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...



More flowers and grain formation stared....taken using iPhone


Grains are turning yellow, getting ready for harvest


Harvested a portion of the paddy....some grains are still green...some good plants with many tillers haven't flowered, may be lack of light...cowpea which was grown neaby has taken some light...

My daughter counted the grains...counted one bunch and then multiplied..70 bunches and each one containing 160..totally 11200 grains...this is not complete harvest..Total number of seeds used was around 50.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Broadcasting horse gram, cowpea and sesame in harvested rice field

After the harvest of the rice was over by mid March, I scattered horse gram,cowpea and sesame seeds,mulched with straw and then  irrigated. Ideally it should have been broadcasted 2 weeks before harvesting, but since walking through the muddy field was difficult, postponed it to after harvest.

By the time, harvest was over field had gone completely dry and even cracks started developing. Cowpea and horse gram germinated well,but sesame was not seen at all. It looks like field was completely dry and sesame didn't germinate well. Even though it was irrigated, climate was very hot and goes dry very fast.

Later some time, could see some sesame plants also in flowering and fruiting stage and it was never over grown by weeds. There were not many fruits, but considering the fact, no manure was applied and field was just recovering from previous till operation, it was fine.

So if timed well, no-till way of sesame,horse gram and cowpea may work out and will be tried in the next season.

Monday, May 9, 2016

One farmer who talks about pelleted seeds,cover crops,no-till grain farming with clover etc..

Came across the blog of Eric Koperek who has extensively used pelleted seeds,cover crops and no-till grain with clover. Please see the site, it has wealth of information. Had some email communication with Eric and came to know that he had visited Fukuoka in 1972 and 1980.


Some interesting information taken randomly from this site...For complete information, refer the above site...

Biological No-Till Small Grains:     Broadcast seed pellets by hand or use a rotary spreader.  Sow pellets directly into standing vegetation so that soil remains undisturbed.  (Broken soil stimulates weed germination).

2 to 4 weeks before harvest sow pelletized seed of second crop into standing vegetation of first crop.  This is necessary to control weeds.


Before seeding clover or any other living mulch, remember that two crops are growing on the same land at the same time — the mulch crop and a cash crop.  Success requires careful management or both crops may fail.

Costa Rican Indians grow dry beans by broadcasting seed into the weediest fields available.  The weeds are then hand cut and left as mulch to protect the germinating beans.  Yields are low, only 400 to 500 pounds per acre, but there are no costs other than labor for planting and harvesting.

Direct seeding into standing clover is not recommended unless the clover is knocked back to reduce competition with the primary crop.

Seeding small grains into living mulches works best when:  (1)  The companion crop is dormant or its growth retarded by mowing, grazing, or rolling, and  (2)  The grain crop is selected for a competitive growth habit.  Heirloom (non-dwarf) varieties usually pair well with understory legumes like Dutch white clover.  Alternatively, clover can be broadcast into standing grain that is well established (8 to 12 inches high).  Again, careful timing is essential to prevent the cover crop from overwhelming the cash grain.

The key point to intelligent weed control is to disturb the soil as little as possible, just enough to get a crop into the ground.

Remember that weeds have evolved specifically to rapidly colonize bare soil.  The more soil is tilled, the more weeds are stimulated to grow.  
Down the road I have a wilderness of citrus interspersed with live oaks, Spanish moss, and pangola grass.  It’s an old orchard that is long overdue for rotation, but it still makes me money because I spend almost nothing to maintain the trees.  Every now and then I spread some racetrack manure.  The irrigation system turns itself on and off.  The weeds grow 6 feet high.  Once a year, right before harvest, I mow between the trees — just enough so folks can pick the fruit.  Result:  No bugs on my trees.  Across the hedgerow of old-fashioned hibiscus, my neighbor clean cultivates his orchard and sprays with robotic frequency.  Every spider mite in the district comes to eat his leaves.  Chemical companies use his orchard to test new pesticides.  The mites don’t seem to mind; they eat insecticide like salad dressing.
Across the lane is my pride and joy: A jungle of weeds and melons.  The weeds grow over my head and the melons grow over the weeds.  The trick is to mulch the young melons (or mow the weeds) just until the vines start to run.  After the melons are well established, the crop fends for itself.  Vine crops thrive in the light shade cast by nearby weeds; the best fruits come from the weediest parts of the field.  Insect pests don’t like the broadleaf jungle so I never have to spray vine crops grown in weeds.
Find the weediest field possible.  Broadleaf weeds are best and thistles best of all.  (Thistles indicate fertile soil).  Broadcast seed directly into standing weeds.  (Pelleted seed greatly increases seedling survival, especially for large-seeded crops like peas and beans).  Mow down weeds with a scythe (or use a lot of people with sickles or machetes).  Cut weeds act as mulch for germinating crop.  Pray for rain.  Come back at harvest time and hope for the best.  Yields are low but surprisingly economic (because there are no costs other than seeding and harvest).