Farming tales

A Tamil calendar aims to acquaint aspiring organic farmers with forgotten traditional techniques

Aadi pattam, thedi vidhai (seeds are best sown in the month of Aadi),” goes an old Tamil adage. “If you follow it, practically, you will get the desired results,” says K Kalimuthu, an organic farmer from Madurai.

“The time is perfect for sowing millets. Last year, I raised two acres of pearl millet and the harvest was bountiful. This time, I have procured seeds of the rare native variety of foxtail millet (senthinai) from a farmer in Kolli Hills.” The 33-year-old adds, “Every seed has a season, depending on the wind, rain and humidity conditions.”

“Season-specific planning is important in organic farming. If you sow during rains, you may lose the crops,” explains 68-year-old Ganesan Nallamuthu. “Crops like keerai are less risky and can be grown through the year. The knowledge of weather and seasons is an asset.”

To create awareness among aspiring young organic farmers, Chennai-based Prabakaran Murugesan has come up with a comprehensive calendar. Called ‘Tamizhar Velaan Natkaatti’, the 20x30 monthly-sheet in Tamil is colourful, and packed with information on farming techniques and procedures.

Murugesan recalls tending to a one-acre plot of land in his school days, in his native village in the interiors of Ariyalur. “We cultivated multiple crops in that small piece of land, like chillies, onions, radish and groundnut to millets and pulses. By the time chilli plants flowered, we harvested spinach. Along the peripheries of the farm, gongura was sown as a natural pest deterrent. After harvest, the stubs were let to bio-degrade and become natural manure.”....Read more


Source web page: The hindu

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