1- National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science campus, Bangalore-560012. India.
2- Cardamom Research Station, (Kerala Agricultural University), Pampadumpara 685 556. India.
his paper seeks to understand the influence of different levels of fertilizer nutrients on annual yield of cardamom in Cardamom Hill Reserves (CHR) under rain fed situation. Field experiment conducted at CRS, Pampadumpara during 1994-2002 on nutrient levels with sources revealed that increasing the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium had increased the yields of cardamom up to 125: 125: 200 kg ha-1. Application of fertilizer nutrients at the present level of recommendation (75: 75: 150 kg NPK ha-1 yr-1) in the form of urea, single super phosphate and muriate of potash along with 0.5 kg neem cake per plant had not increased the yield significantly over the control. Application of fertilizer nutrients at the rate of 125: 125: 200 kg ha-1 yr-1in two splits (just before and after summer monsoon) increased the yield significantly under Pampadumpara rainfall climatology. Among N, P and K, it appears that K is the most important as indicated by a larger absolute value than that of N and P. Therefore application of fertilizer K is a must to increase the cardamom yield in CHR system. However, rainfall during summer months and number of rainy days had pronounced effect on the production of cardamom. Among rainy seasons (SWM, NEM and SR), SR played significant role in increasing the cardamom yield. Higher than the average SR (366mm) followed by SWM (1162mm) found to influence the yield significantly. The reason for the higher yield by summer rainfall could be due to increased growing season soil moisture which is essential for the growth and panicle initiation and subsequent development of flowers and capsule setting. The recent all India droughts have very little influence on the rainfall climatology of cardamom hill reserves during the period of South West monsoon and therefore the yield was not affected by all India droughts but the summer months? rainfall and its distribution.