Thursday, August 19, 2021
Recently attended a webinar about tribal agriculture of Attapadi a hilly area in Kerala. This happened on farmer's day and one outstanding farmer called Unnikrishnan was honored in this meeting. Later collected his phone number and talked to him. Thought of sharing some informations collected from him..
He is from tribal community in Attapadi and stays in the same area. He was earlier working in Navy and took retirement to take care of his family and got into full time farming. He grows rice, millets and vegetables. New fallow areas are leased on every year and he does cultivation, idea is to make sure that there are no fallow areas and encourages people to get into farming. Lots of people leave the farm in fallow and take up other works and also depend on government supplied ration and ultimately they become malnourished.
Rice grown is a traditional variety which is used in that locality but there is no name for it. It is a 6 months duration crop and 4kgs sown gives a yield of 300Kgs. It reaches chest height and grows with many tillers. Generally they will be sown sparsely and will be intercropped with sunflower so that there will be less pest attack. Sunflower seed will be used minimally so that they don't interfere with rice.
On the buds, they grow a local variety pumpkin which is a small fruit variety and this makes sure that bunds are weed free.
Millets are cultivated and he says, right now they have 300Kgs of finger millets on stock. Tribal people typically cultivate for their own food, selling is the last choice for them. There are wild animal and birds attack, but they think that they are growing food for them and wild animals and birds. They see it as a good sign, if wild animals come and eat, so that next year they will have a better crop. This is an amazing way of living together with nature.
He asked me to visit them with family so that we can understand it better....
I have planted many fruit tree saplings on this monsoon season. There won't be any irrigation as of now in the farm for them. So planning to grow mexican sunflower cuttings nearby to each saplings. Typically around 2-3 feet away from the saplings and in opposite direction, so that mulching can be still done without much disturbance.
Still have to get more cuttings of mexican sunflower, I can see them growing on road sides, have to cut and take them. If they grow and provide shade, I am thinking saplings will survive the summer.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
On this monsoon trying to plant lots more mango trees in unused spaces. Mainly lots of traditional mangoes which does not require much attention. Bought around 55 mango saplings, all grafted and along with planted 3 kolumbu saplings from seeds, so far totally 58 trees.
The varieties bought were - Kolumbu - 30, Kalapadi - 10, Karpooram -3, Kotturkonam - 4, Natasala - 4,Olor - 2,Nambiar - 1,Kottaparamban - 1. Most of these are bought from Rayirath Gardens, Pattikkad, Thrissur and South Indian Agri farm, Thrissur.
Some of the planted mangoes..
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
I keep hearing that some mango varieties produce the same type fruits even grown from seeds, first heard this from facebook group 'nadan mavukal' (traditional mangoes).
People say Kolumbu,Chandrakkaran, Moovandan etc... produce same type fruits. Trying Kolumbu from seeds this time.
Saplings are 1 year old, seeds from my farm itself, the smaller Kolumbu mango tree.
Monday, June 7, 2021
When Corona lockdown started, my neighbor had given some land for me to cultivate. I had started banana, brinjal,chinese potato etc...In summer nothing much happened since watering is always a problem. So with the rain again I have started again. Also I make compost with kitchen waste and dried leaves, green grass etc...right now one pile is almost ready and another will be ready in two months...
This is ready for use..will be covering it with plastic sheet so that rain and sun does not fall on it directly.
Chinese poatoe - applied cowdung once and compost couple of times
Planted new banana in places where the earlier one was damaged
Lady's finger and chilly plant..ladies finger was seeded 3 times since initially it didn't germinate
Brinjal - steady harvest for 2nd year...
Super napier grass seeds germinating
Super napier grass and vetiver grass
This is a lady's finger gifted by a neighbor grand mother few years back...yields well
After some time, branches comes and on each branch there are fruits
New compost pile
Compost pile is almost ready