Introduction of Mint Plant
Chromosome number: 72 ( However it differs according to species)
- It (Pudina) is an aromatic mostly perennial but can also be an annual ascending herb which grows about 60-80 cm in height.
- Its plant has wide-spreading underground and overground stolons and erect square branched stems.
- Leaves color varies from dark green, grey-green, purple-blue to pale yellow.
- It is believed to be originated in the Mediterranean basin.
- This crop could be cultivated in both tropical and subtropical regions.
- Its leaves are famous for its aromatic properties.
- It helps in controlling nausea, headache, respiratory disease, asthma patients, depression, fatigue, weight loss, digestion, stomach disorders, etc.
- It is also used as a flavoring agent in soft drinks, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.
- It is used as an ingredient in cough syrups and other related pharmaceuticals.
- The largest producers of mint crops are the United States, India, and China.
- In India total Japanese mint cultivation is done in an area covering about 60,000 hectares of land with an estimated production of 12,000 tonnes
- India accounts for a total of 75% of total menthol mint production in the world.
- Mint has four mainly cultivated species are Japanese mint, Peppermint, Bergamot mint, and Spearmint.
- The aerial part of the mint plant on distillation gives an essential oil, which contains 70% to 80% menthol content.
- Its oil has bitter cooling and refreshing taste,i.e. why it is used in soft drinks.
- Its plant does not produce seeds hence propagates through vegetative means only.
- This plant has tiny white, purple, or pink flowers.
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Japanese mint or Menthol mint (Mentha arvensis)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Bergamot mint (Mentha citrata)
Now let’s read Mint Farming in Detail
Area and Distribution
- It is mainly cultivated in the United States, India, China, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.
- United States is the leader in peppermint production.
- India is the leader in mint oil production in the world.
- Cultivation of mint originated in Brazil and China.
- The total area under its cultivation is estimated at around 60,000 hectares of land in India.
- The total production in India is estimated at about 12,000 tonnes.
- India menthol production accounts for a total of 75 percent production in the world.
- In India it is extensively grown in northern states like Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
- Total Japanese mint oil production in the world is 16,000 tonnes.
- This plant can grow in various soil types but primarily requires well-drained loamy soil with high organic matter and loose texture. Sandy loam and deep soil are also good for its cultivation.
- Soil pH for better growth and germination should range between 6.5 to 8.2 pH. It grows best in neutral soil.
- Waterlogged soil affects the growth of plant but the soil should also be not dry, moist soil with good drainage is best.
- However it is seen that it grows very fast in most of the soil and it continues to spread through its runner.
Climate and Temperature
- Japanese mint can be grown in tropical as well as subtropical climate. That’s why in India majorly Japanese mint is cultivated commercially.
- Other types are generally not suitable to be grown in the tropical climate.
- Suitable temperature to grow this crop ranges between 20 degrees C to 40 degrees C.
- Areas receiving rainfall about 100 to 150 cm is considered good. However rainfall in the range of 100 to 110 cm is considered ideal.
- Mint Propagation could be done through root suckers and terminal cuttings, runners in the rainy season, etc.
- Its plant also spread through layering. In the wild it spreads on the ground through layering. This technique is used in which a part of a plant shoot is put inside the soil and then after a few weeks root generates naturally.
- Propagation through cutting is a step by step process.
- It can also be propagated through stolons. It happens during winter. It is majorly propagated through stolons for cultivation purposes. These stolons are prepared in the nursery to be successfully transplanted in fields.
- In the case of propagating plants through seeds, the seed rate should be 400 to 450 Kg per hectare.
- If you want to grow mint in home gardening then you can easily purchase in the nearest nursery at a very low cost.
Method of Plantation and field preparation
- The field should be prepared before planting. It should be plowed first with country plow four to six times and then harrowed and leveled. It helps to make the soil better for aeration, water movement, and proper root growth. It also removes the weeds from the field.
- At the time of field preparation apply 25 tonnes of FYM( Farm Yard Manure) along with 50 Kg of Nitrogen per hectare.
- The furrow method of irrigation is considered good for its cultivation.
- Proper drainage facilities should be maintained mainly during the rainy season.
- Stolons are planted across furrows in which row to row distance is maintained at 40 cm
- Irrigation should be applied just after plantation.
- Four quintals of stolons are sufficient for one hectare of land for plantation.
- Organic manures or FYM i.e. Farm Yard Manure can be used before planting. N, P, and K fertilizer could be applied as a basal dose in the ratio of 50:75:50 Kg per hectare. After four months Nitrogen can be applied @25 Kg per hectare i.e. done nearly after each cutting of mature crop.
- This crop loves moist soil but it should not face waterlogged conditions.
- In summer season water can be applied at an interval of 10 to 12 days, however, if the upper layer of soils seems dry then irrigate the field.
- A total of 10 to 12 times field is irrigated in the summer season.
- In winter season 5 to 6 irrigation is sufficient for field crops.
- If you are growing it in the pot then irrigate immediately if pot soil seems dry.
- The use of leaf mulches in this crop reduces the irrigation requirement frequency by 25%, this is achieved if you use leaf mulches @5 tonnes per hectare.
- The first four to fourteen weeks are crucial for weed management in this crop after plantation.
- Weeds could be removed either by using a mechanical tool i.e. hoe or by using hands. However both these techniques are difficult and costly to be practiced in the mint crop field.
- To control weeds in this crop Integrated Weed Management system is used.
- Application of Oxyflurofen @ 0.5 Kg per hectare, Pendimethalin @ 0.75 Kg per hectare, Simazine 1 Kg per hectare helps to control weeds.
- The crop that has been planted in January or February is harvested twice a year after plantation.
- First harvesting is done in June and second in October. The first harvest is done after 100 to 120 days of growth and the second harvest is done in about 80 to 90 days following the first harvest.
- The fresh herbage at the harvesting stage contains 0.5 to 0.8 % of oil and is ready for distillation after wilting for a duration of 6 to 10 hours.
- This wilted crop is cut 10 cm above the ground with the help of a sickle on bright sunny days.
- Cutting of wilted crops should be avoided during cloudy or rainy days as it reduces menthol content in the oil.
- Average yield obtained is about 20 tonnes per hectare.
- 250 Kg of oil can be obtained from this in a year.