Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Natural and Organic way to improve Soil Fertility

The Soil is the base for any agricultural activity.  Soil fertility refers to the ability of soil to sustain plant growth, to provide plant habitat and result in lasting constant yields of high quality. A fertile soil has the following properties: 

2. Potassium and 
3. Nitrogen along with water, air and soil micro organisms that break down organic matter.

Here, we will discuss about the ways and means to improve the soil.

The details given below are for both "Unused Land (Barren Land)" and "Land in use (Existing Agriculture Land)" as well as for land which needs to be transforming from chemical farming to self-sufficient organic farming.

Land Improvement - Method 1

The following 5 types of Seeds are required and their quantities are mentioned as well for 1 Acre.  Overall, you require 4+4+4+4.25+1.75 = 22 Kgs of seeds per acre.

  1.  Pasunthaal (Green Manure Seeds) - 4 Kgs
    1. Sanappu (Sunhemp) - 1Kg
    2. Thakkaipoondu (Daincha) - 1 Kg
    3. Avuri (Indigo) - 1 Kg
    4. Sesbania (Sesbania) - 1 Kg
  2. Siruthaaniam (Millet Seeds) - 4 Kgs
    1. Cholam (Cholam) - 1 Kg
    2. Cumbu (Spiked Millet) - 1 Kg
    3. Kelvaragu (Ragi) - 1 Kg
    4. Samai (Samai) - 1 Kg
  3. Payaru (Cereal Seeds) - 4 Kgs
    1. Ulundu (Blackgram) - 1 Kg
    2. Pacchapayaru (Greengram) - 1 Kg
    3. Karamani (Cowpea) - 1 Kg
    4. Thuvarai (Redgram) - 1 Kg
  4. Ennai (Oil Seeds) - 4.25 Kgs
    1. Verkkadalai (Groundnut) - 2 Kg
    2. Ell (Gingely) - 0.25 Kg
    3. Amanakku (Castor) - 1 Kg
    4. Soya Mochai (Soya Beans) - 1 Kg
  5. Vaasanai (Perfume Seeds) - 1.75 Kgs
    1. Thaniya (Coriander) - 1 Kg
    2. Kadukku (Mustard) - 0.25 Kg
    3. Venthayam (Fenugreek) - 0.25 Kg
    4. Sombhu (Jeera) - 0.25 Kg
  1. The land has to be tilled for 1 or 2 times before the seeds are broadcast.
  2. The above 20 seeds mentioned need to be mixed thoroughly and broadcast by hand.
  3. Just before flowering of the crops(in 3 months time), the crops need to be dealt in two different ways.
  4. If the land is slushy, the entire crops need to be tilled again so that the crops as well as the soil are mixed thoroughly and allowed to decompose.
  5. If the land is not slushy, the entire crops need to be cut at the base and allowed to decompose in the soil.
  6. Mostly these needs to be done before the main crop is grown or if you are not growing any main crop and just for soil improvement, it is better to do this during the rainy season.

Land Improvement - Method 2
  1. Normally, most of the villages will have temples / mosques  and along with them they will have ponds, tanks etc which stores water and which is used for the temple as well as for the common use.  Even if there are not any temples around, definitely there will be ponds, tanks or other sources of water storage.  This is an excellent source of nutrient rich soil as most of the water that arrives in this place carry with them the top soil from many places and deposit them here.
  2. With the permission from the temple or local body, collected not more than 15-30 cm of top soil from the pond, tank etc.  By doing this, you will allow the water storage structure to retain more water.
  3. Spread the top soil collected from the ponds, tanks etc in your farm to improve your soil.
  4. The top soil need to be taken out only after sufficient amount of top soil has been collected in the ponds, tanks etc.
Land Improvement - Method 3
  1. Spread 4 inches of dry leaves or dead mulch on the soil.  This will decompose and improve the soil.
  2. A little bit of cow dung with urine can be sprayed on top of this to improve faster decomposition.
Land Improvement - Method 4
  1. Beans can be grown all over the place with little effort and they produce huge amounts of leaves which can be "chopped & dropped" and this improve the soil as well.
  2. A little bit of cow dung with urine can be sprayed on top of this to improve faster decomposition. 
Land Improvement - Method 5 (Green Manures List)
  1. The following Green Manures can be applied to the soil to improve the soil.
    1. Agathi - Sesbania grandiflora
    2. Avuri - Indofera tinctoria
    3. Adhatoda - Adhatoda zeylanica Medicus
    4. Avaram - Cassia auriculate
    5. Otiyan - Lannea coromandelica
    6. Erukku - Calotropis gigantean
    7. Kattukottai - Jatropha curcase
    8. Kattukolunchi - Tephrosia purpurea
    9. Sanaappu - Crotalaria juncea
    10. Seemai Agathi - Cassia alata
    11. Toyya-k-kirai - Digera muricata
    12. Cen-kitai or Malai Murungai - Sesbania bispinosa
    13. Thumbai - Leucas aspera
    14. Nalvelai - Cleome gynandra
    15. Naivelai - Cleome viscosa
    16. Nattu Cavundal - Leucaena leucocephala
    17. Nochi - Vitex negundo
    18. Nuna - Morinda coreia
    19. Pannaipoo - Celosia argentea
    20. Peyavirai - Cassia occidentalis
    21. Pungam - Pongamia pinnata
    22. Poovarasu - Thespesia populnea
    23. Nilavirai - Cassia senna
    24. Malai Vembu - Melia azedarach
    25. Murungai - Moringa oleifera
    26. Rail Poondu - Croton bonplandianus Baillon
    27. Vaagai - Alibizia lebbeck
    28. Vadanarayanan - Delonix elata
    29. Vembu - Azadirachta indica

Chemical Farming to Organic Farming

  1. The method mentioned above is also applicable for moving from Chemical Farming to Organic Farming.
  2. The catch here is that this needs to be done at-least for a continuous period of three years to notice the soil improvement.
  3. Once you plan to move from Chemical Farming to Organic Farming, it is advisable to stop using Chemical Farming altogether from the first year.
  4. The farmer may notice dip in their production during the transition period.  In case this is an issue, plan the transition in a phased manner like transitioning only 25% of the land every year.

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