Homesteading update : Composting our own shit

We started construction of compost toilet in May 2019 and completed in August, the same year. The compost toilet foundation and the chamber walls, the chamber ceiling were constructed with stones, hollow bricks, cement, sand and concrete. The walls were built with self-manufactured sun-dried adobe bricks made with farm sub-soil. The roof was a madras…

Palmyra Sprouts Flour : A rare and unique Karpagatharu offering

Palmyra Sprouts Flour / பனங்கிழங்கு மாவு / ஒடியல் மாவு is a forgotten produce native to Tamil Nadu. It is grown from the seeds of the fruits of the magnificent Palmyra trees / பனை மரம். Palmyra trees are referred to as Karpagatharu (கற்பகதரு) in Sangam literature for the tremendous number of useful products the tree has…

COP26: Are India’s commitments enough?

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP26, was the 26th annual conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. Around 197 countries attended. The representatives were either the country’s leaders or delegates. Here is a summary of what India what has agreed to in COP26. There are only 7…

Up in the hills, In a forest clearing: Prayogshala

While searching for farm land, we had explored several parts of Tamil Nadu. Kodaikanal was one of them. It got dropped off the list because of difficulty of access and doubt of my family’s tolerance to colder climate for prolonged periods of time. But, no other place in Tamil Nadu came close to the beauty…

Palm Jaggery – King of Sweeteners

In the first 17 years of my life in Bombay, I used to wait for Taadgola every summer. I vividly remember the vendors who used to sell Taadgola in the corner of the road 100 metres from our house in the suburbs. I used to coax my mother to buy some whenever we used to…

Why organic food is costlier?

It seems counter-intuitive but the current sense of the word ‘Culture’ seems to have been derived from the word ‘Agriculture’ and not the other way around. And it is ironic that there is almost no culture left in mainstream agriculture anymore. What we are now seeing is not synthesis, which is what agriculture needs, but…

A snapshot of happenings at our farm

We are building a food forest and kitchen garden for ourselves at Papanasam, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India since July 2018. We have been focusing on adding a lot of carbon / organic material to the soil. That’s why you will see photos covered with neem, mexican sunflower and glyricidia. We have let the old neem…

SPNF (ZBNF) ‘s critique

5 minute read Subhash Palekar has claimed in TOI’s editorial page a few months back that ‘Organic farming is worse than an atom bomb‘. This blog comes a little too late. But this was on my mind and in the drafts of my blog posts in the WordPress app. I just got around to complete…

Tirunelveli Thalaga kuzhambu

Thaalaga kuzhambu is a mixed vegetable curry in a coconut-sesame paste. I got introduced to this flavour bomb of a curry after marriage. Sudhakar’s family go bonkers every time this kuzhambu is made at home. Before I talk about this kuzhambu, I should definitely say a few words about my mother-in-law. She is a Multani,…

Gharge, Pumpkin Poori

We recently had a bumper harvest of 50 kgs of pumpkins. Pumpkins can be stored for as long as six months after harvest. If you notice the local vegetable shops, they usually keep full pumpkins in shelves and cut them open only when people ask for it. We have decided to store most for ourselves,…