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2 Acre Permaculture Demonstration Farm outside Hyderabad, India  RSS feed

 
charlotte anthony
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HYDERABAD DEMONSTRATION FARM
We are starting a demonstration farm here outside Hyderabad, India.

What are we demonstrating:

1. That a farmer can earn a decent income (200,000 rupees a year net) while growing what helps the earth to bring back the rains, namely trees with terraforming.
2. That we can have sustainable and yes regenerative soil with no added fertilizers of any kind (except small amount of trace minerals during the first season) and no added water (12.5 inches or 300 ml of .water) comes mainly during 2 months..
3. We will grow fruit, nut and forest trees, herbs, vegetables, pulses and grains.
4. We do small amount of terra forming and planting long rooted legumes both trees and pulses to hold the water that does fall on the land.

Local farmers all around us are growing BT cotton which on a good year grosses 60,000 rupees per acre. After they pay their expenses they end up with 10,000 rupees a year ($160.00), or maybe twice that if their family can do all the labor.

The trees we will be planting include omla (indian gooseberry), cashew, ber (jejube), fig, pomegranate, jamon, custard apple and tamarind. We will plant pamgamo and glyricidia for chop and drop and we will let some grow tall so their roots hold the water. Then for interplants and diversity, and to make money until the tree fruits come in, , vegetables, pulses, grains and herbs with the goal of earning 2 laks a year per acre while improving the rainfall, the ground water, the soil, 100 bottom lines.

The farm that is donating space for the project has an 11 year old organic farm already on it. It is called Green Acres. And right now with everything for miles around being brown it is a lovely green. Venky loved trees so he planted 150 mangos. All but 40 of them died because his soil is too alkaline. So he planted lots of other trees. He had never heard of permaculture until last year. I call him a natural permaculturist.

We will be setting up a farmer training center. Most of the infrastructure is in place. If anyone wants to come and learn and help, we have space for .you.

--
At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you. Whatever you can do or dream you can do begin it now. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Goethe
Charlotte +91 9505215498
victorgardensforall@gmail.com
www.handsonpermaculture1.org




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At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to a
 
charlotte anthony
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http://indiatogether.org/farming-crisis-and-farm-suicides-due-to-low-agricultural-returns-agriculture

the above is a site where problems caused by recent rains were posted and the question asked is "what can permaculture do"

my response is

obviously "permaculture" does not do anything.

people trained in the permaculture paradigm like myself are doing what we can and a lot more help is needed.


1) the problems with the current agricultural system including devastation of the soil by chemicals and monocropping (lack of diversity are well known. if the farmers had diverse plantings they would not be so affected by rain at the wrong time.or lack of rain as the case may be.

2) I am growing a demonstration farm: the purpose is to model tree planting, forest, fruit and nuts, along with vegetables, herbs, vegetables, cereals, pulses and oil seed. with some earth forming we can return the ground water in India one farmer at a time. we need a thousand demonstrations farms across india that will measure their productivity and can train farmers.

There are many broad acre demonstration farms already in existence. to name just a few:
a) Narsanna Koppola has a 17 year old demonstration farm outside of Hyderabad.
b) Rhagava Rragava has a 20 year old demonstration farm in Karnataka.

both of these farms have training programs.

3) these farms do not measure their productivity, so there is no way currently for farmers to see how the system can work for them. the above two farms emphasize growing all your own food and only selling the excess. this is the traditional indian method which the monocropping systems are not following. hence when their one crop fails they have nothing to eat.

4) another farm i have heard of is doing well, has a lot of excess but does not have markets for his crops. marketing of diverse crops is a major problem. throughout india the small farmers are dependent on middlemen or marketing their own produce. The middlemen take most of the money for the crops, leaving the farmer with peanuts. we need to have marketing coops. a permaculture group up in Darjeeling has a model of how this could work.

5) a problem is how to finance the set up of a permaculture farm. while considerably lower than the monocropping system with its tractor, it does cost something. the method used on our demonstration farm is very low budget method including planting fruit and nut trees from seeds and on site grafting where necessary. With the earth moving required (maybe $80. per acre) for dry land farming, it is still beyond the means of most small farmers to implement, especially when they do not have a model nearby that they can trust.

the government has a program where they will pay farmers to plant trees including paying for manure and labor, so they know they need the trees. the farmers feel rightly that they cannot wait 6-7 years for the trees to fruit to receive money from their farm. so this system we are promotng of using the alleys for other plants in the interim could work well. i am hoping to integrate my system with the subsidies for the trees and eventually the government might subsidize the whole start up cost.. (another part of me dislikes government subsidies and would rather go through Grameen banks where the farmers pay back the money over time with very little interest).

another drawback is the prevalent customs. Indian farmers have grown to like the clean culture of monocropping. they use chemical herbicides. they burn the plants after harvest.. Our methods require feeding the trees mulch, using the plants for mulch after harvesting. Indian farmers are strongly averse to mulch. they feel it harbors snakes. the above mentioned farms do have snakes but they avoid people as all the traditional farmers knew, snakes and people could live together.

and most important of all is the skill that the farmers need to interact with a natural system. they need to observe such things as when the plants need water.. in a situation where i had plants drooping, i used a watering can to "tide the plants over" and it worked well. plants that were wilting came right back to life. they need to observe when the plants are yellowing and understand what the plants need. currently in india the people who sell them the chemicals will answer all their questions and yes sell them what they need to solve the problem. they do not even determine when to water the plants if they are irrigating. they go by schedules from their local chemical store. for this we need all our demonstration farms to have farmer training centers.

--
At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you. Whatever you can do or dream you can do begin it now. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Goethe
Charlotte +91 9505215498
www.handsonpermaculture1.org

 
charlotte anthony
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Program for participating in 2 acre demonstration farm outside hyderabad.
what we will teach

we would like people to pay 200 rupees a day to come and learn. overnight we would like another 100 rupees and it will be in a tent with other people.

this will include meals at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

our primary goal at this farm is to teach farming -- which is how to listen to the plants and do in a timely way what is needed for them to grow. in permaculture we observe, observe, observe and modify our behavior in accordance with what we observe. this is the way of all farming traditions and for many of us we have lost those abilities.

what does it mean when the plant does this.. what is healthy. what is unhealthy.

we have land with more calcium than is wanted. one permaculture cure for that is a lot of mulch. another cure we will be using is a homeopathic remedy for the soil. another thing we will be using is panchagavium.

what we are doing now at the farm at this time is preparing for the monsoon.

1) we will make clay balls for seeds to plant the boundaries
2) clay balls for seeds for planting trees.
3) clay balls for medicinal plants.

a lot of being a farmer is doing what the land needs at the time it needs it, i so there is some variability in our schedule.

4) we will be gathering mulch to feed the plants.

we prefer participants who have land that they can apply what they learn. we will also be willing to go to the participants land and advise them on any variations their land may require. the best way to learn is to apply what you learn as soon as possible.

5) this is not an observer role. you will be expected to participate in the work.

we have already made swales and we can show you how we measured them if you want to know that.

we spend some time every day experiencing the farm. every farm is different. and we need to learn to live "in" the farm. this might be the most important thing we are teaching here.

we will sum up at the end of every day, looking at what we have observed, how we are
applying permaculture principles, what we have learned.

to become a solid farmer, it would be best to come once a week for a year so that you see what happens in all seasons.

if you are coming from a long ways, then come for a week, once every 6 weeks.

these arrangements can be flexible so tell me what works for you and i will check to see if it works for the farm.


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Raghu Kiran
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Pl send me details
 
charlotte anthony
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Today at green acres farm 25-6-15
This is a 2 acre dry land food forest. There will be amla, ber, moringa, tamarind, kukum, mango, sapota, guava, cashew, macadamia as well as forest trees, creepers, roots, pulses, cereals, oil seeds, even dry land rice. I am demonstrating how farmers can grow their own food as well as cash crops profitably with no irrigation. 60% of crops in India are grown without irrigation. Often this means that the land is only used 6 months of the year with annual crops. Great yields per acre with these systems are 50,000 rupees. Then all the soil life is left to bake in the hot sun. The property we are on only gets 300 ml of water a year. The surrounding farmers are all growing BT coton. 250 ml or below is considered a desert.

With water retaining structures that India has used for thousands of years we are expecting to get about 2/3 of the yield from our plantings as irrigated land. Because of all the intercropping and 12 month plantings, money per acre will be considerably higher, 4 times higher, than 6 months of plant growing.

A large seed order including moringa. Amla, guava, bamboo, tamarind, some windbreak plants and gliricidia, just came in.
We decided not to plow the land. We have a lot of parthenium and do not want more. There is at this point in the premonsoon still lots of earth without weeds, so we will mainly plant our trees in those “holes.” Where there are holes we are dibbling the seed. This means using an instrument, in our case a 5 foot long piece of wood with a flat bottom that we can poke into the earth maybe ½ inch, plant the seed, cover with our foot and put weight on. Where wI want to plant and there is no bare earth, I use a long handled hoe and dig a space around 3 feet across, 18 inches on all sides of the new seed so the seed will get the light it needs If the weeds outside of that space are not thorny we will leave them as they will help shade the new trees. Actually I started taking out the thorny bushes, but decided that because of the time factor I would leave that for after the tree planting. I am alone on this 2 acre piece of property, so am learning even more about how to be highly effective as a farmer.
I already planted PK1 moringa on the uphill side of the contour trenches that we had the JCB dig every 30 meters. This new moringa is called local moringa from the Bangalore area which is not local to us. The PK1 moringa is up now and as I go along I am weeding around the plants and replacing the ones that did not come up. The life span of PK1 moringa is supposed to be 5 years. Most people say you can get 8 years out of it. Local moringa has a 25 year life span. I am growing a lot of moringa, this will probably be our primary crop here, covering about 1/5 of the land interplanted with many layers of plants. It will produce drumsticks in 8 monts as well as spinach leaves. It does well as an understory tree, so we will have an overstory eventually. It will provide good nitrogen for all its tree friends. It will provide good shade for the overstory trees planted with it as well as give good shade to the trees with will eventually overgrow it. We can sell the drumsticks. If you dry it and shed the leaves one gets a great price. One person we know is growing this moringa for export markets which is one way to sell it. Moringa leaves have amazing nutritional and healing properties and I am sure in Hyderabad I can find a market for the shreaded and dried leaves. Straight off the tree, the leaves are good spinach and we want to grow trees here with edible leaves to provide our farmer training program residents with vegetables year around. Except during the monsoon season most vegetables need irrigation.

On the downhill side (where the berm is) I will plant gliricidia. We will also plant omla, guava and ber here. The gliricidia will shade these trees that we are growing mainly from seed. We will use the gliricida for chop and drop. We also want to keep some gliciricia maybe every 25 feet so that their deep roots will pump up water for the rest of the plants. Someone said that 100 deep rooted trees are equal to one bore well. (well I guess it would depend on the output of the bore well). It is good to remember that trees can contribute to the surface water and we do not always have to irrigate from bore wells. To this end we are also planting melia dubia, jamon, tamarind trees and allowing neem trees to grow in our 2 acre patch. We did find some ber plants that are nonhybrid and have large apple size ber fruit. They are especially drought hardy. We would prefer seeds for more drought hardiness and resilience in general, but will plant these plants and take seeds from them for future plants.

I are starting some of our plants in a nursery, bamboo for one. It takes a long time to come up (3 months). What we will do in our own nursery is do minimal watering. This way we will not negate the natural drought hardiness of the plants, the main reason we do not want to buy our trees. Also we will plant out the trees ideally before they reach the edge of the pockets they are planted in.
 
Naveenn Shunmugaraj
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Greetings! I just signed up here at permies after I saw your post on a Facebook group.

I'd like to participate, please share location details with me.
 
charlotte anthony
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plase for more information about our 2 acre demonstration farm

email me at victorygardensforall@gmail.com

the farm is 60 km outside of hyderabad on the waranel road. it is easily reached by bus or train. we look forward to hearing from you.
 
charlotte anthony
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Pump plant.

Claude bergourgon is his book restoration of the soil talks about his experience growing paddy in brazil. He notes that in temperate soils the soil holds NPK. In tropical soils such as the amazon basin where there are the tallest trees in the world and the deepest soils to go with those trees, when you measure the soil for NPK the readings are almost nil. When you measure the leaves from the forest trees, you find the NPK. When you burn this forest, all the goodies go too deep into the soil to be of use for your crops. He recommends when you want to use forest land for growing trees that you cut the trees down, use the wood, and leave the leaves on the ground and plant into that. (I would not recommend taking any more forests down in india as the water situation here is now critical.)
However what he recommends for the following year works well here. You plant a very fast growing tree in the rabi period after your rice crop. Then 7-8 months later when you want to plant your rice crop again you cut down all the trees, again take out the heavy wood and plant in the leaves. He is getting 3-5 times the yield as he gets from growing rice with chemicals using this method. the chemicals in tropical soils, just like the ashes go too deep to be of use in the soils after the first rain.
We are applying this at our farm by planting now in the monsoon gliricidia with everything we are planting. We are just starting our work with this monsoon. Once we take out a crop after the monsoon we will plant during the rabi season. We planted pigeon peas today (tordahl) along with moringa, agathakiri (susbania grandiflora). We want to have a lot of moringa trees growing here for the drumsticks and the leaves. They produce a good cash crop. The pigeon peas work well with them, shading them some from the hot sun their first year. The agathagiri is a plant grown traditionally to provide nitrogen. I remember all over tamil nadu seeing the plants growing every 4 feet among the chillis and tomatoes. Subhash Palaker says that most vegetables will produce more when they get dancing shadow shade. Other folks say they will have less insect and disease problems when they get the mitigated light. We will also thin this susbania grandiflora to 4 feet and use it for spinach and for feeding livestock. The 8 -10 foot tall sg trees are harvested for wood stakes. The gliricidia we will leave a few to grow tall to act as a mini bore well pumping up all the water our trenches are holding on the land. We are planting fruit and nut trees but the forest trees, along with jamon and tamarind do mini bore well thing. Lastly we will pull the gliricidia trees and lay them down as mulch (aka pump plant) to feed our pigeon peas.
 
this is supposed to be a surprise, but it smells like a tiny ad:
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