Sunday, November 15, 2015

Banana Circle

First heard about Banana circle from Jagannath - The Natural Farmer who does permaculture style farming in Amrithapuri,Vallikkavu,Kerala. Please see the video

It is about forming a 0.5 meter deep circular trench with 2 meter diameter and planting 5-6 bananas on the boundary of the circle. The trench will be mulched heavily and cowdung etc. can be applied here. Banana plants extend their roots to take manure and water from the trench.

Visited Jagannath some time back and he showed how rich humus forms in the trench which can not happen in the surface mulching so easily.

I am just trying Banana circle, planted 5 bananas and some 'chembu', cowpea etc..on the boundary. Here are some photos.


With rain, banana is coming up good, cowpea has germinated and growing...


Rains have receded...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Paddy farming 2015 - Season 2

North east monsoon was delayed and there was no rain in October. Road work was in progress and hence tractor couldn't enter farm for ploughing...finally it was all well delayed..Because of delayed monsoon, farmers are not having water for making seed bed ready and some are pumping water from wells, some has gone for direct seeding, some are not cultivating.

Ploughing was done with tractor with cage wheel attachment on November 6th. Around 6Kgs seeds were put in soaking on November 9th.

Germinated seeds were put on the bed. Bed was created by spreading banana leaves and putting mud over it. Since nursery is done after puddling the field, the field will have to wait till the seedlings are ready, typically 10 days. By this time, grass starts to dominate...this has to be avoided, by raising nursery in a separate area.


Rice has germinated and growing...many seeds haven't germinated, not sure why....


Nursery looks good now..

Planting device for planting at 30 cm distance..personally planted in some area,,,it is much better than using a rope method.

another device...Thanks to Dr.Kathiresan Guruswamy for this device..I made this device using GI pipes..please see the video for the original device designed by Dr.Kathiresan Guruswamy..

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Another trial with Happy Hill rice - 2015 September

Three years back I had received some samples of happy hill rice from a Japanese friend, and had grown them in one season. After that kept the seeds for an year, and then they were not germinating. I had shared the seeds to couple of people, and all had lost it.

After a long search found Michal Miksik through a web site called Contacted him and he was ready to send seeds, but the first set of seeds didn't make it, they were lost some where in the transition. After hearing this, he was ready to send the seeds once again and this time, he sent it by registered post and it reached on 17th day.

I have close to 100 seeds and 4-5 people have already requested for some seeds and will be sending them at least 10 seeds. I am requesting this time to send me 10 seeds back, after they grow the paddy. This will help me to distribute seeds to more people.


I kept 10 seeds soaked in wet cotton and on 3rd day, 5 seeds have germinated. Those seeds were put in the flower pot with some soil over it and other 5 seeds were again kept in wet cotton to see if it germinates. By after noon ants had lifted one seed from this, by seeing this I scattered some sugar for them so that they don't disturb the seeds.


After first batch, I put 25 seeds in wet cotton and most of it germinated by 3rd day. I put all of them in a separate flower pot and scattered some soils over it watered it. To my surprise next day, all seeds were taken by ants. It looks like water was less and they could easily lift soil particles and take away the seeds. I had scattered some sugar also, but this didn't help.

Today I put another 10 seeds in cowdung seed ball and put them in a grow bag and watered it nicely. By after noon all seeds were be seen what happens now. If one scheme fails, we should have some back up for a different trial.


3 seedlings coming in a flower pot and a few were transplanted to a raised bed. Applied cowdung slurry couple of times and mulched with leaves and all has become part of soil now.

Some Arachis Pintoi cuttings are planted here along with rice...they are slowly coming up.


Plants are becoming more healthy after applying cowdung slurry multiple times....



It started early...plants are not so healthy even after mulching and applying cowdung slurry multiple times...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pureria Javanica to control weeds

I had planted Pureria Javanica in banana area as an extreme step to control grass. Issue with this cover crop is that it climbs on to all the plants and completely cover it. But pleased to see that grass has receded in that area. If you can cut and control it periodically then it is OK. In my case, I cut it once in 3 months or so, and by this time, it climbs on every where.


Transplanted some papaya saplings in 2014 october season and now they have fruits. Earlier had tried transplanting small saplings, but they never survived. It looks like even without any manuring they grow quite well in natural farming conditions.


Inspired from good performance of pappaya,planted more saplings this time, hope they will survive summer....Saplings were grown at home...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

End of mud road

Access road to farm is getting tarred..I love the mud roads ...even though on rainy season it makes life a bit difficult, but it was beautiful to see the road in different climates..Just some snaps to keep it in memory

Monday, September 14, 2015

Duck tractor

Recently a friend told me about using ducklings to grow paddy, releasing them to field after transplanting so that they control weeds, aerate and fertilize soil. Some where in the internet found some references of using ducks as tractors also.

On a bicycle trip around gave me a feel of how ducks could be used as a tractor. In the paddy fields around, first crop harvest is being done and duck farmers from Tamilnadu brings ducks in large numbers and leave them on the paddy fields. The fallen paddy seeds and small creatures will be their feast. 

The field after 3-4 days of ploughing work done by ducks. For me, it felt like a perfect field for transplanting, except some areas, still some more ploughing to be done.

Field after 3-4 days of ploughing..

ducks being taken to their night shelter....

As I see this, rice cultivation can be done quite easily using ducks as tractors and also using duckling later for weeding which is one of the major critical task. But all these can be managed well, when you are a true farmer and takes care of your field staying close to your field and farm. It may be impractical in todays world, but definitely doing such activities will give you immense pleasure.