Bay Leaf Farming (Tej Patta) Guide:
Introduction of Bay Leaf:- Bay leaf also known as sweet laurel leaf is a dried leaf or ever green shrub that belongs the family of “Lauraceae” and whose botanical name is “Laurus nobilis L”. Bay leaf is indigenous to Asia and reflects the shape of elliptical and the size of bay leaves vary from 2.5 to 8 cm in length & 1.5 to 2.5 in breadth. In India, bay leaves are popularly known as “Tej patta” in Hindi and mainly used as culinary herb. It works as a flavouring agent especially in “biryani”, soups, meat, stews and sauces. It is also being used in confectionaries. Apart from the culinary use, the oil extracted from the bay leaves are used for many medicinal purposes. Bay leaves contain about 1.5 % to 2.5 % of essential oil. In India, It is usually grown in Northern regions of the country.
Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Bay Leaf:- Following are some of the health benefits of Bay Leaves.
- Bay leaves may help in healing wounds.
- Bay leaves may help in controlling blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetes.
- Bay leaves may help in preventing kidney stones.
- Bay leaf and its berries have plenty of medicinal uses. It has great appetite stimulant properties, astringent and diuretic.
- The oil extracted from the bay leaves (Essential oil) contain mostly cineol.
- Bay leaves contain the lauric acid which has insect repellent properties.
Local names for Bay Leaf in India:- Tej patta (Hindi), Biryani aaku (Telugu), Birinji illai (Tamil), Palaav yele (Kannada),Karuva Ella (Malayalam),Tamal patra (Gujarati), Tamal patra (Marathi), Tej Pata (Bengali), Tejapata (Punjabi), Tejapatra (Oriya).
High Production States in India:- North east India Mountains, Himalayas southern slopes, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
Climate Required for Bay Leaf Farming:- These trees require full sunlight and needs to be protected from cold winds and frost when they are young. They grow well in warn and moist climates like of Mediterranean region.
Soil Requirement for Bay Leaf Farming:- Bay leaf grows well in fertile well-drained soils with good organic matter. They thrive best in the soils with the pH of 6.0 to 8.0.
Land Preparation in Bay Leaf Farming:- Make the main field weed free and fine tilth by giving couple of ploughings and hoeings. Supplement the soil with well rotten farm yard manure for better yield of bay leaves.
Propagation in Bay Leaf Farming:- Propagation done through from cuttings of side roots (or) by layering shoots.
Planting and Spacing in Bay Leaf Farming:- Best time to plant the bay leaf is summer as it requires good sun light. Spacing of 4 to 6 meters should be maintained.
Manures and Fertilizers in Bay Leaf Farming:- Supplement the soil with well rotten farm yard manure for enhancing the soil richness. In organic fertilizers like nitrogen, potash also applied for any soil nutrient deficiency.
Training, Pruning and Thinning in Bay Leaf Farming:– For proper growth of the bay leaf tree, training, thinning and pruning should be carried out in the bay leaf plantation,
Mulching in Bay Leaf Farming:- As these trees need constant moisture in the soil mulching is very important operation that needs to be carried out. It can be accomplished by dry grass or dry leaves.
Inter-Cropping in Bay Leaf Farming:- For an extra income, farmers can practice inter cropping with vegetables or pulses for initial 1 to 2 years. Later any shade loving crops can be cultivated.
Weed Control in Bay Leaf Farming:- Weeding and Hoeing is needed in the field. Land should be free from any weeds. Weedicide application can be used for controlling any weeds.
Pests and Diseases in Bay Leaf Farming:- The common insects and pests found in bay leaf farming are aphids, hard shelled scales and mites. These can be prevented by applying neem oil. It may also require several applications to control the block spots caused by these insects. A fungal infection may also create bay leaf spots, in this case destroy the affected leaves and apply sulfur spray to control further infection and black spots.
Harvesting in Bay Leaf Farming:- Leaves will be ready for harvesting in couple of years, hand picking of undamaged and healthy leaves should be practiced.
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Yield of Bay Leaf :- Yield depends on the soil moisture holding capacity and the weather conditions. An average yield of 6 tonnes per hectare can be obtained.
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