Thursday, February 23, 2017

Some good water conservation models

It is severe drought this year and water is very precious now. Conserving rain water and farming without irrigation always attracts me, since that is the sustainable way.

See the video in which Mr. Varghese Tharakan cultivates banana and rubber, just using rain water. He has taken deep trenches in the farm and even the water in the walking path is directed to the trenches, effectively not a single drop of rain water flows away from his farm. He has around 2000 bananas and gets very good yield.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnAuxXd3Bt8

This is an article about the farm of Raghava in Davengere, Karnataka. He has taken trenches and also has cover crop and mixed farming so that no soil is exposed to sun. His farm has water just 8 feet depth.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/jivabhumi/jivabhumis-farm-diary-aikanthika-raghavas-natural-farm/1449952195030242


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Summer activities - some preparations for rain

Usually on this time of weather,other than watering, there are no major activities. Earlier I used to cut grass, but this time, I stopped that since summer is severe, loosing ground cover is bad. 

As preparation to monsoon planting, I dig holes, put dried leaves and cowdung keeping it ready. Once rain starts, I can just plant, ginger, turmeric,taro, yam etc...Soil is very hard in some places, so making holes is difficult.


This was raised bed, and earlier taro was there, hence soil was little loose.



This is the hole digging tool, for hard soil, this is the proper tool.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Visting Farm of James and Swapna James

22-January-2017

Visited farm of James and Swapna James as part of Palakkad Jaivakarshaka Samithy (Organic farmers association) monthly meet. The place is called Kolakkattukurissi around 4.5KMs from Kadampazhipuram on Palakkad-Cherpulassery route.

James is into Latex business and Swapna handles all the farming activities.

Totally it is around 8 acres (may not be accurate). It is mixed farming and cultivates rubber, coconut, nutmeg,tapioca,banana,coffee,jack fruit and vegetables. They also have indigenous cows, goats, chickens and honey bee. There are lot of things to see in the farm and they patiently explains it to the visitors and also give seeds/fruits to many.

They maintain many varieties of tapioca, banana, jack fruit trees and mango trees. Here are some photos..





Some of the bamboo varieties, they use the poles for some internal constructions like green house....



Tapioca, some gives around 100Kgs from a single plant


Lot of their vegetables are cultivated using grow bags, felt it will be difficult to manage the plastic waste after 5-6 years, can achieve the same thing in raised beds..




Jack fruit trees started yielding...these are grafted ones


Passion fruit...


Honey bee boxes in rubber plantaion


Peanut butter?









This is an indigenous variety called 'Anangan Mala dwarf', this is available in Ottappalam area under low cost. We can see that cowdung is not loose, it is quite solid.


Vechur calf...


Vechur cow..



Small honey bee..they make nest in basement of old houses and they put a funnel and when they make their exit through this, they cover it with a pot and puts a hole on this. They shift their operation to this pot and after some time, we can harvest the honey from this pot.



James talking to the audience




Irrigation system with tape stuck in the grow bag and water just poured on to the PVC pipe, it looks to be easier than drip, but can be used only in grow bags?





Wild bitter guard, very small fruits, but said to be very tasty, have collected some seeds of this.


Fish is grown here....rain water is used for this. Nutrient rich water is used later for irrigation


Wild bitter guard...









Awards received by James and Swapna James



Mucuna as cover crop