Suggestions please - farm development

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been a passive member of the group so far. I am beginning work on my 12 acre farm near Kanchipuram. To begin with, we are using a JCB tomorrow to pull out thorny shrubs and prepare the land. I have attached pics of the native vegetation and grass on the land. I would like some suggestions on few things -

  1. What is the best thing to do with the uprooted thorny bushes? The farmers that are helping me are suggesting using it as a boundary for our farm. Is there a way we can use them for mulching/other biomass purposes?
  2. If there are beneficial trees and plants, may I leave them there?
  3. Simultaneously, I have borrowed expert to take a look at rainwater run off pattern to suggest making trenches, recharge pits and farm pond. Suggestions on the same are welcome.
  4. Since I have no electricity/water yet, how do I plan things ahead after the initial clean up? What are my next steps? I plan on building rwh tanks and trenches. Any alternative ideas?

Just like other enthusiasts here, I am a newbie farmer and if not for the collective intellectual ideas on such forums, I would not be so courageous about taking to farming. Thanks for your suggestions!


  1. both are good options. Mulching carries more benifit.
  2. Take your time to uproot trees. But definitely not during initial clean ups.
    3.Good initiative.
    4.I would suggest you to go for electricity first. Otherwise how do pump water for construction? do you have other source of water?

I guess you are on right track in terms of water conservation. What steps have planned for soil conservation? I would suggest you to start immediately(after trenching and bund formation) because it is time consuming process.

Hi coraltree,

First of all, Congratulations on becoming a farmer…

See my comments inline…

Note: I have been a Net Farmer and my knowledge is limited to books, magazines etc.  I would love to visit some farms especially the ones that is starting from scratch and get first-hand experience and interact with fellow farmers as well.  Let me know if this is okay with you and I can meet you in your farm.

Hi,
    if thorny bushes are babool or babhool just burn them completely.

if some of the bushes are bit higher try to get aprox 2 feets taller bambaoo like wood from them, it will be useful as fence or support .
Just insert these wooden poles half feet in ground, let a steel wire run over it aproximately after 1 feet and cattle,pigs,grazing wild animals will prefer to stay away from farm. Thorns can be pushed nearby this boundary . Meanwhile you can plan natural fence and till that time it will protect the farm .

Meanwhile if your land is ready and you had good monsoon just give try for rain fed crop, you will get experience of farming and you will learn a lot .

Try to save trees that will help in organcie farming such as neem or trees that gives shelter to birds it will help in long run .
RWH planning is very good thinking, just go ahead , it will help farm even if you do not have electricity as of now .
Hope it helps .

Regards,
Prashant

Thank you all for suggestions. As per Prashanth’s suggestions, could anyone give me few rainfed crops native to Kanchi are in TN?

Padmanabhan G, I have sent a pm. We would love to have you at our farm.

Update:

  1. We pulled out the thorny shrubs and set aside for fencing and rest for burning. We left 4 neem trees and few “Nona” trees (which has something called Bambara kai(tamil) ).

  2. We used JCB - Rs. 650 per hour and it took almost 10 hours for 10 acres.

  3. A 10X10 structure has been planned to be built tomorrow with an asbestos sheet for ceiling and keethu pandal in the front. All this for an appoximate quote of 20k.

More updates as we progress.

Thanks,
Radha.

hello Coral tree
You’re doing well. And the suggestions you have received are totally apt. As you proceed you will learn many things. Five years back I was a newbie too and have gathered lot from experts here and elsewhere. I have shared all these experiences on my blog. please feel free to visit: sundayfarmer.wordpress.com.
All the best. 

Hello Radha,

Two good places for you to visit would be “Sadhana Forest”, near Auroville and “Point Return”, which is also somewhere nearby. They have worked a lot on the issues which you have raised and the climate, topography et al is quite similar.

Hope you’ll benefit from their experiences.

Btw plant lots of Pongamia, quite hardy and excellent nitrogen fixer along the the boundaries. And look around you’ll find quite a bit of hardy native tree species around. Talk to local farmers too.

All the very best…for your journey back to be with the elements

Joe