Category Archives: energy
We should all make a decision to use Organic foods from this year, as all vegetable prices are shooting up. we all are getting vegetables with toxic fertilizers on it some times. without our knowledge we are all spoiling our family health. why cant we try to grow organic vegetables at the available space in our home. Let us all try it and be healthy this new year.
Why organic farming?
The focus is now more on quantity and “outer” quality (appearance) rather than intrinsic or nutritional quality, also called “vitality”. Pesticide and other chemical residues in food and an overall reduced quality of food have led to a marked increase in various diseases, mainly various forms of cancer and reduced bodily immunity.
This immense commercialisation of agriculture has also had a very negative effect on the environment. The use of pesticides has led to enormous levels of chemical buildup in our environment, in soil, water, air, in animals and even in our own bodies. Fertilisers have a short-term effect on productivity but a longer-term negative effect on the environment where they remain for years after leaching and running off, contaminating ground water and water bodies. The use of hybrid seeds and the practice of monoculture has led to a severe threat to local and indigenous varieties, whose germplasm can be lost for ever. All this for “productivity”.
In the name of growing more to feed the earth, we have taken the wrong road of unsustainability. The effects already show – farmers committing suicide in growing numbers with every passing year; the horrendous effects of pesticide sprays ; the pesticide-contaminated bottled water and aerated beverages are only some instances. The bigger picture that rarely makes news however is that millions of people are still underfed, and where they do get enough to eat, the food they eat has the capability to eventually kill them. Yet, the picture painted for the future by agro-chemical and seed companies and governments is rosy and bright.
Another negative effect of this trend has been on the fortunes of the farming communities worldwide. Despite this so-called increased productivity, farmers in practically every country around the world have seen a downturn in their fortunes. The only beneficiaries of this new outlook towards food and agriculture seem to be the agro-chemical companies, seed companies and – though not related to the chemicalisation of agriculture, but equally part of the “big money syndrome” responsible for the farmers’ troubles – the large, multi-national companies that trade in food, especially foodgrains.
This is where organic farming comes in. Organic farming has the capability to take care of each of these problems. Besides the obvious immediate and positive effects organic or natural farming has on the environment and quality of food, it also greatly helps a farmer to become self-sufficient in his requirements for agro-inputs and reduce his costs.
Here are the few tips for beginners to plant organic plants at home
Though almost every American now buys organic food and products, around 70% only buy occasionally. One of the reasons why many people do not consider going straight for organic is its price. While organic foods really command higher price in the market, there are ways to make organic lifestyle affordable and enjoyable.
One of the most exciting and enriching ways to enjoy the benefits of organic food is to plant the mostly used items in the house. Instead of purely growing grass and ornamental plants, convert a portion of the open space into an organic garden.
Organic gardening is defined as the practice of growing vegetables, herbs and fruits using only things found in nature. Everything must be natural and organic, starting from the seeds, the soil, fertilizers, pest control. Harmful pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are strictly out of the scene.
To start the organic garden, there is a need for a simple planning – what to do, where to go, when to start, how to implement, and of course, how to manage time, how to get everyone cooperate and get involved, and other related tasks.
Before planting, plan what to plant. It is recommended that the items most commonly used and consumed in the house should be given priority. It might be herbs and spices like basil and pepper, then leafy vegetables like lettuce, common root crops like carrot, and other kinds of vegetables like eggplant and tomato. Plant a few of every item that would supply the daily needs of a family. If there are neighbors who are also into gardening, share and exchange seeds because a pack of seeds is more than enough for one planting.
Planting will not be easy for beginners. Read procedures on how to plant the desired plants contained in your list. Plants require specific type of soil, climate and other factors. Select plants that are suited to the site conditions. If the site is an open space with lots of sunlight, choose the plants that need a lot of sunlight. If the site receives sunlight only at particular hours because of shady landscape, then choose plants that suit this condition. Check the type of soil in the area and know if there is a need to buy garden soil or other type of soil to complement the existing soil.
Like human beings, plants grow well if the environment suits them. Love the plants and the plants will bring it back to you.
Mulching, green manuring and cover cropping
All these techniques are different but somewhat interrelated.
Mulching is the use of organic materials (plastic mulch is expensive and non-biodegradable) to cover the soil, especially around plants to keep down evaporation and water loss, besides adding valuable nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Mulching is a regular process and does require some labour and plenty of organic material, but has excellent effects, including encouraging the growth of soil fauna such as earthworms, preventing soil erosion to some extent and weed control.
Green manuring is an age-old practice prevalent since ancient times. A crop like dhaincha (Sesbania aculeata), sunnhemp or horsebean is sown (usually) just before the monsoons. A mix is also possible. Just around flowering (30-45 days after sowing), the crop is cut down and mixed into the soil after which the season’s main crop is sown. Green manuring is beneficial in two ways – firstly it fixes nitrogen, and secondly the addition of biomass (around five to ten tons/acre) greatly helps in improving the soil texture and water holding capacity. Green leaf manuring can also be carried out if sufficient leguminous tree leaves are available.
Tips for Beginners
• Pick an area with a lot of sun.
• Choose plants that are easy to grow: beets, beans, squash and tomatoes. You can buy starters from greenhouses or at the farmers markets. (In general, bigger seeds mean easier-to-grow plants.)
• Don’t over till the soil. The best nutrients are at the top.
• Fertilize with compost, not chemicals. Start your own compost.
• Control weeds and moisture with mulch, yard clippings, and newspapers.
• Don’t over water. Water is too precious. Capture your rain water.