What is special in Pudhina ?
Keerai is of several types and is grown everywhere. It is a nature’s gift for mankind irrespective of one’s financial status. Its medicinal benefits are common to all people. Growers of keerai need to toil less but they stand to gain more. Moreover, they can get the yield sooner than other types of cultivation in the field. Pudhina not only gives a pleasant smell but also has a lot of medicinal properties. All micronutrients are aplenty in this small plant - pudhina.
The famous medical encyclopaedia ‘Agathiar Gunapadam’ highlights the values of pudhina as the one which will remove vomiting tendency and tastelessness; it will also purify blood and remove gastric problem and constipation. Pudhina is stomach’s friend and if one takes it regularly he will get rid of his gnawing headache.
Once upon a time, pudhina was given as one of the freebies by the vegetable vendors along with coriander and curry leaves to the public. But today it has become one of the primary agricultural products with its own commercial implication and space in the field. Armstrong of Seeliampatti village,Theni district has been cultivating pudhina in his 25 cents with harvest once in 50 days.
Armstrong proudly shares that his village lands are so fertile that all crops like paddy, coconut, keerai etc.will grow very rapidly and the soil is also so favourable for all crops. Particularly, red soil is more suited for keerai cultivation which is abundantly available throughout the village. Moreover, the keerai vendors are also equally available so that sale is also not a problem for them. The farmers are required to cultivate keerai with due water supply. Harvesting is also left on lease and the rest will be taken care of by the contracted vendors. On account of this the farmers get lot of spare time to concentrate on cultivation of other crops.
Armstrong has 5 acres of land. Usually, he would cultivate paddy in 2 acres and banana plant in 3 acres of land. Besides this he has some coconut trees under the shade of which he has been cultivating pudhina in about 25 cents. Pudhina is one of the rare plants which will grow under shade. He says some people would introduce pudhina as an inter-crop which will not sustain under rain. He continues his efforts in this manner with very less strain and investment of time.
Armstrong follows rotational cultivation of pudhina in his 25 cents under contract basis for a total sum of Rs.20,000/-. Soon after harvest, he will pour water and continue pudhina cultivation. Once in 50 days pudhina can be harvested and in 1/4th acre, nearly 500 to 700 bundles can be collected and sold @ Rs.30/- to Rs.70/- per kilo. One bundle would normally weigh 1 kg.
Armstrong candidly puts it that even if he incurs 50% of his income towards expenditure, he will be able to get a net income of Rs.10,000/- Assuming that he will get 6 times of harvest of pudhina in a year, he will get a net profit of Rs.60,000/- in such a limited extent of land and inputs.
The Requisites & the outcome:-
- Land with water channel is required without water-logging problem
- For planting pudhina, the mere stem part is enough which can be broken and planted
- For single sowing, we can get harvest for two years
- For every 50 days we can get harvest from Pudhina
Can grow in houses/terraces :-
The stem part of the pudhina can be kept in sand or in a pot and grown at home itself. Small tanks or plastic box or even bottles can be used to grow pudhina plants.
Mentha Arvensis is the botanical name of this simple pudhina plant. Raw leaves in handful quantity added with 3 pepper should be ground and taken in empty stomach in order to cure cough, cold and lung problems.
Red soil land or sand mixed with red soil with water channel would be ideal for pudhina to grow.
Water stagnant areas as well as clay sand portion of land can be avoided.
No separate season is required for this. Any season will be fit enough.
Return for a period of maximum two years is certain.
Important point to be noted is that this will not grow either under complete sunlight or under shade. It should be a blend of both.
In 25 cents land, 2 tractor thozhu uram can be spread and ploughed firmly and evened out with partitions with a distance of 10 ft. x 10ft. The partitions can be structured depending on space and water availability.
After satisfying the moisture content of the soil, the stem part of the pudhina can be procured for planting with a distance of 4 fingers size only; rather they must have close proximity with one another. After planting, the moisture should be sustained by means of irrigating once in two days. The plants will start growing without any difficulty..
Within 15-20 days we must use our raw hands to pluck out weeds and spray 10 kg.groundnut cake in powder form with water. Again, on 30th and 40th day , 20 kgs. groundnut cake should be soaked in irrigation water. Normally, pudhina is spared by the insects. If at all there are some insects, they can be driven out with the help of insecticides.
From the 50th day, harvest can be commenced. Caution is that we must leave the stem upto 2 fingers length from the earth surface. After harvest, again channel irrigation with groundnut cake will enable pudhina to grow again.
What does Pudhina contain??
Water content 84.5%
Flour content 5.9%
Thus pudhina is a small and simple plant with its benefits being immense to us.
(This article originally written by R Kumaresan in Tamil has been reproduced in English by P S Ramamurthy)