Monday, July 31, 2017

Growing shallot or small onion (Cheryia ulli)

In South India shallots are known as small onion (cheriya ulli in Malayalam). In my terrace I grew this verity in a medium size container/pot. They are formed in clusters and ready for harvest in 100 days from the day of planting the cloves. There are seeds available in market which can be used to grow seedlings.

More details...would be published soon......




Experimenting Maize (Corn) Plantation

Honey bee farming/Beekeeping / Apiculture

Diversified farming based on season.- Beekeeping (Theneecha krishi in Malayalam language)
While reading a few articles on diversified farming and season based farming, I realized and planned to start as an experiment with 10 boxes/colonies. To start with as a new business opting 10 colonies was not appropriate as it is not easy to manage beekeeping when we are new to this farming. However end of the season with the help of my father we managed to extract Honey worth 15 Kg from 5 productive boxes. To start this as a hobby it is better to start with 2 colonies and it helps in learning and understanding the nature of this farming and also learn the behaviors of Bee.

Honeycomb extracted from the honey chamber from the box also called - Super
Comb is built by female bee who are also know as worker bee.
With in the box each racks/frames that support in holding the honeycomb vertically.

End of the season, each of the rack/frames should be taken out from the super (not from the Brood- bottom most box) one by one and then place the frame(s) into centrifugal extractor and process it to extract honey which is collected at the bottom of the extractor. Replace the frame with wax/comb bac to the Super and close the box.

Smoker is used while handling the racks in the colony , as it helps and protect us from bee stings. The equipment is filled with coconut husk and will be lighted to pump smoke on top of the beehive when it is opened.

Honey processing mechanisms. Raw honey is rich in nutireis and can be consumed directly and no harm in it, however ensure that it is filtered properly from the extractor and other equipments used are clean.
If you want you can process it while placing the half filled honey container (I used Steel) on top of a larger container with warm water not more than 40 degree Celsius. If you notice a thin layer of foam appearing on top of it, not to worry as I heard that they are the air bubbles from the raw honey.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Papaya plantation

Papaya fruit is largely available on South America, Mexico, Africa, Indonesia and India. In India, production of papaya is 5.5 millions of tons (Source: United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, FAOSTAT)


Papaya health benefits

1. Contains Papain, a digestive enzyme and helps in breaking down proteins
2. Anticancer, fruit is being used in medicines and improves cardiovascular health and protect agaist colon cancer.
3. Papain is good for skin diseases as it kills dead cells and purifies the skin.
4. Inner bark of the tree is good for toothaches
5. Good for weigh loss. A bowl full of papaya can be consumed daily.
6. As this fruit generates heat in the body, that helps in stimulating estrogen hormone which helps in normalizing in irregularity in periodic cycle (Mensuration).
7. Effective against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
8. Flowers and the roots are good for curing Jaundice, Bronchitis.

Side effects and when to avoid

1. For pregnant women or an expected mother papaya is harmful.
2. Latex present in papaya causes uterine contractions which may lead to abortions.






Friday, August 12, 2016

Vegetable plantation on raised beds

Raised bed layout is one of the techniques that helps in deep root on loosened soil. This method is more productive and efficient  when compared to growing directly on soil or even in grow-bags.I have setup a few raised bed with different dimensions and soil combination to learn and understand  the most suitable one for each category of plants.
Bed was filled with a composition of the following;
1. Soil
2. Rotting wood, branches, coconut husk and leaves.
3. Compost prepared from decayed plants after harvesting.
4. Animal wastes or cow dung.



 Planted egg plants and green chilly on the raised bed, used coconut husk along the boundary to protect the bed when it rains. Coconut is also used as one of the composition for preparing the bed.
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. Root crops require loose and light soil for good growth of the roots, which includes; carrot, radish, beatroot and others.
The outer boundary of the bed helps and support in holding the compost or soil. Poly sheets beneath the bed helps retaining the moisture and restrict water to flow out. 
This is a South Indian variety leafy vegetable.


Turnip lined up on the bed. usage of compost soil, the bed contains lots of pores which retain water and oxygen.

Green chilies on raised bed.

How to setup a low cost  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...More...

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

Growing 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.

sweet potatoes

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

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