Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pureria Javanica (Tropical Kudzu) cover crop - update

I have been experimenting with Pureria Javanic (Tropical Kudzu) as a cover crop in some parts of the farm. Many people had warned me about this, since it is quite invasive and climbs all over the saplings. Because of this warnings, I tried it on some plots in a controlled manner. One advantage is they establish well, even if you just plant a few plants and they produce lot of bio-mass. But as people had warned, they just climbs all over and small saplings won't be seen at all. I am still doubtful, but was happy that they provide lot of mulching material and also cutting them using scythe is quite an easy task.

Some pictures....

It has established so well, initially thought it will be a difficult task, but it was a smooth operation with Scythe...

Tapioca plants coming well

Friday, June 24, 2016

No-till experiments

Kept aside one paddy field for no-till experiments, may be around 0.2 acre. It has full of weeds, broadcasted around 3 Kgs of cowpea and cut the grass and mulched. I used Scythe for this and my helper used his bill hook. It took around 3-4 hours to clear the field.

Once the cow pea is established plan is to grow rice in no-till.


Cowpea has germinated and started growing.. not very thick, hope they will cover the whole field

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rice cultivation - Monsoon season 2016

This year monsoon started by around June 6th and some pre-monsoon showers were there by May 2nd week. But monsoon is not picking up the speed, it is just one or two rains, but climate is coludy and cool. It is raining well in South, but in Palakkad heavy rains are missing....what could be the reason???

While talking to some lady workers they mentioned about a farmer in nearby location who uses a machine to put seeds in straight line and it works very well for him. His name was Appukuttan and locality was Kurukkan Kulumbu, and could locate him easily. Saw the drum seeder and later asked him if he can rent it for a day, and he has agreed.

According to his advice, put seeds in water for 36 hours and then leave it for germination for a day.  Field is readied by using tractor, same old Mohanan came and did the ploughing using gauge wheel.


Horse gram growing well and some glyrecedia cuttings from side also dumped as green manure

In one part of the field, rice from previous harvest is growing...may be this can be nurtured to a crop?


Seeded using a drum seeder given by the neighbor for this trial. Line distance becomes 20 cm and in each line around 8-10 seeds fall at around 10cm. There should not be water in the field, but this condition was not met in all parts, water had to be drained in advance, taking small channels from where ever water had collected. The operation is quite smooth, and looks to be the ideal way for sowing seeds. Also there should not be rain for couple of days, so it looks like, this should be attempted before the heavy rain starts.


Rice seedlings are growing....germination rate is good and line is also fine, except some areas...water had to be drained completely before sowing...weeds started challenge is weed control...


Lines are becoming more visible...some places rice plants are missing, they will be repaired from a nursery maintained....


Farm in start of rainy season - 2016

This time summer showers came towards may 2nd week and monsoon started around on June 6th. But heavy rains are still missing in Palakkad, while in southern parts of Kerala there is good rain.

Weeds cleared using Scythe, this area still need more interplanting..only a few glyrecedia's exists...

Cocoa and glyrecedia...

Banana circle, this one is doing good..

Cocoa, papayas and mango tree...this mango is having excellent taste...don't know the variety

moringa cutting coming up very well...

Mango variety Neelam...this one comes very late and ripens in rainy season...but no worms, tastes good

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

An interesting rice cultivation experiment

The article about this rice experiment came in a magazine called 'Ore Bhoomi Ore Jeevan' (One Earth One Life), which is a monthly in Malayalam for environmental conservation.

Article was written by an organic farmer K.Basheer, Sujeevanam, Mannarkkad,Kerala. He came to this observation when they were cultivating  a traditional variety of rice called 'Cheru vellari' in Abhayam, a charitable trust run by Mr. Krishnan for old people.

They got the seeds of 'Cheru Vellari' from Malappuram. It is a red rice, with 120 days of duration and reaches a height of 3-4 feets. After the first crop when there were going to till it for next crop, they saw rice is again growing from the left over. Then they just left it and applied some cow dung and they got a very good yield from the 2nd crop than the previous one. First time it was around 1600Kgs of paddy.

After this crop, they left all the straw back and observed that rice is growing back again and they left it as it is and got a good yield again.

They are at the 5th crop now, and after the rain the rice plants are growing, has to wait for another 3-4 months to know the results.

It says that, lot of traditional rice varieties has this property of ratooning and we can get another crop from the previous one.

Some photos taken on 19-June-2016

There is regrowth from previous cut plants and also there are new plants from fallen seeds

Weed clearing using Scythes and Billhook

Pre-monsoon showers started in May 2nd week, temperature came down and land has become wet. Monsoon will start any time now and it is hectic planting season now. Weeds are emerging every where and cover crop Pureria Javanica also is growing very well and climbing every where.

I used to use grass scythe earlier, which is quite good for grasses but its edge gets damaged quickly on hitting thick stem bushes. Then I bought a bush scythe, but that can not cut grass effectively. Then there are cases when creepers go all around the saplings and cutting them need a Billhook, using scythe for that job is not good, since it may cut the saplings. While starting, I use Scythe so that when there is a disturbance if there are snakes, they will move from the place, Scythe with long handle gives a comfort feeling.

Now I carry both grass scythe, bush scythe and billhook and select the right one depending on the requirement. This is becoming an effective combination in my case.

The one with metal snath is bought from Anant Chaturvedi,Kanpur,India.


Weed clearing done on 3 different places...mulch is put around young cocoa saplings

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy hill rice - 2016 monsoon

Happy hill rice was cultivated by Masanobu Fukuoka and supposed to be one of the best yielding variety. On this monsoon, I am cultivating happy hill rice just to make sure that I have the seeds..and probably try to improve this variety for the local climate. The seeds which I am using now, is cultivated from the original seeds sent by a Japanese friend.

A raised bed was made and cowdung is spread and some seeds were put directly here. Some seeds were kept in a covered wet cloth and after 3 days, they started germinating and those seeds were put in another portion of the raised bed.

I hope to send the seeds to more people who is interested to try out this variety. Last time I had sent the seeds to 4-5 friends located at different parts of the world and had requested them to send back some seeds after their harvest, yet to hear from them.


Rice seedlings can be seen....



Just made some aeration for the soil using a stick and poured some cowdung slurry. Arachis pintoi planted along with it, just to see how it grows along with paddy.




Rice plants looks beautiful now !!! Application of cowdung slurry does all the magic...I apply it once in 2 days, since cow shed is nearby...flowering started...