Vanilla is a popular spice used in various culinary delights around the world. It’s one of the most expensive spices, with its delicate and exotic flavor. Vanilla beans are actually the fruit of the Vanilla orchid, which can be grown in a kitchen garden in India. In this article, we will discuss the varieties of Vanilla that can be grown in India, the soil and temperature conditions required, and the care that needs to be taken to ensure a good harvest.
|Scientific name||Vanilla planifolia|
|Nutrition||Vanilla is not typically eaten in large enough quantities to provide significant nutrition, but it does contain small amounts of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.|
|Months / season it’s grown||Vanilla is usually grown year-round in tropical climates, but the best time to plant it is at the beginning of the rainy season.|
|Weeks it takes to grow||Vanilla plants take between 2 and 4 years to produce their first flowers, and the pods take several more months to mature before they can be harvested.|
|Harvest per plant in kgs||Depending on growing conditions, a single vanilla plant can produce anywhere from 1 to 3 kg of vanilla beans per year.|
List of varieties that can be grown in India
The two most commonly grown Vanilla varieties in India are Bourbon and Tahitian Vanilla. Bourbon Vanilla, which originated in Madagascar, is the most commonly grown type and is known for its strong and sweet flavor. Tahitian Vanilla, on the other hand, has a more floral and fruity taste and is grown mainly in Tahiti and other Pacific Islands.
Which season/months it can be grown in India
Vanilla is a tropical crop that requires warm and humid conditions to grow well. In India, it can be grown throughout the year, but it is best to start the planting process in June or July, just before the onset of the monsoon season. This will provide the necessary moisture for the plant’s growth and development.
Soil conditions and temperature needed
Vanilla plants grow best in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. The pH level of the soil should be between 5.5 and 7.0. Vanilla plants prefer temperatures between 20°C to 30°C. Temperatures above 35°C can harm the plant and reduce the yield.
Caring in different weeks
Week 1-4: After planting the Vanilla cuttings, make sure to water them regularly to keep the soil moist. Apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks to promote healthy growth.
Week 5-8: The Vanilla plants should start to grow during this period. Keep the soil moist and provide support to the plants by tying them to a stake or trellis. Apply organic fertilizer to the soil to promote healthy growth.
Week 9-12: During this period, the Vanilla plants will start to produce flowers. Keep the soil moist and provide support to the plants as necessary. Remove any weeds around the base of the plants.
Week 13-16: The Vanilla beans will start to form during this period. Reduce the amount of water given to the plants and ensure that the soil is well-drained to avoid root rot. Provide support to the plants as necessary.
Vanilla beans are harvested when they are mature and fully ripe. This occurs about six to nine months after the plant has flowered. The beans are harvested by hand and then cured by a process of drying and fermenting, which takes about a month.
Vanilla beans are rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals. They also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
How much can one harvest from a small kitchen garden?
The yield from a Vanilla plant can vary depending on various factors such as soil conditions, temperature, and care given. A single plant can yield up to 50-60 vanilla beans per year. Therefore, a small kitchen garden with a few plants can yield a decent amount of vanilla beans.
Growing Vanilla in a kitchen garden is a rewarding experience. With the right care and attention, it is possible to grow high-quality vanilla beans that can be used in various culinary delights. With proper planning and care, Vanilla can be a valuable addition to any Indian kitchen garden.