Organic farming refers to an agricultural form that depends on various farming strategies such as green manure, crop rotation, biological pest control and compost. Organic farming takes best qualities from traditional farming and scientific knowledge. They don’t leave their farms to be taken away by nature; they use all intuitive knowledge and materials available to work with nature. Therefore farmers create a balance between farming and nature, not causing any harm to plants or animals. The aim of organic farming is not to see every insect as a pest and try to protect their plants, but taking measures to acceptable level.
Advantages of organic farming
- Increase soil fertility for a long period.
- Take control of plants without causing harm to the environment.
- Water will always stay clean and safe.
- Nutritious foods are produced which can be fed to animals.
- High quality crops yields at a good price.
In order to produce a healthy crop organic farming needs to manage the soil well, which involves taking into account of soil life, soil structure and soil life. Artificial fertilizers provide short term nutrients to crops. Choosing right kind of crop also plays an important role because the crops would be affected by the types of the soil used, rainfall, temperature and humidity and altitude. Suppose a crop is grown in a climate which is not suited, it would produce a low yield and may be more prone to pest and diseases. This would require agro chemical to fertilize the crop.
Organic farming strategies
- Rotation: Growing same types of crops would reduce soil fertility. Doing a three to four year rotation of vegetable crops is recommended. Rotation of crops helps in increasing the fertility of the soil.
- Composting: Compost is a plant and animal residues that has been rotted down by the actions of bacteria and other organisms, over a particular period of time. Leaves, fruit skins and animal manures are used to make compost. Even the compost has numerous advantages it improves the fertility of soil, reduces soil erosion, it also improves soil’s ability to hold water.
- Mulching: Covering the ground with loose materials like manure, dry grass, leaves or even crops are called mulching. They help to improve plant growth by decreasing water loss due to evaporation, reducing weed growth by reducing the amount of light reaching the soil, increasing number of micro-organisms in the top soil.
Therefore organic farming produces high nutritional quality in sufficient quantity.
Benefits from Organic Fertilizers
Fertilizers mean a soil that guarantees the minimum percentages of nutrients such as nitrogen, potash and phosphate. Basically they are derived from either vegetable or animal matter. Organic fertilizers that occur naturally include humic acid, seaweed, manure and many more. Compost, bloodmeal and bone meal are present in processed organic fertilizer.
Advantages of using organic fertilizers
Even though the nutrient density in organic materials is modest they have many advantages. They mobilize soil nutrients so that growth is the nutrients. They release nutrients at a slower and consistent rate. They also help in retaining moisture, improving soil structure and preventing erosion.
Organic fertilizers also have some inconveniences
Transporting of fertilizer in large scale incurs higher costs, and even more in case of slurry and manure. The materials added to organic fertilizers tend to be more complex than any standardized inorganic product. More labor is necessary for organic fertilizer, which in turn increases labor costs. Any multiple passes of equipment cause soil compaction and require more fuel.
But it is recommended not to opt for chemical fertilizers because they would be hard on plants. They make the fruits look more bulky but nutrient contents would be far less. Organic fertilizers are far from simplified and purified chemicals. They are complex compounds that have numerous micro nutrients. We must all agree that some fertilizers do cause some damage to plants and environments but not to such an extent like that of chemical fertilizers.
If a fertilizer is considered organic then it must have secondary and micro nutrients, it must improve soil texture, drainage, it is compulsory that it provides slow release nutrition and it should definitely not effect environment in any way.
Apart from fertilizers, earthworms also provide the best compost available; they also aerate soil when they go underground. Without earth worm the soil would be compacted so it we be required to manually cultivate them. Therefore the beneficial effect of worms, bacteria’s and other micro organisms helps in accessing micro nutrients that are perhaps not found in chemical fertilizers.
Overall farming organically helps in protecting long term fertility of soil encouraging soil activity biologically. Careful attention is maintained in terms of the environment, wildlife and any other natural habitats. Strategies like crop rotation, mulching and composing takes farming to a whole new level to yield crops that produce more nutrients.