Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Monday, August 09, 2010

planting in the rain

it rained on saturday night (august 7, 2010).

after a period of nearly 2 weeks.
our sowing plans were getting out of sync. the aadi maasam (mid july to mid august) is an auspicious sowing time in tamilnadu. the SW monsoon rains would have blessed the soil with enough moisture. and there would be a few more sporadic showers in the later months during the crop growth phase. sufficient to raise a crop before the big rains during the NE monsoon.
but the 2 week dry spell left us wondering if this crop could be considered at all.

and saturday happened.
and we jumped up with glee and jazzed up for planting.
the selected crop was rice. the breed is called nawabi kolam. the source was the legendary bhaskarbhai save. it is a 175 day crop and grows to around 6 feet in height.
the selected spot is a small pond - around 1500 sq feet area. very small indeed. but we were just going to trial rice growing.
this pond gets filled up with the run off from the nearby areas during heavy rains and we expected that the top soil settled in its bottom would be reasonably fertile. in tamil, pond/tank silt is called vandal man. and is very rich. and farmers lap it up.
we had ploughed the plot 3 weeks ago in anticipation of the sowing.
here it is.

the grass bundles are for mulching once we sow.

the idea is to grow rice without the conventional methods - nursery preparation, transplanting, flooding for weed control, etc.
we were going to plant the seeds directly into the soil and water as and when required without flooding. we were hoping that in case it rains and the pond fills up a bit, it would not affect the crop.
so we hunkered up and planted seeds in gaps of 1.5 feet.

it took us (3 people) around 2 hours of work. one would make a depression with a stick and another would drop in a couple of seeds and close the depression. (yes, i did some of that and not just clicking pics).

and guess what.
it poured sunday night. the highest rainfall ever since we landed here. and the early morning sight that greeted us was...

wait...all is not lost. we have found out that the seeds we planted will survive this flooding (any other planting method would have been wiped out).
if the pond dries out reasonably within 2-3 days, the seeds will sprout and the experiment will continue.
what amazing rain and what amazing timing!


Anonymous said...

As a well wisher "all the best"!

Well written blog and good pictures.

Hope the rice comes up and we get to see green paddy field soon.


Raja said...

Wow!! Seems like I missed the best part. Am eagerly waiting for the end of my current assignment scheduled to end on 15th of this month. Once am through with that, i'll plan to be there on immediate next Wednesday at chennai and plan to come along with DV there.


SurveySan said...

Reminds me of the sowing i once did with my periyappa, when i was in 8th grade or so.

hope the seedlings grow. well, it will, if it is meant to be. :)

Nandakumar V said...

Good news! All the best. Hope the pond dries out as envisaged and hope the sprouting starts.

csm said...

pattu - thanks.
raja - call on 9445560811
ss - we are even gearing up for re-planting :-)
nanda - thanks.