Do you want to start mint cultivation? If you are interested to start this farming, read this article to understand the profitability, benefits, and the various steps associated in starting mint farming or popularly called pudina locally.
Mint is one of the most profitable herbs to grown. You can cultivate mint in small and large scale according to the availability of land. High yield variety gives more profit in mint cultivation. The major potential is its’ aroma and culinary use. Mints belong to the genus Mentha, in the family Labiatae (Lamiaceae). The botanical name is Mentha arvensis, Mentha Citrita. Peppermint is a summer-growing perennial with upright, usually purplish, smooth stems growing to 1 m in height.
World production is more than 4 000 metric tons per year. The USA accounting for 80 % of this and, in addition, being an importer and re-exported. The USA mint produces an average of 25 tons of herbage and 78,3 kg oil per ha at a 0,3 % oil recovery rate. Mint is also cultivated in Canada, Europe, and Britain, Australia, Tasmania, Japan, Africa, and New Zealand. The Asian continent also produces mint oil with India and China as the largest of these producers.
Is Mint Cultivation Business Profitable?
- The mint has huge commercial value. Therefore, the applications are in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, confectionery and other products.
- In addition to the utility, demand, and profits, which adds to the merit of the crop is the 90 days’ time period within which the crop gets ready.
- Furthermore, You can cultivate it in the gap between the Rabi (wheat or potatoes) and Kharif crop (rice), and farmers reap the ‘bonus’ from the cash crop that comes in addition to the traditional food crops.
- The crop doesn’t require any fertilizers and has no adverse effect on the soil. Blue bulls and cattle, which are a constant threat to every other crop, do not affect mint at all.
- Finally, the oil extracting process is also easy. You can set up your own distillation unit. It is affordable.
Health Benefits Of Mint
- Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser. It promotes digestion.
- The aroma of mint activates the salivary glands in our mouth which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion.
- Again, the strong and refreshing aroma of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea.
- It helps in respiratory disorder. The strong aroma of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi, and lungs.
- Regular use of mint is very beneficial for asthma patients. Hence, it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion.
- A number of pain balms use mint extracts as the main ingredient in their products. That is because when the mint extract is used to an area that is hurting, it immediately provides a cooling effect, causing the area to partially become numb.
- Mint reduces memory loss.
- Finally, mint aroma helps in reducing depression and stress.
Best Varieties For Mint Cultivation
The four most commonly cultivated varieties are:
- Japanese Mint/Menthol Mint (M.arvensis)
- Peppermint (M.piperita)
- Spearmint (M. Spicata)
- Bergamot mint (M. Citrata)
Different other varieties are Hybrid-77, Shivalik, EC-41911, Gomti, Himalaya, Kosi, Saksham, Kushal, etc.
Agro-Climatic Condition Requirement for Mint Cultivation
You can cultivate Japanese mint both in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The temperature is ideal between 20-400 C during the major part of the growing period. In addition. the rainfall between 100-110 cm. (light showers at planting stage and ample sunshine at the time of harvesting) is perfect for its cultivation.
Well-drained loam or sandy loam soils rich in an organic matter having pH between 6 and 8.2 are ideally suited for its cultivation. You can cultivate mint on both red and black soil. In the case of acidic soil having pH less than 5.5, liming is recommended.
Suitable Soil For Mint Cultivation
Peppermint grows well in most soil types. It includes heavy and moist soils if drainage is sufficient. On lands that are underwater in winter, it will not perform vigorously and plants may even die off. In conclusion, the best soils are deep, well-drained, rich in humus, with good moisture retention. Finally, you must collect soil samples for analysis to determine base fertility levels before mint plantation.
Mint Cultivation As Pot Culture
- Mint is easy to grow in pots.
- Choose a location where your plant receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Locate mint plant 15″ apart
- Also, you can use soilless potting mixes, perlite, vermiculite, rock wool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.
- Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
- While you are planting in a garden bed, apply mulch.
- In conclusion, you can grow both peppermint and spearmint indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps.
Here is a Stepwise Guide to Start Mint Cultivation
1. Land Preparation
Analyze the soil at a laboratory. It will make you sure about mineral deficiencies and excesses, organic status and carbon ratios. You must know the PH balance. You must maintain soil fertility levels in acceptable ranges before starting a soil-building programme. Correct the soil pH according to analysis and soil type. In addition, you must plan for fertilization according to whether the crop will be grown inorganically or organically. Apply suitable soil preparation practices according to the farming operation. Such as rip, plow, disc, harrow, contour, etc.
You can plant 40 to 90 cm between rows and 15 to 45 cm within rows lightly covered with soil. This practice will give a total of 55 000 to 75 000 plants per ha. It covers the soil quickly. You can continue plantation for about 3 to 5 years. It depends on cultivation, soil, and climatic factors. However, the best yields are obtained from the second year.
You must apply proper fertilization in mint cultivation to achieve a good crop. Hence, nitrogen fertilization is essential for foliage stimulation and improving the flavor and quality of the oil. Fertilizer rates are generally high in order to allow good vegetal growth and development of the maximum number of leaves. In conclusion, frequent nitrogen applications are required throughout the growing season to maintain soil fertility.
Peppermint requires frequent and adequate irrigation. It is used to supplement rainfall. When the plants are fully developed they are watered at least three times a week. It is important to keep the soil constantly moist, although well drained. The crop has high water demands in summer. Consequently, you must take care to prevent waterlogged soil, especially in winter, as this will influence growth.
Plant Protection System In Mint Cultivation
You must maintain weed control Programmes strictly. You must take care in harvesting to avoid inclusion of weeds. Because it could result in volatile compounds in extracting and reducing the oil quality. You must remove annual grasses. In conclusion, perennial weeds are sometimes a bigger problem.
Most pests are troublesome on older mint fields, especially nematodes. Never use rootstocks from old lands for planting new lands. As a result, it can introduce pest problems into the new lands. You must adopt natural pest control measures as the first choice. Follow a pest management programme. Furthermore, early detection and management of pest problems can prevent major problems. Correct identification of pests and natural beneficial predators is essential. in Conclusion use controls that target specific taxonomic groups, eating habits, or life stages.
Harvesting & Distillation In Mint Cultivation
The timing of harvest is critical to the quality of the oil. You can obtain optimum oil yield and quality when 10 % of the crop is in the flowering stage. You must carry out harvesting on a dry, sunny day, in the late morning, when all traces of dew have disappeared. The crop is cut, using conventional hay mowers.
It is very important to make a clean cut without splintering the stems or shattering of the leaves. Because this will result in lower oil yields and inhibit regrowth of the plants.
The main chemical constituent of peppermint oil is menthol. However, it also contains menthyl acetate and isovalerate, menthone, cineol, pinene, limonene, and other constituents. You can set up a small-scale distillation plant at your farm. Mint essential oils have a good market worldwide. You must pack the citronella oil in airtight containers of glass, tin or aluminum. You can source the technology from the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
You can obtain approximately 150 kg of Oil per hectare during the first year. Under good management, you can get subsequently 200 – 250 kg per hectare from mint cultivation.