Cultivation of flowers, vegetables and keerai varieties will get us daily income but at the same time it is to be realized that the income is not constant Many a times, it will vary in the market as they are perishable. If a farmer cultivates only one crop in his land he will have to face high degree of fluctuation in the price but whereas if he attempts several crops in the same land he will be able to manage the changes in the prices. Even if one crop does not fetch the expected income the others will do.
Pasumai Vikatan not only gives lot of tips to the farmers to make profit in their agricultural operations but also highlights those who have tasted success in this field. One such successful person is the woman farmer, Sweetlin who hails from Kamakshi Nagar, Tirunelveli and who cultivates 5 types of vegetables and 8 types of keerais in one acre under pure organic method profitably.
Sweetlin’s personal story:-
Sweetlin has her farm at Anavaradhanallur village, Sri Vaikundam taluk on the borders of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin district. Her husband originally belonged to agricultural family and he was cultivating paddy, groundnut, banana, cassava and vegetables according to seasons with chemical fertilizers and use of insecticides. Her husband had bought 10 acres of land in that place from his other earnings and erected brick kiln wherein he was also maintaining sheep, cattle, poultry and white pigs all of which were yielding him adequate earnings. However, Sweetlin’s husband was in favour of organic farming only. Most unfortunately, he died suddenly as a result of which Sweetlin had to dispose of all the cattle, sheep, poultry and pig and in place of the brick kiln, Sweetlin had started her own organic farm as per their original wish.
With no idea on organic farming, Sweetlin casually approached an organic store in Tirunelveli who had directed her to meet one vendor. He gave her lot of useful tips on organic farming practice and further suggested her to read Pasumai Vikatan regularly. Pasumai Vikatan continues to be a source of inspiration and knowledge to Sweetlin from then.
Sweetlin implemented all that she came across in Pasumai Vikatan and started cultivating brinjal, tomoto, lady’s finger and spinach in 20 cents under organic farming practice. Initially, she used to make use of the vegetables for her personal use and offer the remaining vegetables to her relatives and neighbours. Based on demand, she has now expanded the operations. She uses only one acre for active cultivation and keeps the other one ever ready for starting the seeding operations. It is almost 8 months since she started this rotational cultivation practice and it has been helping her to get constant returns.
Sweetlin now cultivates brinjal in 30 cents, lady’s finger in 15 cents, tomoto in 15 cents, slim beans in 10 cents, Seeni avarai in 10 cents and spinach in 20 centes (different varieties of keerai like reddish stem keerai, mulai keerai, siru keerai, paruppu keerai, ponnanganni, red ponnanganni, pulicha keerai etc.).She had stock of 10 tractors of the natural manure from the dungs of sheep, cattle and pigs which she had put as base manure in her land and this has proved to be very useful.
Sale at house:-
Sweetlin does not strain much for selling these vegetables and keerais. She makes sales from her house itself from 4 PM to 8 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. On Sundays, she sells outside the Uzhavar Sandai at Palayankottai from 6 AM to 2 PM. Initially people hesitated to buy but later on, they could not resist buying from her on account of organic background and high quality.
Though she opens her shop at 4 PM, the local people would throng her place from 3 PM itself including the school-going children. Sweetlin makes Pasumai Vikatan issues available for their reading pleasure and many people do spend their time reading the magazine to her happiness.
Sweetlin’s per acre & per week yield details:-
Sweetlin does the harvesting only on alternate days. Though the age of keerais is just one month only and that of vegetables 6 months, she is able to get the harvest continuously on account of rotational seeding process. She is able to get 260 to 300 kg.brinjal, 160 to 200 kg.tomoto, 100 kg. to 130 kg.lady’s finger, 72 kg.to 80 kg. slim beans, 72 kg.to 80 kg.seeni beans and 480 to 500 bundles spinach.
It may be observed from the above table that the total income would be Rs.21,192/-. Even if we deduct cost of inputs, labour, transportation and maintenance, the net profit would be not less than Rs.15,000/-
Sweetlin’s experience does confirm that mixed-cropping and rotational cropping would be more profitable for any farmer irrespective of the size of his land holding. She says marketing is easier; commission payable to middlemen is nil and above all, one can rely on his own support for survival. Sweetlin is optimistic to say that she plans to expand her cultivation with bitter gourd, snake gourd, Peerkan, bottle gourd, yellow pumpkin etc. in a still wider area.
For details contact Sweetlin 73737 48188
Cultivation process in her own words:-
“First, on the dry land, we put 5 kalappai pig’s residues and ploughed. We mixed 5 kg neem leaf, 10 lt. cow’s urine, 5 kg. cow dung and 2 handful of erukku leaves in 200 lt. water; left it for two days; then filtered and sprinkled the essence on the land. After one week, we again ploughed the land. We repeated the process four times with ploughing, using tractor and power tiller. After one more day, we ploughed and sowed the seeds in 10 ft. each length and breadth with bar.
Whatever the be the seeds, it is my practice to put them in a white cloth, drench it in ½ lt. cow’s urine for 30 minutes and then dry them on a mat in warm climate so that the seeds would become fit enough for sowing.
As regards tomoto and brinjal cultivation, I followed the practice of ‘nattru’. On the 20th day from the day of sowing the seeds, I sprinkled 500 ml.neem karisal in 13 lt. water. On the 30th day I sowed the nattru. At that time, I soaked the root for 2 hours with a handful of earthy soil, 20 gm. chunam powder and 5 lt. cow’s urine.
I left a gap of 3 ft for brinjal, 4 ft. for tomoto and 2 ft. each for lady’s finger, seeni beans and slim beans. For brinjal and tomoto, on the 15th day, I poured 500 ml.neem karaisal in 13 lt. water. On the 20th day, I put mixture of 5 kg. navadhaningal flour, 5 kg.jaggery powder, 10 lt. cow’s urine and 50 kg.cow dung in each plant and took the stem. I did this process both on the 40th and 60th days.
Use of insecticides:-
If worms attack the plants, I would mix 100 ml.pungan oil and 100 ml.neem oil with khadi soap in 13 lt.water and sprinkle the same on the plants. If insects like flour insects and beetles attack the plants, I would follow a different process. I would put powder form of 3 kg.neem nuts in 10 lt.cow’s urine and khadi soap and keep it aside for 2 days. Then I would sprinkle in the ratio of 500 ml.karaisal per 13 lt.water. Besides this, I would pour fish amino acid and panchakavyam (13 lt.per 100 ml.) on a rotational basis.Brinjal – how to get more?
After harvesting the brinjal in the earmarked 30 cents space, I would cut off the branches to leave it barren. I would take 2 kg navadhaniangal flour, 5 kg.jaggery powder, 10 lt.cow’s urine and 50 kg. dried cow dung and knead them firmly and leave it for an hour. Afterwards, I would apply a handful of this on all plants. Within 6 to 8 days they will mature and in 20 days time they will blossom.The main advantage is that all the country seeds will be available in my land itself which can be best used to suit our convenience”.
Thanks to Pasumai Vikatan, Sweetlin’s practical experience and tips are indeed unique!
(This article originally written in Tamil by Karthikeyan for Pasumai vikatan has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)