Saturday, December 24, 2011

Drip Irrigation - 1: The Components

Jai Sai Master !

We are planning to install drip irrigation system into our little garden. Drip irrigation is an excellent way of increasing efficiency by lowering the amount of water required in the garden. More on it later, in a big post. For now, here is a small video on the components of drip irrigation.

Jai Sai Master !

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preparations for Sheet Mulching

Jai Sai Master !


Sheet Mulching is one of the practices that is followed in permaculture. Essentially permaculture involves methods and practices which aim to mimic nature. For example you would not find rows of and rows of rice or the same vegetable growing all by itself in nature. A plant is not just an object being made in factory lines. When a plant emerges from the ground, it tries to 'create' conditions favourable for it and for its progeny, right from the soil to the animals there. On the same lines, soil would only allow certain types of plants to grow in it. Similarly animals ..


The point is that nothing is isolated in nature. We might see things separately and individually but for the nature its just one big continuum. Natures sees the 'whole' and not just the parts.


The aim in sheet mulching is to prevent digging and upturning the soil. And there is a reason for it. There are cycles in nature, viz. soil cycle, water cycle etc etc. The organisms in the soil are tuned to them. Whenever we disturb these cycles, the localized conditions get disrupted and the benefits already established are lost.






So instead of upturning the soil, a layer of paper or cardboard is put onto the land. This layer prevents sunlight from reaching the weeds and other unwanted plants. And hence this layer is also called weed barrier. This prevents their further growth and in time, they (both the weeds and the cardboard or paper) decompose to give valuable nutrients to the soil.


Secondly, we put a layer of useful soil onto the top of paper layer. There are many different ways of doing it. You can find various interpretations of it by different permaculturists. What we have done is that we mix 2 loads of red soil, with 2 loads of coco peat, 2 loads of manure, 1 load of sand and a handful of vermicompost. This layer covers the paper layer. The height of this layer depends on what one wants to grow and the nature of the land below the paper/cardboard layer. Usually a height upwards of 10 inches should be good enough if the land below was also treated similarly.


A few good links regarding sheet mulching:


1. http://www.agroforestry.net/pubs/Sheet_Mulching.html
2. http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/9-simple-steps-to-sheet-mulching/


Video: Coming soon :)


Jai Sai Master !

Monday, December 19, 2011

History or How it ALL began - 1

Jai Sai Master ! (Glory to the almighty lord who gives us bountiful)


Its around a year back when we our 'superior' told us about something known as 'Permaculture' (no there is no greek reference to it, its plain English - but I came to know this much later!). It was completely new to us. After all we were a bunch of engineers, research scholars, electricians etc., who do not bother about silly stuff like nature ! We also din't know much about plants (I still don't know). We were like a bunch of lazy bulls. When we worked, we had no thoughts, and when we slept - we had no worries! 






So guided with a few videos of Bill Mollison and handful of newly bought spades and other tools, we set our foot where no man had ever (for the last 2 years atleast !). The plot belonged to us, but being too small for playing cricket, with elders doing some traditional gardening in the form of flowers and a few veggies, we had but almost abandoned it. And how bad was it? It was really bad, we just could not dig it. After a few exercise sessions involving dumb bells and lots of rest, we came, we saw and we conquered - the rest as they say is history :D


We started first with raised beds and .... 


Wait, you cant have all the story in one post about ALL that WE did (sometimes I feel, only I did it, but still for courtesy sake :D), in ONE WHOLE YEAR (was it a leap year too ;) ).


So, I am not going to cut the long story short. I ll keep going along the history route whenever possible! For now that's it folks !


Jai Sai Master !