Thursday, August 19, 2021

Peahen mother

Couple of days back, laborers were harvesting coconuts and I was helping them to identify trees. In one area there were some logs piled up and I thought spreading them in the free time. I threw them here and there so that they decompose and become part of the soil. When I threw one log to the pureria covered ground, could see one dried coconut near to that. 

I thought of picking it up and moved towards it and as I approached closer, to my surprise it was a peacock sitting with its eggs. She didn't even looked at me and was not scared, normally they fly off when we approach them, in this case I was just few feets away from it. Later laborers came and harvested coconuts and the falling sound also didn't scare her. I didn't take photos so that it is not disturbed again. I could see the real will power of a mother bird, even though I had seen some such incidence in the social media, this was a unique experience to me.

Some tribal agriculture details - Attappadi,Kerala

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....

Shade for newly planted saplings

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.

Mexican sunflower cuttings around Israel fig, already growing

Around sweet orange from Culcutta

Fodder grass

My neighbor farm has cows and they grow fodder grasses. Seeing that tall grasses, I enquired the details and it looks like it matures in around 3 months and after that it can be cut in every 2 months. One grass cut would be enough food for a cows for a day. Since it creates so much biomass, thought of growing some on an experimental basis. The neighbour grows super napier grass which is a hybrid variety and I can see some other fodder grasses growing in some parts of the farm, don't know its name. One thing I noticed was that, it decomposes slowly and hence controls weeds effectively.

I got some cuttings from the neighbor farm and planted it here and there. Also got some seeds, and sown them.

Here are some pictures ...around 1 month old...

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Planting lots of mango trees

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

Kolumbu Mango from seeds

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

Cultivation in neighborhood area

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...

Some photos...

This pile is getting ready

This is ready for use..will be covering it with plastic sheet so that rain and sun does not fall on it directly.

Ash guard, started with first rains, so they are getting established before heavy rains

Ash guard


Small taro, this is not disturbed by wild no protection given

Small taro and ginger - sunhemp also sown

Blue taro - favorite of wild pigs - hence covered with bamboo and other thorny branches

Sugar cane plant - survived summer

Some banana plants didn't survive summer, this variety is 'Kumbha vazha' and thrive on rainy season and matures early

Cow pea


Tomato brinjal - doing very well, survived summer without any issue

Sunhemp sown in one bed


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