Every time, in my farm i meet visiting farmers. Often they ask how much i spend on fertilizers. usual rural mis conception is better the spending better will be the yields. Fertilizer they mean chemical fertilizer like Urea, DAP and Complex....Etc. I always say i dont know much about them and i use it only on some wise neighboring wisdom or on recommendation by Agri geeks.
Over the days i am been enquiste to understand what are these and how do they impact on the ecology. What i understand with my little nature experimentation is nature is well equipped to sustain itself, what it needs from us is to work with it not against it.
To give you an example gravity is nature we all know if we throw the ball up it will come down thats nature, working to keep it afloat, i would say against the nature.
Although as science students we always challenge the nature and take credit when we are able to achieve against the nature laws. Don't mistake me, I am perfectly fine with the design of aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets etc. they are all exploiting the laws of the nature for good, but there is a limit to it, crossing the limit is violation of nature which will effect adversely. Even Newton has proved in his 3rd law of motion "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". we all know whats the adverse effect of flying machines on our ozone layer !!
Well scientific research and benefits of it to the mankind is a endless list and a good topic for debate.
Talking about cultivation, what is the science in it?? its purely nature.
Nature sets the season, seed is germinated, plant grows, flowers, pollination happens, fruits set, they ripen, seeds are back set to the ground at a right time to complete the cycle.
Tell me what is science in it, its purely nature. Science can help us study the nature and define laws to help it rather than replace it.
Mother nature biggest gift to us all is Soil, What is Soil?
Soil is natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thickness.
Soil particles pack loosely, forming a soil structure filled with pore spaces. These pores contain soil solution (liquid) and air (gas). Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three state system. Soil is also known as earth: it is the substance from which our planet takes its name.
Soil is the fundamental base on which we all stand same is with plants, Plants base them selves in soil and grows from it. they spread there roots in it and harness the mineral base, solution and gas pockets to grow.
so then what is the differentiating factor for the growth of plants under ideal environmental circumstances. its the soil fertility. apart from the air, water, proper sunlight what can differentiate the growth of plants is Soil strength or Soil fertility!!
Hence lets see with the nature how Soil fertility is defined and how we can work to improve it.
Soil fertility is dependent on 2 other parameters Soil Nutrients, and Soil structure.
Soil Nutrients : As defined earlier Soil is made up of layers of mineral constituents, Plant will need Micro and Macro nutritive base in the soil to grow and flourish. Macro nutrients are commonly known as NPK. Nitrogen, Potash and Potassium. balanced ratio of these nutrients are important apart from these, soil should contain sufficient minerals (trace elements) for plant nutrition, including boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, sulfur, and zinc. Over above all there are set of micro organisms work on the soil organic matter fixing back many of the nutrient base used by vegetation. Vegetative growth above the soil and below the soil is self balancing. Any nutrient deficiency can be met by adding more bio degradable organic waste to the soil, in turn help the micro organisms to grow to improve the fertility.
Takeaway: Add more organic bio degradable mass to the soil to help with the fertility, where there is acute shortage some amounts of nutrients may have to be supplemented for a brief duration, science can help with the quantity of supplementation by doing a simple soil tests.
No No: without understanding the soil nutrient deficiency, just feeding the macro nutrients can be adverse and reduce the micro organism population reducing the land to go barren.
Soil Structure: is the arrangement of soil particles into aggregates. These may have various shapes, sizes and degrees of development or expression. Soil structure affects aeration, water movement, resistance to erosion and plant root growth. Structure often gives clues to texture, organic matter content, biological activity, past soil evolution, human use, and chemical and mineralogical conditions under which the soil formed.
make the soil porus to allow air to pass through and help with water retention, this can be achieved by natural tilling, substituting the tractor tilling. Encourage organisms to grow who will supplement the work of tractor, encourage organisms like ants, earthworms who are natural soil tillers, By increasing the bio degradable content within the soil it also increases these organisms who feed on them and in turn help you with improving the Soil structure.
Takeaway: Encourage organic manuring to attract natural soil tillers who will work effortlessly to improve the soil structure of your land.
No No: use of chemical treatments and pesticides may kill the organisms establishment and may take years to regroup and work.
To summaries my blog i would say to increase your yields work on your Soil fertility, provide enough organic degradable bio mass, supplement with the best available options for the deficiencies and help in increasing non demanding organisms, micro organisms labour force to your advantage:)
Happy Farming, Happy Experimenting.