In which I fall off the wagon, slightly

So, if you remember, I had sworn off tilling. The intention was zero disturbance of the soil and the continuous adding of layers of organic material. But what to do? I was pushed and pulled off the wagon today, by Raju and Govindamma in concert. They persuaded me to let them bring in two cows to make furrows in the avare field. The soil in between would not be disturbed at all, they promised.

Avare is our main crop this year. I also learnt a thing or two from Govindamma about preservation of seeds. She supplied the avare seeds and I was amazed to see not a single insect in them. Mine are always crawling with critters. So the secret preservative is roasted and powdered castor seeds. I’ve been using castor oil, but it’s nowhere near as effective. What a good tip! Govindamma really has a lot of traditional knowledge, she’s a valuable addition to our team. The guys just don’t care about these things… This year, we’re also planning to sow small areas of urad, moong and chia – the last is an experiment I’m very excited about after reading this article.

Anyway, the bovines came – a perky black bullock and a dignified white cow. The bullock wanted everyone’s biscuits and got them. I think he might have wanted the tea as well if he’d been given a taste! (The biscuits, appropriately enough, were vegan.)

They made eight furrows, not very deep, in just half an hour. Without disturbing the rest of the soil! Then we sowed the seeds and covered the furrows with manure. A good afternoon’s work, which I hope will bear good fruit.

The minimal furrows…
…made with a very simple, single-tine plough

I still think I could have done it with my cycle hoe, though. I’m going to do that with the next lot when they’re not looking.

12 responses to “In which I fall off the wagon, slightly

    • Furrowers and cycle hoers welcome, Usha – no matter how vicarious. I’m ploughing a lonely furrow here, with Srini and all the help in favour of heavy machinery. It helps to be a stubborn old so and so!


  1. I love these stories from your life and ‘fields’. And how beautifully is the bullock adorned – those bells arounds his neck! Does the cow also get something similar?

    Liked by 1 person

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