Sometimes when I’ve to stay overnight in Pune, i prefer to leave early morning for the land. It’s the best time to listen to music in the car. Depending on my mood, if it is sombre then i like my favourites recordings on the bansuri of Raag Bairagi and Raag Malkauns or if my mood is happy then it has to be Mark Knopfler. Another reason why i like to drive early morning, apart from the pleasant drive is the chance to see many a winged beauties en route like the majestic Crested Serpent Eagle, Wire tailed swallows, Crested larks, partridges & Quails & many others which i cannot id.

The end of this month, will mark my first six months @ full-time farming & thanks to a very close friend’s suggestion (which (un)fortunately i took very seriously) to write about my the farming experiences….. otherwise it would’ve been all blurred images.

Besides starting to write, one of the first things i did while we secured the land (apart from building a dwelling) was to quickly sow rice & all my nervousness & apprehensions about it can be seen here

Well,  the first crop @ acres seven, which is rice, is all cut & harvested & its waiting to be threshed. It’s really difficult to explain or to write about certain things, especially while witnessing some neighbours, who have been farming since before i was born, loose their crop due to unseasonal incessant rain.

This year, nature strangely chose me, among some others, to be lucky. I don’t know why? Actually i feel i do not deserve it.

So, i am actually trying to gather strength from the serene way some of my neighbors have been going about life after seeing a bumper crop growing & then it get washed away at the last-minute…..

such is life i guess !!

Many friends ask me how much money i spent to grow rice, & how much is the rice worth in rupees? What fertilizer/pesticide/growth enhancers i used ?  Actually i did nothing, absolutely nothing apart from the usual tasks & hoped for the best. Some one asked me the other day Am i happy with the crop ? I could not reply. In fact i only had tears of happiness.

But i need to thank my co-worker Prakash for taking the brilliant decision in my absence to start cutting the rice. If on that day he & his wife Vimal had not started cutting it, we would’ve also lost the crop to the unseasonal & heavy downpours. Later he explained to me that he saw some cloud formations which indicated heavy rain coming & that’s why he took the decision !! Well more of that later.

My lil rascal made a profound comment the other day “since we do not know what’s in store for the future, we might as well expect the best. That way at least we are happy now.” !! So, life moves on & the very next day after the rice was harvested, we have sown wheat, inter cropped with harbara (green gram) & the fields are completely mulched.

Mulching the fields… well its something which i have been dying to do. While doing it & after doing it, there have been hundreds of questions thrown at me & probably hundreds of (negative) comments passed about this simple act of mulching.

Though i can speak about it for hours, as is my norm i kept it simple especially with my co-workers. I tell them  mulching is one of the fundamental principles of organic farming, a mulch is something which covers the ground, with the intent of…

reducing evaporation, to save water and work,

protecting the soil from wind, sun and frost,

eliminating most weeds,

increasing crop production,

increasing beneficial soil organisms,

stopping the need to till !!

Simple isn’t it.

But sometimes i feel Prakash & Vimal will be more at home working with some chemical farmer,  put Urea, DAP & the works, spray Endosulfan, get the tractor moving, call for the JCB, do farming for a year & then give it all up saying farming or creating/growing food not worth the effort…..They may be more at home in such environs !!

Somebody had mentioned i am a pain-staking farmer, but as long i am not seen as a “pain” things should be fine & did i say anything too complicated  except ….. mulch the fields man, c’mon do it.

Is that a pain….surely for some swollen wrists 

I also know it’s just our first year, & so as is my nature i remain quiet, but i do things which i firmly believe in my own quiet way & its been a absolute wonderful to see the wheat & harbara starting to sprout through the mulch.

Peace, love & happy mulching to all my farmer friends

Ciao on the other side!