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Agriculture > Spices > Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Crop Management

Production of quality planting materials

Planting materials from rhizome

Rhizomes for seed purpose are generally stored by heaping in well-ventilated rooms and covered with turmeric leaves.  The seed rhizomes can also be stored in pits with saw dust, sand, leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla (panal), Stychnos nux-vomica (kanjiram) etc.  The pits are to be covered with wooden planks with one or two openings for aeration.  The rhizomes are to be dipped in quinalphos (0.075%) solution for 15 minutes if scale infestations are observed and in mancozeb (0.3%) to avoid storage losses due to fungi.

It is a nine month crop sown in July and harvested in April. Whole or split mother rhizomes are used for planting and well developed healthy and disease free rhizomes are to be selected. For sowing both the mother-rhizomes, the fingers are used. The fingers are cut into pieces each 4-5 cm long, and the mother rhizomes are planted as such or split into two; each having at least one sound bud. The seed is sometimes sprouted under moist straw before sowing.

Small pits are made with a hand hoe in the beds in rows with a spacing of 25 cm x 30 cm and covered with soil or dry powdered cattle manure. The optimum spacing in furrows and ridges is between 45-60 cm between the rows and 25 cm between the plants.  A seed rate of 2,500 kg of rhizomes is required for planting one hectare of turmeric.

Rapid Multiplication Through 'Tissue Culture'

  • The preferred method of propagation of turmeric is through pieces of rhizome. But this is a slow process since rhizome has a dormancy period. It only sprouts during the monsoon, and only 5 to 6 plants can be obtained from rhizome in a year.
  • A rapid method of multiplication is needed especially for newly developed high yielding varieties, which are available in small quantities.
  • Tissue culture is valuable for the propagation of several plant species.
  • At the CPCRI, turmeric with curcumin content up to 14 to 14.5% have been selected. These novel selections should be studied further with tissue-culture technique.
  • As regards the future possibilities of utilizing tissue culture as a commercially accepted technique, this has already been achieved in other countries and it will only be a matter of time before similar commercial establishments spring up in India.
  • The main limitation at the moment is high initial capital costs.
  • However, small-scale tissue-culture laboratories, as in several South-East Asian countries, can produce several plants at fairly economical rates.
  • Several tissue culture raised plants were tested in the field where the main plus points are the higher yields, early flowering and fruiting patterns.
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