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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates

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  • Harish Amur
    Interesting. *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane just before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 3, 2011
      Interesting.

      *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane just
      before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven more
      by the 'sugar factories' rather than old practice! The factories in our
      region are functional during the first half of the year. And that is why
      sugarcane is grown jan - dec here. Now, I do not know if the factories work
      based on the sugarcane growth cycle or the sugarcane is grown based on
      factory demand!

      *Area per plant:* I was also worried about the area per plant. On repeated
      requests our farmer listened to me and provided 5' between the rows. Subhash
      Palekarji (http://palekarzerobudgetnaturalfarming.com/home.html)recommends8'
      between the rows and I was trying to push this through! Although this
      distance seems too much when they are planted, it is quite evident when they
      grow. Even with the 5' distance the plants do not have enough room in our
      farm. The local practice is to plant them even closer, some at 2' while some
      at 1'. (And they argue that this kind of spacing leaves no room for weeds!
      And that you get more yield per acre.)

      The other day, I was reading this from OSR.

      "I do not try to raise tall fast-growing plants with big leaves. Instead, I
      keep the plants as compact as possible. Keep the head small, do not
      overnourish the plants, and let them grow true to the natural form of the
      rice plant. Usually rice plants three or four feet tall produce luxuriant
      leaves and give the impression that the plant is going to produce a lot of
      grain, but it is only the leafy stalks that are growing strongly. Starch
      production is great but efficiency is low, and so much energy is expended in
      vegetative growth that not much is left to be stored in the grains. For
      example, if tall; over-sized plants yield 2,000 pounds of straw the yield of
      rice will be about 1,000-1,200 pounds. For small rice plants, such as those
      grown in my fields, 2,000 pounds of straw yields 2,000 pounds of rice. In a
      good harvest the yield of rice from my plants will reach about 2,400 pounds;
      that is, it will be 20 percent heavier than the straw."

      Of course, we are talking apples and oranges. Fukuoka san's rice experience
      cannot be directly applied to sugarcane. Still ...

      Regards,
      Harish

      On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...>wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > Thanks for your encouraging words.
      > Normally we get rains in October / November. And the summer is from March
      > peaking in May.
      > On first June I prepared the saplings. They were transplanted after one
      > month on the main field.
      > Still the tender plants could not withstand the intense heat and hot air
      > and
      > about 50 % of them died.
      > I replaced them with cut setts .
      >
      > As you have rightly said , I have noted the stem borer doing more good.
      > Though they suck the stem of the main crop , it results in a number of
      > tillers to sprout.
      >
      > Normally in our area , farmers cut the sugarcane into three or four pieces
      > and bury them in wet soil. This resylts in crowded growth of sugarcane
      > making them compete for sunlight. Also not all setts sprout in this method.
      > So I tried to grow them in tea cups and select good saplings and transplant
      > them . The process went on well so long as the saplings were in shade. Once
      > the were exposed to intense heat , many of them could not survive. I learnt
      > a big lesson that that the old saying in Tamil " AAdi Pattam Theadi Vidhai
      > "
      > meaning sow in the Tamil month of Aadi ( July end / August beginning ) -
      > the
      > period after the sun starts to travel in the southern hemisphere , is worth
      > gold. This results in slanting sun rays from the south lessening the
      > intensity of heat. Also this gives the plants to grow sufficiently high to
      > withstand the ensuing rains .
      >
      > The land has been taken on lease and the previous owner had already ploughe
      > it and I got nothing to do in this regard. But I have not done adding
      > anything nor weeding . All the weeds are allowed to grow and die on their
      > own. I hope to see good growth in the coming months.
      >
      > Also I have notice no earthworms in the field due to chemical farming for
      > the past 20 years. Let's hope they turn in soon to bore the field.
      >
      > On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 7:31 AM, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:
      >
      > > **
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > From my little experience, your plants look ok. I would be worried if
      > they
      > > grew too much in the first few months as the stem would become weak. The
      > > growth is exponential in the 4-5 months and then it continues that way
      > all
      > > along.
      > >
      > > Here is what I think might be the reason for a Jan - Dec season for
      > > sugarcane in our region. We get rains in monsoon season - June to Sep. We
      > > get odd rains in April and May. March and April are the only months that
      > > require irrigation.
      > >
      > > Another interesting observation was about the infections/insect attacks.
      > > The
      > > only attack I saw in the early months was the borer. However this did not
      > > apparently cause much harm. It in fact it helped in the further branching
      > > of
      > > the plant.
      > >
      > > I have a few questions:
      > > a. Why did you not do direct seeding? What disadvantages do you see in
      > this
      > > method?
      > > b. How was the land prepared for transplanting?
      > > c. What is pattern of rains in that part of the country?
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > > Harish
      > >
      >
      > > Boovarahan S
      > >
      > Chennai.
      > 09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Boovarahan Srinivasan
      Hi ! Area per plant : There are two ways about the planting distance. 1. Distance between successive rows and plant to plant distance in a row : While
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
        Hi !

        Area per plant :

        There are two ways about the planting distance.
        1. Distance between successive rows and plant to plant distance in a row :

        While coventionally farmeres plant sugarcane with just 2 feet gap , this
        makes sugarcane to grow too crowded and compete with each other for air and
        sunlight.

        In my farm , I have planted sugarcane with 6 feet of inter row distance and
        2 feet of plant to plant distance . And this makes the field look too
        sparcely planted . Subash Palekar recommends 8 feet inter row distance but
        this is to accomodate multi cropping.

        2. Number of plants in a row:

        Normally farmers used to plant two setts , each on one side of the ridges
        and not on the furrows . Each sett of sugarcane contains minimum three buds
        . In essence 6 palnts are to be grown within 2 feet . This makes the number
        of setts to be planted more , usually about 30000 setts for an acre.

        I did not follow this method but planted single saplings ( not setts ) at 6
        ft. by 2 ft. intervals.
        This made me to plant just 4500 saplings , a big savings in the cost of
        sugarcane to be bought for planting.



        Growing season :
        The sugarcane companies take a wider area into consideration , usually a
        cluster of villages and the acreage under sugarcane cultivation. The just
        plan the seeding in such a way that they can get the sugarcane produce
        evenly all through the year. In fact I brought the sugarcane inspectors to
        my field for survey and the advised me to plant immediately . Not only me
        but a good number of farmers seed sugarcane in that period . Almost all of
        us are affected by the intense heat of summer sun and hot air wave . Those
        who planted in August didn't face that problem. From this experience I have
        commented on the planting season. Whether the factories function based on
        sugarcane growth cycle or not , nature doesn't give us a chance . It has its
        own agenda of favouring some crops as summer crops and some as winter crops
        . Not every crop can be grown all through the year except trees. Even trees
        when they are too young are affected by untimely planting and off season
        growth retardation. So timing of planting plays an important role. This has
        been my experience and I learnt it the hard way.

        I am waiting for my sugarcane crops to pick up growth . As Fukuoka has
        rightly said , the more the growth of the plants , the less is the produce.
        In rice , if one gets more straw , the grain production is lessened. Since
        our farmers usually need straw for their cattle ,they strike a balance and
        go in for tall variety rice with accelerated growth. This is my observation.

        By next fortnight I may commence rice planting since this is our main season
        for our staple food of rice. Hope this process goes smoothly.

        Thanks.
        On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Interesting.
        >
        > *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane just
        > before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven more
        > by the 'sugar factories' rather than old practice! The factories in our
        > region are functional during the first half of the year. And that is why
        > sugarcane is grown jan - dec here. Now, I do not know if the factories work
        > based on the sugarcane growth cycle or the sugarcane is grown based on
        > factory demand!
        >
        > *Area per plant:* I was also worried about the area per plant. On repeated
        > requests our farmer listened to me and provided 5' between the rows.
        > Subhash
        > Palekarji (http://palekarzerobudgetnaturalfarming.com/home.html
        > )recommends8'
        > between the rows and I was trying to push this through! Although this
        > distance seems too much when they are planted, it is quite evident when
        > they
        > grow. Even with the 5' distance the plants do not have enough room in our
        > farm. The local practice is to plant them even closer, some at 2' while
        > some
        > at 1'. (And they argue that this kind of spacing leaves no room for weeds!
        > And that you get more yield per acre.)
        >
        > The other day, I was reading this from OSR.
        >
        > "I do not try to raise tall fast-growing plants with big leaves. Instead, I
        > keep the plants as compact as possible. Keep the head small, do not
        > overnourish the plants, and let them grow true to the natural form of the
        > rice plant. Usually rice plants three or four feet tall produce luxuriant
        > leaves and give the impression that the plant is going to produce a lot of
        > grain, but it is only the leafy stalks that are growing strongly. Starch
        > production is great but efficiency is low, and so much energy is expended
        > in
        > vegetative growth that not much is left to be stored in the grains. For
        > example, if tall; over-sized plants yield 2,000 pounds of straw the yield
        > of
        > rice will be about 1,000-1,200 pounds. For small rice plants, such as those
        > grown in my fields, 2,000 pounds of straw yields 2,000 pounds of rice. In a
        > good harvest the yield of rice from my plants will reach about 2,400
        > pounds;
        > that is, it will be 20 percent heavier than the straw."
        >
        > Of course, we are talking apples and oranges. Fukuoka san's rice experience
        > cannot be directly applied to sugarcane. Still ...
        >
        > Regards,
        > Harish
        >


        > Boovarahan S
        >
        Chennai.
        09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Nandan Palaparambil
        To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended in SRI method,but
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
          To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially
          rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended
          in SRI method,but still they grow healthy and produce good yield. Also natural grass if you observe they grows very close
          and dense.



          Another aspect is weed control..if plants grow close they may crowd out
          weeds well, or you should have another leguminous ground cover like
          clover used by Fukuoka san, may be that is the best.





          Regards,

          Nandan

          --- On Sun, 9/4/11, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:

          From: Harish Amur <harishamur@...>
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates
          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Sunday, September 4, 2011, 9:34 AM







           









          Interesting.



          *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane just

          before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven more

          by the 'sugar factories' rather than old practice! The factories in our

          region are functional during the first half of the year. And that is why

          sugarcane is grown jan - dec here. Now, I do not know if the factories work

          based on the sugarcane growth cycle or the sugarcane is grown based on

          factory demand!



          *Area per plant:* I was also worried about the area per plant. On repeated

          requests our farmer listened to me and provided 5' between the rows. Subhash

          Palekarji (http://palekarzerobudgetnaturalfarming.com/home.html)recommends8'

          between the rows and I was trying to push this through! Although this

          distance seems too much when they are planted, it is quite evident when they

          grow. Even with the 5' distance the plants do not have enough room in our

          farm. The local practice is to plant them even closer, some at 2' while some

          at 1'. (And they argue that this kind of spacing leaves no room for weeds!

          And that you get more yield per acre.)



          The other day, I was reading this from OSR.



          "I do not try to raise tall fast-growing plants with big leaves. Instead, I

          keep the plants as compact as possible. Keep the head small, do not

          overnourish the plants, and let them grow true to the natural form of the

          rice plant. Usually rice plants three or four feet tall produce luxuriant

          leaves and give the impression that the plant is going to produce a lot of

          grain, but it is only the leafy stalks that are growing strongly. Starch

          production is great but efficiency is low, and so much energy is expended in

          vegetative growth that not much is left to be stored in the grains. For

          example, if tall; over-sized plants yield 2,000 pounds of straw the yield of

          rice will be about 1,000-1,200 pounds. For small rice plants, such as those

          grown in my fields, 2,000 pounds of straw yields 2,000 pounds of rice. In a

          good harvest the yield of rice from my plants will reach about 2,400 pounds;

          that is, it will be 20 percent heavier than the straw."



          Of course, we are talking apples and oranges. Fukuoka san's rice experience

          cannot be directly applied to sugarcane. Still ...



          Regards,

          Harish



          On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...>wrote:



          > **

          >

          >

          > Thanks for your encouraging words.

          > Normally we get rains in October / November. And the summer is from March

          > peaking in May.

          > On first June I prepared the saplings. They were transplanted after one

          > month on the main field.

          > Still the tender plants could not withstand the intense heat and hot air

          > and

          > about 50 % of them died.

          > I replaced them with cut setts .

          >

          > As you have rightly said , I have noted the stem borer doing more good.

          > Though they suck the stem of the main crop , it results in a number of

          > tillers to sprout.

          >

          > Normally in our area , farmers cut the sugarcane into three or four pieces

          > and bury them in wet soil. This resylts in crowded growth of sugarcane

          > making them compete for sunlight. Also not all setts sprout in this method.

          > So I tried to grow them in tea cups and select good saplings and transplant

          > them . The process went on well so long as the saplings were in shade. Once

          > the were exposed to intense heat , many of them could not survive. I learnt

          > a big lesson that that the old saying in Tamil " AAdi Pattam Theadi Vidhai

          > "

          > meaning sow in the Tamil month of Aadi ( July end / August beginning ) -

          > the

          > period after the sun starts to travel in the southern hemisphere , is worth

          > gold. This results in slanting sun rays from the south lessening the

          > intensity of heat. Also this gives the plants to grow sufficiently high to

          > withstand the ensuing rains .

          >

          > The land has been taken on lease and the previous owner had already ploughe

          > it and I got nothing to do in this regard. But I have not done adding

          > anything nor weeding . All the weeds are allowed to grow and die on their

          > own. I hope to see good growth in the coming months.

          >

          > Also I have notice no earthworms in the field due to chemical farming for

          > the past 20 years. Let's hope they turn in soon to bore the field.

          >

          > On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 7:31 AM, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:

          >

          > > **

          >

          > >

          > >

          > > From my little experience, your plants look ok. I would be worried if

          > they

          > > grew too much in the first few months as the stem would become weak. The

          > > growth is exponential in the 4-5 months and then it continues that way

          > all

          > > along.

          > >

          > > Here is what I think might be the reason for a Jan - Dec season for

          > > sugarcane in our region. We get rains in monsoon season - June to Sep. We

          > > get odd rains in April and May. March and April are the only months that

          > > require irrigation.

          > >

          > > Another interesting observation was about the infections/insect attacks.

          > > The

          > > only attack I saw in the early months was the borer. However this did not

          > > apparently cause much harm. It in fact it helped in the further branching

          > > of

          > > the plant.

          > >

          > > I have a few questions:

          > > a. Why did you not do direct seeding? What disadvantages do you see in

          > this

          > > method?

          > > b. How was the land prepared for transplanting?

          > > c. What is pattern of rains in that part of the country?

          > >

          > > Regards,

          > > Harish

          > >

          >

          > > Boovarahan S

          > >

          > Chennai.

          > 09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)

          >

          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

          >

          >

          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Nishad S K
          Hi What s the malayalam name for alfalfa and white clover? To use a cover crop among cowpea, alfalfa and white clover which suits kerala coastal area better.
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
            Hi
            What's the malayalam name for alfalfa and white clover? To use a cover crop
            among cowpea, alfalfa and white clover which suits kerala coastal area
            better.

            Thanks

            Regards,
            Dr Nishad S K

            9895755690
            On 4 Sep 2011 17:07, "Nandan Palaparambil" <p_k_nandanan@...> wrote:
            > To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially
            > rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended
            > in SRI method,but still they grow healthy and produce good yield. Also
            natural grass if you observe they grows very close
            > and dense.
            >
            >
            >
            > Another aspect is weed control..if plants grow close they may crowd out
            > weeds well, or you should have another leguminous ground cover like
            > clover used by Fukuoka san, may be that is the best.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Nandan
            >
            > --- On Sun, 9/4/11, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:
            >
            > From: Harish Amur <harishamur@...>
            > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates
            > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
            > Date: Sunday, September 4, 2011, 9:34 AM
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Interesting.
            >
            >
            >
            > *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane
            just
            >
            > before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven more
            >
            > by the 'sugar factories' rather than old practice! The factories in our
            >
            > region are functional during the first half of the year. And that is why
            >
            > sugarcane is grown jan - dec here. Now, I do not know if the factories
            work
            >
            > based on the sugarcane growth cycle or the sugarcane is grown based on
            >
            > factory demand!
            >
            >
            >
            > *Area per plant:* I was also worried about the area per plant. On repeated
            >
            > requests our farmer listened to me and provided 5' between the rows.
            Subhash
            >
            > Palekarji (
            http://palekarzerobudgetnaturalfarming.com/home.html)recommends8'
            >
            > between the rows and I was trying to push this through! Although this
            >
            > distance seems too much when they are planted, it is quite evident when
            they
            >
            > grow. Even with the 5' distance the plants do not have enough room in our
            >
            > farm. The local practice is to plant them even closer, some at 2' while
            some
            >
            > at 1'. (And they argue that this kind of spacing leaves no room for weeds!
            >
            > And that you get more yield per acre.)
            >
            >
            >
            > The other day, I was reading this from OSR.
            >
            >
            >
            > "I do not try to raise tall fast-growing plants with big leaves. Instead,
            I
            >
            > keep the plants as compact as possible. Keep the head small, do not
            >
            > overnourish the plants, and let them grow true to the natural form of the
            >
            > rice plant. Usually rice plants three or four feet tall produce luxuriant
            >
            > leaves and give the impression that the plant is going to produce a lot of
            >
            > grain, but it is only the leafy stalks that are growing strongly. Starch
            >
            > production is great but efficiency is low, and so much energy is expended
            in
            >
            > vegetative growth that not much is left to be stored in the grains. For
            >
            > example, if tall; over-sized plants yield 2,000 pounds of straw the yield
            of
            >
            > rice will be about 1,000-1,200 pounds. For small rice plants, such as
            those
            >
            > grown in my fields, 2,000 pounds of straw yields 2,000 pounds of rice. In
            a
            >
            > good harvest the yield of rice from my plants will reach about 2,400
            pounds;
            >
            > that is, it will be 20 percent heavier than the straw."
            >
            >
            >
            > Of course, we are talking apples and oranges. Fukuoka san's rice
            experience
            >
            > cannot be directly applied to sugarcane. Still ...
            >
            >
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Harish
            >
            >
            >
            > On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...
            >wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >> **
            >
            >>
            >
            >>
            >
            >> Thanks for your encouraging words.
            >
            >> Normally we get rains in October / November. And the summer is from March
            >
            >> peaking in May.
            >
            >> On first June I prepared the saplings. They were transplanted after one
            >
            >> month on the main field.
            >
            >> Still the tender plants could not withstand the intense heat and hot air
            >
            >> and
            >
            >> about 50 % of them died.
            >
            >> I replaced them with cut setts .
            >
            >>
            >
            >> As you have rightly said , I have noted the stem borer doing more good.
            >
            >> Though they suck the stem of the main crop , it results in a number of
            >
            >> tillers to sprout.
            >
            >>
            >
            >> Normally in our area , farmers cut the sugarcane into three or four
            pieces
            >
            >> and bury them in wet soil. This resylts in crowded growth of sugarcane
            >
            >> making them compete for sunlight. Also not all setts sprout in this
            method.
            >
            >> So I tried to grow them in tea cups and select good saplings and
            transplant
            >
            >> them . The process went on well so long as the saplings were in shade.
            Once
            >
            >> the were exposed to intense heat , many of them could not survive. I
            learnt
            >
            >> a big lesson that that the old saying in Tamil " AAdi Pattam Theadi
            Vidhai
            >
            >> "
            >
            >> meaning sow in the Tamil month of Aadi ( July end / August beginning ) -
            >
            >> the
            >
            >> period after the sun starts to travel in the southern hemisphere , is
            worth
            >
            >> gold. This results in slanting sun rays from the south lessening the
            >
            >> intensity of heat. Also this gives the plants to grow sufficiently high
            to
            >
            >> withstand the ensuing rains .
            >
            >>
            >
            >> The land has been taken on lease and the previous owner had already
            ploughe
            >
            >> it and I got nothing to do in this regard. But I have not done adding
            >
            >> anything nor weeding . All the weeds are allowed to grow and die on their
            >
            >> own. I hope to see good growth in the coming months.
            >
            >>
            >
            >> Also I have notice no earthworms in the field due to chemical farming for
            >
            >> the past 20 years. Let's hope they turn in soon to bore the field.
            >
            >>
            >
            >> On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 7:31 AM, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:
            >
            >>
            >
            >> > **
            >
            >>
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> > From my little experience, your plants look ok. I would be worried if
            >
            >> they
            >
            >> > grew too much in the first few months as the stem would become weak.
            The
            >
            >> > growth is exponential in the 4-5 months and then it continues that way
            >
            >> all
            >
            >> > along.
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> > Here is what I think might be the reason for a Jan - Dec season for
            >
            >> > sugarcane in our region. We get rains in monsoon season - June to Sep.
            We
            >
            >> > get odd rains in April and May. March and April are the only months
            that
            >
            >> > require irrigation.
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> > Another interesting observation was about the infections/insect
            attacks.
            >
            >> > The
            >
            >> > only attack I saw in the early months was the borer. However this did
            not
            >
            >> > apparently cause much harm. It in fact it helped in the further
            branching
            >
            >> > of
            >
            >> > the plant.
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> > I have a few questions:
            >
            >> > a. Why did you not do direct seeding? What disadvantages do you see in
            >
            >> this
            >
            >> > method?
            >
            >> > b. How was the land prepared for transplanting?
            >
            >> > c. What is pattern of rains in that part of the country?
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> > Regards,
            >
            >> > Harish
            >
            >> >
            >
            >>
            >
            >> > Boovarahan S
            >
            >> >
            >
            >> Chennai.
            >
            >> 09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)
            >
            >>
            >
            >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >>
            >
            >>
            >
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Boovarahan Srinivasan
            Grass varieties normally outgrow paddy and other crops. To my mind I don t consider them as weeds since I believe nature will feed all crops on it. It is our
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
              Grass varieties normally outgrow paddy and other crops.
              To my mind I don't consider them as weeds since I believe nature will feed
              all crops on it. It is our mind which conceives that one type of crops
              should be overgrown ( ? ) than others. That is why I have not weeded my
              farm. There are some plants which twine up on others. I have seen a creeper
              entwining the sugarcane restricting its spread . In such cases it becomes
              necessary to free the sugarcane from the aggression / encroachment of other
              plants . Even in such cases , I have not killed the weeds but simply trimmed
              and removed the entwining portion.

              In SRI method , the main point is to plant single seedlings in an arranged
              manner of say 1 foot distance thereby allowing each plant to have better
              sunlight and air. Also weeding is a must in SRI using a weeder but this
              results in soil disturbance . And this is to be done once in 15 days which
              results in frequent soil disturbance . SRI method advocates ploughing and
              levelling of land whereas in NF we are against it. Mulching is avoided in
              SRI and the farm is maintained clean whereas in NF and ZBF mulching is of
              paramount importance. In SRI ,application of fertilizers , whether chemical
              or organic manure, is followed but in NF there is no such necessity. The
              soil improves on its own. SRI is better suited to farmers whose mindset
              relies on the belief that something should be done to increase grain
              production , whereas in NF we leave it to nature. What we try to do is just
              to mimic nature and a forest and provide a conducive atmosphere for the
              micro organisms to thrive in and asee nature do the rest . But for the
              initial little efforts in NF ,it is mostly watching nature play its own game
              .

              Correct me if I am wrong.

              On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Nandan Palaparambil
              <p_k_nandanan@...>wrote:

              > **
              >
              >
              > To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially
              > rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended
              > in SRI method,but still they grow healthy and produce good yield. Also
              > natural grass if you observe they grows very close
              > and dense.
              >
              > Another aspect is weed control..if plants grow close they may crowd out
              > weeds well, or you should have another leguminous ground cover like
              > clover used by Fukuoka san, may be that is the best.
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Nandan
              >



              > Boovarahan S
              >
              Chennai.
              09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Nandan Palaparambil
              If you are a farmer and depends for your food from farming, then you may do weeding !!! I think there is no problem in doing that since even Fukuoka san
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
                If you are a farmer and depends for your food from farming, then you may do weeding !!! I think there is no problem in doing that since even Fukuoka san suggested that initial weeding, composting may be necessary, but it should be reduced gradually when the land improves. Most of us, directly jump into pure natural farming, one reason being even if there is crop loss, we can afford it.

                Fukuoka san also suggested shallow-tillage direct-seeding for rice and later switching to no-tillage (Please see page 147 of natural farming - online book).


                Regards,
                Nandan

                --- On Mon, 9/5/11, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...> wrote:

                From: Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...>
                Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates
                To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, September 5, 2011, 8:38 AM







                 









                Grass varieties normally outgrow paddy and other crops.

                To my mind I don't consider them as weeds since I believe nature will feed

                all crops on it. It is our mind which conceives that one type of crops

                should be overgrown ( ? ) than others. That is why I have not weeded my

                farm. There are some plants which twine up on others. I have seen a creeper

                entwining the sugarcane restricting its spread . In such cases it becomes

                necessary to free the sugarcane from the aggression / encroachment of other

                plants . Even in such cases , I have not killed the weeds but simply trimmed

                and removed the entwining portion.



                In SRI method , the main point is to plant single seedlings in an arranged

                manner of say 1 foot distance thereby allowing each plant to have better

                sunlight and air. Also weeding is a must in SRI using a weeder but this

                results in soil disturbance . And this is to be done once in 15 days which

                results in frequent soil disturbance . SRI method advocates ploughing and

                levelling of land whereas in NF we are against it. Mulching is avoided in

                SRI and the farm is maintained clean whereas in NF and ZBF mulching is of

                paramount importance. In SRI ,application of fertilizers , whether chemical

                or organic manure, is followed but in NF there is no such necessity. The

                soil improves on its own. SRI is better suited to farmers whose mindset

                relies on the belief that something should be done to increase grain

                production , whereas in NF we leave it to nature. What we try to do is just

                to mimic nature and a forest and provide a conducive atmosphere for the

                micro organisms to thrive in and asee nature do the rest . But for the

                initial little efforts in NF ,it is mostly watching nature play its own game

                .



                Correct me if I am wrong.



                On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Nandan Palaparambil

                <p_k_nandanan@...>wrote:



                > **

                >

                >

                > To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially

                > rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended

                > in SRI method,but still they grow healthy and produce good yield. Also

                > natural grass if you observe they grows very close

                > and dense.

                >

                > Another aspect is weed control..if plants grow close they may crowd out

                > weeds well, or you should have another leguminous ground cover like

                > clover used by Fukuoka san, may be that is the best.

                >

                > Regards,

                >

                > Nandan

                >



                > Boovarahan S

                >

                Chennai.

                09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Nandan Palaparambil
                Hi Nishad, I have never heard any one using Alfalfa and clover in Kerala. I also searched for clover, but it looks like it grows only in cold climates. From
                Message 7 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
                  Hi Nishad,

                  I have never heard any one using Alfalfa and clover in Kerala. I also searched for clover, but it looks like it grows only in cold climates. From the descriptions, it looked to be the best cover crop, since it reseeds well and also grows like a carpet and does not grow tall.

                  I had some issues with cow pea in germination and establishing it, so using sun-hemp for the time being, but next time, I would like to again try cow-pea since it has some food value also.

                  For rice, I am still looking for a correct legume which I can mix it with rice and sow. Some suggestion was there to use methi, but it was not establishing well here. As of now I am planning to use horse gram.

                  Why don't you introduce and brief about your farming activities.


                  Regards,
                  Nandan
                  http://www.farming-experiments.blogspot.com/

                  --- On Sun, 9/4/11, Nishad S K <drnishadsk@...> wrote:

                  From: Nishad S K <drnishadsk@...>
                  Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates
                  To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Sunday, September 4, 2011, 11:54 PM







                   









                  Hi

                  What's the malayalam name for alfalfa and white clover? To use a cover crop

                  among cowpea, alfalfa and white clover which suits kerala coastal area

                  better.



                  Thanks



                  Regards,

                  Dr Nishad S K



                  9895755690

                  On 4 Sep 2011 17:07, "Nandan Palaparambil" <p_k_nandanan@...> wrote:

                  > To me it looks like that, grass varieties grow very close..Especially

                  > rice when broadcasted there is no 1 feet distance which is recommended

                  > in SRI method,but still they grow healthy and produce good yield. Also

                  natural grass if you observe they grows very close

                  > and dense.

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > Another aspect is weed control..if plants grow close they may crowd out

                  > weeds well, or you should have another leguminous ground cover like

                  > clover used by Fukuoka san, may be that is the best.

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > Regards,

                  >

                  > Nandan

                  >

                  > --- On Sun, 9/4/11, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:

                  >

                  > From: Harish Amur <harishamur@...>

                  > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates

                  > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com

                  > Date: Sunday, September 4, 2011, 9:34 AM

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > Interesting.

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > *Growing season:* Are all the farmers in your region harvest sugarcane

                  just

                  >

                  > before the monsoon? It occurs to me that the growing season is driven more

                  >

                  > by the 'sugar factories' rather than old practice! The factories in our

                  >

                  > region are functional during the first half of the year. And that is why

                  >

                  > sugarcane is grown jan - dec here. Now, I do not know if the factories

                  work

                  >

                  > based on the sugarcane growth cycle or the sugarcane is grown based on

                  >

                  > factory demand!

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > *Area per plant:* I was also worried about the area per plant. On repeated

                  >

                  > requests our farmer listened to me and provided 5' between the rows.

                  Subhash

                  >

                  > Palekarji (

                  http://palekarzerobudgetnaturalfarming.com/home.html)recommends8'

                  >

                  > between the rows and I was trying to push this through! Although this

                  >

                  > distance seems too much when they are planted, it is quite evident when

                  they

                  >

                  > grow. Even with the 5' distance the plants do not have enough room in our

                  >

                  > farm. The local practice is to plant them even closer, some at 2' while

                  some

                  >

                  > at 1'. (And they argue that this kind of spacing leaves no room for weeds!

                  >

                  > And that you get more yield per acre.)

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > The other day, I was reading this from OSR.

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > "I do not try to raise tall fast-growing plants with big leaves. Instead,

                  I

                  >

                  > keep the plants as compact as possible. Keep the head small, do not

                  >

                  > overnourish the plants, and let them grow true to the natural form of the

                  >

                  > rice plant. Usually rice plants three or four feet tall produce luxuriant

                  >

                  > leaves and give the impression that the plant is going to produce a lot of

                  >

                  > grain, but it is only the leafy stalks that are growing strongly. Starch

                  >

                  > production is great but efficiency is low, and so much energy is expended

                  in

                  >

                  > vegetative growth that not much is left to be stored in the grains. For

                  >

                  > example, if tall; over-sized plants yield 2,000 pounds of straw the yield

                  of

                  >

                  > rice will be about 1,000-1,200 pounds. For small rice plants, such as

                  those

                  >

                  > grown in my fields, 2,000 pounds of straw yields 2,000 pounds of rice. In

                  a

                  >

                  > good harvest the yield of rice from my plants will reach about 2,400

                  pounds;

                  >

                  > that is, it will be 20 percent heavier than the straw."

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > Of course, we are talking apples and oranges. Fukuoka san's rice

                  experience

                  >

                  > cannot be directly applied to sugarcane. Still ...

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > Regards,

                  >

                  > Harish

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...

                  >wrote:

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >> **

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> Thanks for your encouraging words.

                  >

                  >> Normally we get rains in October / November. And the summer is from March

                  >

                  >> peaking in May.

                  >

                  >> On first June I prepared the saplings. They were transplanted after one

                  >

                  >> month on the main field.

                  >

                  >> Still the tender plants could not withstand the intense heat and hot air

                  >

                  >> and

                  >

                  >> about 50 % of them died.

                  >

                  >> I replaced them with cut setts .

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> As you have rightly said , I have noted the stem borer doing more good.

                  >

                  >> Though they suck the stem of the main crop , it results in a number of

                  >

                  >> tillers to sprout.

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> Normally in our area , farmers cut the sugarcane into three or four

                  pieces

                  >

                  >> and bury them in wet soil. This resylts in crowded growth of sugarcane

                  >

                  >> making them compete for sunlight. Also not all setts sprout in this

                  method.

                  >

                  >> So I tried to grow them in tea cups and select good saplings and

                  transplant

                  >

                  >> them . The process went on well so long as the saplings were in shade.

                  Once

                  >

                  >> the were exposed to intense heat , many of them could not survive. I

                  learnt

                  >

                  >> a big lesson that that the old saying in Tamil " AAdi Pattam Theadi

                  Vidhai

                  >

                  >> "

                  >

                  >> meaning sow in the Tamil month of Aadi ( July end / August beginning ) -

                  >

                  >> the

                  >

                  >> period after the sun starts to travel in the southern hemisphere , is

                  worth

                  >

                  >> gold. This results in slanting sun rays from the south lessening the

                  >

                  >> intensity of heat. Also this gives the plants to grow sufficiently high

                  to

                  >

                  >> withstand the ensuing rains .

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> The land has been taken on lease and the previous owner had already

                  ploughe

                  >

                  >> it and I got nothing to do in this regard. But I have not done adding

                  >

                  >> anything nor weeding . All the weeds are allowed to grow and die on their

                  >

                  >> own. I hope to see good growth in the coming months.

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> Also I have notice no earthworms in the field due to chemical farming for

                  >

                  >> the past 20 years. Let's hope they turn in soon to bore the field.

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 7:31 AM, Harish Amur <harishamur@...> wrote:

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> > **

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> > From my little experience, your plants look ok. I would be worried if

                  >

                  >> they

                  >

                  >> > grew too much in the first few months as the stem would become weak.

                  The

                  >

                  >> > growth is exponential in the 4-5 months and then it continues that way

                  >

                  >> all

                  >

                  >> > along.

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> > Here is what I think might be the reason for a Jan - Dec season for

                  >

                  >> > sugarcane in our region. We get rains in monsoon season - June to Sep.

                  We

                  >

                  >> > get odd rains in April and May. March and April are the only months

                  that

                  >

                  >> > require irrigation.

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> > Another interesting observation was about the infections/insect

                  attacks.

                  >

                  >> > The

                  >

                  >> > only attack I saw in the early months was the borer. However this did

                  not

                  >

                  >> > apparently cause much harm. It in fact it helped in the further

                  branching

                  >

                  >> > of

                  >

                  >> > the plant.

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> > I have a few questions:

                  >

                  >> > a. Why did you not do direct seeding? What disadvantages do you see in

                  >

                  >> this

                  >

                  >> > method?

                  >

                  >> > b. How was the land prepared for transplanting?

                  >

                  >> > c. What is pattern of rains in that part of the country?

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> > Regards,

                  >

                  >> > Harish

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> > Boovarahan S

                  >

                  >> >

                  >

                  >> Chennai.

                  >

                  >> 09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >>

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  >

                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Boovarahan Srinivasan
                  I don t consider weeds decrease the grain production. In June me and other farmers planted sugarcane . While they ploughed and applied fertilizers and weeded ,
                  Message 8 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
                    I don't consider weeds decrease the grain production.
                    In June me and other farmers planted sugarcane . While they ploughed and
                    applied fertilizers and weeded , I did nothing but all lost the crops due to
                    unseasonal planting . It is their misconception that weeds take away the
                    nutrients from the crops making them give lesser produce . I think nature
                    provides enough nutrients to all plants , grains or weeds.

                    What Fukuoka said is an one time affair. But what people do is recurring in
                    nature.


                    On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...
                    > wrote:

                    > **
                    >
                    >
                    > If you are a farmer and depends for your food from farming, then you may do
                    > weeding !!! I think there is no problem in doing that since even Fukuoka san
                    > suggested that initial weeding, composting may be necessary, but it should
                    > be reduced gradually when the land improves. Most of us, directly jump into
                    > pure natural farming, one reason being even if there is crop loss, we can
                    > afford it.
                    >
                    > Fukuoka san also suggested shallow-tillage direct-seeding for rice and
                    > later switching to no-tillage (Please see page 147 of natural farming -
                    > online book).
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    > Nandan
                    >

                    Boovarahan S
                    Chennai.
                    09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Nandan Palaparambil
                    Boovarahan, My observation contradicts this..when there are strong weeds around, growth of plants is less and also for rice, weeds blocks sunlights also and
                    Message 9 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
                      Boovarahan,

                      My observation contradicts this..when there are strong weeds around, growth of plants is less and also for rice, weeds blocks sunlights also and they don't grow at all. My thinking was that after weeding once and if rice is given an upper hand, then things should be OK. But to my surprise weeds again had grown faster than rice and completely surrounded them. In some area, I kept on weeding and after some time, when the rice plant had reached sufficient height, it was fine. So for reasonable yield, we should replace weeds with legume cover crops and also our crop should crowd out weeds.

                      This may be different for sugar cane since they grow tall


                      Regards,
                      Nandan

                      --- On Mon, 9/5/11, Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...> wrote:

                      From: Boovarahan Srinivasan <offtown@...>
                      Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates
                      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Monday, September 5, 2011, 8:20 PM







                       









                      I don't consider weeds decrease the grain production.

                      In June me and other farmers planted sugarcane . While they ploughed and

                      applied fertilizers and weeded , I did nothing but all lost the crops due to

                      unseasonal planting . It is their misconception that weeds take away the

                      nutrients from the crops making them give lesser produce . I think nature

                      provides enough nutrients to all plants , grains or weeds.



                      What Fukuoka said is an one time affair. But what people do is recurring in

                      nature.



                      On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...

                      > wrote:



                      > **

                      >

                      >

                      > If you are a farmer and depends for your food from farming, then you may do

                      > weeding !!! I think there is no problem in doing that since even Fukuoka san

                      > suggested that initial weeding, composting may be necessary, but it should

                      > be reduced gradually when the land improves. Most of us, directly jump into

                      > pure natural farming, one reason being even if there is crop loss, we can

                      > afford it.

                      >

                      > Fukuoka san also suggested shallow-tillage direct-seeding for rice and

                      > later switching to no-tillage (Please see page 147 of natural farming -

                      > online book).

                      >

                      > Regards,

                      > Nandan

                      >



                      Boovarahan S

                      Chennai.

                      09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Boovarahan Srinivasan
                      I do agree ! Growth of grass surpasses that of paddy and in the initial stages we have to weed out, but this is to ensure enough sunlight available to paddy .
                      Message 10 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
                        I do agree !

                        Growth of grass surpasses that of paddy and in the initial stages we have to
                        weed out, but this is to ensure enough sunlight available to paddy . But
                        farmers don't consider this but they think the nutrients available to paddy
                        are consumed by weeds . In NF we consider that plants get most of the needs
                        from sunlight and water vapour whereas the general opinion of the farmers is
                        that plants get their needs mostly from soil and water .

                        I have also witnessed the enormous growth of grass dwarfing paddy . So long
                        as we don't provide enough vegetative cover to arrest the growth of grass ,
                        this will be a perennial problem.

                        My point is how farmers view weeds and how we NFs differ from them.

                        On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 9:44 PM, Nandan Palaparambil
                        <p_k_nandanan@...>wrote:

                        > **
                        >
                        >
                        > Boovarahan,
                        >
                        > My observation contradicts this..when there are strong weeds around, growth
                        > of plants is less and also for rice, weeds blocks sunlights also and they
                        > don't grow at all. My thinking was that after weeding once and if rice is
                        > given an upper hand, then things should be OK. But to my surprise weeds
                        > again had grown faster than rice and completely surrounded them. In some
                        > area, I kept on weeding and after some time, when the rice plant had reached
                        > sufficient height, it was fine. So for reasonable yield, we should replace
                        > weeds with legume cover crops and also our crop should crowd out weeds.
                        >
                        > This may be different for sugar cane since they grow tall
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        > Nandan
                        >


                        > Boovarahan S
                        >
                        Chennai.
                        09962662717 (Vodafone) , 08825889492 (Videocon)


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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