B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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To make a new garden, — in Sravana, the fifth month after the vernal
equinox, plough four times. Then with the hoe axWed ya/e guda/i form
the garden into beds six cubits wide. Between every two beds is a
raised channel for bringing a supply of water ; and in the centre of
each bed is a deep channel to carry off what is superfluous. The beds
are divided into plots ten or twelve cubits long. Then plant the whole
with shoots of the betel vine, and for its support sow the seed of the
M/uvdna, agase and migge. Then surround the whole with a thick
hedge, and once a day for three months water with a pot. Whenever
weeds grow they must be removed ; and at each time the betel vines
must get some dung. Between every two rows of the vines, in the
fourth month, is put a row of young plantain-trees. Once in four
days afterwards, the water is given from the reservoir or well. In six
months the vines must be tied up to the young trees. At the same
time, for every wokkala land, 3,000 nuts of the areca must be planted near
the roots of the vines, ^^'hen they are three years old a thousand of them
will be fit for use, and 800 are required to plant a wokkala land, or
about an acre and a half. They are planted distant in every direction
from each other five cubits. Xx. the same time plant on the inside of
the hedge some rows of cocoa-nut palms and orange, lime, mango, or
jack trees. The 800 areca palms, at five cubits distance, would only
occupy about an acre ; but a considerable space is taken up by a walk,
and by the rows of fruit-trees between them and the hedge.

In nine years from the first formation of the garden the betel vines
and most of the trees that supported them are removed. A few of the
agase and allthe plantains are allowed to remain. In the twelfth year
the areca palms begin to produce fruit. The remaining agase trees,
and one-half of the plantains are then removed. After this the garden
requires water only once in eight days when there is no rain ; and the
whole is dug over,'and formed like rice-ground into proper squares

r54 /'/.OR A

and clinnncls for (lislril)UUn_L,f the water. One year it is manured with
duni;- ; in tlie second with the leaves of the /longe and /wi^/ii, and in the
third year with mud from the l)ottom of a reservoir. So long as the
garden lasts this succession of manures should, if possiljle, be con-
tinued ; and when the [)alms attain their full growth, which is in the
fourteenth year of the garden, the plantain-trees are entirely removed.
For thirty years from its arriving at maturity the palm continues
vigorous, and for fourteen years more gradually declines; during
which time a new garden ought to be formed, and then the old trees
should be cut, and the ground cultivated with grain, till the second
formed garden again begins to decay. In place of those that die, some
poor farmers plant new trees, and thus constantly keep up a garden on
the same spot ; but here this is looked upon as a bad practice.

The crop season lasts two months before, and one after, the autumnal
equinox. The nut, after being peeled, is cut into seven or eight pieces,
and put up in a heap. Then take one seer of the nut, one seer of cut
terra japonica, and a hundred leaves of the piper betel, beat them
together repeatedly with some water, and strain the juice thus obtained
into a pot. Take twenty seers of the bark of the /mri Jd/i :ind. boil it
during a whole night in a large pot with forty seers of water. With
this decoction mix the juice expressed from the former materials, and
boil again. While it is boiling, put in the areca-nut, after it has been
cut, until the pot be full. Immediately after, take it out with a ladle,
and put in more, till the whole is boiled. In order to be dried, it must
be three days exposed on mats to the sun, and is then fit for sale.
Forty maunds of dried nut is here reckoned the common produce of
a /io/aga land, which is about 6| cwt. an acre, or for each tree about

Near Chiknayakanhalli the areca thrives best in the rich black mould
called ere, or /iris/ina b/iiani. The natives here look upon it as a matter
of indifference, whether or not, on digging a little depth, water may be
found in the soil. All that is required is to have a proper supply of
water either from the reservoir or by means of machinery.

In the second month after the winter solstice, the nut intended for
seed is cut ; and, having been put in a heap, is for eight or ten days
kept in the house. A seed-bed is then dug to the depth of a foot, and
three inches of the mould is removed from the surface, which is then
covered with a little dung. On this the nuts are placed with their eyes
uppermost, and close to each other. They are then covered with an
inch of mould, and for three months are watered every other day. The
seedlings are then three or four inches high, and must be transplanted
into a fresh bed that is prepared in the same manner : but in this they


arc placed a cubit distant from each other. Here they grow for three
years, receiving water once every other day ; and once a month they
are cleaned from weeds and have a little dung.

One year after planting the seed, the ground that is intended for the
garden must be dug to the depth of a cubit, and the soil exposed for
two months. Young plantain-trees are then placed in it at sixteen
cubits distance from each other, and it is surrounded by a screen of
cocoa-nut palms, and of jack, lime, and orange-trees, which are defended
by a hedge of the milk-bush. At the same time seeds of the agase are
planted throughout the garden, at the distance of four cubits. When
there is no rain the garden must once in fifteen days be watered by
channels made for the purpose. In the second month after the summer
solstice of the third year, the young arecas are fit for transplantation.
Then throughout the garden, at the distance of sixteen cubits, and in
the middle between every two plantain-trees, are formed pits, a cubit
deep and a cubit wide. In each of these pits a young areca is put, and
it must be carefully raised from the seed-bed with much earth adhering
to its roots ; and, after it is placed, the pit must be filled with earth,
and then receive a pot of water. The young arecas are then between
two and three feet high, and have four or five branches. If there be
water in the reservoir, an irrigation once a month is sufficient ; but the
kapilc must be used once in ten days, as the waterings given by it are
but scanty. For three years afterwards the whole garden must be com-
pletely hoed twice annually. At the one hoeing, for every four arecas,
it must have a bullock-load of dung ; and at the other hoeing, every
tree must be allowed an ox-load of red soil. The mud of reservoirs is
here thought to be very bad for an areca-nut garden. Ever afterwards
the garden is hoed completely once a year only, and is then manured
with dung and red earth. At the intermediate period of six months, it
is hoed near the trees, and has a little dung. At the end of the first
three years the agase trees are cut. The plantains are always reserved ;
but, as the old stems are cut, which is always done in from twelve to
eighteen months, the young shoots are conducted to a distance from
where tlie parent was originally placed ; and when the garden is twenty
years old, in these spots are planted other young arecas, to supply the
places of the old ones when they decay. This second set are again
supplanted by a third, growing where the first set did, and thus a con-
stant succession is preserved. In a new garden the areca begins to
bear fruit in nine years ; but fourteen or fifteen years are required to
bring forward those which are [)lanted among old trees. They con-
tinue to bear for sixty or .seventy years ; but after having been twenty-
five or thirty years in perfection they begin to decay.


There are annually two crops of areca-nut : one in the second month
after the summer solstice, the other in the two months which precede
the shortest day. The last crop is superior both in quantity and
quality. The nut, on being cut, is skinned in the course of two days,
and [)ut into a large pot with as much water as will cover it two inches.
It is then boiled for about three-quarters of an hour until a white scum
rises. The largest are then cut into eight pieces, and the smallest into
two, with the others in proportion to their size. During the four
following days they are .spread out in the sun to dry, and every night
they are gathered in a heap. When the fruit has been allowed to
approach too near to maturity, the nut loses its colour ; and a deceit is
attempted by adding a little reddle to the w-ater in which it is boiled.
This frequently deceives the consumer, but never the experienced
dealer ; and seems to be done purposely to enable him to defraud the

A garden of i,ooo trees, allowing eight cubits square for each tree,
ought to contain rather more than 3 J acres ; but a young garden,
containing trees at sixteen cubits, will require 8| acres. The produce
is reckoned from forty to sixty maunds. The areca-tree is never cut
till its leaves have turned brown. Its stem has then acquired great
hardness, and in building is very useful.

The following process is adopted in Periyapatna to make a new
plantation of areca : — Take a piece of ground consisting of black mould
or a substratum of limestone, with water at no greater depth than
three cubits, and surround it with a hedge of the eiiphorbiiiin tirucalli,
and some rows of young cocoa-nut palms. Then, at the distance of
twelve cubits, dig rows of pits, two cubits deep and one and a half in
diameter. These pits are six cubits distant from the nearest in the
same row. In the second month after the vernal equinox, set in these
pits young plantain-trees, and give them water once ; after which,
unless the weather be uncommonly dry, they require no more. Two
months afterwards hoe the whole garden and form a channel in the
middle between every two rows of plantain-trees. The channels are
intended to carry off superfluous water, and are a cubit wide and two
feet deep. In the month immediately following the winter solstice,
hoe the whole garden a second time. In the following month, between
every two rows of plantain-trees make two rows of holes, at six cubits
distance and one cubit wide and deep. Fill each hole half up with
fine mould ; and in this place two ripe nuts of the areca, six inches
asunder. Once in two days for three months water each hole with a
pot. The shoots come up in Vais'akha, after which they get water
once only in five days. The holes must be kept clear of the mud that


is brought in by the rain ; and for three years must, on this account,
be daily inspected. In the month following the autumnal equinox
give a little dung. Ever afterwards the whole garden must be hoed
three times a year.

After they are three years old the areca palms must be watered every
other day in hot weather; when it is cool, once in every four or five
days, and not at all in the rainy season. The waterings are performed
by pouring a pot-full of water to the root of each plant. In the begin-
ning of the seventh year the w^eakest plant is removed from each hole ;
and at each digging, for three years more, every tree must receive
manure. After this, for three years, the young palms have neither
dung nor water. In the fourteenth year they begin to bear, and in the
fifteenth come to perfection, and continue in vigour until their forty-
fifth year, when they are cut down. The crop season lasts over Asvija,
Kartika, and Margasira. A good tree gives 857, and an ordinary one
600, nuts. Sixty thousand nuts, when prepared for sale, make a load
of between seven and eight maunds. One thousand ordinary trees at
this rate should procure seventy-five maunds.

In Nagar the nursery is managed as follows : — ^In the month preceding
the vernal equinox the seed is ripe. After having been cut, it is kept
eight days in the house. In the meantime a bed of ground in a shady
place is dug, and in this the nuts are placed nine inches from each
other, and with their eyes uppermost. They must be covered with a
finger-breadth of earth. The bed is then covered with dry plantain
leaves, and once in eight days is sprinkled with water. In the month
preceding the summer solstice, the plantain leaves are removed, and
young shoots are found to have come from the nuts. In the second
month afterwards, leaves of the nclli are spread between the young
plants. In the month preceding the vernal equinox, they get a little
dung. In the dry season they are watered once in from four to eight
days, according to the nature of the soil.

In the month preceding the autumnal equinox of the second year, the
young plants are removed into another nursery, where they are planted
a cubit distant and manured with nelli leaves and dung. This nursery
must be kept clear of weeds, manured twice a year, and in the dry
season should receive water once in eight days. The seedlings remain
in it two years, when they are fit for transplantation. A\'hen the arecas
are three years old, they are removed into the garden, planted close to
the drains for letting off the water, and remain there two years, when
they are finally placed in the spots where they are to grow. Once in
twenty or thirty years only the watering channels are filled up with
fresh earth, and then are not allowed water. During that year the


garden is kept moist by occasionally llUing the drains. 'Die water in
these is, however, reckoned very prejudicial, and is never thrown upon
the beds. Once in two years the garden is dug near the trees and
manured. The manure is dung, above which are placed the leafy
twigs of all kinds of trees. \\'hen an areca dies, a new one is j^lanted
in its stead ; so that in an old garden there are trees of all ages. When
the trees are sixteen years old they are employed to support pepper
vines. The extent of a garden of a thousand rated trees is about
185 acres. Its produce of areca-nut weighs 920^ lb., and of pepper
117 lb.

Cocoa-nut. — There are four varieties of the cocoa-nut : ist, red ;
2nd, red mixed with green ; 3rd, light green ; and 4th, dark green.
These varieties are permanent ; but, although the red is reckoned
somewhat better than the others, they are commonly sold promiscu-
ously. Their produce is nearly the same.

The soil does not answer in the Bangalore District unless water can
be had on digging into it to the depth of three or four cubits ; and in
such situations a light sandy soil is the best. The black clay called ere
is the next best soil. The worst is the red clay called kebbe ; but with
proper cultivation all the three soils answer tolerably well.

The manner of forming a new cocoa-nut garden is as follows : — The
nuts intended for seed must be allowed to ripen until they fall from
the tree ; and must then be dried in the open air for a month without
having the husk removed. A plot for a nursery is then dug to the
depth of two feet, and the soil is allowed to dry three days. On the
Ugddi feast (in March) remove one foot of earth from the nursery, and
cover the surface of the plot with eight inches of sand. On this place
the nuts close to each other, with the end containing the eye upper-
most. Cover them with three inches of sand and two of earth. If the
supply of water be from a well, the plot must once a day be watered ;
but, if a more copious supply can be had from a reservoir, one watering
in the three days is sufficient. In three months the seedlings are fit
for being transplanted. By this time the garden must have been
enclosed and hoed to the depth of two feet. Holes are then dug for
the reception of the seedlings, at twenty feet distance from each other
in all directions ; for when planted nearer they do not thrive. The
holes are two feet deep and a cubit wide. At the bottom is put sand
seven inches deep, and on this is placed the nut with the young tree
adhering to it. Sand is now put in until it rises two inches above the
nut, and then the hole is filled with earth and a little dung. Every
day for three years, except when it rains, the young trees must have


The cocoa-nut palm begins to produce when seven or eight years
old, and lives so long that its period of duration cannot readily be
ascertained. Young trees, however, produce more fruit, which comes
forward at all seasons of the year. A good tree gives annually a
hundred nuts. A few are cut green on account of the juice, which is
used as drink ; but by far the greater part are allowed to arrive at some
degree of maturity, although not to full ripeness ; for then the kernel
would become useless.

Cocoa-nut palms are planted in Chiknayakanhalli in rows round the
areca-nut gardens, and also separately in spots that would not answer
for the cultivation of this article. The situation for these gardens
must be rather low, but it is not necessary that it should be under a
reservoir ; any place will answer in which water can be had by digging
to the depth of two men's stature. The soil which is here reckoned
most favourable for the cocoa-nut is a red clay mixed with sand. It
must be free of lime and saline substances. Other soils, however, are
employed, but black mould is reckoned very bad. The cocoa-nuts
intended for seed are cut in the second month after the winter solstice.
X square pit is then dug, which is sufficiently large to hold them, and
is about a cubit in depth. In this, fifteen days after being cut, are
placed the seed-nuts, with the eyes uppermo-st, and contiguous to each
other ; and then earth is thrown in so as just to cover them, upon
which is spread a little dung. In this bed, every second day for six
months, the seed must be watered with a pot, and then the young
palms are fit for being trans[)lanted. Whenever, during the two
months following the vernal equinox, an occasional shower gives an
opportunity by softening the soil, the garden must be ploughed five
times. All the next month it is allowed to rest. In the month follow-
ing the summer solstice, the ground must again be ploughed twice ;
and next month, at the distance of forty-eight cubits in every direction,
there must be dug pits a cubit wide and as much deep. In the bottom
of each a little dung is put ; and the young plants, having been
previously well watered to loosen the soil, are taken up, and one is
placed in each pit. The shell slill adheres to the young palm, and
the pit must be filled with earth so far as to cover the nut. Over this
is put a little dung. For three months the young plants must be
watered every other day ; afterwards every fourth day, until they are
four years old, except when there is rain. Afterwards they require
no water.

Every year the garden is cultivated for rngi, uddu, he-saru, or what-
ever other grain the soil is fitted for, and is well dunged ; and at the
same time four ox-loads of red mud are laid on the garden for every


tree that it contains, while a little fresh earth is gathered up toward
the roots of the palms. The crop of grain is but poor, and injures
the palms ; it is always taken, however ; as, in order to keep down
the weeds, the ground must at any rate be ploughed ; as the
manure must be given ; and as no rent is paid for the grain. On this
kind of ground the cocoa-nut palm begins to bear in twelve or thirteen
years, and continues in perfection about sixty years. It dies altogether
after bearing for about a hundred years. They are always allowed to
die ; and when they begin to decay a young one is planted near the old
one to supply its place.

In this country, wine is never extracted from this palm, for that
operation destroys the fruit ; and these, when ripe, are considered as
the valuable part of the produce. A few green nuts are cut in the hot
season, on account of the refreshing juice which they then contain,
and to make coir rope : but this also is thought to injure the crop.
The coir made from the ripe nuts is very bad, and their husks are
commonly burned for fuel.

The crop begins in the second month after the summer solstice, and
continues four months. A bunch is known to be ripe when a nut falls
down, and it is then cut Each palm produces from three to six
bunches, which ripen successively. A middling palm produces from
sixty to seventy nuts. As the nuts are gathered, they are collected in
small huts, raised from the ground on posts. When a merchant offers,
the rind is removed, at his expense, by a man who fixes an iron rod in
the ground and forces its upper end, which is sharp, through the fibres ;
by which means the whole husk is speedily removed. He then, by a
single blow with a crooked knife, breaks the shell without hurting the
kernel, which is then fit for sale, and is called kobbari. A man can
daily clean 1,300 nuts. From twenty to thirty per cent of them are
found rotten.

Betel Vine.— The betel vine thrives best in low ground, where it can
have a supply of water from a reservoir. If that cannot be had, a place
is selected where water can be procured by digging to a small depth.
A black soil is required. A betel-leaf garden is thus managed in the
east : — In Chaitra or Vais'akha, trench over the whole ground one cubit
deep, and surround it with a mud wall ; immediately within which plant
a hedge of the eupJiorbium tirucalli, and of the ariindo tibialis. ^Vhen
there is not plenty of rain, this must for six months be regularly watered.
Then dig the garden, and form it into proper beds, leaving a space of
about twenty feet between them and the hedge. From the main
channel for conducting the water to the garden, draw others at right
angles, and distant twenty-two cubits. Between every two of these, to


drain off the superfluous water, draw others about a cubit wide, and
deeper than the former. The garden is thus divided into rows ten
cubits in width, having on one side an elevated channel for supplying it
with water, and on the other side a deep canal, to carry off what is
superfluous. These rows are divided into beds, each also having on
one side a channel to supply it with water, and on the other a
canal to carry off what is superfluous ; and it is surrounded by a narrow
bank, about six inches high, which excludes the water that flows
through the channels : within these little banks the divisions of the
beds are carefully levelled.

In the centre of each division is then formed a row of small holes,
distant from each other one cubit ; and in Pushya (Dec. — Jan.) in
every hole are put two cuttings of the betel-leaf vine, each two cubits
long. The middle of each cutting is pushed down, and slightly
covered with earth ; while the four ends project and form an equal
number of young plants, which for the first eighteen months are allowed
to climb upon dry sticks that are put in for the purpose. For the first
week after being planted, the shoots must be watered twice a day with
pots ; for another week once a day, and until the end of the second
month once in three days. A small drill is then made across each
division of the beds, and between every two holes in each ; and in
these drills are planted rows of the seeds of the agase, nugge and
varjepu. The young betel plants must then have some dung, and for
four months more must be watered with the pot once in three days.
Afterwards, so long as the garden lasts, all the channels must once in
four days be filled with water. This keeps the ground sufficiently
moist, and water applied immediately to the plants is injurious. The
garden ought to be kept clean from weeds by the hand, and once a year,
in December, must have dung.

When the plants are a year and a half old they are removed from
the sticks ; two cubits of each, next the root, is buried in the earth ;
and the remainder, conducted close to the root of one of the young
trees, is allowed to support itself on the stem. At the end of two
years two cubits more of each plant are buried in the ground ; and ever
afterwards this is once a year repeated. At the beginning of the fourth
year the cultivator begins to gather the leaves for sale, and for six or
seven years continues to obtain a constant supply. Afterwards the
plants die, and a new garden must be formed in some other place. In
order to give additional coolness to the garden, at its first formation a
plantain-tree is put at each corner of every bed, and by means of
suckers soon forms a cluster. So long as the garden lasts these
clusters are preserved. At all times the gardens are very cool and

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 98)