Tulsi Farming Guide:
Today, we are going to learn Tulsi Farming Practices in India.
Introduction of the Tulsi Plant:
Basil or Sacred Tulsi is an excellent shrub and known as “queen of herbs” belongs to the family of “Lamiaceae”. This plant has been cultivated for centuries in India for multiple uses. Tulsi plant is a very sacred plant and worshiped by many Indians. Most of the Indians grow these plants in their houses and worship this plant. This plant leaves are also used in the production of oil. The oil of Tulsi plant has about 72% eugenol and is comparable to clove oil. Eugenol is mainly used in cosmetics, perfumes, pharmaceuticals. This plant leaves are also used to make “Tulsi tea”. This plant also has many medicinal properties which made this plant popular. The parts of Tulsi generally used are its leaves, seeds & dried roots. This plant is being used in Ayurvedic medicines. Commercial/Organic cultivation of basil crop is picking up in India on a very large scale.
Health Benefits of Tulsi:
Some of the health benefits of Tulsi plants are as follows.
- Tulsi may cure fever, cold, cough & sore throat.
- Tulsi may beat stress.
- Tulsi may dissolve kidney stones.
- Tulsi may protect the heart.
- Tulsi may beat cancer.
- Tulsi may help in quitting smoking.
- Tulsi may reduce blood sugar levels.
- Tulsi may keep skin & hair healthy.
- Tulsi may help in respiratory disorders.
- Tulsi may cure a headache.
Main Varieties of Tulsi in India:
Currently, Purple type also called “Krishna Tulsi” & Green type also called “Sri Tulsi” are under commercial cultivation.
Local Names of Tulsi in India:
Babui Tulsi (Bengali),
The climate Required for Tulsi Farming:
Tulsi plant can be grown in a wide variety of climates including tropical and subtropical conditions. Long days with high temperatures are best for its growth and good oil content. However, It also thrives under partially shaded conditions but with low oil content. It requires moderate annual rainfall with humid conditions for better yield.
Read: How To Extract Tulsi Oil.
Soil Requirement for Tulsi Farming:
The Tulsi plant is a hardy plant and can be grown on a wide range of soils. However rich sandy loam soils with good internal drainage are ideal for its cultivation. Avoid highly alkaline, saline and waterlogged soils. Well-drained soils with good organic matter will result in good vegetative growth of the plant. Soil pH of 5.5 – 7.0 is ideal for better yield of Tulsi.
Land preparation in Tulsi:
The land or main field should be ploughed 2 or 3 times with local/country plough or tractor to bring to the soil to a fine tilth. Add 15 tonnes of Farm Yard Manure in the soil for better yield. Make the good internal drainage in the soil to avoid any waterlogging.
Propagation in Tulsi Farming:
The Tulsi plant crop can be propagated through seeds or cuttings.
Nursery Rising of Seedlings in Tulsi Farming:
Nursery raising of seedlings:-Prepare the nursery bed size of 4.5 m x 1.0 m x 0.2 m and apply Farm Yard Manure of 2 kg/square meter. Make sure nursery bed/soil is covered with partial shade. Soil should be prepared to a fine tilth and worked up to 25 cm to 30 cm depth. As the basil seeds are very small in size, mix the seeds with sand in the ratio of 1:4. Then seeds should be sown in beds 8 weeks in advance of monsoon. Generally, these seeds germinate in 1 week to 2 weeks and seedlings become ready for transplanting in the main field in about 6 to 7 weeks time @ 3 to 5 leaf stage.
Vegetative propagation or Propagation by cuttings in Tulsi Farming:
In this propagation method, terminal cuttings with 8 – 10 nodes &10 -15 cm length should be used. These cuttings should be planted in the well-prepared nursery beds or polythene bags. Roots of the cuttings will be matured enough In about 4-6 weeks and ready for transplanting in the field. Row-to-Row space should be about 40 cm and space within the row should be about 40 cm.
Seed Rate in Tulsi Farming:
An average seed rate is about 120 grams/acre (or) 300 grams /ha.
Manures and Fertilizers in Tulsi Farming:
Apply Farm Yard Manure of 15 tonnes per hectare or 6 tonnes per acre as part of the land preparation. Fertilizers N @ 48 kg, P2O5 @ 24 kg and K2O @ 24 kg/acre (or) Fertilizers N @ 120 kg, P2O5 @ 60 kg and K2O @ 60 kg/ hectare should applied. Along with FYM, entire phosphorus and potassium and half nitrogen should be applied as basal dose and remaining nitrogen should be applied in split does i.e. after first cutting and second cutting.
Irrigation required for Tulsi Plants:
Irrigation should be given immodestly followed by transplanting. Carry the irrigation 2 times a week for 4 weeks. Thereafter, based on the rainfall and soil moisture, irrigation should be provided @ weekly interval. Irrigation is not required in the rainy season. Make sure the water drains well in the rainy season.
Weed Control in Tulsi Planting:
In Tulsi farming, 2 weedings are fair enough to control the weeds as these plants become bushy. One hoeing after two months of planting is fair enough. First weeding should be carried out @ 1 month after planting. Second weeding should be carried out @ 2 months after planting. After each harvest, carry out the weeding task to avoid any weed growth.
Pests and Diseases in Tulsi Farming:
Major pest found in Tulsi cultivation is “Leaf rollers” and common diseases found are Powdery mildew, root-rot, and seedling blight.
To prevent these pests and diseases, following control measures should be taken care in Tulsi farming.
- To control the leaf rollers, spray the crop with 1% methyl (or) 0.2% malathion once noticed this insect.
- Spray the crop with 0.3% wettable sulphur to control the powdery mildew disease.
- Nursery beds should be drenched with a 0.1% solution of mercurial fungicide.
- To control the root rot and seedling blight diseases, adopt phytosanitary measures.
Harvesting of Tulsi Crop:
Tulsi crop will be ready for the first harvest after 3 months of planting. This crop should be harvested @ full bloom stage. Cut the plants at least 15 cm above the ground level to ensure good regeneration for future harvests. After the first harvest, the next one can be carried out after 70 to 75 days interval. Cutting these plants on sunny days are preferred to obtain good yield and oil content.
The yield of Tulsi Crop:
Yield in any crop cultivation depends on the crop management practices and soil and cultivar. In Tulsi crop, an average yield of 9000 to 14000 kg leaves per hectare can be achieved. This herb also contains oil (about 0.2%). Expected essential oil average yield could be about 10 to 25 liters per hectare.