A field experiment designed with three tiers of irrigation viz., I0: rainfed, I1: 100% crop evapotranspiration (1.0 ETc) and I2: 0.75 ETc and four tiers of soil nutrition viz., N0: control (no farmyard manure and fertilizer), N1: 100% recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF) as FYM, N2: 50% RDF as FYM +50% RDF as chemical fertilizers and N3: 100% RDF as chemical fertilizers was conducted for four consecutive years (2015–2018) on large cardamom at the hilly terrain of Gitdubling lower beyong busty in Kalimpong Block II in Darjeeling district of WB India. The results showed that I1N3 treatment combination providing microsprinkler irrigation at 1.0 ETc and full RDF (20:40:40::N:P2O5:K2O kg ha−1) recorded highest growth, yield attributes, fresh yield (665.2 kg ha−1) and dry yield (282.0 kg ha−1) of capsules, greatest water productivity (1.8 × 100 kg m−3) and largest soil availability and leaf accumulation of N, P and K. The soil water distribution along the phenological stages was inconsistent and followed the trend according to the rainfall amounts; however, the contents increased with an increase in soil depth and irrigation regime. The predictive regressive models showed the linear relationships between the dry capsule yield and irrigation water and total water use by the plant.

  • Microsprinkler irrigation with recommended fertilization gives maximum growth and crop yield.

  • The highest water productivity was noticed in microsprinkler irrigation at 100% ETc with a full dose of fertilization.

  • Soil water contents increased with increasing soil profile depth.

  • Strong linear relationships were detected between yield and irrigation water and total plant water use.

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