Finally a long lived dream has come to life and I am leading an actual farmer’s life. The dream of setting up my own farm and getting my hands dirty has been realized, needless to say with the help of lot of good souls.
I have been wanting to pen down my experiences since day one but something or other stopped me from doing so. Today it’s just over a month since I started but the stories and experience’s to share are endless.
After an endless research for over 2 years, I managed to pen down my own farm plan and had it approved by a few stalwarts in this field. All of them seemed to have a common comment “The plan on papers looks excellent and close to being flawless, but that’s not how it is on the field.” This word of caution has helped me a lot as it keeps on the lookout for upcoming challenges.
The farm has been planned on the principles of Subash Palekar and Namalwar.
We have leased out a farm just about 5Kms from Yelahanka. The farm is just over 5 acres and has about 500 odd trees. We have already started harvesting Sapota, Gauva & tender coconut as these existing plantations are about 5 - 7 years old.
We have now planned to grow about 30 different types of vegetables in between these trees, luckily the field has been maintained without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
This is Farm to Fork model and we plan to cater to over 200 families in and around north Bangalore only. The marketing initiatives are taken up by my friends.
The plan is to draw raised beds in between the existing trees and make the maximum use of the given space. The beds are about 1.5 feet wide and have “V” trenches along both the sides. The trenches are about .75 feet deep and is 1 feet wide.
We have already started sowing the seeds since the second of December and the sprout ratio has been very good. Needless to say all the seeds have been treated with ‘Bijamrutha’ before sowing.
The sides of the beds are sown with vegetables that are basically the roots like Radish, Carrot, Beetroot, Turnip, Onions or Garlic. I have broken this rule by sowing some Knol Khol on the sides too.
The center of the bed is sown with the main crop alongside Corn and alsande. For instance the order of sowing for a Tomato plot would be as follows:
The spacing between each Tomato is 2ft . The sides of the bed are sown with carrot seeds at an average spacing of about 4 inches. Every 4th would be a row of Chillies instead of Tomatos.
Legend: To1 = Madanapale Tomato, C1 = Carrot. The line spliting each tomato cell signifies Corn+Alsande. The brown wide borders are walkways and the white spacing are the trenches.
Tasks Completed so far:
Laid beds in about 2 acres of land.
Made 5*5 plots for growing greens for about half an acre.
Have already started growing Bhindi, Garlic,Onions, Beans, Peas, Knol khol, Turnip, Cluster beans, Tomato, Brinjal, Cabbage, Ridge gourd, Bottle gourd, Snake gourd, Pumpkin, Cucumber & Bitter gourd. All these have grown to a stage where we can recognise the plant and few gourds have started to come close to flowering.
First round of greens already sold to friends and family.
Have filled the trenches with wet waste from Yelahanka market.
Your dream seems to be photocopy of my dream. I have selected a farm with Sapota and Coconut trees in Gholvad, Maharashtra. The final possession I will get only in the month of April. Its a 10-11 acre farm with very less space to work on anything new. There is barely any sunlight reaching the ground so experts have told me there can nothing be grown in between these Sapota trees.
Your direct selling is an added profit u will get and its the need of the hour.
You rightly said, we need good people to get into some new field, be it any.
Really happy to know about the start u have got. May u succeed and keep doing the noble work for the society and keep posting your good work. All the very best.
SHRI.NAMMALVAR HAVE BEEN INSISTING THIS METHOD WHERE IN NO TILLING IS REQUIRED FOR THIS RELAY CROPPING SYSTEM FOR DECADES. THE ACCUMULATION OF HUMUS WILL EBHANCE THE YEILD IN FUTURE. OPINE THAT THE BED WIDTH CAN BE HAD UPTO 4 FEET.
[Padmanabhan Ganesan]- Why 1.5 ft wide beds? If this is the case, the number of trenches will increase and the beds (numbers) will decrease. Any reason behind this?
Usually the bed width is 2.5 - 3.0 ft and even then it will be possible for anybody to pick the output easily without having to stretch or getting into the bed.
Well the width of the bed is as per Subash Palekar’s plan and I have not thought from the angle of losing a few beds due to more trenches, I was more excited about having more mulching space
[Padmanabhan Ganesan]- With just 1.5 ft wide bed, will this make the main crop suffer as too much nutrients will be taken up by the side vegetables. Just trying to understand.
Well sir, earlier even I had the same doubts but thought of giving it a go and I have seen that the nutrients dont take a beating ( I have already implemented it in another farm, which I didnt document ). Also the plan is done in such a way that the side crops are harvested within 45- 60 days, thus when the main crop comes into flowering the whole bed is reserved for it as all the other crops would have already been harvested.
[Padmanabhan Ganesan]- The image in this write-up is not showing up. Can you upload it again?
I have uploaded the excel sheet but the explanation still remains in the thread.
Uploading a another pic of a 2.5 ft bed in which we have sown creepers and have harvested greens in between. Field plan.xlsx (46.5 KB)
I have decided to do away with drip or any other modern irrigation technique. Many said that trench irrigation systems consume more water and is very laborious. For this decision I have received a lot of resistance from many, but I have a some strong reasons for the same.
We have now dug zig zag trenches or “S” trenches where the water would flow continuously without any block. The video explains it better ( lazy to put in words ).
Pretty sure with drip, you will use a fraction of that water and have uniformity.
With drip, you will only wet the ridge and just around the plants.
With the trenches, the depth of wetting near the pipe is going to be a lot more than at the tail end. If you have a slow output of water, the tail end will never wet since the water will be infiltrating into the soil near the pipe.
As you might have seen in the video the flexible pipe is moved around
To reduce the issue you have mentioned. Also what happens is all the water gets accumulated at the fag end of the tail as the water is flowing in the direction of the slope.
Another thing i was assuming is that drip needs to switched on every day, whereas here we water it only once in 10 days. My calculation was that the amount of water consumed by drip everyday is being accumulated and used up in one day. Saving current, capital investment and manpower.
I too follow this “S” shaped trenches for my 2000+ banana plants…As Chandra mentioned it consumes more water compared to drip/sprinkler, but I felt it was very effective and less labour intensive. For the first time you need to have labours creating these trenches and then onwards it is easy to maintain.
As Subramanian said, mulching in trenches proves very useful interms of building up the organic matter as well as retaining the moisture.
This way of watering is very common in Sugar cane fields in Karnataka. Farmers create these trenches using bigger sized plow implement.
Your diagram and videos are great reference. I have been reading lot and learning about Natural farming.
Based on my reading, this kind of trench system is explained in Ashok Sanghavi’s book (The way to Health, Wealth and Happiness). This kind of trench system is used (and in use) by the Natural Farming Expert Bhaskar Saveji for many years.
Subash Palekarji explained the same kind of trench system in all his books in full details - and I think you got this from Palekar’s book.
Recently I have been exchanging emails with another expert Deepak Suchade (Amrut Mitti expert) and asked him if Bhaskar Saveji liked Drip Irrigation. Deepak replied to me that Saveji is not in favor of Drip irrigation system however Saveji explained to his friend how to do the Drip correctly in this video.
Deepak Suchade recorded the following video when Saveji visited his friend’s farm. So, here is that video (Bhaskar Bhai discussing about the importance of drip irrigation) youtube.com/watch?v=7X793So5AaM