ACTIVITIES

Practice Of Natural Farming

We have to rejuvenate this planet once again; your job is no less than of any Doctor, who takes off disease from the body of the person. This Earth is filled now with entire poisonous things. We have to save the planet earth and you have taken this wonderful job on your hand.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar
Organically grown pomegranate
Organically grown Custard apple
How The Soil Is Formed ?

Soil is formed from the earth crust containing all the elements existing in nature. These two or more elements combine together to form minerals .Further, two or more minerals unite together to form a hard mass known as rock. These rocks are further exposed to various physical agencies and disintegrated. Then the disintegrated material is decomposed by various chemical agencies. The disintegrated and decomposed mass is then acted upon by soil forming factors and processes which results in to differentiation of soil in different horizons. Thus the soil is a natural body developed by natural forces acting upon natural material usually differentiated in to different horizons from minerals and organic constituent of variable depth which differs from the parent material below, in morphology, physical properties and constituents, chemical properties and composition and biological characteristics.

Thus, the soil basically contains the minerals which are formed from different elements. All the108 elements are present in soil. Out of total elements,8 elements namely oxygen(46%), silicon(27%), aluminum (8%), iron(5%), calcium(4%), magnesium(2%), sodium(3%), potassium(8%) are present up to 98.5%.While remaining other elements are present to the tune of 1.5%.

Apart from these elements, soil also contains tremendous population of microorganisms. Therefore, so many biological and biochemical processes occur in soil continuously. Out of the total elements present in soil,18 elements are essential for growth and completion of life cycle of the plant. Therefore, these are called as essential elements. These are required by the plant in varying amount. Thus, on the basis of their requirement, the essential elements are classified into following groups.

  • Primary nutrients - carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Secondary nutrients - calcium, magnesium and sulphur.
  • Micronutrients - iron, manganese, zinc, boron, copper, molybdenum and chlorine.
  • Beneficial nutrients - cobalt, nickel.

Out of the essential nutrients, primary nutrients are required by plant in major amount. Out of these, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are taken by plant through air and water. where they are present in ample amount. Other major nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, which are absorbed by plant roots through soil, where these are present in abundant quantities. The requirement of calcium, magnesium and sulphur is comparatively lower and these are also present in soil in sufficient amount. The micronutrients are required in minute and also absorbed from soil.

The three major nutrients carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which are taken from air and water mainly compose the body of crop plants. These three elements are present in plant up to 98.5%. Only 1.5%parts by weight of the plant body is made by another element that are taken from soil. Thus, it is clear that the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that compose 98.5%of plant body are freely and abundantly available in air and water. Therefore, one need not to worry about availability of these nutrients. Now the question rises about the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are required for plant growth. Here the role of micro-organisms in soil is important in supplying these nutrients to plants in available form. Now let us see how the micro-organisms make these nutrients in available form.

NITROGEN

Atmospheric air contains 79% nitrogen and it is the main source for plant. When the C:N ratio of organic matter is 20:1 or below, the nitrogen enclosed in the organic matter becomes available for the plants. Indian local earthworms maintain this C:N ratio very well. It is estimated that 1000 earthworms do the work per day equivalent to one pair of bullocks. If we add Jivamrut(mixture of cow dung and cow urine in water ) in the soil with irrigation water and mulch the soil, about 1.5 lakhs earthworms become active. These earthworms work in one day in one acre equivalent to 150 pairs of bullocks, that 300 bullocks/acre. In the villages, the rent of one bullock pair for working is about Rs.300/-per day. That means earthworms do the work valued Rs.45000/-per day per acre or Rs.13, 50,000/acre per month and make the nitrogen available for the plants. Apart from this different kinds of micro-organisms fix the atmospheric nitrogen in soil and made available to plants. If we follow the natural farming, tremendous amount of atmospheric nitrogen is fixed in soil as given below.

Sl. No Agency N fixed(kg)/acre
1 Leguminous pulses inter crops 50
2 By lightening and pre-monsoon clouds 34
3 Blue green algae, azola, anabena 22
4 Decomposition of plant residue, grasses and shrubs 85
5 Decomposition of dead bodies of earthworms 91
6 Decomposition of earthworm casting 126 126
7 Decomposition of dried biomass of micro-organisms 31
8 Nitrogen fixation by acetobacter and hebaspirillum microbes 84
9 Nitrogen fixation by acetobacter and hebaspirillum microbes 32
10 Nitrogen fixation Azospirillum 60
11 Nitrogen fixation by Frankia microbes 33
12 Nitrogen fixation by Chlostridium microbes 26
13 Nitrogen fixation by Biejereinkia microbes 42
14 Nitrogen fixation by Acromobacter, Aerobacter, Pseudomonas, Radiobacter 18
15 Decomposing fungus and bacterial Nitrogen fixation 24
16 Nitrogen fixation by Actimomycetes 26
17 Asymbiotic bacterial N fixation 34
18 Protozoan activity increase N stock 22
19 N availability by capillary movement of water 17

Thus, under the ideal conditions, each type of bacteria , Fungi etc has the capacity to fix the atmospheric nitrogen as mentioned in the table above . Actually all this nitrogen is not utilized by the crops or vegetation. Rest of the nitrogen is returned to the atmosphere with the de nitrification process by denitrifying bacteria. What is the actual need, only that quantity is taken by the plants. Excess quantity is returned back, from where it is lifted. This is miracle in nature.

PHOSPHORUS

Basically phosphate is not limited factor in the soil. There is abundant phosphate in the soil, however it is not in available form. It is present in di calcium phosphate and tri calcium phosphate form, which are not soluble in water and hence not available for plant. There are some microbes in the soil. They convert the di and tri calcium phosphate into calcium phosphate i.e. available form. When the pH value of soil is near neutral (about7.0), the phosphate in the soil is in available form and it is readily absorbed by the plant roots. The phosphate solubilizing microbes in the soil are as follows.

  • Bacteria: Bacillus sp, Pseudomonas sp, Acromobacter etc.
  • Fungus: aspergillus, penicillium, fladosporium etc.
  • Algae: chlorepla vulgaris, Anabena etc.
  • Actinomycetes and its species.
  • Mychorhiza: Glomas, Gigaspora Acadlospora, Caluspora etc.
How the microbes increase available phosphorus ?

When we add Jivamrut or FYM in the soil, all phosphate solubilizing bacteria enter the soil. These micro-organisms are migrated in Jivamrut from the holy intestine of local cow through cow dung. These microbes attack on organic matter in soil and secrete different org acid such as acetic acid, formic acid oxalic acid and lactic acid. These all variable acids solubilize the di calcium and tri calcium phosphate. Thus all non available phosphates are converted to available phosphates The plants can absorb this phosphate easily.

POTASSIUM

It is also abundantly present in soil however, it is in unavailable form. When jivamrut is added in this soil, the bacteria Bacillus siliceous present in jivamrut will multiply in soil and by the treatment of acid, potash is released in available form. In this conversation process some microbes as azotobactor, aspergillius help to the bacillus siliceous. During decomposition of dead bodies of vegetarian, animals and microbes, potash is released in available form. If you use jivamrut twice a month and continuously covered the soil with straw mulching on the soil, all the elemental nutrient including sulphur and micronutrients as iron, manganese, zinc, boron , copper, molybdenum and chlorine are made available for the growth of the plants.

This will help us grow the vigorous, healthy crop with sustainable crop production from healthy soil. Thus we have to remember that only healthy soil will produce, healthy, chemical free and non-polluted good quality food that will help the human being to be healthy. This subsequently will bring the prosperity to the nation.

concept of natural farming

Natural farming is environment friendly and sustainable. It is low cost in production with high productivity/profitability. Chemical farming requires high monetary investment for purchase of key inputs like fertilizers and plant protection chemicals from the market. In natural farming all inputs are used from one’s own farm itself. The system requires a native breed of cattle (desi cow) which in any case forms an integral part of farming families in rural areas. Farmers should use only good quality desi seeds, produced from their own farms by following selection method of breeding.

Benefits of natural farming.
  • Decrease in the cost of farming.
  • Increase in productivity and profit
  • Can achieve sustainable agricultural development.
  • Can preserve quality of soil, eliminate the toxins of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • People will be greatly benefitted by the consumption of healthy pure food.
  • Longevity of the produce and taste of vegetables, fruits etc will greatly increase.
  • Can preserve quality of surface water and groundwater.
  • In the absence of pesticide , the butterflies & bees get more attracted to the flowers, resulting in more pollination and higher production
  • Liquid manures used in natural farming helps to make available all nutrients from the soil to the plants and, Micro flora supports improvement in soil fertility.
Previous experiences of Chemical farming.
  • Chemical farming makes farmers heavily dependent on costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • With increase in use of fertilizers and pesticides cost of farming is excessively increasing day by day.
  • Production is not increasing, rather it is declining. Humus content of soil decreases and chemical content increases. Thus soil becomes infertile
  • Food grains, vegetables and fruits have pesticide residues affecting health of the people.
  • Surface water & ground water is polluted. It is no more safe for human being & animals.
  • Agriculture becomes less profitable and more risky profession, where small and marginal farmers are the worst sufferers.
  • GMO seeds have brought misery to the farmers
importance of indian cow in natural farming

One cow is sufficient to fertilize 30 acres of land. One gram of cow dung contains 300 to 500 crores of different useful bacteria for agriculture. Cow urine and dung is antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal and antioxidant. It is disinfectant and it improves soil fertility. Cow dung is a natural growth promoter for the plant. Cow dung and urine are being used for preparation of number of products to provide nutrition to soil and control of pest and disease. A person can do farming successfully with zero expense if he has indigenous cow.

Principles of zero budgets Natural farming( According to Subhash Palekar): It is based on four important farming practices

  • Bijamrut
  • Jivamrut
  • Mulching
  • Waphasa
Bijamrut
Bijamrut composition:
  • Water - 20 litres for 100kg seed and 50liters water for sugar cane sets)
  • Desi cow dung- 5 kg
  • Desi cow urine -5 Litres
  • One handful of soil from bund of field
  • Lime- 50 gram
How to Prepare Bijamrut
  • Take 5 Kg Local Cow Dung in a cloth and tie it by tape. Dip this in the 20 Liters of water for 12 hours.( over night)
  • Take one liter water and add 50 gm lime in it, let it stabilize for a night
  • Then next morning, squeeze this bundle of the cow dung in that water, thrice continuously, so that all essence of cow dung will accumulate in that water.
  • Then add a handful of soil in that water solution and stir it well.
  • Then add 5 liter Local cow urine or human urine in that solution & add the lime water and stir it well.
    Now Bijamrut is ready to treat the seeds
How to use Bijamrut

Spread seeds of any crops on cloth or clean ground surface. Sprinkle the Bjiamrut on the seeds by hand. Rub the seeds with the Bijamrut, so that each seed is coated with the Bijamrut. Dry it well in shade and use for sowing.

Jivamrut

Jivamrut: It is a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, Jaggery, flour of pulses & soil from the farm bund .

The material is to be mixed in 200 liter of water. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 48 hours. The mixture should be stirred by a wooden stick daily twice, morning and evening. The solution will contain billions and billions of useful bacteria. The ready solution is to be applied to the crops through irrigation water or directly to the crops. It can be applied through drip irrigation with the help of venture (Filtration equipment). This application of Jivamrut helps to improve the soil health. Nutrient availability to the crops is increased, yield is increased. This mixture is to be given on every fortnight.

How to prepare the Jivamrut
  • Take 200 liter of Water in a barrel.
  • Take 10 Kg Local Cow Dung and 5 to 10 liter cow urine and add it in the water.
  • Then add 1 Kg Jaggery, 1 Kg Pulses flour & handful soil from the bund of the farm in it.
  • Then stir the solution well every day morning, cover the container by gunny bag or any thick cloth. & keep it to ferment for 48 hours in the shade.
  • Now Jivamrut is ready for application.
Jivamrut Application

Apply the Jivamrut to the crops with each cycle of Irrigation water OR spray directly on the crops.

Jivamrut Spray

Spray 10% filtered Jivamrut on the crops (10 ltrs of Jivamrut in 100 ltrs of water)

Ghan-Jiwamrut

Take 10 Kg Local Cow Dung, 1 Kg Jaggery, 1 Kg Pulses flour, Handful soil from the bund. Then mix it well by adding required quantities of Cow Urine to make it semi - solid. Then spread it & keep it in the shade for drying, make small balls out of it for preserving. Afterwards make its powder by hand & apply to the crops in the proportion of 100 Kg FYM & 10 Kg Ghanjivamrut.

Mulching

There are 3 types of mulching

Soil Mulching

Soil mulch is done by different cultivation practices, like inter culturing, in the upper 10 to 15 cm layer, etc. This helps to conserve the moisture in the soil and reduce the evaporation losses. There are three purposes of the cultivation. To circulate the air in the soil, to stop the raindrops as surface flow and conserve them in the soil and to control the weeds. All this is because, oxygen is essential to the roots and micro-organisms in the soil, Conservation of rain water is essential for the growth of the crops and the stoppage of the rainwater flow to restrict the topsoil erosion.

Weeds are to be controlled to stop the competition of the weeds with the crops for water vapor, sunlight, and for food. Because mother soil is ‘Annapurna’. In the nature, there is no any competition for food in between any two plants. If, it is the truth that, the aeration and soil moisture is essential for the roots and soil micro-organisms, then, the cultivation should be practiced in that soil layer, in which, these feeding roots and micro-organisms are active. They are active in the top most 4.5 to 6 inch (10 to 15 cm) topsoil layer. So, the cultivation of the soil should be practiced in only this 10 to 15 cm layer. Below this layer, there are stock roots, not feeding roots! Air and moisture is essential for only feeding roots, not for stock roots.

Straw Mulching

Any dried vegetation, farm stubbles (crop residues of organic matter that remain in the farm after harvest of the crop). The main purpose of mulching is to cover the soil for the protections to the soil, microbes & earth worm against severe sun light, cold, rain, etc. The mulching creates humus in the soil, which is the main source of food for crops. It also conserves the soil. To increase the humus content in the soil continuous decomposition of organic matter should be taken place. The mulching should be the mixture of monocot and dicot leguminous biomass. Humus is composed of carbon and nitrogen. The humus contains 56% organic carbon and 6% organic nitrogen. The mulching should be a mixture of leguminous intercrops. The soils are very poor in carbon content, i.e. 0.2 to 0.3 percents. The ideal soil is supposed to have 3 to 6% of organic carbon.

In Hemanta Ritu, the seeds become matured. At the same time, the leaves start to mature totally. The green leaves now start to change in pale yellow and then whitish yellow color. During this color changing process, the tap roots and secondary godown roots lift up the four nutrients i.e. Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash and Magnesium from the yellowish leaves and deposit them in to their godown (Godown roots). But, rest of the nutrients remains in the leaves. Why the roots lift these nutrients from the leaves and deposit in the go down roots? There is reason. Please, understand one thing, that nature never does anything without purpose and preplan. Nature wants to supply these four prominent nutrients to the ratoons in next generation by this uplifting and depositing in the godown roots. This cover of dried straw biomass of the previous plants or crops is called straw mulching. By this straw mulching cover, the nature has achieved so many targets.

  • The seeds are covered by this straw mulching to save from birds, insects and animals.
  • TThe microclimate is created to activate the micro-organisms and local earthworms.
  • The favorable condition is created to decompose the godown roots and to prepare the humus stock in the soil for future new crop generation as a reserve bank.
  • The soil moisture is conserved in the soil and transpiration of soil moisture is restricted for the continuous soil micro-organisms utilization.
  • The humus saturated soil particles and soil biota in the upper most 10 cm layer of soil surface are saved from the severe heat waves of sunlight in Grishma Ritu (summer), from cold winds in Winter Ritu and from heavy stormy rain drops of pre-mansoon and mansoon raindrops.
Live Mulching

Live mulching is practiced by taking intercrops of short durational crops in the rows of main crop. The combination of crops will depend upon agro-climatic situations of different regions. The combination should be of cereals/oil seeds + pulses.

Live mulching means that intercrops and mixed crops, which give the symbiosis to the host main crop. In the nature there is a symbiosis. All vegetation is a whole family and each member plant is dependent on other plant. In forest, you will see that, there is a five-layer system. Big tree, medium tree, bush, grasses and layer of fallen dried leaves on the surface of land. All five layers are dependent upon each other. Grasses are growing in the shadow of bush or shrub. Shrubs are growing in the shadow of medium tree. Medium tree is growing in the shadow of big tree. All are living. If they are living without any family disputes, without any debates, it is the symptom of symbiosis. Nature has managed all vegetation family members in two groups. Those, that like shadow and those, that do not like shadow. The grass family monocot crops like paddy, wheat, Juar, sugarcane, Bajra, Ragi, Maize, millets and monocot grasses do not like shadow. They like full sunlight. They can grow in highest intensity of sunlight also. But, spices crops do not like straight sunlight. They want shadow or low intensity of sunlight. Some fruit trees like Grapes, Pomegranate, Orange group, Banana, Sapota, Mango, Areca nut, Betel nut, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Clove tree, Coffee and other do not like full sunlight. They live and grow in low intensity of sunlight. The mixed crop pattern of Monocot in Dicot & Dicot in Monocot helps to supply the essential elements to the crops. The Dicot supplies Nitrogen by means of nitrogen fixing bacteria & Monocot supplies other elements like Potash, Phosphate, Sulphur etc.

Examples : Cotton+ Tur (Arhar), Mug, Udid, Soyabean, ground nut, sorgam+ tur etc.

Waphasa

In Veda’s water is defined as a life of the soil. If there is Waphasa in the soil, the water is life. If there is no Waphasa in the soil, water is death of the plant and soil biota. Waphasa is that microclimate in the soil, by which the soil organisms and roots can live freely with availability of sufficient air and essential moisture in the soil. In one sentence, shortly, the Waphasa means the mixture of 50 % air and 50 % water vapours in the cavities between two soil particles. Why water vapour ? Why not water? Because, any root takes the molecules of water vapour. 92 % microorganisms and 88 to 95 % root hairs are working in the upper most 10 cm surface soil. So, the air must be circulating in this surface layer and vapour molecule must be available in this 10cm surface layer. When this will happen? When you give water outside the canopy of the plant i.e. outside the shadow of the plant at 12 O’ clock, then only Waphasa will be maintained. The roots that take water are situated at the outer canopy.

Mixed Cropping and Crop Rotation

Mixed cropping provides buffer against total failure of single crop and also widens the income source of farmers. There is stress on inclusion of leguminous crops to ensure replenishment of soil fertility. Crop rotation is also emphasized to discourage build up of endemic pests. In the scheme of mixed cropping, cereals, millets, leguminous crops, horticulture crops particularly vegetables and even medicinal plants can be included to make farming more lucrative. The system also advocates wider spacing of crops to facilitate inter cropping.

Intercropping with four crops
Straw mulching on Brinjal
Plant Protection

In the event of outbreak of insects and diseases the farmer can himself prepare homemade pesticides and use it on the crops.

How to Prepare Agniastra (Agni Missile)

To control the pest like Leaf Roller, Stem Borer, Fruit borer, Pod borer

  • Take a pot.
  • Add 10 liter Local Cow Urine in it.
  • Then add 1 Kg Tobacco by crushing it in the Urine.
  • Crush 500 gram of Green Chili & add it in Urine.
  • Crush 500 Gram Local Garlic & add it in the Urine.
  • Add 5 Kg Neem leaves pulp.
  • Then boil this solution 20 minutes continuously. (5 TIMES)
  • Let this solution to ferment for 48 Hrs.
  • Filter this by cloth.
  • Spray (2 ltrs in 100 ltrs of water).
How to Prepare Bramhastra (Bramha Missile)

To control all the sucking pests, pod borer, fruit borer etc

  • Take a pot, Add 10 liter Local Cow Urine in it.
  • Crush 3 Kg of Neem Leaves & add this Neem pulp in this water.
  • Then Add 2 Kg pulps of Sitafal (Custard apple) leaves, 2 Kg pulps of Papaya leaves, 2 Kg Pomegranate leaves pulp, 2 Kg of Guava (Jam, Peru) leaves pulps, 2 Kg Lantana Camera leaves pulp & 2 Kg White Datura leaves Pulp in it. (Use Lantana Camera and Datura leaves if available)
  • Then boil this solution for 20 minutes. (5 TIMES)
  • Let this solution to ferment for 48 Hrs.
  • Filter this by cloth.
  • For spraying take this Bramhastra 2 liter in the 100 liter water.
How to Prepare Neemastra (Neem Missile)

To control sucking pests & Mealy Bug

  • Take 100 liter Water.
  • Add 5 liter Local Cow Urine in it.
  • Add 1 Kg Local Cow Dung in it.
  • Crush 5 Kg of Neem Leaves & add this Neem pulp in this water.
  • Let this solution to ferment for 24 Hrs.
  • Stir this solution thrice a day by any stick.
  • Filter this by cloth.
  • Spray this Neemastra as it is on the plants .
  • To control thrips take 200 litres of water and 3 litres of Brahmastra , for one acre.
FUNGICIDES
Fungicide - I
  • Fermented Butter milk -3 litres
  • Water - 100 litres
Fungicide - II
  • Desi cow milk -5 litres
  • Take WAVDING/SUNTH Powder -200 grams .Boil this powder in 2 litres of water, till it is made to half of the quantity of water ,cool it.
  • Boil 5 litres of milk and cool it.
  • Take 200 litres of water for one acre ,add the wavding and the milk in it. stir it well.
  • Filter it and spray on the crops.

Reference: Zero budget Natural farming by Subhash Palekar