Sunday, September 18, 2016

Backyard cultivation

I have moved to a new house and this place is around 0.2 acres. So started some backyard cultivation for vegetables, with cow at home, vegetaables are growing very well now. So thought of blogging this part of cultivation also.

I just apply cowdung slurry continuously to all the crops. Raised beds are made with mulching so that effort is reduced drastically. Right now I have ladys finger, brinjal, tomato, chilly, tapioca, taro, bitter guard etc...Some are in the initial stages....Cowdung and mulching does magic, crops grow very well...

Lady's finger and couple of maze plants

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cow at home

I had two cows in the farm and the traditional one was brought to home recently since looking after them became difficult after they gave birth. It was excitement at home to receive them, since this is the first time we are having cow/calf at home. We were not well prepared, since shed was having problems, sides were open, ground had no slope, no place for them to feed the grass/hay...

Slowly all of these problems got solved..Finally milking was a problem, since she does not allow and just kicks, some times sideways. I was scared how to handle it...finally put a bamboo pole and then tied her one leg and my wife calmed her by holding and I could milk..Suddenly we had lot of cowdung at home..instead of piling it, thought of using it completely so that premises will remain clean. Made slurry by mixing water and applied to all the vegetables ..and they are growing quite nicely...Initially almost daily I put the cowdung slurry, later reduced the frequency. People say, the microbes in the cowdung makes the land fertile, anyway the effect is magical. Here are some photos..


She was scared of us even after 3 years at the farm, but our interactions were limited. When she came home, it continued, she will move back when we approach her, slowly it changed. Now she is at ease with us, when others come, she will move near to us. She has been named 'Ammini' and her boy is named 'Appu'.

He is quite strong, has to be very careful when we are near him, he just pushes with his head. Once he jumped a fence of 4.5 feet height without any issues. He is bubbling with energy. We can not handle him longer, so ready to donate him to some one free of charges, provided they take care of him.

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


Cowpea not established seeding causes lot of seed loss...According to Eric Koperek, it can be upto 90%?? seed ball is the way to go...and also watering at the initial stage should be good so that all seeds germinate well...



Harvested some cowpea...all together may be around 4-5 is really tasty and was distributed to couple of neighbours..felt happy about that. Even though harvest is minimal so was the effort..

Some seeds also...

Cowpea harvest is over, now has to plan for the next crop...may be green gram and sesame.


Got couple of rains after a gap, thought this is the right time to start the green gram cultivation. Last time cow pea germination was bad, this time instead of cutting with Scythe used Honda brush cutter. It cuts uniformly and cuts very low, so weed will be held back for some more time. Could not complete the whole field, rain started in between....completed close to half of the field. First broadcasted green gram in a small patch and cut it and then again broadcasted to another patch, in this way, I need not walk through the weedy field, scared of viper even though I have a gun boot.

Ideal tool for this use may be a Lawnmower, please see my friend Eric Koperek's quoute on this...

You can run a 25 acre ~ 10 hectare commercial vegetable farm with nothing other than a common lawnmower.

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....



weeding completed..not much rain, so watering from pond on alternate days...


Flowering is completed...tillers are less and hence field is not very thick...but reasonable...cowdung slurry application was done, just once

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