NEWS FROM ANISHA: Growing corn from native, not hybrid, seeds
Guest Post by Valli, Anisha’s Founder and Director
(This is Valli’s first blog post! Hurray! Valli is one of the backbones of Anisha so it’s good to get her voice out here!)
This season, Anisha planted native corn in its demonstration plots. Almost all of the corn grown in Martalli comes from hybrid seeds that require chemical fertilizers to grow. They hybrid corn only grows for one season and then a farmer has to buy new seeds. So we are hoping to find a variety of native corn that will grow well here.
We sowed the native corn in a small plot of land immediately after a rainfall. Prior to planting, this particular plot of land had been levelled, we had cleared it of stones (there were many) and applied compost to the soil. Also prior to planting, we treated the seeds with panchagavya, an organic treatment that we made from cow dung, cow urine, millk, yogurt, clarified butter, jaggery (like sugar), bananas, coconut, and coconut alcohol.
The corn grew well and, after 20 days, we weeded the land and applied a compost mixed with leaf extract and gypsum. (To make the leaf extract, leaves are mixed with water and cow urine and left to sit for a few weeks.) After some time, there were a few areas of the plot in which the corn was not growing as well. To improve the growth, we added a second round of compost, leaf extract, and gypsum to the plants that were not growing well. We applied this after a rainfall. The moisture in the soil helps absorb the compost and bionutrients.
All of these are methods that we teach the farmers with whom we work. It’s really important that we use all of the methods that we teach on Anisha’s own farm so that we are sure that they are effective. We are optimistic about the native corn. If it grows well this year, we will distribute the seeds to farmers for planting next season.
Pictured here: (Top left) The corn that was not growing well; (Top right) Mixing compost with bionutrients to apply to the stunted corn; (Bottom) Corn from the same plot that is healthy and growing well. All photos by Valli.
Fundraising continues! Support this communications project at http://fundly.com/anisha.