Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Happy Hill Rice - January

In an effort to multiply seeds, doing one more crop of happy hill rice in the backyard. Another area is kept ready with mulch and also applied goat pellet,wood ash and a bit of cowdung slurry. Soil is not disturbed and had mulched heavily but since it might interfere with rice seedling some mulch is removed.

around 150 seeds are kept in cowdung water over night, will be seeding it tomorrow in cowdung slurry.

Made balls with cowdung and then put couple of seeds in each and then made small furrow using a sharp tool and put them at around 15cm distance. Watering in the morning and evening.

I just inspected few seed balls to my surprise there were no seeds in that, termites came from underneath and had eaten those seeds. Upland rice cultivation has more challenges. Other options are pre-germinate seeds and then sow in line and cover it with soil/compost. 

Saw that raw cowdung is favorite food for termites, so avoid them...https://blog.apnikheti.com/organic-measures-termite-control/

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Taro harvesting and seeding again

Had a small raised bed with few taro plants, it was transplanted when some taro plants were growing in Ginger area. Transplanting was done after they had grown a feet or so, but they came up well. Had applied compost once and piled up soil around them and mulched with cut green grass.

The harvest was decent, and after that raised bed was repaired a bit since soil had gone here and there after harvest. The mother seeds were put back along with small seeds which is not normally preferred for curry making. These seeds would come in the next rainy season, and cowpea is put on this bed. So underneath it has taro seeds and on the top there is cowpea which should fix nitrogen for the next taro crop. After this some light mulching was done using cut grass.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Not much tillering in no-till rice?

This year have been doing some experiments with no-till rice. One field is in the farm using Pureria as cover crop which had controlled all strong grasses and gave a clean field to start no-till rice. Had removed all the cut Pureria to one side and sown the pre-germinated rice seeds of an upland variety called 'Katta modan'. The density was more and there was good line spacing. But could see that there is no tillering for the rice. One reason could be that no-fertilizer and soil open to sun and rain, built fertility would have lost? When conventional fields are compared, they till the soil and all the grass and straw will be allowed to decompose and then transplanting starts. Even though field is plowed, it is made fertile and hence growth of rice plants is better.

In natural farming no-till field, even Fukuoka san recommended 600-900 pounds of well decomposed chicken manure per quarter acre. So this is some thing to be seriously considered. Also the field should be covered with mulch.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Turmeric Crop

This year tried a turmeric crop and it was doing well so thought of analyzing what went well. One thing is that soil where this was tried was reasonably deep after years of mulching and not disturbing much. Also in this patch, distance between fingers were almost a foot and this was suggested by worker, he always tell if there is good distance it is better.

Also after couple of months, this was weeded and compost was applied and soil put over this compost and then mulched with fodder grass which decomposes very slowly hence soil cover was there.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Happy Hill Rice

Even though I tried some seeds in March-April as soon as I had received it, knew that is not the actual season, so trying it with monsoon when the temperature is cool and ground is wet. The seeds received were not very healthy, lots of plants turn yellowish and die. But in one area, could get some harvest, so trying those seeds again, so they are happy hill rice grown in this climate being tried out again here.


The seeds used were harvested in around August end 2021.

Have put around 130 seeds in grow bags, after soaking them in cowdung water for 24 hours. Soaking may have to be reduced to 12 hours, that is the typical practice, some where I thought it is 24 hours and kept it. After 3-4 days, rice seedlings are seen.


Around 80 seedlings are growing, out of 130 seeds.


Transplanted the seedlings..1/2 seedlings in every 10cms. Also broadcasted some fenugreek seeds as a ground cover. It rained heavily at the night, so not sure, if fenugreek will germinate.

Spread some home made compost made out of green leaves, dried leaves and kitchen waste. Also applied some cowdung.


Had applied very diluted home made fish amino acid 


Applied cut leaves of mexican sunflower throughout to keep the soil covered and also applied some fresh cowdung slurry


Applied fresh indigenous cow's dung slurry twice. Also mulched with glyricedia leaves


mulched using super napier grass cuttings and also applied some soil mixed with ash and applied cowdung slurry


Applied cowdung slurry, bit home made compost..also broadcasted some moth beans seeds, these are low growing legume and its seed is used as food



Flowering is almost complete...


Threat of birds,peacocks and chickens...put a plastic net...grains started turning yellow, stopped watering


To my surprise a chicken entered and started eating paddy, luckily she was spotted on time. I harvested a part of paddy immediately, some are still green.


2nd harvest, one more portion is remaining which will be harvested after a week

No-till corn - small patch

Have been growing in small patches in backyard and with that experience wanted to try it in the farm in small area. To the extend possible, wanted to try it in minimum tillage way, hence cut the tall grass in the raised bed using Scythe and then cut it short to ground using brush cutter. This is the combination I am using, Scythe allows to cut the tall grasses easily but since it is heterogenous grass, cutting may be not be that neat, there the brush cutter helps. If there are millipedes, they will be hurt badly, so I just pick them move away before cutting. This can be done with a stick very easily.

I put a line using Homi hoe and put two seeds at 1 feet and covered it using the same tool, but germination was very poor. One is that if the moisture content is not good, germination will be bad and also could see that ants taking away seeds immediately after sowing.

Next time, made sure that there was enough moisture in the soil and also dipped seeds in turmeric powder paste and sown, most of the seeds germinated, was happy about that. A few places it didn't germinate, those places put the seeds once again. Finding that a uniform crop stand is a must to get good yield, so may have to put seeds couple of times, or worst case transplant to places where there is a gap. Also from previous experience, distance between corn plants should be large, at least 1 feet so that plants grow healthy. Now I am seeing, the planting distance really matters...SRI rice tells 1 feet distance, similarly lots more evidence on this..Fukuoka San also tells sparse seeding is good.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mexican sunflower

Used to see Mexican Sunflower in Youtube videos and permaculture articles, where it is called as a Dynamic Accumulator. But never was there a mention from any local farmers or any one in the farming community. Happened to see them on road sides and started looking them closely and started reading more. Took some cuttings from road sides and planted at home and they were growing quite fast, so was impressed. Then thought of introducing them to farm, since any biomass generator and diversity addition is good for the farm.

This year planted them around newly planted saplings and also near the trenches. Recently planted 3 cuttings on the front yard where one chaya mansa tree had fallen from ant attack and we lost the shade in the front porch. Mexican sunflower cuttings grew in 4 months and brought back that shade. 

Showed this plant to my helper Palani and he said he has seen them in big bunches on road sides and went with him and collected lots of cuttings and planted around trenches and as shade for saplings.

Mexican sunflower planted to provide shade for the newly planted fig saplings

3 cuttings were planted 5 months back, now they are 12 feet tall and started flowering