Saturday, November 25, 2017

Summer Backyard Cultivation - Some thoughts

In summer,plants cultivated in backyard wilts soon if they are not watered for a day. Also I am finding their growth is not good compared to rainy season.

This lead me to making raised beds with 2-3 layers of mulch like the one used in Lasagna gardening and also similar to Dhabolkar's Natueco farming way of making nursery soil. In nursery soil preparation Dhabolkar asks to put 25-30 layers of mulch with Amrith pani and some top soil after each layer.

I made a simplified mode of this, mulched 2-3 layers, after each mulch layer, applied some cowdung slurry and then applied some soil. At the top layer, also applied cowdung slurry. In some cases I sown some legume seeds and pearl millet seeds and then put seeds of lady's finger, tomato, cowpea and spinach. If the seeds are very small,then putting mulch at the top makes the germination difficult since small seeds can not push the mulch. The mulch on decomposing inside soil makes better water retention. Also oxidation is prevented if mulch is decomposed under the soil?

Summary points

1. It is good to increase fertility of soil by making raised bed with multiple layers of mulching  ,cowdung slurry and soil at each layer. Once a good fertility is reached, then just mulching alone can improve the fertility, without further disturbing. While mulching at each stage, some more soil can be added on top of the mulch so that, small seeds can be directly sown on top of this

2. In summer, it is always better to do direct seeding rather than transplanting, since direct seeded plants search for moisture from the start, transplanted seedlings always have some shock

3. If in direct seeding, some seeds does not germinate, put more seeds, if you save your own seeds, there won't be any shortage of seeds, that is why nature gives so much seeds

4. If we go for making seedlings, we should always put the seeds for 12 or 24 hours in water and then sow them and provide a light mulch otherwise soil will go dry quickly. We should also transplant them only at the evening so that direct sunlight is avoided for 12 hours and but still we have to provide them shade for 2-3 days

5. Also for retaining water, it is better to have a pit and plant the seedlings in them.


Anonymous said...

Great inputs. Any thoughts on how ground cover impacted water retention and seed germination in your experiment? What ground cover crop or method would you suggest where water availability is a challenge

Nandakumar said...

Too early to make any conclusions on ground cover, but ground cover of pearl millet and black gram gave a very live look for the field, I think the planted crops also love this.

Always a mix of cover crops does better, each allows different microbes and hence different nutrients.