leaves," he said. Crop rotation is generally practised in ginger cultivation. "Ragi, redgram, gingelly, paddy and castor crops are planted as rotational crops. Ginger can also be grown as an intercrop in coconut, coffee, orange plantations," Dr. Sasi said.Leaf spot and shoot borer are major diseases affecting these varieties, according to him. Spraying 1 per cent monocrotophos may help in the control of leaf spot infestation, according to Dr. Sasi. For controlling shoot borer, spraying 0.1 per cent malathion or 0.075 per cent monocrotophos at a intervals of 21 days may help, according to him.
Rhizome scale is another important insect pest. Treating the seeds with 0.075 per cent quinalphos for 20-30 minutes before planting may help prevent this infestation. According to Dr. Sasi, studies conducted at the Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat have confirmed the resistance of Mahima variety to root knot nematode infestation. "This variety is an ideal cash crop for the nematode infested soils of Gujarat," he said.For more information readers may contact the Manager, Agriculture Technology Information Centre (ATIC), Indian Institute of Spices Research, P.O.Marikunnu, Calicut, Kerala 673012, phone:0495-2731410