Monday, April 23, 2018

Aruvakkari - A traditional rice variety

While looking for the right variety for no-till farming, a friend called Gireesh from Pallassana, Palakka suggested Aruvakkari rice. This is a traditional variety and comes under Palakkadan Matta category. Medium duration around 120 days, and grows tall - close to 5 feet or so.

As per the NBPGR database, there is a variety called 'Aruvakkali' , is it same as Aruvakkari? Not sure, please see the link

Also there is a variety called 'Erumakkari' in Kerala Agriculture University paper 

Whether both these are same, again not sure. The variety 'Erumakkari' was referred by an old farmer lady when I met her some time back, according to her it used to give good yield.

Anyway, I will be trying this one in 2018 monsoon season.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Rice farming - 2018 Monsoon


This year activities started little bit early, starting with green manuring using Sunhemp. Broadcasted about 10Kgs of sunhemp seeds in two fields. The field was little bit wet, asked Palani to water the field also. Sunhemp was bought from Coimbatore Superseeds (Mettupalayam road, Near Central theatre) at 85 rupees per KG. Cowpea which was broadcasted earlier, started yielding, was greatly encouraged by that result.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Growing vegetable crops as weeds

In my backyard, amaranthus (cheera) grows well, and I can see many new plants coming around with rain without doing anything. It happens with lady's finger and brinjal also, even though to lesser extend. Mostly they come with rain, when land is reasonably wet. This makes me think, why not try to do the same thing i the farm, introduce vegetable crops and leave some without harvesting and may be manually spread the seeds around, and if see if some of it can come up on their own. May be more such instances are there, we may get a reasonable amount of crops. Since vegetable crops are given lot of attention, they will have less competing power with weeds, but over a period of time, they should adapt. Fukuoka san used to do this on to a large extend, once we give more focus on this, things should work.


Amaranthus growing here and there from fallen seeds, it is an easy crop to grow also.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Effect of watering in no-till grain

I have been trying no-till grain for some time now and not successful to get a yield. I used to water this particular field when there was water shortage. Now I starts to think that watering upsets the natural cycle. For example, after November, there won't be any rain in Kerala climate usually and crops/weeds starts receding. By March, April all the weeds would have dried normally and with the first rain, if we sow the seeds of the crop, then there is not much weed competition. But if we water and grow some crops, there will be moisture in the field and weeds, otherwise some crop should be growing at the field all the time.

Please see the picture of an area where I had grown sunhemp at the start of the rain and the field after the end of summer. All the grass/sunhemp had completed the cycle, the field was weed free. This was done in 2013.

At this point I think, may be a when rain has started, if it was not sufficient, may be some watering might be OK, but completely upsetting the natural cycle may not be good, if we are doing no-till natural farming.

In this type of field, we have to start rice, at the first rain itself, otherwise weeds will establish. When it rained, if it was not sufficient to make rice germination, may be some watering may be OK, these are all my thinking, it may be prove right or wrong.

Taro with minimum effort

I like any farming activity with minimum effort which can give reasonable output. Normally small taros are planted by making raised bed, using cowdung and mulch. I have enough taro seeds this time, but making raised bed is too tiresome, so thought of making a small pit and applying cowdung and leaves. I did around 20 planting pits near my farm house, sunlight may be a problem here, may have to cut some glyricedia to provide more sunlight. I just put some sunhemp seeds in this pits and sprinkled some soil above that. With the start of June, I will plant the taro.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Details of people trying out Happy Hill Rice

I have been keeping Happy Hill Rice seeds for some time now and sends samples to many people who requests it. Some people offers to send me some other seeds and I request them to send some clover seeds and I have been trying clover seeds over here.

Later I thought of keeping a database of people who has been trying out happy hill rice so that it will be easy for others also to get some seeds, may be locally instead of me sending it every time. Now a days, while sending seeds, I take permission from them to publish their name and email address in my blog. Soon the list of people will be published.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Adieu to a farmer friend - Dr Rajesh Babu

Many people gets connected to me over the blog and some later becomes close friends. One of such person is Dr. Rajesh Babu who read about an article and later helped me to identify the english name of the bird 'Poothamkeeri' as Jungle Babbler.

Later he came to meet me and I had just gave my house address and he came without asking any direction. Then he came to my farm one day and unlike many people he offered to help me on that day and together we planted many glyrecedia sticks. He told me about planting sticks around full moon day which will give better results. Being an Ayurvedic doctor he was quite knowledgeable about different plants and trees.

After some time, he became a regular visitor to the farm and each time he helped me to plant some thing or other. Later rented a house near to my house.

He was very passionate about farming and had keen observation power. He collected lot of seeds or plants from where ever he went and kept a nursery by himself and donated it to many people, some time planted it by himself. Like this he had planted a yellow bamboo, sitaphal, some herbs etc at home and a special bamboo, moringa etc at farm also. I had the habit of cutting the grass once the rain is over, in one rainy season when rain was less, he asked me to stop the cutting and it provided useful since summer was very heavy.

We also went for many farm visits and it was nice to discuss many things with him, like farming, sustainability, spirituality. He also recommended some special oils for backpain like 'Murivenna' and turmeric and honey for my son's allergy. His style of treatment was using very simple things and some time using food control.

He left us on 30-March-2018 on the day of Good friday, suddenly collapsed and died. He had some personal issues, not sure if that affected him so much and caused this or could be just his fate.

Anyway lost a good farming friend....Rajesh - you will live in our hearts, and the trees you planted will be here for long.

Nursery he had kept at his rented house