Organic Farming Part 5


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Low input alternative - In first year simultaneously sow three different types of legumes in strips, first of 60 days (like moong), second of 90-120 days (Cow pea or soybean) and third of more than 120 days (red gram) in strips. Apply mixture of Compost and vermicompost (2:1) @ 2.5 ton per acre enriched with 4 kg Azotobacter and 4 kg PSB biofertilizers or 4 kg consortia of customized cultures as basal dose at the time of sowing preferably in furrows below the seeds. Seeds of legumes should be treated with crop specific strains of Rhizobium biofertilizer.

Mulch the entire surface with a thick layer of biological mulch and drench the biomass with Jivamrut @ 200 lit per acre. Seedlings will emerge from this layer. If soil is poor in phosphorus then apply 300 kg of low grade mineral rock-phosphate along with the compost. Apply second dose of Jivamrut after 25-30 days of sowing with irrigation water or during rains. To add to diversity 100 plants/ acre of marigold or Hibiscus subdarifa may be planted randomly throughout the field. Few seedlings of vegetables such as chillies, tomato, brinjal, etc and rhizomes of turmeric, ginger etc can be planted randomly for home consumption.

Harvest the pods/ fruits and use remaining biomass for mulch. Collect the crop biomass at the end of strips in the form of heaps and drench with Jivamrut. Sow short duration leafy vegetables (such as fenugreek or spinach) in the space vacated by the first and second crop and mulch the surface with treated biomass.

Harvest leafy vegetable and grains and incorporate remaining biomass in the soil at appropriate time.

In next season apply compost-vermicompost mixture @ 2.5 ton/ha and sow cereal crop with legume as inter or companion crop. After harvest use entire legume and remaining part of cereal crop as mulch. If irrigation facilities are there, take summer legume with some vegetable crop. Recycle entire residue as mulch. Use 3-4 application of liquid manure (such as Jivamruta) during each cropping season for soil application. Now the soil is ready for high value
horticultural crops. High input alternative – Incorporate 2.5-3.0 ton compost/ vermicompost or 1.5 ton of biodynamic compost, 500 kg crushed oil cakes, 500 kg rock phosphate, 100 kg neem cake, 5 kg Azotobacter and 5kg PSB biofertilizer or 4 kg consortia of customized cultures in soil through broadcasting or by drilling in furrows below the seeds. Sow 3-4 types of different crops in strips. 40% crop stand should be of legumes. Randomly plant 100-150 marigold and vegetable seedlings for increased diversity. After harvest incorporate entire residue in soil or use as mulch after sowing of the next crop. For second crop also use similar quantities of manures. Use liquid manure (Jivamruta) @ 200lit/acre 3-4 times during cropping season along with irrigation water. For increased productivity 2-3 sprays of vermiwash or vermiwash+cow urine or Panchgavya can also be provided.

In fruit orchards cultivate 3-4 types of legume mixtures as mixed or intercrop in inter spaces along with adequate quantity of manures (as specified above). After pod/ grain harvest mulch the entire soil surface with the left over biomass and drench the biomass with 2 applications of Jivamruta.

After about 12-18 months the soil will be ready for organic cultivation of any crop combination. For next two-three years, along with any crop incorporate legumes as inter or companion crops. Ensure that crop residue always have at least 30% residue from legumes. Also treat crop residue with liquid manure before incorporating into soil or using as mulch.

Multiple cropping and crop rotation
Mix cropping is the outstanding feature of organic farming in which variety of crops are grown simultaneously or at different time on the same land. In every season care should be taken to maintain legume cropping at least 40%. Mix cropping promotes photosynthesis and avoids the competition for nutrients because different plants draw their nutrients from different depth of soil. The legume fixes atmospheric nitrogen and make available for companion or succeeding crops. Deep rooted plants drew nutrient from deeper layer of soil and bring them to the surface of soil through their leaf fall. So the nutrients leached down to lower strata are further brought back to upper layer by these deep rooted plants. Also help in protecting soil from soil erosion. Farmers should select the crops combination according to their needs and season. In selecting crop combinations, only compatible crops should be planted, for e.g. maize gets along well with beans and cucumber, tomatoes go well with onions and marigold. On the other hand beans and onions do not go well with each other.

Entire farm should have at least 8-10 types of crops at all the times. Each field/plot should have at least 2-4 types of crops out of which one should be legume. In case if only one crop is taken in one plot then adjacent plots should have different crops. For maintenance of diversity and pest control randomly plant 50-150/acre vegetable seedlings for home consumption and 100 plants/acre of marigold (Genda) in all crop fields. Even high nutrient demanding crops such as sugarcane can also be grown with suitable combination of various legume and vegetable crops with optimum productivity.

Crop rotation
Crop rotation is the back bone of organic farming practices. To keep the soil healthy and to allow the natural microbial systems working, crop rotation is must. Crop rotation is the succession of different crops cultivated on same land. Follow 3-4 years rotation plan. All high nutrient demanding crops should precede and follow legume dominated crop combination. Rotation of pest host and non pest host crops helps in controlling soil borne diseases and pest. It also helps in controlling weeds. It is better for improving productivity and fertility of soil. Crop rotations help in improving soil structure through different types of root system.

Legumes should be used frequently in rotation with cereal and vegetable crops. Green manure crops should also find place in planning rotations. High nutrient demanding crops should always be followed by legume crops and returned back to soil. Some important benefits of crop rotations are:
a. Not all plants have same nutritive needs
b. Soil structure is improved through different types of roots
c. Pest build up is avoided and
d. Rotations help against the buildup of weeds.

The article will continue tomorrow.

Our Product Details with regard to Organic Farming:

We are producing the following two products.

Panchagavya – an organic fertilizer

Agnihastra – an organic pesticides / insecticides / fungicides.

The details about this product and the certificates can be viewed in our website Welcome to Buy Panchagavya | Organic Fertilizer Online

Please contact us for any requirement of this product.

V Sudhindranath

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