We have experimented with the SRI method of rice planting for the last couple of years, we are gradually finding tricks for making the job easier and more efficient, there are still many improvements we can make. Having said that, the quality of the planting this year is quite good, the seedlings were very healthy and we made a conscious effort to plant in very straight lines, to make the weeding easier this year we have a new tool, manufactured locally from an Indian design, that requires straight planting.
The first series shows the preparation of the seed bed, where a mix of soil, organic compost and cow manure is applied over a bed of banana leaves, the seeds are broadcast and then covered with soil and kept watered for ten to twelve days, this year we probably broadcast the seeds a little too tightly, but apart from that it worked very well.
One of the benefits of the SRI method is that the seedlings are not damaged as much by the planting process and they recover much more quickly than in the traditional way, where 30 day seedlings are ripped from the ground and replanted in clumps of five or six. Planting single seedlings instead of five or more also means that the seed bed can be much smaller.
The planting took place on Aug 6, the seedlings have been in the ground ten days and have started to send out new tillers in the last couple of days, this method does not require as much water as the conventional method, in a few days we will apply a dressing of compost and aged cow manure and a week or so later we will let the water in and mix it with about 20 l of homemade fermented fruit juice and home made EM.