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Home > Spice Farming > Clove
Clove Spice Farming
Clove PlantClimate and Soil
Clove is a tropical plant and requires warm humid climate. Generally it is believed that clove requires proximity to sea for the proper growth and yield, experience in India has shown that the trees do well in the hinterland conditions too. Clove thrives in all situations ranging from sea level upto an altitude of 1000 meters. Deep loamy soil with high humus content found in the forest region is best suited for its cultivation. It grows satisfactorily on laterite soil, loamy and rich black soil having good drainage.

Varieties and Planting Material
Clove plantations in India are reported to have originated from a few seedlings obtained originally from Mauritius. Clove is propagated through `mother of clove` that is seed obtained from ripened fruit. Fruits are taken, from trees with more then 15 years of age and regular yielding nature. They are allowed to ripe on the trees and to drop down naturally. Such fruits are picked up from the ground and sown directly in the nursery. Otherwise fruits are soaked in water overnight and the seeds obtained after removal of the pericarp are sown.

Nursery Practices
Raised nursery beds are prepared on fertile soil with high Percentage of organic matter. The beds norm ally measure one metre width and two to three metre length. Seeds should be placed flat at a depth of about 2.5 cm with a spacing of 12 to 15 cm. Care should be taken to prevent leaching of the beds in rain. Germination commences in about 10 to 15 days and completes by about 45 days. The slender and delicate seedlings grow very slowly.

Site Selection and Planting
The site for cultivation of clove should have good drainage since the crop cannot withstand water logging. It can be grown in coconut gardens of midland. At higher elevations it can be mix cropped with pepper or coffee. Clove requires a location protected from wind. If the site is open, wind breaks must be provided. Eastern and North Eastern hill slopes, well-drained valleys and riverbanks are ideal for clove cultivation. The crop thrives well under open condition at high altitude where there is fair distribution of rainfall.
The area selected for raising clove plantation is cleared of wild growth before monsoon.

Clove trees are to be manured regularly for proper growth and flowering. About 15 kg of rotten cattle manure or compost is applied per plant in the initial years. The quantity is increased gradually so that a well grown tree of 15 years and more gets 40 to 50 kg of organic manure. e branches of full grown trees have tendency to overcrowd, thinning is done occasionally. Dead and diseased shoots should be removed once or twice a year.

Plant Protection
There are only a few pests attacking clove. Among them stem borer, scales and mealy bugs are important.

Stem Borer (Sahyadrassus malabaricus):This is the most important pest of clove. The caterpillars bore into the main stem resulting in immediate drying up of the plant above the point of attack and causing the death of the plant ultimately. Regular inspection of the plants and pouring a solution of 0.1% Quinalphos into the bore hole and plugging the opening as soon as the attack is noticed, will check the damage. Clean cultivation and swabbing the surface of the stem with Carbaryl 50% wettable powder as prophylactic measure will control the pest.

Scales (Lecanium psidii) and Mealy Bugs (Planococcus sp. Psuedococus sp.): Damages due to mealy bugs occur by sucking the sap from tender shoots. Affected portions dry up gradually. Infestation of scales is on leaves and tender shoots, and is serious in the nursery. Young seedlings if attacked are killed soon. Spraying with 0.05% Monocrotophs or Dimethoate will control these pests.

Diseases Diseases, are more damaging to clove than pests. The, important diseases are seedling wilt, leaf rot, leaf spot, twig blight, die back and sudden death.

Harvesting and Curing
Clove tree begins to yield from the seventh year of planting and full bearing stage is attained after 15 to 20 years. The flowering season is September to October in the plains and December to February at high altitudes.

Clove Flower BudsFlower buds are formed on young flush. It takes about five to six months for the buds to become ready for harvest. The optimum stage for picking clove buds is when the buds are fully developed and the base of the calyx has turned from green to pink colour. Such clove buds are carefully picked by hand. Care should be taken to collect the buds at the correct stage as otherwise the quality of the produce will be poor to a considerable extent. The buds after separation from the stalks are spread evenly to dry, in-the sun on mats or cement floors. During nights buds should be stored undercover, lest they re-absorb moisture. The period of drying depends on the prevailing climatic conditions. Normally, it is possible to dry cloves in four or five days under direct sun and in about four hours when they are heated on zinc trays over a regulated fire. Fully dried buds develop the characteristic dark brown colour and are crisp. Improperly dried and stored cloves have much darker colour and some what wrinkled appearance. Such a produce is considered inferior in quality.

International Trade
Tanzania, Indonesia, Madagascar, Comoro and Sri Lanka are the major clove exporting countries. In recent years, world production of clove averaged around 80,000 tonnes a year. Indonesia is the world`s biggest producer at 50,000-60,000 tonnes.
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