Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cover crop update

I have been experimenting with a few cover crops..recently added Desmodium Scorpiurus and Araches Pintoi. Desmodium Scorpiurus was spotted on the road sides and could see that they are establishing nicely in some areas and even though it is a creeper does not climb on to other plants. So thought this will be a good cover crop for rice and also at the coconut, banana area. If there is no competition they creep along the ground, but if there are other plants and if there is a competition for sunlight, they rise to around 1 to 1.5 feet. Its seeds are sticky and gets transported to other areas. Here is one photo where it is establishing in one area of the farm. I haven't seen this being used as a cover crop, but hoping it will do the purpose. If any one knows about this plant, please get back.

Another one is Arachis Pintoi and this one was seen in the lawn of some houses and later found that it is actually used as a cover crop. I could find it in local nursery and last year put 3 plants in the farm in the rainy season and all had survived the peak summer. This year cut some of them and propagated it and they are coming up. Not sure, if they compete well with local grass, they are less than one feet height. If successful will use this as a cover crop for my no-till rice experiment and hence establishing this in one small area of the farm. It looks similar to peanut plant and has 4 leaves in one stem.

Desmodium Scorpiurus established on road-side..



One good thing about this in no-till cultivation is that, even if it is not established in a single time completely, the plants come after again and again, so wherever it is not established, we can put more seeds and that area also will be covered soon and after a while, the whole area will be uniformly covered. I think this is how Fukuoka san also would have established white clover, since it lasts for many years, making them uniform in couple of trials will be possible.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rice cultivation - Monsoon season - 2014

I am starting with rice cultivation in the monsoon season. I couldn't make the no-till method working, so moved to organic rice cultivation with tilling. I used a rotovator attachment with tractor and all the grass also was powdered in the process. I could use rotovator since there was not much water in the field, even though it is peak of rainy season. The field was not completely levelled and ideally should have used a tiller after watering the field to puddle the field. Since tiller was not available at proper time, one person was assigned to puddle the field with his legs and I also helped him in the process.

The rice used is Vysakh, an upland rice which does well in the muddy field also. I had kept some seeds from my last harvest. The seedlings were around 35 days old, while transplanted. I had applied some dried cowdung in the field to make it more fertile. Now planning to use cowdung slurry to promote the growth. The challenge is to control the weeds, have to keep the field in water so that weeds does not come up.

For last two days not much rain, field has grown dry.


Rain is back and field has enough water. Weeds were more and hence weeding was done with 3 women labourers.


Applied cowdung slurry, one women labourer was employed for 2 days. Small grasses are seen, probably to be deweeded once again.


Paddy has grown more thick and covered the field and started flowering. We have received good amount of rain, this time, there is standing rain water in the field now.

Flowering is complete now..climate has become windy and rain have receded.


Getting ready for harvest...some insect attack was there, but just neglected and it didn't cause any problem. Peacocks and birds has to be watched, they are getting ready for harvest.


Finally harvest is over..yield is not so good, got 217 kgs (31 para in local language). But it gives good feelings..have enough food for 5-6 months. There was no insect attack and peacocks also was not a problem, climate was good for harvest. Now starting the next season paddy. Yield was not so good since there were not many tillers and also seedlings were 35 days old when transplanted. May have to put more cowdung during land preparation for better yield.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Recharging open well

Open well in the farm dried up in the middle of April. I had made couple of rain pits for recharging it. 3 Rain pits were made around the well so that rain water gets collected in it and recharges ground water. Obviously  this was not sufficient to survive the peak summer. Along with rain pits, I routed my terrace water to the well using PVC pipes. With first rain itself considerable water falls to the well through this pipe, but since rain was not continuous this time, it dried up soon. After two weeks, some water is seen now, not sure how it appeared all of a sudden. Probably rain water takes time to reach this level. But I am hoping that in the next summer well will have more water. This time rain is very less so far, monsoon usually starts in June 1st, but this time it started by around June middle, which is quite unusual. After that rain just disappeared, land is quite dry for this season. Hopes that rain will come back, anyway we can just hope.


PVC pipe for routing terrace water

                                                      Some water is seen now

July 13,2014

Rain picked up well and well has good amount of water now..

Well has plenty of water now, it is not just recharging, rain has been good and all the wells in the area are almost full. The effect of charging will be known in the next summer.

 Summer is getting hot..and water level is receding, yet to be seen if it survives summer..right now it has around 4-5 feet water..watering is happening regularly, hence some water may get into well also through under ground. Water is very cool and tasty..washing the face makes you really fresh. Initially I was not knowing, water is different in taste..when I reached Bangalore and started using borewell for the first time in my life, I started realising the taste of water..Now since this well is holding water in the earth, it becomes cool and tasty..some neighbours pull out water for their cooking..feels great to see that.


Finally well has survived this summer. I am assuming recharging has done a significant contribution in this. There is unusual summer rains and that also might have helped it. Anyway lot of people from nearby houses are coming for this water, it is cool and tasty since it is stored in the natural soil container.