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

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rice - 2021 1st season

This year onwards, rice will be rainfed and no water from the well since motor has got burnt and decided not to repair it. After harvesting last crop, I had sown sunhemp which had come up nicely. I was searching for sunhemp seeds locally and also in Coimbatore, finally didn't get from there. So finally found a supplier  in internet, made payment to their bank account and they promptly the sent 10Kgs of seeds.

Sunhemp came up reasonably well, even though at some places there were some gaps, it looks like the moisture is the most limiting factor for their germination. After germination, there was no irrigation at all, still they grew well, especially mulching helped. 

Feb 27,2021

15 March, 2021

Some early photos, even though the land is cracked, they are growing well.

20 May, 2021

On the day of tilling the land..the tractor path was created when the felled trees were transported using tractor.


Today employed 3 ladies and dibbled the seeds in line. Initially one lady opened up the field using Folkin's hoe and two started putting seeds, then they felt it is going very slow. Then they started putting seeds along the lines left by the rotovator and length wise of the field. Each lady will put 3 places and then they will cover it with soil, that worked out well. May be next time, instead of putting soil, we can put some compost, that way each point will be fertilized also.


There was no good rain after dibbling the seeds, so only at a few places seeds germinated,has to wait for some more time.

No-till rice - 2021 1st season

No-till experiment using Pureria Javanica as covercrop has beeing going on for some time, it will be around 1.5 years since I started this. Now Pureria Javanica is established completely in one portion which is around 0.05 acres. There are no grass seen in these fields, that is one advantage. Now if this cover crop is cut and kept aside the land is very clean of grasses. Issue with grassy field is that, even if we cut it, it will come back with more vigour and outgrow rice.

I am waiting for some more rain and at that time, I will cut this cover crop and will also move the fallen leaves to the side and then will sow the seeds, mostly in line and then will put some home made compost and then will coverup lightly with cut cover crop. Will have to see what other challenges comes



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ginger cultivation in backyard

This is the right time for ginger cultivation according to the traditional cultivation calendar of Kerala. This njattuvela is called 'Karthika' and there is a saying..

"കാർത്തിക്കാലിൽ കാനൽപ്പാടിൽ കാലടി അകലത്തിൽ കാശോളം നട്ട് കരിമ്പടം പുതച്ച് കാഞ്ഞിരത്തോലിട്ട് മൂടിയാൽ ഇഞ്ചിക്കൃഷിയായി". 

It means, in the first leg of Karthika njattuvela, and in the shade,at foot distance,with the size of a coin,and covered with cowdung and mulched with strychnos nux-vomica leaves (supposed to be very cool), completes ginger cultivation.

I had kept some seeds in soil from last January, but to my surprise it all had gone bad. On consultation with experts, they say, ginger seeds should be harvested in March or so, till that time it has to be kept at the cultivated space, and then can be kept in soil separately. Also one person was saying,  it is best kept in the soil and only harvest at the time of planting. When the roots are cut, it starts damaging.

By around February 2nd week, I had sown sunhemp in this area and watered it so that they will produce enough nitrogen in the soil and also mulch. To avoid watering may be we can sow it with first summer rain and mulch reasonably well.

I had bought 1Kg seed at 80 rupees per kg and cut this into pieces, making sure there is a germinating part in each piece. I had made 67 pieces from this 1 Kg.

This was cut and kept aside and the soil looked to be very loose, so didn't make raised beds for planting. Made pits around 0.5 feet apart and put cowdung and home made compost and then covered with soil. Later sunhemp was mulched above this.

Seeds which was damaged after keeping in soil

New seed 1Kg, cut to 67 pieces

Composting - some more heaps

 Have been making compost heaps in my backyard and also in the farm. Backyard inputs consists of dried leaves of bamboo, coconut leaves, some green grass cut and kitchen waste. At the farm it is mainly dried leaves collected from different parts of farm.

Backyard garden - heap almost ready - kitchen waste and dry leaves

Backyard garden heap - 1 month old - kitchen waste,dried leaves including coconut leaves

Farm - heap from green leaves,bit of dried leaves and cowdung slurry, completely ready

At farm - heap almost ready - dried leaves,cowdung slurry

At farm some more heaps may be organised, the effort is to get the dried leaves, more leaves are there especially from mango trees, but collection is laborious. May be should use labor just to collect leaves, then heaps can be formed at leisure by myself.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Happy Hill Rice again

After my happy hill rice seeds stopped germinating, I tried many methods to germinate it, but none of them worked. Even tried the chemical - gybrillic acid which was bought from amazon.

Later I started looking for the seeds, these were the options tried. Contacting people whom I had sent seeds, asking if anyone cultivates this rice, facebook and other seed shops. One person whom I had earlier sent the seeds responded, saying she grows that but it was in US, deserts and finally grain didn't form. I also contacted Fukuoka San's family through facebook and they said, shipping is not possible from there. I also located one person growing it in Japan, he also confirmed international shipments are not allowed. This is the website -

Later I located a seed shop in Japan who sells happy hill rice seeds - They also confirmed they can not send it to India, then I started looking for one person who can buy it in Japan and later carry it while travelling. Finally talking to my school mate and close friend - Sunil Kumar who was in Japan ten years ago, I just mentioned this to him. He said, he still has contact with his earlier colleagues in Japan and he can give a try. His friend Chirag Patel agreed to receive it and send it through some one. I tried to order it in his address and found payment is through some postal order which can be done only from Japan. Later Chirag Patel agreed that he will pay and buy and send it. Later it so happened that the shop was close to his house, so he just went and bought the seeds, I was excited. Taking so much pain for a friend's friend, felt so happy.

Later he sent it to their Bombay office and from there another person (S.B.Gaur) sent it to my address. Finally they didn't take any money from me for buying or shipping it, felt so honoured.

This time also, I had a list of people who had requested the seeds. So sent to all of them, here is a list..

This time I kept the seeds in fridge in a glass bottle, so that their viability is not lost. Also I put around 20 seeds in grow bags, but being in peak summer they didn't do well, but still plants are alive and one flowered and has some seeds. I pre-germinate and sow them, first putting in water for 24 hours and then in wet cloth for another 12 hours.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Understanding the timings of nature

With first rains of April, I could see many seeds germinating. One was the little millet from fallen seeds of last year. Old people say 'Aswathy njattuvela' (April 14th-28th) is the best time for millet, you can clearly see this with little plants coming up in this time.

little millet established in front of the farm from last year's seeds. Since it was overcrowded in some places, just thinned it down. This is the help farmer's should do to the crop, nature won't really care, it will try to grow all the plants and one or two may survive. Fukuoka san says, nature can be very cruel world too.

Also I can see ash guard, cucumber and pumpkin seeds germinating every where. In some cases, in summer I had put the seeds and watered it, but it never germinated, with rains, they are ready.

See few little millet plants which came up of their own

A single plant with many tillers