Article Index
RAMACHAM
1. Botany & Varieties
2. Vetiver types
3. Chemical Constituents
4. Medicinal Properties & Use
5. Soil & Climate
6. Propagation
7. Planting & Aftercare
8. Pest & Diseases
9. Harvest & Processing
Vetiver Cultivation in Sandy Tracts
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VETIVER CULTIVATION IN COASTAL SANDY TRACTS OF KERALA

Journeying along the coastal areas of Chavakkad –Ponnani Taluks in Kerala state, we can come across a special system of cultivation not seen in other parts the state.  Vetiver,  the aromatic medicinal crop, is grown in this littoral sandy soil as an annual crop  in an area of 600 acres.   The lush green area planted with the traditional type of vetiver crop looks like rice fields. 
The sandy area remains saturated with water during rainy season and  gets dried once the rain ceases. Vetiver is perhaps the only ideal crop that can be grown under such extremities of situations.
The main operations in the cultivation in this tract takes place during January – February months.  Land preparation, planting as well as harvest of existing crop go side by side in the field during this period.
Slips for new planting is collected from the harvested crop.  After separation of roots, the slips with basal root portion intact is cut into 15-20 cm length, moistened and incubated in gunny bags for 2-3 days for sprouting.
The harvested fields are leveled after burning the stubbles and formed into plots for planting. Since the field is sandy upto 1 m depth, no ploughing or digging is required prior to planting. The sprouted slips are buried in the sandy field in rows at a spacing of 10-15 cm. The field is irrigated till the receipt of rains.

The crop is manured with organic manures like powdered Groundnut cake @ 80 kg/acre during 2nd and 4th month of planting and sand from interspaces is thrown over it. During August- September, Factomphos @ 150-200/ acre is also applied. Pruning the shoots is done 3- 4 times to promote tiller production and root yield. 
The crop is ready for harvest after one year. The roots are collected by digging deep upto 1 m and removing sand. The clumps are pulled out with root system intact, adhering sand is removed by vigorous shaking and the roots are separated from the shoot portion. The clumps are prepared as planting material for planting next crop.
The separated roots are first grouped into small bundles and these bundles are then tied together and made into bales of  40 -50 kg and marketed. An average of 100-150 bales weighing  4000 to 6000 kg roots are produced from an acre.

The roots from these soils are upto 1 m long and they are fine in nature. These are more suited for making handicraft items like mats, fans, screens, pillows, baskets, chappals, curtains, chair backs, incense sticks and sachet bags and for various medicinal uses. The oil content in these roots is comparatively and hence not suitable for oil extraction.
This traditional system of cultivation, unique to this area, is to be given adequate support and encouragement to enable the farmers to preserve it in a profitable and sustainable manner.
This acts as a successful model for evolving location specific cultivation techniques in potential areas for effective land utilization for income and employment generation.