Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tomatoes Too

After some delays due to rice harvesting, our second Mani, the farmer in Namaleri, has planted his trial field with tomato transplants. His field is the largest in our trial; it’s 20 x 20 meters. I think it’s also one of the most scenic—it’s halfway up a hill with a beautiful view of the valley below—but I swear that’s not why we picked it. Mani’s neighbors are also interested in trying our drip tape—several of them came by while we were installing it, and this gentleman stopped by to ask questions when Anand and I last visited.

Mani, Anand, and a neighbor discussing drip irrigation

Mani uses a diesel/kerosene motor to run his irrigation pump, and his field is large enough that he can pump directly into the drip irrigation, rather than using a reservoir. If he runs the motor at full speed, the pressure is excessive, but at slow speed, it works quite well. We installed the drip laterals with the holes facing up so that we could gauge the pressure by the height of the water jets. Mani left it holes-up so that when he planted the tomatoes, he could see where the water was coming out and get one plant per hole. Now that he’s finished transplanting, he’ll flip the laterals over so that the water goes directly into the soil at the base of each plant. Mani has a great well—when most farmers run out of water in April, May, and June, his well still recharges fast enough for him to irrigate at least one acre of land. If drip irrigation doubles his water use efficiency, then he could potentially irrigate two acres with the same amount of water.

Anand in Mani’s well

Last but not least, Mani’s daughter, who goes to an English language medium school, wrote out this New Year’s greeting. She says to tell all of you “Welcome” and “Wish You Happy New Year.”

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