Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ridge Gourds at Padval Farms

Ridge Gourds at Padval Farms
Tender and young ridge gourd plants seen here at padval Farms. ridge gourds are highly intolerant to cold temperatures and growth stunt can be seen when the day temp is drastically reduced

video and data by Pritham Dsouza

Bottle Gourd grown in Pits at the base of Hillock

Bottle Gourd grown in Pits on slope to facilitate greater vine length and movement at padval farms kinya mangalore

video and data by Pritham Dsouza

Yard Long Cowpea Runner Beans Using Pit method

Yard Long Cowpea Runner Beans Using Pit method at Padval Farms, Kinya, Mangalore, India

Yard Long Runner Beans are grown using the same pit method mentioned in Ladies Finger Okra cultivation. The results can be seen here.

Video and Data by Pritham Dsouza

Amaranthus Crop Video

Amaranthus Crop Video at Padval Farms, Kinya, Mangalore India

The lush green growth of Amaranthus (harive soppu, bhaji) is credited to weekly once application of Organic Gel made from Sea Weeds which contain Helpful Bacteria which breakdown the nutrients in the soil and make them more available to the plants.

to check the pest problem, pure neem oil @5ml per litre has to be used once a week.

the crop is ready to harvest in 21 days.

Video and Data by Pritham Dsouza

Spinach Grown on Soil without Support

Spinach Grown on Soil without Support

spinach also called valchhi bhajji in konkani grown on soil without using trellis or support at Padval farms,mangalore kinya. using organic inputs

Video and Data by Pritham D'Souza

Ladies Finger Okra Grown in Pits

Ladies Finger Okra Grown in Pits

the video shows flowering and fruiting stage of Ladies Finger (Okra, Bhindi) grown in pits and not in rows which is the traditional method followed.

Some salient features in this method
  • size of pit is fixed and uniformity is maintained, pit size followed here is 2 feet X 1 feet
  • only 2 plants are allowed per pit, the rest are removed by thinning out, hence plant density is also maintained
  • each pit requires the same amount of water, hence flooding and over watering is not required, saving precious water
  • The plant gets more than sufficient space, with plenty of room between pits and hence no plant suffers from want of light and nutrients

Video and Data by Pritham D'Souza

Pumpkin Plot grown on Terraced Hill

Pumpkin Plot grown on Terraced Hill at Padval Farms, Kinya Mangalore, India

Video below shows effective utilization of a terraced hillock, where creeper vines are made to grow all along the surface of the hill. Pumpkin' are ready for harvesting.

video and data by Pritham D'Souza

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monsoon Cultivation Of Cucumber

Monsoon Cultivation Of Cucumber by Pritham 'Metal Farmer' D'Souza

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most widely used salad crops grown both in North and South India. Fruits contain good amount of Iron and Vitamin C along with carbohydrates. It is highly recommended for people suffering from Jaundice, constipation and indigestion

since i am mentioning the monsoon cultivation techniques here, the land preparation is very similar to my other posts where i have mentioned monsoon cultivation. Some main points to begin with
  • The land selected must have adequate drainage
  • water logging areas should not be selected
  • however if availability of land is a constraint, seeds have to be sown on elevated bunds as shown below
  • Due to heavy rains, most of the seeds get drowned with too much moisture and they start to rot even before germination, hence more seeds have to be sowed.
  • bunds or raised seed beds should have a minimum height of 10 to 15 inches and seeds once germinated must be thinned out and plant distance maintained

germination seen 7 to 10 days after sowing

close up of germinated seedling

seedling reaches 3 leaf stage in the 3rd week of sowing

the above pic shows water severely logged in the field. the raised seedling bed literally saved the seedlings from rot and drowing.

the photo above shows considerable growth and development of the plant when rainfall recedes and light intensity increases

excess plants must be thinned out and plant distance must be maintained as seen above

  • Since this is monsoon technique, irrigation is not given, however, due to erratic rainfall patterns, lite irrigation is a must at the time of sowing to moisten the field in case rains fail.
  • while making the raised beds/bunds, decomposed Organic Manure must be added to the soil, and mixed thoroughly and seeds must be sowed on top of this. When the seeds germinate and grow, they will make use of the nutrients present in the soil
  • DO NOT spray the crops during monsoons using pesticides or liquid fertilizers when there is not enough sunlight.
  • Spraying of Liquid fertilizers should be done only when required and in the presence of sunlight. plants prepare their own food during photosynthesis and so sunlight is the most important factor.
  • Soil aeration can be increased by loosening the soil around the root zone of the plants. this also helps in drainage.
the above figure shows rapid development of the plant and tendril stage

soil loosened to provide good aeration and also allow better drainage

  • The plant receives the basal dose of decomposed farm yard manure at the time of preparation of the land and sowing.
  • Spray 1 ml seed weed based algae Organic Manure in 1 litre of water at every 10 day intervals. addition of wetting agent like APSA or other sticking agents is recommended so as to increase the effectiveness of the sprays
  • Flowering will be seen 40 to 45 days after sowing and the mature fruits can be harvested after 55 to 60 days after sowing.
  • Timely harvesting the fruit is a must otherwise they over ripe and become unfit for consumption. for salads, the green color of the fruit must not turn brownish yellow.
  • fruits must be plucked every alternate days to avoid over riping
  • for seeds, yellow brown fruits , golden fruits (mature color) are harvested, seeds extracted, washed thoroughly in water and dried
  • the seeds thhus obtained must be sowed again within 3 to 6 months or it looses its viability
  • Cucumber yields up to 100 quintals per hectare

the above pic shows the same stretch of land with excellent growth and flowering

formation of tender fruit buds

growing tender fruit
mature fruit ready for harvest

  • I only recommend the usage of pure neem oil @ 5 ml per litre of water to be sprayed only when insect attack is seen
  • Imidochloprid systemic insecticide @2 ml in 5 litre water can be used every 10 days for the young seedlings since they are most vulnerable to sucking pests like aphids, thrips and plant minors. it is also effective in controlling red pumpkin beetle which damages the growing leaves and severely injures the plant
  • Spraying must be done in sunny weather and not in gloomy weather
  • spraying in the evenings from 4pm to 5 pm is recommended than spraying during day time as it will affect pollination
  • adding 2 ml per litre sticking agents or wetting agents is required to increase the effectiveness of the sprays

all photos and data by Pritham D'Souza

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grow Lettuce in Water using simplified hydroponics

Grow Lettuce in Water using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

in my earlier posts i have showed in detail how to grow lettuce in floating bed. i had showed the procedure in making a float bed, with all imputs necessary like thermocol sheet, black plastic sheet, dishwasher sponge etc with transplanting technique.

now i plan to show the growth stages of lettuce in a step by step pictoral guide from seedling tray/tub stage to harvest stage.

i had first managed to transplant the young lettuce seedlings in grow bed which had coconut peat and rice husk as substrate as shown above.

transplanting was done when the seedlings were about 6 cm in height.

notice the roots on the day of transplanting. the photos were taken on march 3 2009.

in just a weeks time, there was rapid growth as seen above. the pic was taken on march 11, 2009

notice the height of the plant when i transplanted it from seed tray to grow bed. it was approx 6 cm.

the photo above shows me holding the same plant after it was transplanted in the float bed, just 15 days later. its height now is nearly 18 cm.
also look below and see how long the roots have grown.

the above 2 pics were clicked on 21 march 2009, 10 days later. they seem to have grown a lot more & also very healthy and green.

  • remember to continuously aerate the float beds for min 2 minutes daily. i aerate it twice daily.
  • lift the thermocol sheet and spalsh the water with your hand till bubbles are formed
  • bubbles formed in aeration provide atmospheric oxygen to the roots & also destroy any insect eggs, if found.
my only concern is the lettuce though looking very healthy seems to droop & not stand upright. feedback related to this problem is appreciated.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photos in original size, click on photo to enlarge

Grow Tomatoes on your roof top without soil using simplified hydroponics

Grow Tomatoes on your roof top without soil using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

Tomatoes are the most widely consumed vegetable in India, where it is used in a variety of cuisines. it is also very popular as puree, sauces & ketchups. however it has always been very challenging to grow tomatoes in the coastal belt as soil becomes the most important factor.
it grows well in black soils not in the coastal red soils.

since hydroponics doesnt need soil, half the battle is already won. following is how i have grown tomatoes without soil, successfully.

in the field, tomatoes are soaked in water or curds for a few days and when the seeds start to sprout, they are braodcast in raised seed beds.
the above pic shows germination just 4 days after sowing. photo taken on feb 5 2009

the above 2 pics show 99 percent germination. even i didnt expect such an amazing and excellent germination percentage. photo taken on 9 feb 2009.

even though it has reached transplanting stage, i decided to wait for some more days to see if over crowding the plants will have any detrimental effect. the only problem i had was the occurence plant hoppers which ended up spreading mosaic virus. i managed to control the problem with neem sprays daily till i didnt see any further spread.

a close up of a tomato plant with distinct leaf structure. bothe the above photos were taken on 25 feb 2009.

after 1 week on march 1 2009, i decided to transplant tomatoes in sepatate growers.

since the grow bed was wider and deeper, i decided to utilize every space available to me. so i transplanted 3 plants together in the same grower as seen above. tomato has fibrous root system, so the roots will produce a number of lateral roots & spread like a very thick network in the grower.

immediately after transplanting i supplied nutrient water till the substrate was saturated and excess water started draining as seen below

transplanting was done on 1st march 2009

20 days later, the growth has to be seen to be believed. the above pic taken on march 21, 2009.

tomato successfully grown without soil.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photo in original size, click on photo to enlarge

grow orka ladies finger in flower pots without soil using simplified hydroponics

grow orka ladies finger in flower pots without soil using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

the above photo shows okra plants and cowpea plants grown together in the same grow tub. i have exceeded the normal time for usual transplanting in case of okra. in the field, okra plants are transplanted when 3 leaf stage is seen, wneh the plant attains a min height of about 6 inches.
here i have gone against the norm & transplanted when the plants are over 10 inches long.

an individual plant gently scooped up after light watering of the tub to loosen the substrate.

the above 3 pics shows the thick root network of the plant.

i also transplanted the plants in the afternoon when the intensity of sunlight is maximum. the substrate was well drenched with nutrient water till it reaches saturation point.

the drooping leaves was because of the intense heat. it did not kill the plants, but i had to not provide partial shade if i wanted the plants to improve which i did in the photo below. the plants were transplanted on march 4, 2009

the above photo shows how the plants have started to grow and look a lot more healthier after providing shade net. the above photo was taken on march 13 2009.

okra has grown successfully in flower pots without soil.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photo in original size, click on photo to enlarge

Grow Ladies Finger Okra without soil using simplified hydroponics

Grow Ladies Finger Okra without soil using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) popularly known as bhendi kai in kannada or bhendi in hindi is an annual vegetable crop. one of the most nutrient rich vegetables, the high iodine content in the fruit is used to control goitre, while leaves are used as anti inflamatory & dysentery. the dry seed contains excellent amount of edible oils & proteins, and it is extensively used in cosmetic industries & soap industries. the crushed seed is given to cattle to increase milk production

the above photo taken on feb 25, 2009 shows okra plants grown together with cowpea. germination was observed in 4 days time. in the field, the seed takes a lot of time to germinate as seeds show high degree of dormancy and generally takes up to 7 days to germinate.

a clear photo of okra seedling

the above 2 pics show me slowly lifting the plant ready to transplant in tomato boxes i converted as grow beds. one has to be careful not to damage the roots as they can snap easily. light watering must be done first, and the substrate loosened. then the plant has to be scooped up with the substrate around it intact.

a close up of the roots, well defined & good network

immediately after transplanting, nutrient water must be added till it starts to drain out
the transplanting pics were taken on march 1, 2009

the above photo shows great shoot and leaf development. notice at the growing inter nodes of the plants, flower buds have started to develop
photo was taken on march 13, 2009 just 12 days after transplanting.

the above photo was clicked at night, hence the slight drooping of leaves in the absence of light.

here bhendi is successfully grown without soil.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photos in original size, click on photo to enlarge