Latest news: Monsoon & Visitors........
Our Malenadu Gidda cows have almost doubled. If anybody with
farms are interested in adopting some of these and provide a
shelter please do get in touch with me.
this monsoon has been satisfactory.
has almost stopped. Hopefully should start again in a month
harvested our first coconuts. Mangoes this summer was not
great, but we got close to 10 varieties. The fruits have
been pretty regular.
Dec 2012: Where have all rains
rainfall have not helped us much this time. Let alone Paddy,
even Ragi and other Millets plans did not materialize. We
have planted only Avarekai, Urad and Alasandhe.
positive note we harvested Sesame (Til). Extracted appx. 10
kgs of oil and gustily being consumed daily at home for past
We got our
own coffee of 1 kg...which was a good start.
technique seems to be doing pretty well for our vegetable
with his wife Gowri joins us at Vanashree.
4th Apr 2012: Our 6 years efforts
"gutted" ..Arecanut, Coffee, Cardomom & Banana plants
Fire set up
by miscreants in the neighbourhood entered the farm and
destroyed almost quarter acre patch. About 70 Arecanut, 70
Coffee, 130 Banana and Cardamom plants were destroyed in the
rage which lasted all but 30 minutes. Shanmukha and family
were just mute spectators for the raging fire.
20th Feb 2012: Elephants at the
Posted on 15th Dec 2011: Meeting with S.G
We were very
fortunate to Shri. S.G Neginhal (retd. IFS) in person and
get a personally signed copy of " Forest Trees of the
Western Ghats". Its a must have for anybody remotely
interested in Trees of India. To get your own copy, you may
contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org .The forests of Karnataka owe a lot
to his dedicated efforts over last 50 years in conservation
and ensuring their existence.
Posted on 10th Nov 2011: Pheromone
traps deployed to control fruit flies
Posted on 10th Oct 2011- New tools
at the farm - Precision Seeder and Mini Tiller
On my recent
visit to US, got 2 tools to make our work easie at the farm.
The first was
Earthway Precision Seeder, an amazing and must have for
all small farmers. We could sow Ragi, Paddy, Beans, Radish,
Soya Beans, Maize etc…in less than 10% of the time and
effort. The best thing about this stroller like seeder is
the only energy required is your muscle power, no diesel, no
petrol no battery. It cost me $90 (appx. Rs.4000) on
new tool is
which cost appx. $350. Though it is very handy, the tines
wore very early and have to wait to get another one from US.
Each tine costs $65.
Posted on 9th Sep2011: Students
from Washington State University on a day visit.
Posted on 27th May 2011
for not updating this section regularly. Going forward will
try my best to update this once 4-6 weeks.
is around the corner. We are targeting planting 600-700
saplings of various trees, seedball making for Tur, Paddy in
the coming weeks. Any volunteer help (digging pits,
planting, cutting etc.) is welcome in June/July for tree
summer, we had many visitors ...from families interested in
getting their children introduced to farm life, serious
farmers, alternative lifestyle explorers to NGOs getting
children as part of eco awareness trips.
LIFE were with the children on 23rd April.
Water Apples, Guavas were harvested for the time. Pineapple
should be ready for harvesting in couple of weeks.
It was that
time of the year when Shanmukha and family went to their
native place for their annual vacation for 2 weeks. So it
was my turn to tend to farm 24x7 during that time.
has been very impressive. We have had a couple of sparrows
exploring the nook and corner for nesting for last couple of
days. Peacock calls are regularly heard. Brahminy starling,
Crested Cuckoo, Drongos, Black Shouldered Kite, Goldfronted
Chloropsis and varieties of Bulbuls have become regular
Latest news: 2nd Jan 2011
We are now
IMO certified "Organic Farm" through group certification
efforts of Sahaja Samrudha.
harvested honey in Dec '10. Will be harvesting again
probably by end of this month. Sad to say that 2 out of the
4 boxes were lost due to pest attack.
elephants have been frequent visitors in the vicinity for
the last 4-5 months. Last week we had a herd 50 mts from our
farm. So far they have not ventured into our land.
Apparently this the 1st time in last 10 years elephants have
ventured so close to the village.
to supply fruits and vegetables to
restaurant) and Ojas (organic outlet near Bangalore. Our
Bananas and Papayas continue to be in good demand.
stream visitors continue and it has been a great pleasure
interacting with all of them. It has been heartening to see
many people committing themselves to nature.
Posted on 16th July 2010
work and literally being 'powerless' at the farm for almost
10 weeks resulted in delay in updates.
we got power
after almost 10 weeks of waiting.
Gobar gas plant
is back in shape and generating enough gas for us to cook.
Thanks to the inputs from Kempu Reddy from SKG sangha and
couple of days of hard labour by Shanmukha to get the plant
has sprouted ..year after sowing the seed
Ponkshe from Pune and Pradeep Kuttuva from Bangalore
volunteered to help me take care of the farm for 2
weeks when Shanmukha and his family went to their native
place for their annual vacation.
Posted on 17th April 2010
Posted on 31st Jan 2010
Gidda) gave birth to a beautiful female calf last week. We
are yet to decide on the name.
harvested honey (about 4 kgs) for the first time and it was
a wonderful experience. One particular bee was not too happy
about us stealing its honey and its sting was not too
Posted on 7th December 2009
Shanmukha's relentless efforts and inputs from our friend
Shashi, drip irrigation for all the plants (appx.6 acres &
2500 plants) is complete. The total cost of the project was
Shashi, we now have 2 well established Honey Bee boxes in
the farm. This adds a critical element in our efforts to
strive towards integrated farming.
children from BNM Primary School (Class 1 to 4) visited Vanashree. The
children were exposed farming & food crops, alternate
energy, rainwater harvesting, interaction with farm animals,
trees & bird identification as part of the education trip.
finally successful in making a partial list of butterflies
in our farm. The list has been updated in the section
tried growing wheat in Fukuoka method. But failed completely
probably due to poor choice of seeds. need to wait for Oct
2010 for renewed experimentation.
Posted on 14th September 2009
was harvested and more than 90% was eaten up by
mice...didn't even get the quantity that was sown.
grazing of the land by Cows had a dramatic impact on the
land. The left photo was taken in May'09 and the right one
Posted on 4th August 2009
hallikar cow has given birth to a male calf "Nandi"
Tur, Groundnut planted in Fukuoka method is doing extremely
well. Alasandhe is being harvested.
rains have played truant, we have finished planting almost
1000 saplings of 30+ species till date during this monsoon.
Total saplings across the farm is now around 3500 covering
days to comment on paddy sown in "Fukuoka method". The new
seeds broadcasted are in various stages of germination.
However, summer crop of Paddy after being cut near the base
has come up impressively. Will update with photos in a weeks
underway for drip irrigation.
Posted on 15th June 2009
our Malenadu gidda cow gave birth to a female
So far we have completed
planting about 450 tree saplings covering 25 species.
Another 1000 more to be planted in next 6 weeks.
170 banana suckers have
been planted. We got the suckers from our plants.
Horse gram, Alasandhe,
Moong & Tur which were broadcasted (natural farming method
for the 3rd consecutive year) have all sprouted and the
recent rains have also helped immensely.
Posted on 1st June 2009
Month of May was very busy
for me and some disappointment (key learnings)
I had to take 9 days off
from work to be at the farm covering for Shanmukha.
Shanmukha was on his half yearly visit to his native place.
I made most of the time available and good rains we got to
finish most of the sowing and digging pits for the tree
planting during monsoon.
Monsoon '09 target for
tree planting - 1500. Till date ~ 200 planted.
With the onset of
pre-monsoon showers it was time for some serious activity.
Horse gram and Ragi was sown by Natural method (Fukuoka
Method). About 6-7 kgs of Horse gram and Ragi was mixed and
broadcasted over 6 acres of land in appx. 3 hours. The land
was neither tilled nor de-weeded. This is the 3rd year in
succession that we have sown Horse gram in this manner and
1st time trying out Ragi. Horse gram have sprouted and
already showing couple of leaves.
Tur was sown in a
slightly different manner. Again no tilling or de-weeding,
but made a small scoop in the soil and dropped a seed. All
those seeds which got covered by soil have sprouted but
those which did not, got eaten by mice and worms.
We learnt to our dismay
that paddy that we have planted "Salem Sanna" is actually a
Monsoon crop and is not the ideal summer crop. We have been
told that this variety when planted in summer, its not
just about yield being low...but most times we may not have
any flowering at all during summer. Need to wait and see....
Nevertheless, the growth
in SRI method is phenomenal with almost 50-70 tillers and
stands at almost 4 ft tall, Aerobic method - 25-40 tillers
at appx. 2.5ft tall, Natural method at 15-20 tillers at appx.
Posted on 26th Apr 2009
We also had our 1st
success of cooking rice in a self designed solar cooker
which costed us a whopping Rs.80 (Yes ..Eighty only). I will
post the details of the design once I am able to get
consistent and repeatable results...
Vanashree was the venue for
an enthusiastic group of 45 BSc Agriculture students and
their Professor Dr. Sharanappa, on Sat, 25th April. The
field trip was part of GKVK, final year BSc students to experience
the organic, natural & integrated farming methods.
Homeschoolers group of
Bangalore congregated on 19th April with their kids to
discuss about shared HS elements. The kids had a good
time. Some trekking to a nearby forest, some
playing in the water and some getting to know the animals. All
the kids planted native Brinjal seedlings in a pot to
remember their visit to the farm.
Posted on 12th Apr 2009
Our enthusiasm to mulch for
everything without paying much attention has taught an important
lesson. All our vegetable beds were mulched with waste Ragi straw,
but we have realized that ragi remaining in the straw have sprouted
and not allowed the vegetable seeds to sprout/germinate. Lesson
learnt : Don't use ragi straw for mulching vegetables if the straw
has remnants of ragi in the stalk.
Our Yelakki Banana yield
continues to be strong and we have been regularly supplying at
Jaivik Krishik Society. Average yield per bunch has been around 7-8
kgs. One particular bunch weighed in at 13kgs. Not bad for a
plantation that gets minimal water once a week and no de-weeding for
last 15 months.
Posted on 15th Mar 2009
Mice made a feast out of
our wheat with very few remaining as a proof about our
experiment of growing them....
"Kuteera", our Gazebo is now almost
complete. Very proud of the fact that the construction was
completely done by Shanmukha, Nagaraja and me without any
external labour. It did take some toil but heartening to see
our efforts taking a shape and well..shelter too.
Rice in all 3 methods
(Aerobic, Fukuoka, SRI) seeming to be doing well, with
growth being best in SRI method.
Posted on: 22nd Feb 2009
Excavation for the 2nd
Rainwater harvesting tank completed
Our "Tur" and "Cow Pea"
failed completely this time. Not sure about the reason.
Posted: 18th Jan 2009
Posted: 5th Jan 2009
All varieties of paddy (appx.
500-550 kgs) has been harvested.
Will be trying out wheat
for the first time as summer crop for a small area.
Preparation for growing
paddy (summer crop) will start in next few weeks.
We had to send 3 male
calves of Malenadu Gidda (Ganesha, Krishna and Subbu) back
to Ashram. We got one female malenadu gidda calf "Sharada".
We started constructing
a hut that can accommodate about 35-40 people.
Recently introduced 2
Guinea Fowl chicks.
Planted about 100 coffee
saplings between Banana plants.
Mulching done in
preparation of the summer.
Glad to say we have many
visitors from Bangalore over weekends with similar interests
in nature and farming.
Posted : 19th Nov 2008
(Malenadu Gidda breed) gave birth to a male calf "Vishnu"
has been harvested (appx. 50kgs). Could get only 5-10% of
the crop with rest going to the wild boars
"Chinna Ponni" variety has been harvested. Were able to get
60kgs of Rice (about 80-85 kgs of paddy) from 1500 sq. ft of land.
Saale" a fragrant rice variety has been harvested. (about
10kgs of paddy in 100 sq. ft)
"Common Carp" (150 nos.) and "Grass Carp" (50 nos.)
fish into the rainwater tank.
gram and Black gram has been a disaster....
in Tur plants have been pretty poor....
of "yellow & gold" with Marigold in full bloom
Posted : 6th Oct 2008
has been harvested
(Hallikar breed) gave birth to a male calf "Shivu"
was harvested but the yield was very poor...probably due to
is coming along nice...but facing Weaver bird and Mice
new Bananas planted in sector19
Posted :7th Sep 2008
plant went online
tank constructed in Mar'08 is completely full due to copious
rains received over last few weeks
connection taken to Shanmukha's house
Have completed planting 3 different varieties of Paddy (Bili
Nellu-Red Rice, Chinna Ponni-White Rice, Sona - White Rice).
methods used for rice cultivation
- dry-land method (only rain-fed, minimal tilling)
- wet-land method (standing water, conventional method)
Ragi & Varieties of Dal (Tur, Green, Black, Cow Pea, Chick Pea,
Horse gram and Alasandhe) have also been planted.
Planning to Harvest "Til" once the rains stop!
Banana plants have just started to flower.
Groundnuts should be ready for harvest in 4-6 weeks.
Also planted about 200 seedlings of various trees during the