Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Broadcasting next crop in an already existing crop

Fukuoka San always broadcasts next crop seeds 3-4 weeks before the harvest of an existing crop. That is wheat seeds in an existing rice crop or rice seeds in an existing wheat crop. Idea is to have the field covered with some crops all the time, without giving weeds a chance.

I wanted to try this in my no-till field, but since my no-till experiment is not successful, this was postponed. Now in my organic rice field which is done using ploughing, this time wanted to try this method. Anyway after the 2nd crop, typically field is left fallow, sometime I do cowpea and once tried sesame.

Finally I could not do this on right time, just 1 week before the harvest I just broadcasted 2Kgs of cowpea seeds and 0.25 Kg of sesame seeds. While lot of the cowpea seeds germinated and was not affected by the trampling by women workers during harvest. Even they told lot of the cowpea plants may get trampled, but to my surprise, I could see most of them were intact.

Sesame didn't germinate at all, I think, it should have been broadcasted much earlier. Fukuoka San says, if the seeds are broadcasted 3-4 weeks before, germination will be good since there is good moisture content. If there is better moisture content, germination is always good.

Going further would like to experiment with this method more, it looks to be a quite effective method.

This field was not watered after that, but still cowpea is managing to survive..Also density is less, especially in the summer, it should have seeded very close so that sunslight does not evaporate the existing water in the ground.  In my backyard, cowpea starts wilting, if I don't water them daily, this cowpea understood the environment and trying to survive.

The land started developing cracks


It is exciting to see the cowpea surviving heavy summer without any water, not sure how far they will go, but never expected that they will reach this stage. 


Received couple of good rains, and after that again a dry period. Lot of weeds have grown after the good rain, and now some are already wilting, but hope nature keeps up the promise to them.

Had sown some sunhemp also, but could not water them well, and after sowing, didn't receive good rain also, so germination percentage was less. Always seeds fell on ditches and cracks germinate, since they get better moisture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Hill Rice - 2018-First Season

I am continuing cultivation of happy hill rice, just to keep the seeds and distribute to people who are interested. There is a pending list of 5-6 people to whom I will be sending seeds soon.

This time, I took some seeds from my old cultivation which is 1.5 years old now. I kept in water for 1 day and then kept in a wet cloth. After 1 day there was no germination seen, and I could see that cloth gets dried soon, so kept it under the cot and kept wetting it. After 3 days, some seeds were germinated. I also tried with last year's seed, which is around 6 months old, and it germinated much faster.


Applied some dried cowdung powder collected from farm, rice seedlings has healthy look now.



Applied cowdung slurry once


In one pot put some green gram seeds and allowing other weeds also, other pot has just kept clean of weeds, just to see if there are any differences.


Flowered and grain started forming, the one with green gram is fully covered by them, still the rice plants are still there and flowering.


Some grains are not looking good, may be because of very hot weather, recently there has been some rains.

Sunhemp cover crop for root vegetables

I have a small area where I have kept some raised beds for root crops like turmeric, ginger, taro etc. While I was looking for mulch to cover it now so that I can grow them in rainy season, could not find enough mulch. Since water is available here, thought of growing Sunhemp for 3 months and cut and mulch so that it will fix some nitrogen also.

I first cut the grass and then broadcasted sunhemp seeds and then slightly tilled it using a fork, so that seeds go inside the soil. After this I mulched it lightly so that moisture will be retained better. Asked Palani to water it, after a week when I visited to my surprise, they have germinated well.


Growth of sunhemp is stunted, since there is not enough water, have to water this. Some new area mulched with grass.


Received a good rain couple of days back, sunhemp recovered from the heat stress

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tuber Seed Varieties Collected from Vinod

Recently met Vinod from Puthanchira, Thrissur in a meeting where he was presenting his tuber collections. Apparently he has a wide collection of tubers - taros, elephant foot yams,air-potato,tapioca, ginger, turmeric, kachil (malayalam name,english name to be found out). There is another tuber farmer in Wayanad called Samuel, and Vinod is a disciple of him.

I gave him the variety of taro I had, and he gave me a set of tubers in return. It is a big responsibility to preserve them, had asked him to provide only one or two, but he just gave me a number of varieties. Will be starting planting them with rain.

Some varieties ...

    Kuzhi Nirayan Chembu

 Kappa Chembu, Vinod says it can be eaten raw