Sunday, May 26, 2013

Growing sunhemp for a season

I had put sunhemp in one area of the farm and it was growing nicely and in some area there was grass also. I left it grow for a complete season and it flowered and produced seeds. I harvested some seeds and left the remaining there. This particular area was not watered, so it was natural growth. In the summer, all the grass and sunhemp dried and now this area is ready for cultivation. One thing to notice is that, just before the starting of rains, this area is completely clean of grass. If you see a adjacent area in the other farm, where there was grazing and watering, strong grasses are there. In this area, to do any cultivation, we have to first remove these strong grasses. But the area where the sunhemp was growing is ready for cultivation and we can start from zero grass, but now the crop should be established with the first rain, otherwise grass and sunhemp itself will come. I should have either collected all the sunhemp seeds or shouldn't have allowed to mature, since lot of seeds are in the soil which may interfere with the next crop. But it was nice to see that with heavy mulch produced by sunhemp grass has disappeared temporarily.

I also had another area in the farm where I had cut the grass at multiple times (at least twice in a year) and mulched and watering was done for cowpea cultivation. This area still has lot of grass and grass is growing very strong. So in my observation, grass gets reduced if the area is allowed to grow and then dry for a complete season without disturbing it.


Adjacent farm - where watering, grazing was done.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sharpening tool

I use a 'Vettukathi' (in malayalam, probably chopper in English) for cutting the bush and coconut leaves . To start with handle was a big problem, after some use, it will come out and later I learnt that if the iron part comes out from the other end of the handle and fixed, then the handle won't come out that easily. I searched for such a tool and found it and then I was able to use it without any issues so far.

The second issue was the sharpness of the tool, if tool is not sharp, cutting is frustrating, it takes many more attempts to completely cut stems of bushes. Once when the tool became blunt, I took the tool to blacksmith and he sharpened it nicely, but after some, it was back to the same. My helper told me, he also take the tool to blacksmith and only he can sharpen it nicely.

During a visit to a home exhibition, I bought a file for sharpening tools. I just tried that and felt, the chopper has become sharp. Now I keep the tool with me so that I can sharpen it once in a while, instead of taking the tool to blacksmith and it is working beautifully. My helper also acknowledged this factor after using the chopper for cutting a tender coconut.