Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ragi - take 3 - bumper produce

yes, ragi t3 has beaten the earlier record produce.

take 3 was planted adopting the SRI methodology.
we raised the nursery in early july and transplanted the saplings when they were 10-11 days old, one sapling at a time, with a spacing of about 8 inches. the saplings were under 2 inches tall looked quite delicate to be transplanted. we noticed the roots were also about 2 inches long.

transplanting younger helps better root development and avoids damage to the root structure while transplanting. the spacing ensures they have enough room to spread. better root growth & spread will translate in better tillering.

well, all of the above worked beautifully. the saplings grew tall and strong. they put out an average of about 10 tillers within a month. we harvested from the top in two phases as we saw more crowns appearing as the earlier crowns had matured.

we got 23kgs in 4 cents and could not contain our excitement. this field has been under mulch for over 18 months now.

ragi mudde
has been added to our regular menu.

Monday, November 07, 2011

millets harvest - update

we had a classic manavari (rainfed) aadi pattam this year - adequate sun with adequate rain.
our sowing was timely and so the reaping was not bad. mahesh & sujatha and ananthu & sumathi had come over to help us with the harvesting. it was a lot of fun & banter.

harvest update

1. foxtail millet - thinai (2 varieties - yellow and red).
sowed in patches of 3 cents each. harvested 16.5 kgs in total.
days to maturity - 63 days

we harvested the thinai by cutting the stock from bottom, dried it and beat it to get the grain. processing will involve pounding (kai kutthal) the gains in a mortar with a pestle (voral and ollakai) and winnowing away the skin. apparently thinai has 7 layers of skin and so needs to be pounded 7 times. we got edible grain after pounding 4 times. we replace rice partly with thinai while making pongal and it is delicious.

2. pearl millet - kambu (bajra) - 2 varieties (hybrid and native)

a) native kambu: smaller grain and looks more like thinai than the classic bajra.
Sowed in 3.5 cents. Harvested 9.5 kgs.
days to maturity - 62days
native kambu is a great find. easy to grow, easy to harvest, easy to process and delicious to consume. seems to be hardy as well.
we cut the crowns from the top, dried them and beat them to get the grains. one pounding in the voral and winnowing gives us clear grains. we grind them and then use them to make porridge (kanji) and rotis. rotis made with 50% native kambu and 50% wheat were very tasty.

b) hybrid kambu:

largest grain size among all millets. we are not sure if this is hybrid or another variety of native kambu. however the shopkeeper who sold us the seeds called it hybrid and so we will as well.

Sowed in 4 cents. Harvested 4.5 kgs. we lost out to some attack where the grains started to turn black due to heavy rains prior harvest.
days to maturity - 77days

here too we cut the crowns (of what remained after the attack) from the top, dried and beat them. it took longer to process this 4.5kgs when compared to the 9.5kgs of native kambu. we have not consumed it yet, but have seen recipes for "khicidi" on the net.

3. little millet - samai
sowed in 2.8 cents and harvested 7.5kgs
days to maturity: 78 days

we cut the stock from the bottom, dried and beat to get the grains. we are yet to process and consume.

4. groundnut
sowed in about 4 cents and harvested 13 kgs.
days to maturity: 83 days.

in these parts groundnut is sowed mainly in karthikai - margazhi pattam (nov-dec) just after the withdrawal of north east monsoon. it is grown as an irrigated crop to get optimum productivity. however, aadi (july-aug) sowing used to be done as a rainfed crop (lower productivity) to get seeds for the main pattam. offlate, people have done away with the aadi sowing as they prefer to buy seeds . we got a just enough for our karthikai sowing.

it is supposed to take about 100 days during the irrigated season. our rainfed one came to maturity earlier and we had to take it out to stop the rates and squirrels from helping themselves generously to the pods.

ps: our camera packed up and so no pictures of the harvest.