Beverages and Stimulants
VINE (Piper betle)
vine requires a tropical climate with high atmospheric
humidity. It can be cultivated in the uplands as well
as in wetlands. In Kerala, it is mainly cultivated in
arecanut and coconut gardens as an intercrop. The crop
grows best on well-drained fertile soils. Waterlogged,
saline and alkali soils are unsuitable for its cultivation.
The crop also comes up very well in lateritic soils. Proper
shade and irrigation are essential for successful cultivation
of this crop. An annual rainfall ranging from 200 to 450
cm is ideal. The crop tolerates a minimum temperature
of 10ºC and a maximum of 40ºC. Extremely low
atmospheric temperature leads to leaf fall. Hot dry winds
important types are Thulasi, Venmani, Arikodi, Kalkodi,
Karilanchi, Karpuram, Chelanthikarpuram, Koottakkodinandan,
Perumkodi, Amaravila and Pramuttan.
There are two important planting seasons. The Edavakodi
is planted in May-June and the Thulakodi in August-September.
Areas with good shade and irrigation facilities are
preferred for this crop. The land is dug well and laid
out into furrows of 10-15 m length, 75 cm width and
75 cm depth. Such furrows are opened at a distance of
1 m apart. Well rotten farmyard manure and leaves are
thoroughly incorporated with the topsoil of the furrows,
along with wood ash. High dose of organic manure (20-50
t/ha) is applied to maintain good soil structure, which
is essential for the proper development of the root
material and planting
portions of mature vines (2-3 years old) are used for
planting. Healthy cuttings of about 1 m length with
three nodes are used as planting material. For planting
one hectare, 20000-25000 cuttings are required. Furrows
are irrigated prior to planting. Cuttings are planted
in holes 20 cm apart in furrows. While planting, one
node shall be buried in the soil and the second node
should be at the ground level. The soil around the planted
cutting must be pressed firmly to encourage quick germination.
It is necessary to provide shade to the planted cuttings.
Coconut leaves are used as shading material. To prevent
excess moisture in the soil, splashing water on the
vines by hand is preferable in the early stages. In
the absence of rain, light irrigation, four times daily,
is given till establishment. Cuttings establish in three
weeks time and the first leaf emerges in about a month.
the vines and weeding
cuttings sprout and creep in about a month. At this
time, they must be trailed on the standards. Bamboo
standards are erected at intervals and linked by tying
at heights of 30 cm and 150 cm using coir rope. In the
initial stages trailing is done on coir tied for the
purpose. Trailing is done further by tying the vines,
at intervals of 15-20 cm along the standards loosely
with the help of banana fibre. When vines come in contact
with standards, they produce adventitious roots using
which they cling to support. Trailing is done every
15-20 days depending on the growth of vines.
leaves and wood ash are applied to the furrows at fortnightly
intervals and cowdung slurry is sprinkled. This is repeated
till four months after planting when the crop is ready
for harvest. Application of different kinds of leaves
(gliricidia, mango leaves etc) at monthly intervals is
found advantageous for the growth of the vines.
vine needs constantly moist soil, but there should
not be excessive moisture. Hence, frequent light irritations
are given. The quantity of irrigation water should
be such that the standing water should not remain
for more than half an hour in the bed. If waterlogging
by heavy rains or excess irrigation occurs, drainage
should be arranged immediately. The best time for
irrigation is morning or evening.
should be kept clean by weeding and stirring as and
insect pests include the mirid bug (Disphincuts politus)
which de-saps the tender leaves and shoots, scale insects
and mealy bugs (Lepidosaphes and Pseudococcus), which
occur on the stems. Insecticidal application is not
recommended to avoid toxic hazards. In serious infestations,
apply fish oil soap at 1.5% against the mirid bugs and
0.025% quinalphos against the scale insects and mealy
bugs. Against scale insects, restrict insecticide application
on the stem only. The leaves should be harvested only
after 15 days of insecticide application. The treated
leaves should be consumed / marketed after thorough
washing in water.
the diseases, the bacterial leaf spot caused by Xanthomonas
betlicola is most serious in southern Kerala. The initial
symptoms appear as small water-soaked regions, which
enlarge and turn dark brown in the centre with yellow
halo. Profuse bacterial ooze may be seen on the lower
side of the lesion. In severe cases, defoliation and
stem injury occur, leading to wilting of the plant.
The cultivars Karilanchi, Karpuram, and Thulasi are
found susceptible to the disease. Spraying of 1% Bordeaux
mixture is recommended to control the disease.
about 3-6 months time, vines grow to a height 150-180
cm. At this stage branching is noticed in the vines.
Leaves are removed along with the petiole with the right
thumb. Once harvesting is commenced, it is continued
almost every day or week. The interval of harvesting
varies from 15 days to about a month till the next lowering
of vines. After each harvest, manuring has to be done.
normal conditions, vines grow to a height of about 3
m in one-year time. When they reach this height, their
vigour to produce normal sized leaves is reduced and
the crop needs rejuvenation. This is done by lowering
the vines down to the ground level at least once a year.
Lowering is done during the months of August-September.
Before lowering, all the leaves in the basal portion
of the vines to a height of 15 cm are removed. Vine
is untied from bottom upwards and coiled up carefully
and laid flat on ground leaving 2.5 to 5 cm length of
top shoots. Soil is put over the portion kept in the
soil to about 5 cm thickness. Lowering is followed by
light irrigation and manuring.