Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
- Agroforestry or agro-sylviculture is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland.
- It combines shrubs and trees into agriculture to create more sustainable land-use systems that prevent soil erosion.
- Growing of different crops on a piece of land in a pre planned succession is known as crop rotation.
- The principle is to utilise the available resources to the fullest extent in order to harvest the maximum in a unit land without affecting the soil health, e.g. rice , red gram ,banana.
- Growing of two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land is known as mixed cropping.
- It is also known as ‘multiple cropping’. This type of cropping leads to an improvement in the fertility of the soil and hence increases the crop yield.
- Mixed cropping is an insurance against crop failure due to abnormal weather conditions. Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
- Growing two or more crops simultaneously with distinct row arrangement on the same field at the same time is known as intercropping.
A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil and the process of applying a layer of material to the surface of the soil is known as mulching.
Mulch performs the following functions:
- Conserves moisture
- Improves the fertility and health of the soil
- Reduces weed growth
- Enhances the visual appeal of the area.
- A mulch is usually but not exclusively organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips).
- It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost are incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms.
- Bone meal (or bone manure) is a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones and slaughterhouse waste products.
- It is used as an organic fertiliser for plants and as a nutritional supplement for animals. Being a slow-release fertiliser, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus and protein.
- Manure is an organic matter, mostly derived from animal feces except in the case of green manure, which can be used as an organic fertiliser in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are trapped by the bacteria in the soil. Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
- ‘Green manure’ is a term used to describe specific plant or crop varieties that are grown and turned into the soil to improve its overall quality. A green manure crop can be cut and then plowed into the soil or simply left in the ground for an extended period prior to tilling the garden areas. Examples of green manure crops include: grass mixtures and legume plants. Some of the most commonly used green manure crops are: annual ryegrass, vetch, clover, peas, winter wheat and alfalfa.
Benefits of green manure crop
- The growing of green manure cover crops provides additional nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
- When incorporated into the soil, these plants break down, eventually releasing important nutrients such as nitrogen, that is necessary for adequate plant growth.
- It also increases soil drainage and water retention capabilities. In addition to adding nutrients and organic materials to the soil, green manure crops can be grown to scavenge leftover nutrients following the harvest season. Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
- This helps prevent leaching, soil erosion and weed growth.
- In a nutshell, compost is a decomposed organic matter.
- Composting is a natural process of recycling organic materials such as leaves and vegetable scraps and adding them into the soil to make it nutrient-rich. Gardeners fondly nickname it as, ‘Black Gold. Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming
- Compost can be easily prepared. One can start by spreading a layer that is several inches thick of coarse, dry brown stuff, like straw or cornstalks or leaves, where one wants to build the pile.
- Cover the layer with several inches of green stuff. Continue layering green stuff and brown stuff with a little soil mixed in until the pile is three feet high.
- In some days, the layers turn into compost due to the activity of microorganisms. Mulching and Composting in Organic Farming