Quarter Acre of Livelihood – Update 1

25 cents (11,000 sq ft)  seems like a space that is small enough and big enough for our home needs and some sharing. The soil being what it is, we do not expect to be able to grow every thing.  The list below is some thing we arrived at after some trial and error.

A rough layout of the different elements..

  1. Space for growing green manure for seeds.
    They typically take 4 months to maturity so at least 3 crops are possible.  In the current season, we are growing Sun Hemp.
  2. Provide permanent space for creepers. Few country veggies like bottle gourd, white and red pumpkins have spread out. Had a really good crop of white and red pumpkins and the season will last another 2 months. Also had a bounty of bottle gourds this season.
  3. A  trellis made of stone pillars and wire mesh has been erected for climbers (again, country veggies) like chow-chow(coyote), snake gourd, ridge gourd and flat beans. But the vines are yet to take off since we missed the June season. Meanwhile, bitter gourds are happily growing on the fence.
  4. Few beds for Aum’s favorite veggies like tomatoes, brinjals, radish, cluster beans, chili and ladies finger.  This is work in progress.
    In Coimbatore, June and November seem like good season for  ladies finger. Tomatoes and Radish grow all year round. For Chili, May seems best. Ladies finger flourishes in the sun while tomatoes grow well in part-shade also. I just got some good seeds and hope to test these out.
  5. Space for greens.
    Like Amaranth and Ooty-1(Chakaravarthy Keerai)
  6. A test bed for experiments..
    For germination tests and labeling for different sources of seeds.
  7. A seedling nursery close to home.
    Plan to do this in January once our bio-gas plant stabilises and we have regular output of rich slurry that can feed the seedlings.
  8. A permanent, continuously maintained bed for every day spices
    Corriander, Curry leaves, Fenugreek and Mint for now.
  9. A sample bed of what grows deep in the farm
    So we don’t miss out the harvest window.
  10. Some space for fruits which makes up our dinner.
    Papyas are just flowering. Bananas are in plenty. Guavas and Pomogranates are available seasonally. Would love to add Custard Apples and Dates.
  11. Space for our aspirational lunch – millets.
    We have grown Kambu (Bajra, Pearl Millet) with a fair degree of success and had a bumper crop of Corn. Fox Tail millet is promising but everything else needs more practice.
  12. Space for easy to grow pulses
    Currently we grow Pigeon Pea, Horse gram and Cow pea.
  13. Nuts!
    Our oil needs are taken care of by the generous coconut trees. And we have some Indian Butter trees (Iluppai) and Pongamia trees along the fence. But we are nuts about ground nuts so we’d like to grow them at least one season a year – typically from Nov 15 to Feb 15.
  14. A patch for herbs
    like Tulsi, Vettiver, lemon grass,  Adathoda, Indian Borage (Omavalli), Kariyat(Sirianangai), Veldt grape (Pirandai). Would like to add King of Bitters(Periya nangai), Solanim Trilobatum (thoothuvalai) and Pennywort (Vallarai). We’d also like to grow some herbs in every raised bed so it creates its own chemistry with the soil, vegetables and insects.
  15. Space for trees and shrubs that bear flowers and fruits.
    Mainly for bees and birds. It looks like there will be riot of colours next summer.

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