Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control
and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests.
Since in urban cities limitation is insufficient land for farming, the concept of terrace farming, vertical and container farmings are upcoming trends in urban farming. Here in this blog I will be sharing every single effort and techniques in building my Organic Roof :)

Location Details:

Country: India

State: Kerala

City: Trivandrum

Climate:Tropical, equable, hot, humid and dry.


Soil: Red soil in the Southern-most part of Kerala

Friday, August 12, 2016

Vegetable plantation on raised beds

Raised bed layout is on of the techniques that helps in growing more in less space. On my micro farm, I build a few raised beds using long wood logs and coconut husk.


Raised bed was filled with a combination of;

1. Soil
2. Rotting wood, branches and leaves.
3. Compost prepared from decayed plants after harvesting.
4. Cow manure compost.


Planted egg plants and green chilly on the raised bed , though the coconut husk was aligned on the border of the raised bed it gets misplaced while manuring.


Planted okra in another raised bed, since the soil with the compost is well loosened, proper supports were provided. Have a close look on the image. 
Bed was raised to 30 Cm in height. 
This raised bed is supported by stone pillars on its boundaries. Bed was raised to 20 Cm. Below image is a closeup of white radish grown on this bed.

 White radish plants aligned in rows.

How to setup a low cost raised bed for vegetable plantation. 

1. Identify a location where the plants would get air and better sunlight.
2. Dig a pit measuring 15 inch/0.5 meters deep.
3. Apply a layer of coconut husk or any other material that helps in retaining moisture.(5-7 inches)
4. On top of husk apply decayed and rotten wood chips, Vegetable and plant wastes. (5-7 inches)
5. Apply compost which contributes another 5 more inches to the Pit.
6. Now that the pit is almost filled, spread a final layer of soil mixed with compost. This will add another 5 inches of height to the raised bed.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Growing Ginger on farm land - Adarak (Hindi) Ingi (Malyalam)

Ginger/Adarak/Ingi

Botanical Name:- Zingiber Officinale
Family:- Zingiberaceae


Prepare Plant Rhizomes/ ginger seeds
Seeds are available at markets, otherwise collect rhizomes from the Ginger that you buy from market. 



Preparation of soil bed

Prepare the land by ploughing or digging so that the loosened soil could let the ginger root to penetrate deep into the soil. Prepare beds of convenient length. Provide channels between two arrays of soil bed that will help protect from rain water.



Planting method
The best time for planting ginger is during the first fortnight of April, after receipt of pre-monsoon showers.


My Experience 
Planted 100 rhizomes in flat beds, plant started growing in 3 weeks and showed up healthy germination from rhizomes.


My son enjoying the site.

Below image was taken 4 months after plantation.


Don'ts

  • Never plant on waterlogged soil, rhizomes may get decayed.
  • Too much of direct sun is not preferable and supports filtered sunlight.
  • Hard soil and dry climate should be avoided
  • Reduse the usage of fertilizers.
  • Never grow ginger in the same land year after year.

Harvest
Towards the end of the summer, leaves start getting dried. Avoid watering the bed and let the ground dry out. This helps the plant to form rhizomes and will be ready for harvesting. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sweet Potato

To my surprise, I could find the tuber germinating from the compost pot……


The sweet potato, botanical name- Ipomoea Batatas is a warm season tropical plant. Sweet potato belongs to root category. From the compost dump, the tuber started growing, planted the same on a heap of earth. 

Planted the germinated tuber on the ground on top of a heap of earth and raised beds which was a mixture of compost soil. 

Plants are also grown with the stem slips, these stems can be inserted into the raised bed.

Planted 8 saplings.








Harvesting started after 200 days, Since the ground was not properly loosened or plowed, the tuber could not grow in size

Growing Tips: Plow ground at least 0.5 meters deep, so that the tuber could penetrate well into the ground.









Cooking Tips: Cook potato well and have with chilly powder or chilly chutney

Health Benefits: Sweet potato can be consumed as roasted, steamed, baked, or grilled. adding them to soups and stews while garnishing with leafy greens for salads.


Vitamin B6
Cures Heart attacks
Fiber, Potassium & Magnesium
Low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes and controls blood pressure.
Less calories
Compared to ordinary potato
Vitamin C&D
Good for skin, avoids flu virus, good for bone and tooth, digestion and supports thyroid gland
Iron
Increased energy, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein

Friday, August 21, 2015

Growing Mushroom at Home

Mushroom farming business can be mean big profits in just a few weeks. Plus, starting your own business growing oyster mushrooms for profit is fairly easy. In fact, here’s how to get started in just six easy steps
Oyster mushrooms are probably the easiest kind of mushrooms to grow. Though they are accustomed naturally to growing in wood, you also can raise oyster mushrooms in a variety of other growing media, including straw or sawdust. The easiest way to begin is with a kit/poly bag. If you want to experiment on your own, then oysters give you a greater chance of success than other mushrooms.  Mushrooms are basically fungi, which have a fleshy and spore bearing fruiting body.They have been in use not only for consumption purposes, but also for medicinal purposes, since ages there are over 14,000 types of mushrooms in the world, out of which 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties and around 1400 have been recognized as poisonous. In this post oyster mushroom spawn is being processed.Health Tips:Being rich in fiber, protein and Vitamin B, mushrooms help maintain a healthy metabolism. It has been found that mushroom extract helps stop migraine headaches and is beneficial for people suffering from mental illnesses, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water.
  • Mushrooms help fight against Cancer.
  • Very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz) and very low sodium and fat.
  • 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. 
  • An ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensive.
  • Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium.
  •  In fact, it is said that there is more potassium in a mushroom than a banana, Mushrooms are rich in copper, a mineral that has cardio-protective properties.
  •  Oyster mushrooms are said to be useful in strengthening of veins and relaxation of the tendons.
  • Mushrooms contains some very important mineral and vitamins like: Folate (Vitamin B9), Niacin (Vitamin B3) , Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B6, Copper – 0.3 mg, Iron – 0.5 mg, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium. 
  


Mushroom growing steps

1. Find a dark closed room or build one providing light proof cubical/cells.

2. Create a humid environment within the celland it would be good if a temperature is maintained less than 25 degree Celsius





3. Soak straw for 12 hours.

4. Use a pressure cooker to cook it for 5-7 mints in high flame


5. Spread the soaked straw on a clean and plain surface to drain the water content.

6. Straw when used in stuffing into poly bags it should be wet and never allow to get it dry.




7. Mushroom spawns (seeds) are required to start the culture.     

8. In this image, the spawns are processed using rice grains.





9. Encircle inoculated straw as showed in the image.


10. Place the inoculated encircled straw as the first layer at the bottom-most of the poly bag. 




11. Spread the spawn along the outermost edge of the first layer of the encircled straw placed in the bag.

12. Spawn should be spread around in such a such a way that it should be visible from outside after packing. 

 13. Repeat steps 9-12 until the poly bag is filled with 5-6 layers as appropriate considering the height of the bag 


14. Bags to be tied tightly from the upper most opening.
15. Use needle to poke holes on the sides of the bag every few inches. Mushrooms will grow out of these holes.



16.Hang the bag on to a stand and make use of a spray bottle with clean water to sprinkle/mist it a few times a day through the holes on the bag to keep it.


17. Mushroom starts appearing on their own at this point, or even a 40 watt bulb light need to initiate fruiting.
18. Direct sunlight may not be required, any light through ventilator is good enough.
19. The dark and cool room, should have a high level of humidity, temperature will need to be 24 to 28 degrees Celsius. Also it is good to have provisions of natural lights at least 3 hours a day. 

20. After 3 to 8 weeks, white mycelium has colonized most of the straw.



Now just enjoy! Harvest and have pest free and nutritious mushrooms



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lessons learned on Carrot plantation

Lessons learned on carrot plantation

Carrots are a cool-weather vegetable. Since the seeds are of smaller in size using seedling tray would be preferable. Seedlings appeared in 2 weeks and was ready to get transplanted after showing up 3-4 leaves.
Tips

  • Carrot grows well under sunlight
  • Compost is better to be used as the root penetration will be easier
  • Remove rocks, otherwise carrots will split, fork, and become malformed if they grow into obstructions. 
  • Carrots require a soil temperature of about 40°F to germinate; germination will be slow in cold soil.


  • Keep carrots evenly moist to ensure quick growth and ensure that it should not be submerged in too much of water.
  •  Do not allow the soil to dry out. Reduce watering as roots approach maturity; too much moisture at the end of the growing time will cause roots to crack. 
  •  Spread wood ash over planting beds to provide extra potassium for root growth.
  • Shallow cultivation is necessary to avoid damaging the roots. Mulch carrot beds to keep soil temperatures even. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sappanwood - Pathimukham (Herbal Plant)


Pathimukham, Patang (Caesalpinia Sappan)
This is a herbal plant with medicinal abilities, I planted one on land and it grows 10 feets of height. In Kerala, we purify drinking water while using the  It also produces a valued type of reddish dye from it's heartwood which contains juglone (5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone), also an active antimicrobial principle. Homoisoflavonoids (sappanol, episappanol, 3'-deoxysappanol, 3'-O-methylsappanol, 3'-O-methylepisappanol and sappanone A) can also be found in C. sappan.

Image was taken from the neighboring plot.The wood is somewhat lighter in color than Brazilwood and its other allies, but the same tinctorial principle appears to be common to all. Sappanwood was a major trade good during the 17th century, when it was exported from Southeast Asian nations (especially Siam) aboard red seal ships to Japan.
If “Pathimugam” is boiled in water, the water gets purified and thereby drinking this water can prevent epidemic diseases spreading through water. This material is used as an ingredient in almost all Ayurvedic medicines and because of its nature it can be used by itself as a medicine.This herbal drinking water has the ability to cure anti-thirst, used as blood purifier, anti- diabetic, improvement of complexion and several other properties.
Source: The image or heartwood is copied from other articles.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Micro Farm Setting up


Micro Farm 

An attempt and an experiment to grow organic vegetable. This should be functional by April 6. 

Also view: Drip Irrigation Planning

Landscape and Surroundings
This land is little fertile that I understood from the farmers working in adjacent locations. There is a stream adjacent to the plot.

An attempt to convert the barren land to a 
fertile land.

On the left image land with weeds and on the right side, weeds being cleared and getting it ready for vegetable plantation.

The pit is ready to prepare compost (organic). Dry leaves, weeds were chopped and dumped and covered with mud and watering it on weekends. The pit is filled now with dry leaves, weeds and watered it for decomposition.














Sapodilla fruit or Cheeku in India.

Sapodilla or sapota (Chikoo) is a popular delicious fruit. Its calorie-rich soft, easily digestible pulp composes of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly. It is a vital source of vitamins, minerals and health benefiting anti-oxidant.
Sapota is a tropical evergreen fruit-bearing tree belongs to the family of Sapotaceae in the genus: Manilkara. Scientific name: Manilkara zapota.


Planted one and the sapling is ready to get transplanted. Since this will grow in size I plan to plant this on ground instead of in Sack.


Transplanted the plant to land since it grows in size. This sapling is now one year old.














Not sure if required water every day , since four months I am watering once in a week and still it is green. The land is 30 kms. away from where I stay. Whenever I visit the plot on weekend, I water the plant.
 Source: Image with the fruits are from different articles.

Pineapple Plant on Rooftop

Pineapple known as a “King of Fruits”, having said that apart from its pleasant taste and flavor, it is a good source of vitamin A and B and fairly rich in vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. It is also a source of Bromelain, a digestive enzyme. 

Planted one as an experiment. I pulled out the crown (Shoot Apex) from a fruit that I bought and planted that into a container.

It took almost 16 months to show up a baby
fruit. I did not use any compost or fertilizer. 
May be the soil I used was fertile enough that it could fetch me a good size fruit.













Fruit Benefits
  • Eating pineapple benefits in strengthening your gums, 
  • Beta-carotene present in pineapples empowers vision.
  • Pineapple fruit which prevent inflammation in arthritis patients and strengthens bones.
  • The abundance of antioxidants, prevent from several types of cancers.
  • Bromelain, vitamin C and dietary fiber are abundantly present,which promote digestion.
  • If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, consider the pineapple diet for hypertension. 
  • A key benefit from pineapple juice intake is that it averts nausea or morning sickness. 
  • Quite useful for pregnant women who usually experience nausea. It also helps people who are looking to go on airplane trips that usually cause motion sickness.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cucumber Plantation on Roof

A Cucumber with its diverse variety is one among those healthy vegetables. In my blog there are articles on cucumber plantation and images. Since I never expected a very healthy and moderately large size cucumber can be grown on roof top I am sharing this in this post.
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same botanical family as melons (including watermelon and cantaloupe) and squashes (including summer squash, winter squash, zucchini and pumpkin). Commercial production of cucumbers is usually divided into two types.




I was surprised how this could grow in bigger size as compared to my experiments did before.

I could find that the floor of the roof had some mud and algae, hope which supported the plants' root at each node and probably that might have helped the cucumber to grow in bigger size.









Generally in a cucumber plant, at each node, there is a leaf, a flower, a fruit, a tendril and root.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spinach or Palak Plantation

Spinach is one of the most vitamin-rich plants. Spinach does best when growing in moist, nitrogen-rich soil. Brought to India by Arab traders.


Harvest


Thanks to Monsoon in Kerala. Fresh Indian Spinach was harvested from 25 pots.





Plant was transplanted from another pot. Plant grew in size to harvest in a months time. This plant require moderate sunlight and the soil should be moisturized in stipulated time periods. 







Seed

Spinach plants form a deep taproot; for best growth, loosen the soil at least 1 foot deep before planting.

Saplings 

Seeds were sown in a clay pot and then after 14 days this was transplanted to smaller pots and bags.


Nutritious Value of Indian Spinach 
  • Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A and reduces the risk of eye diseases.
  • Consuming this in a regular diet brings the blood pressure down to normal levels.
  • Can be used to prevent and treat many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases as it strengthens the heart muscles, allowing the blood to be pumped to all parts of the body.
  • Spinach is rich in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus which help in building strong bones and lowering the chances of osteoporosis.
  • Studies show that spinach lowers the cancer risk by 34%.
  • It is advisable for pregnant women to include spinach in their regular diet as folate found in it is needed by the growing fetus for development of a new nervous system.
  •  Helps in loosing weight.
  • Improves the quality of the sperm.
  • Can help cure constipation.



Monday, March 24, 2014

Efficient Roof Farming

Planted four tomato saplings, this one being a different category/breed, that grew in heights, so had to provide some support to hold the Plant with its fruit.

Brinjal or an egg plant with seven fruits at a time in a single Plant.

Long beans plant could produce 20 beans in a single plant in a span of 30 days
 Planted Long green eggplant, however the fruit that showed up was a cross-breed of a long and a round eggplant. Believe it might be the result of a cross-pollination, since there was a violet round eggplant very next to this one.