Ocimum (Tulsi) – Crop Cultivation Guidance
The genus Ocimum (tulsi) belongs to the family Labiateae. Many species of Ocimum contain various economically important essential oils used in perfumery and cosmetics industries. The major constituents in Ocimum oils include linalool, geraniol, citral, camphor, eugenol, methyl chavicol, safrol, thymol, methylcinnamate etc. Ocimum species are used as herbs and find diverse uses in the indigenous systems of medicine in countries like India, Africa, Arabia, Australia, Malaya, pacific islands and Sri Lanka. The oil of certain species of Ocimum has the antifungal, bactericidal and insecticidal properties too.
The Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu has done extensive crop improvement programme in Ocimum and evolved newer promising types, which are now recommended for commercial cultivation. The varieties are:
O. canum RRL-01, O. americanum RRL-02 O. viride RRL-08 O. gratissimum RRL-08 O. basilicum RRL-07 O. basilicum RRL-011 Synthesized Amphidiploid of Ocimum RRL-015 O. gratissimum
Climate and Soil:
It is a tropical to subtropical plant, it prefers fairly to high rainfall areas with high humid conditions. Long day and high-temperature condition enhance growth and higher oil production. Ocimum can be grown in rich loam to poor lateritic soils. It can also come up in saline or alkaline soils to moderately acidic soils. Proper drainage is however essential as waterlogging condition results in poor growth.
The land is well prepared with two or three ploughings until a fine a fine tilt of soil is obtained. Farmyard manure may be applied before the2nd or 3rd ploughing. The crop is raised from seeds and can be grown annually from the middle of February to the end of September by direct sowing or transplanting. Manures – Generally, no manure is required, but an application of 20-25 Kg of NOTES and 10-15 Kg of P per hectare after one month from planting give good herbage and oil yield.Micronutrients given as foliar spraying especially 50 ppm of Cu and 100 ppm ofMo increase the total oil content in O. sanctum
From sowing to first harvesting, it takes about 90-100 days in the case of direct sown and 75-90 days in the transplanted crop. The plants are cut 20-25 cm above the ground level in the first year, 20-30cm level in second year and 35-45 cm level in the third year.
On an average, 25 to 30 tonnes of herbage yield can be obtained per hectare in the first year and in the subsequent years it may go up. The oil yield depends upon the spices grown and many other factors such as stage of harvest, season etc.