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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Updates

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  • 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 1 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
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      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 2 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
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        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 3 of 13 , Sep 4, 2011
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          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]

          >

          >>

          >

          >>

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

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          [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 4 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
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            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 5 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
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              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 6 of 13 , Sep 5, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                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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