Scythe Workshop

I first heard of Scythe, the tool, when our friend Nandan in Palghat  got it from Scythe Works in Canada to clear grass and bushes in his farm so he can walk. It is a manual tool and if one can get the swing right, the tool is very effective in harvesting and clearning at ten times the speed of …

Labour of Love

Post the farmers retreat, there was some interest in getting together and working on a local farm once a month. This month’s host was MG Farms in the nearby village of Pooluvapatti. We planted some fruit saplings, Iluppai (Mahua) saplings and had a fabuilous lunch prepared by our host-friend. Also got to know couple of new farmers.  One had done …

Farmers Retreat

This year’s retreat of natural farmers in Coimbatore, Pollachi and Attapadi area was facilitated by Nipun Mehta of ServiceSpace.  It was nice to share space with 25 plus friends for a day of in the humble community center here. A few friends had come from out of town to join us. In the morning session, which started after 30 minutes …

Mission, Vision and Fancy Footwork

Recently, a friend asked me what my mission was with respect to the farm. Had never thought about it in that way. Usually, the “mission statement’ comes up at the start of an endeavor. I had the advantage of being asked this seven years after living on the farm. I mentally looked back at what we have advocated with respect …

A Newsletter called Seeds+Transformation

Happy New Year! Our good friend Nipun from ServiceSpace asked us to edit a monthly newsletter on stories related to sustainability. It is called Seeds+Transformation and it is sent out at the beginning of each month. The last 12 issues are archived here

Hoogle Kulture: Onions

We discovered Hooglekulture couple of years back and have been fascinated by its possibilities. According to one definition, “Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood.” These are our second and third sets of HK beds.     We did not want to wait for the decomposing of the wood before planting and planted 7 …

Turmeric of the Year

Turmeric is a popular crop in our area grown from May to Feb. The rhizome, or underground stem, is harvested after 10 months. The variety we grow is called “Erode Turmeric”, Erode being the name of a district famous for turmeric cultivation and trade. As we set out with the long and thin bladed hoe, the weather was cool, trees …

Quarter Acre of Livelihood (for chickens :)

A month back, after harvesting the sun hemp, we proceeded to seed all the raised beds in the 25 cents with a variety of seeds weighing about 10 kgs (22 pounds). Many of the seeds were tiny so we decided against making clay pellets for faster completion of work. Also, we are not very good at making these pellets so …

Companion Planting 1 – Summer Tomatoes Among Castor Trees

Attempting a series on companion planting that has worked well on the farm both accidental and otherwise. I think a successful combination of plants should meet at least three of  these criteria.. Reduce pest attacks Increase or maintain combined productivity Reduce human labour especially weed control Increase carbon content of soil Reduce water requirements This particular combo of Castor ‘n’ …