Saturday, August 30, 2014

Germinating red custard apple seeds

On this summer we got some red custard apples from neighbor, which were big and extremely tasty. I was happy to see many seeds inside that and kept around 75 of them so that I can germinate and plant them in farm. By May middle, I planted them in plastic bags and started watering.

To my surprise, just only 2 had germinated. I thought hardy seeds may need some treatments and could find some information about hot water treatment, mechanical treatments etc on the web.

After rain had started, I was going under this tree since this is the walking path to my new house construction site. I could see many seedlings of red custard apple germinating under it. So probably these seeds underwent severe temperature stress in the open field and that is the natural condition for it to germinate. I had kept my seeds properly covered in the house and probably that does not work.

Recently while searching for Pueraria Javanica for using as a covrcrop, I found one website has given these seeds has to be treated with sulphuric acid, hot water or abrasion treatment. They also mentioned that seeds can be sown directly much prior to the rain and some percentage of the seeds will germinate. Nature has its own ways without special treatments....

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nature's Cultivation

These are some questions which keep coming to my mind, I don't have answers..

Recently I was seeing rice plants on the roadsides which has come up on its own, but with many tillers and they were really healthy plants. Some of them stands where there is not much visibly fertile soils and still looks healthy. No body has tilled the land, no fertilizer and no watering (all rain fed), how can it be that these plants are so healthy? It is not that all the seedlings are growing well, so may be it is dependent on the seeds also?

Near my house construction area there was a pumpkin plant which came up on its own and spread on the bricks and workers found that, it has many big sized pumpkins. One was harvested, 4-5 people shared it. No body planted it, fertilized it, watered it, how can it grow so healthy and produce such big sized pumpkin?

On this season, I planted turmeric on raised bed and applied some cowdung slurry and dried cowdung. I am not really happy with the growth. One reason was that, after one or two rains there was a long gap and rain started again, so planting was delayed close to a month. In banana area, earlier there was turmeric cultivation and still some plants come up their own. To my surprise most of such plants are taller and healthier than the plants grown in the raised bed with so much care. How is this possible?

I don't have a final answer and may never find it, it looks like nature has its own ways and we can not fully understand it.

One thing I felt is that it since all these plants germinate at the most right time mostly with the first rain and during those conditions, competitions from nearby grass will be minimum and they establish well. I had seen this during my experiments with paddy, we have to put the seeds at the first rain or before that so that it gets an upper edge compared to grass. Once grass is established it is really difficult to compete with them. This is why Fukuoka makes seed balls and scatter them much ahead, so that they germinate at the right time.

Masanobu Fukuoka had mastered natural farming, by observing nature. I am following his teachings and see if I can learn from nature, so these are some steps towards it.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Farewell to my dog friends

I had three dogs in the farm, all looked after my worker Palani. They were Julie, Rugmani and Kuttus. When ever I go to the farm, Julie will be there, most of the time around me, and will definitely will have a portion of my lunch. She is very punctual at it, some time she goes away, but at the lunch time she will be there. Some times, they accompany me and they will just relax some where when I do my work. The fact that they are there, makes me more comfortable, since they sense snakes or any other creature much ahead.

Rugmani is Julies's mother and is more matured. Kuttus is Rugmani's son is very mischievous. Unfortunately all of them had eaten some poison which some nearby farmers had put in their ginger farms for killing rats. Julie and Rugmani was seen dead in the farm and Kuttus was not traced at all.  Recently Rugmani had given birth to 4 puppies and they are searching for their mother. Palani is taking care of them, by feeding with baby bottles, hope they survive.

Farewell to my friends .......