Monday, October 14, 2013

White clover in Kodaikkanal

Fukuoka san had used while clover as a leguminous cover crop for grains and for orchard. He had choosen aftr experimenting with many other cover crops. For grain farming he used to sow the clover seeds with grain and white clover remains at the ground level while the grain grows high. If he feels that while clover is blocking sun light for grains at the initial stages, he used to flood the field which weakens clover and grain grows well during this time. Once the grain is established he drains the water so that white clover remains at the foot of the grain, which fixes nitrogen and also avoids grass.

Like many I was also searching for white clover when I started natural farming. But couldn't get the seeds of white clover. Later many suggested that it won't grow in kerala climate, so just left it. Later one friend in Japan sent me some seeds of white clover and tried it in different seasons but couldn't see it germinating.

Couple of days back, went to Kodaikanal with family/friends for a two trip. On reaching the hotel Stonycroft, I was really surprised to see white clover in the lawn. It was reasonably established in some parts and later found that it in road sides and other parks also. I had checked its name with couple of local people, but they never knew its name. Kodaikkanal being a hilly area has a very cool climate and that may be the reason why it grows there. I liked its feature,it is very low height and establishes well in the grass.

Here are some pictures

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rice farming - Season 2 - 2013

For season 2 (Sep-Oct to Dec-Jan) also, I am going for tilled organic farming since one area of the farm. Doing no-till farming for this area is not possible since there is heavy grass in the area. In my observation, if there is already grass established, there is no way you can establish another grain crop which is also a grass variety.  So I am planning to use cow dung and grass grown in that area as manure and doing rice.

I tilled the land on Sept 14 after flooding the area with water. The tiller was used for around 3 hours and he charged me 700/- for this. Since there was lot of grass, it took this much time. I put Vysakh (upland rice) in one part of the field after draining water from this on 21-Sept. I had put the seeds in water and removed all the floating seeds to get the heavy seeds so that seedlings will be stronger.

Field after preparation.

Rice seedlings coming out.

October 31,2013
Initially after transplanting seedlings were having a yellowish colour, now they are turning more green. Twice a week, field is flooded now.

November 13,2013

In some area, plants are little weak. In one area where I had dumped cowdung in the last season, plants are more taller 

December 16,2013

flowering started hasn't reached full height (4 feet) as earlier. 

Felt extremely happy about getting a harvest - Peacocks didn't take much..and insects were less with Vysakh

Harvest completed on 18th Jan 2014 - Got around 40Kgs of paddy..Paddy was boiled and dried for 3 days and took to a rice mill. Got around 23Kgs of rice, it cooks well and very tasty, even children liked it much

Straw was put back after broadcasting cowpea