Moving to organic farming methods is one of the most environment friendly initiatives that we as responsible individuals can undertake. Not only does organic farming enhance biodiversity, it also restores helps restore badly needed ecological balance. You need to keep the following points in mind before you begin the organic farming process.
1. Do your research and collect required information. Read up on what plants grow best in the land or soil that you plan to use. Talk to other organic farmers and get their input. Understand potential issues that you are likely to face, whether in the form of pests or climate related concerns.
2. Start trial batches. It may be a good idea to do a bit of experimenting on smaller areas or with a variety of plants so that you have a fair idea about what grows best or how you can improve your produce.
3. Increase diversity while you farm. This is important not only from the point of view of improving bio-diversity, but also to minimize pests naturally as it limits uniform plant availability.
Here are some key steps to organic farming:
a) Crop and soil selection. Select the right kind of crop that suits your soil the best. Depending on the situation, you can either pick the crop or the soil, but understand that making the right choice will have a great impact to successful organic farming.
b) Consider climatic conditions. Much as we may want to grow certain kinds of plants, it is important to factor in the prevailing climate and how it is likely to impact your plants. Ensure that you select plants that have a fair chance of growing well within the specified climatic environment.
c) Improving your plant health. What kind of organic fertilizer would you like to use? It is a good idea to start your compost pit well in advance. Explore alternative sources of nutrients that can be sourced locally.
d) Managing pests and insects. Pests can be a nightmare for the most experienced of farmers, and more so when you just begin to undertake organic farming. There are adequate natural options to controlling pests, including using beneficial insects and naturally occurring bacteria. Maintain plant health so that they are able to withstand pests on their own.
e) Controlling weeds. Not using pesticides requires a fair amount of effort to keep weeds at bay. You will need to manually remove weeds periodically to ensure that your garden or farm remains healthy. Other methods include mulching, which is using other plant material or straw on the soil around the plant to prevent growth of weeds. Here is how to control pests organically.
f) Avoiding cross contamination. Remember that all our efforts towards growing plants organically is fruitless if we are unable to avoid cross contamination from a neighbouring garden or farm. Plant natural hedges and minimize risk of contamination through water.
Becoming a successful organic farmer requires just that little extra commitment. Follow some of the steps listed above, do plenty of research and we are well on our way to enjoying natural, fresh organic produce.