After the rains started, farmers in the neighbourhood started transplanting millets, mostly Vari & Nachni (finger millet). While transplanting these millet saplings, the roots do not have to be pushed into the ground, they just have to be laid on the ground in even lines. In a couple of days time one can see the saplings standing up with their roots firmly entrenched into the soil & swaying in the breeze……. Amazing !!

Millets are my all time favourite, but unfortunately this year i did not have time to prepare the land for growing them… hopefully there will be millet(s) crop next year.

This millet transplantation is almost like a sideshow of what is in store. After the transplantation of millets, when rains are at their heaviest, its time for the transplantation of rice. The amount of work that goes into getting a grain of rice into our plate never ceases to amaze me. For farming families everything else pales into oblivion. Nobody runs for cover even when rain is  pouring & pouring, they just continue with their work as if there is no tomorrow, almost like zombies.

I would not hesitate to say that growing rice is one of the toughest tasks for a farmer. It makes me wonder why not spend more time & energy in growing millets rather than rice. Millets are hardy, a bit of moisture on the ground is all that is required and more importantly there is no need for flooding. Plus one is working standing on relatively harder ground than while transplanting paddy. While transplanting rice, one has to work standing or sitting  in slush. The couple of days I spent in removing grasses among the rice saplings, left my feet & my back in an awful state & people do this continuously for more than a month…..

Surely my plans for next year’s kharif crop will be more millets & less paddy. Plus these months are crunch time for every one, it’s impossible to find anyone to come & help. Unless of course one has a large family (many wives & many children) & everyone is working on the field !!

People are on their own fields from 7 am to 7.30 pm. Also a crop depends so much on the weather gods. Before transplanting rice, heavy rains is needed to even out the ground. After transplanting again heavy rains are needed for the fields to be flooded. If the fields are not flooded then the grasses take over. When it comes to flowering, there should be no rains, then again some rain is needed. Finally after the crop is ready, god forbid if it rains then it could cause a lot of damage, so on & so forth……

My seedlings are not looking too good either. One can see there a bit of discolouration taking place. I myself know what it needs but i have not been able to do anything about it. People tell me “put a dose of di-ammonia phosphate (DAP), it will recover”. I said “No, let the land be chemical free”. Neighbouring farmers use three doses of DAP & i was told that some of the richer farmers spray Endosulfan !! They strongly advised me also to follow the above regimen.

I thought to myself that it’s ok for me to get a poor crop this year, I entered this land only a few months back so why should i expect anything, especially when i have not worked on it as of now. By next year i would have improved the soil fertility with various methods of greening & recycling…. hopefully things will be better then !!


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