Tea is one of the oldest beverages in the world. It is almost 5000 years old, as it originated in 2737 BC in China. The Chinese population drank tea for a long time, but it gained popularity in the world in 1664 AD when it was first tasted in England.
Later, this drink became popular in India, and now India is the largest tea producer. Tea comes from the Camelliaceae family and belongs to the Camellia genus.
If you are looking for a tea cultivation guide, then this is the right place.
Steps For Tea Cultivation
So, let us take a look at the essential processes of tea cultivation in case you want to enter the tea business.
Suitable Climatic Conditions For Tea
Tea is best grown in hot and humid conditions, and the suitable temperature for its production ranges from 20 to 30 degree celsius. A temperature above or below that range can damage the tea plant. Teo thrives best in shady areas. The plants require a total of 150 cm to 300 cm of rainfall in a year.
Soil Requirements For Tea
The soil with a significant amount of iron and hummus is considered the best soil for tea plantations. Tea grows mainly in deep loamy soils. The type of soil also affects the taste of tea, as there are some nutrients like potash and phosphorus, which can cause the plant to taste differently. Tea plants require good drainage soil, and the pH of the soil should lie between 4.5 to 5.5.
Land Preparation For Tea Planting
Before plantation, land preparation is necessary, and it is done by ploughing. The soil should be ploughed twice or thrice, and the ploughing depth should be 20 to 40 cm. To save time and effort, land preparation can be done by using a powerful tractor like the Eicher 333.
The tea plants are produced from seedlings. And the seedlings are grown from the tea seeds in nurseries with a controlled environment. The seeds from which seedlings are grown, are chosen via drowning them in water and it is observed whether how many of them are sinking and how many seeds are floating. The ones which sank under the water are chosen for germination.The seedlings are then transplanted into the fields, where they would become tea plants.
Spacing For Tea Plants
This process is crucial in the development of young tea seedlings as proper spacing is necessary for the survival of tea plants. The recommended spacing is 13,200 per hectare of land. The suitable spacing is 60 to 75 cm between each plant and 105 to 110 cm between rows. Moreover, tea plants can be destroyed easily with just a slight miscalculation in spacing.
Basic Principle Of Tea Cultivation
Tea gardens are mostly preferred to be grown on hill slopes. However, as tea requires a shady area to nurture, some shady trees are already grown near the slopes. And any efficient tractor can be used for growing these shady trees, such as the Swaraj 735. Furthermore, the tea seeds are grown in seedlings in a nursery or germination beds. Then these seedlings are transplanted into the field.
Also, the tree gardens are checked for weeds and regularly hoed to ensure their proper growth. Later comes the stage of pruning, where it is made sure that the plants’ height should not be more than 1 m and its diameter should also be the same.
Irrigation Practices For Tea Cultivation
The most common type of irrigation system for tea plants is a sprinkler irrigation system, and tea requires irrigation an average of two to three times per week in the initial two years. However, the tea plants can not tolerate a lot of wetland. So, the soil should be allowed to dry up for some time.
Harvesting Of Tea
The harvesting of tea takes place in two stages. The duration of the first stage is March to December, and harvesting in the second stage begins in the month of June. The harvesting process is done manually by hand plucking because the tea leaves are very fragile.
After harvesting, the processing of tea leaves is categorised according to green tea or regular black tea.
Later, tea leaves are packed and ready to be shipped to the markets to reach our homes.
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