Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Controlling aggressive weeds with aggressive cover crop - Pureria Javanica

Weeds protect soil from erosion and also makes land fertile. Weeds can be effectively used
to make your land fertile and we can go grow crops along with it. But if the control is not
proper then they will outgrow your crops and the harvest will be very poor. Nature does not
distinguish between crops and weeds, whoever grows best finally wins. Since weeds are adapted to environment well, most of the time, weeds win.

To make a decent harvest, controlling weeds is a must.Weeds enriches soil, but it may take long time to do that since that is the nature's way. But farmer want harvest in a reasonable time frame. So farmers use leguminous cover crops to make land fertile and that can be used to control weeds also. This is an intelligent way of intruding into nature's methods. Fukuoka san used white clover which is leguminous and it grows aggressively and also for many years that reseed and grow without any care.He used it in rice/barley field and also in orchards.It grows along with rice/barley and it provides nutrients to rice/barley rather competes with them.

I am using Pureria Javanica as a leguminous cover crop which is quite agressive once 
established.It completely grows over grasses and only this crop will be there after some time. Since it fixes nitrogen, the land becomes fertile too. Cutting this plant is relatively easy
using Scythe since it comes off nicely after this land is a clean of weeds, there may be a few
roots and runners which has to be removed. We can start cultivation of crop directly in this
space and if there is pureria growing on sides it will grow back to this area which has to be
occassionally cleaned, may be once in 10 days.

I have tried birds eye chilli, tapioca and sweet potato using this method and it looks quite

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Cleaning mango trees

Some mango trees are infested with Loranthus (Ithi Kanni in Malayalam). This time, cleaned them and also cut a few unwanted branches. Some trees which are shading mango trees are also cut.

Greater yam on trees

At the start of rainy season, I had planted a few greater yam at the base of a few trees, Subabul,Glyrecedia and teak wood. They were climbing all over and established well. This time should be having more seeds, should put in more places.

The seeds which grow on the top also can be used for planting or eating.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Farm at the end of rainy season

Here are some photos at the end of the rainy season..still we are receiving some also it is raining heavily

Vietnamese early jack fruit tree..a chicken visitor from neighboring farm, they stopped all buffalo,goat farming operations...only a few chickens left

Papaya trees and yellow bamboo in front of the house

Bamboo planted at the start of the rain, growing well..

Little guard...provide them support for growing and sunlight, they grow well

Sweet potato cuttings planted...

Bird's eye chillies

Tapioca...soil under the Pureria had improved a this grows well

Mango area....

greater yam

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A set of hand tools which looks useful

Hand tools always fascinated me. In Fukuoka San's video, saw the Japanese sickle he was using and search for a similar tool directed me towards Scythe and has been using it for 6-7 years now.

Scythe takes care of the tall weeds, while small weeds are has to be handled differently. Found push-pull hoe or stirrup hoe to be useful for this and bought one.

Push-Pull hoe can not be used for more tougher weeds and earth works. Because some time, you want to cut weeds and then loosen soil and make place for planting some saplings, in this case spade is useful. Conventional spades available in India are too heavy and mostly has short handles which strains the back. Hence looking for garden hoes, found some interesting designs, see the photos below. Still don't have this, but in the process of making.

Another interesting tool recommended by Sepp Holzer is Folkin hoe, this can be used as a short scythe and also for removing tough weeds and some soil working also. This is not locally available hence has to make one.

Saw this tool which looks almost similar to Folkin hoe, but there are some differences..

Details can be seen in the web site -

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

No-till experiment - 2nd season

First crop in no-till didn't succeed, it was taken over by weeds. Hence planning to grow pureria for 6-7 months to control weeds. This enriches soil also, and rice cultivation should be possible. After cutting weeds, some pureria plants were transplanted.It would take 3 days effort to cut this field.


This 0.1 acre field is cut using Scythe, took around 9 hours spread across 3 days. This grass is very tough and at some point it is like a mat, you have to cut in which direction the grass is slanting and also with reduced width. One scythe cut should finish that instant and you should move on, otherwise it never gets completed.

Transplanted Pureria plants which was raised in a flower pot.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Re-evaluating Pueria Javanica as a cover crop

I have been using Pureria Javanica as a cover crop since 5-6 years now. In some area, it is well established and it is a vigorous climber and climbs all over the small plants and does not allow any other species. But one good thing is that it generates lots of biomass and the mulch looks to be very useful and the soil becomes soft and dark under this cover crop. Recently I planted turmeric, chilli, tapioca, taro and sweet potato after cutting and clearing Pureria established places.

One good thing is that, the soil becomes fertile under this cover crop and if we cut and clean it the land is quite weed free, only this cover crop will come back, so if we periodically cut it then any crop can be cultivated using this as cover crop. I am also planning to try no-till rice using this cover crop.

Never grow Subabul without proper maintenance

Subabul is a leguminous tree but an invasive one in Palakkad,Kerala climate. You can see 100s of small Subabul trees under a grown up tree, that is why it is called an invasive species. Also after growing cutting and removing them is practically impossible, if you want to plant some thing in that area. Also the biomass generation by this tree is not much, since the leaves are very small. Goats and Cows like the leaves, so can be fed to them. So in my opinion, if you plant them and leave it unattended it can cause lots of trouble, if you periodically cut them before seeding, then it is fine. But leguminous trees like Glyrecedia, Pongamia etc are OK, even if you leave them for an year.

Sweet potato

Bought  a few sweet potatoes from shop and cut it into pieces and planted after clearing an area which was fully covered with Pureria. After cutting the area with Pureria, it looks neat since there are no other weeds and also the soil looks soft and dark, may be with nitrogen put by the Pureria. After cutting and keeping the mulch aside, cleaned all the weeds and wines and then mulched back and then dug the ground and kept the sweet potato cuttings.

Once in 10 days, the Pureria wines has to be cut and cleaned, but it is not a difficult task, but if we leave it for long, then the crop will be lost since Pureria would have grown all over the crop, hence timing is very important.


Cuttings from the above was planted in another area..continuous rain is there, hence it does not even wilt a bit...


Established quite well, cleaned few weeds today

Rice farming - 2nd season - 2019

Since 1st crop won't be enough for 1 year, planning to do 2nd crop also. Since family like white rice, looked for this variety, also needed a less duration variety since there will be water shortage towards the end of the crop. While going to farm in auto, asked the driver, how his harvest is going and also checked which variety he is cultivating. Lot of farmers find a second job since income from farming won't be enough. He was using a variety called ASD which is white rice and 90 days duration. This is a variety from Tamilnadu and specially suited for Chittur,Palakkad area. They have been cultivating using this variety for some time and he was saying, if we don't apply much fertiliser it won't fall down. Anyway in my case, there is absolutely no fertilzer at all, so it should be fine. Collected 20Kgs of ASD paddy seeds from him.


Took around 2 hours to complete this.

Put the ASD seeds in water by around 8.00PM today, will put that in jute sack after 24 hours.

Seeds were put in water for 24 hours and in jute bag for 12 hours, in only a few seeds germination was noted. This time it is in put in plastic sheet, first plastic sheet is put, then muddy soil is put on it, then seeds are sown,after that a news paper is spread and thin layer of mud is put. If there is no rain, we may have to keep it wet. After 3-4 days, news paper can be removed.


Transplanting completed....


Weeded once, with 3 women laborers for 2 days...also they brought around 15 kotta of cowdung and spread it


Not much weeds seen, but may have to do an advance weeding