Thursday, December 21, 2017

Organic World Congress - 2017- New Delhi

I attended Organic World Congress which was held in New Delhi (Greater Noida) on November 9-11. I  presented one paper which is the summary of my experiments so far, My experiments with Fukuoka Natural Farming. There were eleven presentations from Kerala.

It was quite a good experience,meeting many farmers from different parts of the world, 110 countries participated in the event.

Lot of presentations were from Biodynamic farmers,not sure if it is because of the popularity or effectiveness. Could  not see any papers from Subash Palekar's Zero Budget Natural Farming, may be because he is totally against the compost based organic farming and bio-dynamic farming.

But there were lot of small scale farmers, and most of them were cow based, it looks like cow is an integral part of farming, worldwide.

In the stalls, could see many companies getting into organic business, all employees with formal dressing....was a surprise to see such booming organic business

Could meet farmers/friends/great persons like - Nandish, Bablu Ganguly, Debal Deb, Jacob Nellithanam, Bharat Mansata, Visalakshi Padmanabhan (Buffalo Back), Umedra Datt, etc....

Some photos...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rice-Duck farming system by Rijish Rajan

Happened to meet a farmer in Palakkad,Kerala who has been doing Rice-Duck farming since couple of years. He cultivates around 3 acres of paddy field and young ducks are released once the seedlings are 1 month old. Young ducks should not be allowed in water for many hours, initially it is just 1 hour. Slowly the duration can be increased, and feeding is done at night, mornings they work in the field. Initially they have to be trained to move to different parts of the field, otherwise they will be stuck in one part of the field. They have to be trained to get into the cage, once done, they will obey your order. According to him, this was a traditional method used in Kuttanad area (Alappuzha District of Kerala), later when chemical farming came into existence, this was forgotten. Fukuoka also talks about this method and he recommends to use 10 ducklings for 0.25 acre.

Ducks helps him in weeding, fertilizing, pesticide control (some times he has to use some organic pesticides)...He gets around 1500-1800kgs of paddy per acre and the cultivar is 'Kanchana'.

Some photos...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Summer Backyard Cultivation - Some thoughts

In summer,plants cultivated in backyard wilts soon if they are not watered for a day. Also I am finding their growth is not good compared to rainy season.

This lead me to making raised beds with 2-3 layers of mulch like the one used in Lasagna gardening and also similar to Dhabolkar's Natueco farming way of making nursery soil. In nursery soil preparation Dhabolkar asks to put 25-30 layers of mulch with Amrith pani and some top soil after each layer.

I made a simplified mode of this, mulched 2-3 layers, after each mulch layer, applied some cowdung slurry and then applied some soil. At the top layer, also applied cowdung slurry. In some cases I sown some legume seeds and pearl millet seeds and then put seeds of lady's finger, tomato, cowpea and spinach. If the seeds are very small,then putting mulch at the top makes the germination difficult since small seeds can not push the mulch. The mulch on decomposing inside soil makes better water retention. Also oxidation is prevented if mulch is decomposed under the soil?

Summary points

1. It is good to increase fertility of soil by making raised bed with multiple layers of mulching  ,cowdung slurry and soil at each layer. Once a good fertility is reached, then just mulching alone can improve the fertility, without further disturbing. While mulching at each stage, some more soil can be added on top of the mulch so that, small seeds can be directly sown on top of this

2. In summer, it is always better to do direct seeding rather than transplanting, since direct seeded plants search for moisture from the start, transplanted seedlings always have some shock

3. If in direct seeding, some seeds does not germinate, put more seeds, if you save your own seeds, there won't be any shortage of seeds, that is why nature gives so much seeds

4. If we go for making seedlings, we should always put the seeds for 12 or 24 hours in water and then sow them and provide a light mulch otherwise soil will go dry quickly. We should also transplant them only at the evening so that direct sunlight is avoided for 12 hours and but still we have to provide them shade for 2-3 days

5. Also for retaining water, it is better to have a pit and plant the seedlings in them.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Rice varieties - some information

Thought of keeping a record of rice varieties which I come across. Recently a friend (Podilapu Srinath from Andra Pradesh) sent me some details of rice varieties he cultivates, so starting with that.

From left to right
1) nms2  no of grains 370  height 5ft  duration 130 days 
2) Ilapa sambha no of grains  340 height 5-6 ft  duration 135days 
3) Narayana kamini no of grains 440 height 6-7ft  duration 150 days
4) Black rice no of grains 200 height 6-7 feet  duration 160days  
5) Gandhasale no of grains 320 height 3-4 feet  duration130days 
6) Krishnakamini no of grains 320 height 3-4 ft duration 130 days

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Evaluation of few Clovers

I was looking for a right cover crop with rice, wanted to try white clover which Fukuoka san had tried, but two times seed didn't even germinate. Recently got seeds of white clover, yellow clover and crimson clover and one more (to be identified), in exchange with Happy Hill rice seeds and to my surprise all of them germinated.

They couldn't survive the harsh summer, none of them flowered also, have some spare seeds will try them at the beginning of the next rainy season

Happy Hill rice - 2017

Happy hill rice was put in small scale to maintain seeds. I put lot of seeds in the paddy field in the farm, but it was too early in the summer and by the time rain started all the seeds were eaten by termites or some other insects.

Happy hill rice and some clover varieties on trial, yellow clover and white clover. 

Hopefully will have some seeds to share to other people also.

Got some seeds, kept it for next season and also sharing it with some people. I have already have a backlog to send it to 4-5 farmers, will be doing it soon.

2nd Season Rice Crop - Kunjukunju - 2017

Since first crop was not successful, thought of doing 2nd rice crop since otherwise I have to buy rice from market.

Puddled using tractor guage wheel and planning to use direct seeded SRI to save water.

15-October-2017Pre-germinated seeds were put at 20cm distance by using a marker made using PVC pipes.

Seeds estimated was not enough hence put some seeds in a nursery for transplanting to remaining portions.


Gap filling was done..Weeding going initial stages weeding is really easy..


After weeding, applied some cowdung slurry, initially mixed in a drum and started pouring at different places, it was too difficult to walk in the field with that weight, so started just pouring at the water entering place. For some time, scattered cowdung, here and there in the water.

2nd weeding is in progress...flooding the field on alternate days, still weeds manage to come through.

Harvest was over, this time it was very bad, just got around 30Kgs. Decided two things

1. Go only for transplanting
2. Make seedlings ready in a separate place

Monday, October 9, 2017

Farm at the end of rainy season - 2017

This year rain was slightly better than the last year..Here are the different crops as of now..


Some heads of 'Koorkka' (don't know the english name), planted using cuttings

Banana variety called 'Attu nethran', since it is near to the house, gets some frequent doses of cowdung

This coconut tree was lost in the summer, it was one of the best yielding tree


Another variety of banana called 'Poovan'

Pappaya grows good

Tree badly effected in summer, not recovered yet

Banana - sunhemp is put around these and they are slowly growing 

Sunhemp magic, they grow through the grass

Fig and pepper on it, pruned it once, but its natural growth affected and tree has more diseases now

A banana circle, scattered fresh cowdung around, and they are responding well

Pigeon pea and coconut plant, scattered sunhemp seeds around 

Pureria cover crop, if not controlled they are a threat to young plants... 


Subabul taking over some areas