#2: Planting nurseries @Yogi Farms
Nursery for 'Desi Small Chilly' variety at Pinto Bhat
Following our updates on the winter planting season at Yogi Farms, the stage 2 is that of Planting Nurseries. Yogi Farms is experimenting organic farming on a couple of farms this year. The farm that we will be documenting is owned by Christabel Pinto and Jose Pinto and called 'Pinto Bhat' in Santa Cruz near Panjim in Goa.
A planted nursery for cherry tomatoes
In the previous first update in this series, we had written about planning and preparing the farm for a planting cycle. The second stage in the process is to plant nurseries. We spent one morning preparing nurseries for some broccoli, few types of lettuce and rocket. Below are pictures with the steps:
Allocate an appropriate area for a nursery. Typically nurseries are created in raised beds or in store bought nursery trays. Divide the area into sections of approximately 3' X 3'.
Example of a raised nursery bed with divisions for different varieties
To prepare the soil, loosen the soil using a trowel, remove large stones, and mix the soil with compost. (We used approximately half kg for 5 sq.m. area)
Removing large stones after loosening the soil and mixing compost
Create little seed beds using a stick or your hands. Each bed in about an inch or inch and a half in depth.
Sprinkle the seeds. (There was little technical guideline to this step but I felt that it was similar to sprinkling salt.) Then lightly cover the seed beds back with mud such that the seeds only have a couple of grains of mud on top. The idea is to protect the seeds but at the same time not bury it too deep that the young sapling has trouble sprouting out.
Seed beds ready for planting
Sprinkle ash on top of the seed beds to protect it from ants.
Sprinkling ash on the seed beds to protect against ants
Sprinkle water generously daily.
Watering the seed beds
Young saplings are typically ready within 21-25 days of being planted in the nursery. At this point they are transplanted to the final field beds.
At Yogi Farms, Karan and Yogita are very meticulous about noting the type of seed and date of sowing the seeds in the nursery. This allows them to plan ahead for transplanting as well as helps them keep a record of what varieties worked well in the season and what didn't. They use this data to tweak for the next season. They may try getting seeds from other sources, try planting in more or less shade, etc, etc...
Another tip was that is you see moss growing in the seed beds then that is a sign that the beds are over-watered.
Look out for Stage 3: Transplanting to final beds.