Cumin Seeds – The Delightful Spice!
Spices constitute an important group of agricultural commodities which were used for flavoring and are the main ingredients for any tasty food. People have used these plants since earliest times. No other commodity has played more pivotal role in development of modern civilization as spices. The trade in spices is one of the oldest and at one time one of the most important forms of commerce. Like the trade of silver, gold and slaves, spice trade connected many different civilizations and helped the growth of global contact. The demand for spices was the key in expanding world trade in an expanding world. Spices have tremendous importance in the way we live, as ingredients in food, alcoholic beverages, medicine, perfumery, cosmetics, colouring and also as garden plants. Spices are used in foods to give flavour, pungency and colour. Along with other spices, Cumin is extensively used for culinary and medicinal purposes and as condiments; it add color, flavor and zing to food, besides helping digestion. It is also used as medicinal plants.
Sowing time :
The sowing time varies as a function of the local environmental conditions. In India, the sowing period is from October and continues till the first week of December. The crop is then harvested from February onward, and arrives in the market during March-April In Gujarat and Rajasthan States, the crop is grown as a winter (rabi) crop, and sowing takes place between mid-November and December 5.
Harmful weeds of cumin-
Cumin faces a severe weed competition at all stages of its growth cycle because of its slow growth and short stature. For proper aeration and control of weeds, at least two hoeing and weeding sessions are necessary, respectively 30 and 60 daysafter sowing. Thinning should also be done during the first hoeing, as well as weeding to remove excess plants. In India,Cynodon dactylon, Chenopodium spp. and Plantago pumila are common weeds, whereas in Ethiopia Plantago psyllium is more common.
Harmful diseases of cumin:
The most important diseases in cumin cultivation are: wilt, blight and powdery mildew. Wilt is caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cumini, resulting inyield losses as high as 80 %. The fungus is both soil- and seed-borne. Powdery mildew is the second important disease. The fungus grows on the surface as a white powdery mass on leaves and twigs in the initial stages of development; later on, the whole plant is covered with this whitish powder. If incidence occurs at an early stage, seeds do not form; if the incidence occurs late, small and discolored seeds are formed.
Harmful pest of cumin:
Aphids and Aphis attack cumin at the flowering stage by sucking the sap of the plant from the tender parts and flowers. The affected plants turn yellow resulting in poor seed formation and thus reduce the yield as well as the quality of the produce. The insect mostly feeds on young leaves and, hence, the infestation is more severe on young inflorescence. Small mites aphids are seen on the lower sides of the leaves.
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