Farmer experiments by giving 'pillar' support to pepper vines
Kasaragod: Farmer Antony never claims about the success but only focuses on experiments. The 64-year-old is of the opinion that if the experiment is successful we can expand farming otherwise we only have to suffer a little loss. He tries his ideas with pepper vines on the court yard. Instead of using trees to support the vines, he makes pillars of steel net filled with biodegradable substance.
Antony lives near Karimbilayila in Badiyadukka-Ukkinadukka route. On Seeing the pillars in his farm, people visit him asking about the secret. He makes the pillar by rolling steel net in the shape of a cylinder and then fills it with coconut husk, areca nut shells, cow dung and soil.
"The stem cutting of pepper vine is planted by fixing its roots on the bottom of the pillar. A few grills on the bottom of the pillar is cut for this purpose. Then the vine is attached to the pillar using folded broom stick," Antony said.
"Instead of planting in soil, the root is fixed on the organic mixture inside the pillar. I think the pepper vines easily perish when they are directly planted on soil. In this method, root is not touching the soil, so it is unlikely to get damaged easily," he explained.
The pillars are made in a height of 5, 10 and 15 feet. If the pillar is 10 feet tall, coconut husk is piled up at a height of 2 feet and then fills other biodegradable substance. Coconut husk is useful to sustain moisture. It costs about Rs 2000 to make a 5-feet pillar.
It requires 5 kilogram cow dung powder and one quintal of coconut husk. Upto 25 pillars can be set up in a 5-cent plot. It is assumed that about one kilogram pepper can be harvested from one such pillar. Antony's wife Ammini also helps him with the experiments in agriculture.