Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, August 15, 2010

varagu - planting

those who recall my post on hardy and nutritious millets, may also recall that we planned to convert to a millet centric diet and hence plant a lot of millets (csm - what are the chances?!).

ploughing away, some of you will recall us keeping to this promise based on our planting ragi.
a few may have raised eyebrows when they read that we had planted rice.
(those who have successfully remembered all the above posts should seriously read a few other blogs).

but rice planting was after we planted varagu (kodo millet in english, kodon in hindi, kodra in marathi, harka in kannada and arikelu in telegu).
we had our first taste of varagu (available in reStore in chennai) when my bhabhi made pongal (the sweet as well as the breakfast variety) using varagu instead of rice.
very tasty and filling.
for interested cooks, do a find 'rice and replace with 'varagu' in sambar rice, khichidi or above two items. guaranteed better results - taste and health.
more millet recipes here.

i had part ploughed a piece of land around 2 months ago after the pre-monsoon showers.
to add fertility, we sprinkled some dried cow dung and we had planted some sunn hemp.
a month later, we ploughed the field again and the sunn hemp into the soil.
now it was ready for planting in the aadi maasam (mid july to mid aug).

the day we planted rice, we planted varagu.

the seeds were broadcast.

the common method after broadcasting is to re-plough the field with bullocks to cover the seeds.
since we could not arrange for 2x4 legged animals, we used 2x2 legged animals.
using crudely devised methods and implements, we ran over the field hoping to replicate the effect of a plough.

it looked well covered at the end of it.

if the heavy rains which filled up our rice field has not washed away the varagu seeds from this field, in 5-6 months, we should have a good harvest.
it takes around 1.5-2 weeks to sprout. so we are waiting with bated breath.
watch this space.


Anonymous said...

Apparently in the Vedas, there is a belief that a plant that grows on untilled soil is more nutritious. Are you planning on experimenting with no-till cultivation for millets, that would save a lot of soil erosion in and around the western ghats (the Tamil Nadu side)?

csm said...

yes anon. planning to move towards no till.
it is a transition which we are working towards.