Preparation of land
Plough the field thoroughly to incorporate the weeds and straw into the soil. Ensure a smooth, level field for transplanting the seedlings. It would be better to transplant 10-15 days after incorporating organic manure. Before transplanting or sowing, apply manures and fertilizers at the rates specified for the region and varieties as indicated in Table 4. Apply fertilizers on the drained soil at the time of final ploughing and levelling and thoroughly mix into the soil.
Drain out standing water from the main field. Plough the field thoroughly to incorporate the weeds in the field. Ensure a smooth and levelled field. Maintain a thin film of water to facilitate sowing so that the germinated seeds do not get covered with clayey soil, which affects seedling establishment.
For the first crop in Kole, after the cessation of the heavy monsoon, dewatering is effected by petti and para or centrifugal pump and rarely by chakkram. Land is ploughed thoroughly and transplanting is done.
For the second crop, land is prepared thoroughly and direct sowing of sprouted seeds or transplanting is done.
With the onset of pre-monsoon showers, land is ploughed thoroughly. Dibbling of unsprouted seeds behind the country plough is the common practice.
By April, the bunds are being strengthened and sluices repaired for regulating water level. Fields are then drained during low tide and the sluices are closed. When the soil in the field becomes dry, mounds of 1 m base and 0.5 m height are formed. This facilitates the washing down of the dissolved salts from the surface of the mounds, which are ultimately removed from the field by tidal action. The mounds act as elevated in situ nursery and protect the seedlings from flash floods.
A special method is adopted for sprouting the seeds. The seeds are tightly packed in baskets made of plaited coconut leaves, the inside of which is lined by banana or teak leaves. These baskets are then immersed in fresh water ponds for 12 to 15 hours. They are then taken out and stored in shade. The radicle just sprouts and remains quiescent under this condition for more than 30 days. When the soil and weather conditions become favourable for sowing, the baskets containing the seeds are re-soaked for 3 to 6 hours before sowing. The mounds in the field are then raked and top levelled. The sprouted seeds are sown on the top of mounds, which act as an in situ nursery. When the seedlings reach a height of 40-45 cm (in 30-35 days), the mounds are cut into pieces with a few seedlings, which are uniformly spread in the field.
KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY