Today in Gardenprue we wanted cardamom , a spice that is used for many things and that is very present in Indian cuisine to make both curry dishes, rice dishes, cookies, tea, etc. Normally we buy the spice if we usually add it to one of our dishes, but what if we grow it?
A FEW SIMPLE STEPS TO GROW CARDAMOM IN THE GARDEN
Although its cultivation is not widespread in Spain, in other countries it is very important, such as India or some areas of South America.
It is not well known here for two reasons, first because the best weather conditions are not found here (now we will see why) and because it is not a widely used spice in most of the dishes of our Mediterranean diet.
However, either out of curiosity, even though you cannot plant it, or for the simple fact of being the privileged one who can plant it, its cultivation is very interesting.
When talking about cardamom or paradise kernel, 3 genera are specified ( Amomum, Elettaria and Aframomum ), although in reality when we talk about the spice we are referring to Elettaria Cardamomum. The cardamom or grana of the paradise belongs to the family of the Zingiberaceae.
This is a fairly unknown family and to which we are not used, but as a help we will tell you that there are a few quite famous plants that belong to the Zingiberaceae such as turmeric , ginger or, of course, cardamom .
CARDAMOM ( ELETTARIA CARDAMOMUM ) GROW GUIDE
This is the great handicap of its cultivation in Spain or any European country that does not develop a humid and rainy climate , comparable to that of the jungles, that of course.
Therefore, it grows naturally in some areas of India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, etc. It can be grown in areas with good lighting or in shady areas but always away from the sun’s rays.
Being a plant that reaches between 2 and 4 meters in height and being inside a jungle where there are usually trees much taller than cardamom, there it finds the ideal place for growth, with constant temperatures between 18 and 22 ºC , with good environmental humidity and constant rainfall.
Cardamom is a plant that, despite liking areas with good humidity, does not support waterlogged soils , and it will show you quickly with a general decay of the plant. The soil must always be humid since it does not support dry seasons.
It needs soils with a good content of organic matter , well drained, light and with a lot of plant cover (jungle or forests).
IRRIGATION AND FERTILIZER
When it comes to irrigation, we have almost said it all. In summer it needs to be watered almost every day or at most every 2 days, since it needs constant humidity (without waterlogging) of the soil.
In terms of subscriber we do not have much to say either, since the areas where cardamom grows naturally already have large amounts of organic matter.
Even so, if you think you have an area where Elettaria Cardamomum could grow, you have to constantly provide it with organic matter. A moist soil rich in organic matter will guarantee the solution to all the problems that cardamom may have in the future.
Mineral fertilizers are also good for him and are usually added a couple of times a year. They must have a good nitrogen concentration , and in general NPKs are usually quite complete for cardamom.
Basically, cardamom is used for its seeds , which are used as spices in many dishes. It is that seed that is used to multiply plants.
The seed has a high expiration date , so once obtained, we dry it in the shade and plant it in a period of less than 15 days. It takes a long time to germinate, which must be under conditions of humidity and temperature, around 1 month, and it grows slowly until it becomes a transplantable seedling after 3-5 months.
It is a difficult technique since the seed has a low germination power , so we can try something else …
From the mother plant we select shoots that preserve all the parts of the plant (leaves, stem, roots), it is separated and replanted under the same irrigation, humidity and fertilizer conditions as the mother plant.