Millennials have been replacing artificial or chemical-based products with organic products lately. It seems as if people have realized that chemical-based or artificial items are harmful to health in the long run. Hence, one must go for organic items whenever available.
Organic farming, if looked upon as a business field, is way more profitable than conventional farming. One can generate more income from organic farming than conventional farming. It is so because of increased demand for food, lesser reliance on chemicals in agricultural processes, health requirements, and so much more.
So, if you have decided to invest in organic farming, then below here is a completely organic farming guide for you. It will give you an idea of what to expect at which stages of organic farming. Apart from learning about the primary process, you will also be discovering some innovative organic farming ideas.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a process in which a farmer discourages the use of fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, genetically modified organisms, chemical weedicides, etc. It involves the use of organic wastes, biological material, and bio-fertilizers.
However, it is not an overnight process. It consumes time and labor. But, with the right guidance and ample research, one can end up with excellent earnings of up to 2 lakh rupees with just 1 acre of land. So, it is high time for all farmers to realize the potential benefits of organic farming.
However, before starting with it, you must have an organic farming guide.
Importance of Organic Farming
Organic farming has acted as a savior of farmers from spending money on expensive fertilizers, pesticides, and other substances. People have realized the importance of organic farming due to the increasing health risks caused by harmful chemicals in conventional Farming.
However, no health risk is not the only plus point of organic farming. There are other benefits of organic farming which are as follows:
a) Soil Fertility
Organic farming boosts the fertility levels of soil. During the whole process of organic farming, farmers use products that provide nutrients to both crops and soil.
Organic farming reduces land pollution, for it involves no use of harmful chemicals. Hence, one of the benefits of organic farming is that it fosters the fertility of the land in the absence of land pollution.
b) Health of Animals
Organic Farming also ensures no harm to the health of domestic livestock who graze in agricultural fields. In contrast, routine Farming involves the use of chemicals.
It is a probable event that domestic livestock while grazing in farm fields, consume such chemicals that may be detrimental to their health.
Organic farming, by providing rich nutrients to the soil, also promote Sustainable Development.
It ensures increased fertility of the ground, improved soil properties, improved water-absorbing capacity, increased crop productivity, and so much more for both the present and future generations.
d) Properties of Soil
The importance of organic farming has increased for one more reason, i.e., improvement in root penetration, water absorption capacity, reduced soil erosion, granulation, increased level of nutrients in the soil, and other chemical properties of the Land.
e) Less Expenditure
Investment in organic farming can prove to be the best business decision ever. One can get high returns with a minimal expenditure of 1.5 lakh rupees. It may require time and labor, but the returns on investment justify both.
However, a wholesome organic farming guide is needed to prepare the farmer for all the processes involved, expenditure, returns, good market, type of soil, potential risk of loss, etc.
One must take note of the following elements to succeed in organic farming:
1. Know about the Land
LOCATION: The location of the farming land matters a lot. It gives the farmer an idea about the properties of the farming space available. It is best if the farming space is near a clean water source. It will ensure the maintenance of the proper quantity of nutrients in the soil and reduced irrigation expenditure.
INDIGENOUS CROPS: You must choose the indigenous crops of the land. Indigenous crops are the best crops for organic farming. However, you can use various techniques to grow foreign crops. But this may not be the right step for you if you’re a beginner. A beginner must not take too much risk.
SPACE REQUIRED: You should also consider the space required for organic farming of the crops you want to grow. 1 hectare of land is enough for beginners who are just stepping into the organic farming business. If space is not enough, you must choose the crops you want to grow wisely.
In case you’re wondering how to start organic farming at home, you can also implement techniques like container farming, intercropping, vertical gardening, or any other method that is convenient for you.
2. Know Your Market and Network with people
Well, no organic farming guide would come to your use if you don’t research your market and network with the right people. A farmer interested in organic farming must research the market beforehand. He must analyze the demand for his product in the market and how often he can sell it in the market.
Building a network is vital for every job or business firm. For a beginner, it is essential to build a network before even starting with the process of organic farming. It will connect you to the right market, and you can also seek expert advice.
Farmers who have been practicing organic farming for quite a sufficient time can guide beginners in case some problem arises.
3. Start preparing the Land
After all the research and networking, you are good to go. Now it is time to start with the process of organic farming. You must prepare the land with all the components required for organic farming. It involves the use of manures, bio-fertilizers, nitrogen, vermicompost, potassium, phosphorus, sulphur, rock phosphate, green manure crops, and so much more.
The very first thing to do is to prepare organic manure. One can prepare organic manure using biological elements like plants, animals, and human waste. Organic manure is divided into the following categories:
A) Bulky Organic Manure- It is formed out of farmyard manure, compost, and green manure.
B) Farm Yard Manure (FYM)- Farmyard manure can be prepared using a decomposed mixture of dung, urine, farm litter, and leftovers from the fodder of the domestic livestock. All this material should be mixed well and then placed into trenches of measurements of 6×2×1 meters. Each trench must be filled half and covered with cow dung. It should be decomposed for 3-4 months for completion of the fermentation process.
C) Compost- Compost can be prepared by vegetable refuse, farm litter, sewage sludge, and animal wastes. It can be used for every soil type and all crops.
D) Green Manure- If the space available for organic farming has been used for growing crops like cowpea, sun hemp, cluster bean, dhaincha, berseem, etc., one can opt for the process of green manuring. These crops produce green matter, which adds nitrogen when plowed into the soil. It is equivalent to 4-10 tons of Farm Yard Manure (FYM).
E) Concentrated Organic Manure- Concentrated organic manure that is used commonly are oil cakes, blood meal, meat meal, fish meal, and hoof meal. Concentrated organic manures contain essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash.
Vermicompost: Earthworms produce vermicompost by consuming bio-mass and excreting it in a digested form.
After you’re done with market research and manuring, it is finally the time for the plantation process to begin.
There are two categories of planting methods, which are listed below:
A) Organic Seeds Planting Method
The next thing to do after manuring is purchasing organic seeds. Organic seeds exist in a wide variety, so choose wisely. These are raised for some time inside the soil for a few weeks. Seeds of vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, spinach, etc. are to be directly sowed into the land.
B) Organic Seedling Planting Method
Organic seedling planting method is one of the tremendous organic farming ideas for beginners. One can directly plant the seedlings into the fields. However, you should take care that you collect only transplantable plants.
Organic farming and routine farming do not always yield the results we want. Apart from the crops you want to grow, you also get weeds. Weeds are such plants that hinder the proper growth and nutrition of the crops. Weeds either consume all the nutrients in the soil or act as homes to insects harmful to the crops.
So, it is pertinent for all the organic farmers to perform all the due procedures required in the process of weed control.
5. Weed Control
During the process of organic farming, it is evident that a farmer cannot use weedicides. But the implementation of all organic farming ideas will be useless if weeds don’t get removed early. So, one can take recourse to the following organic weed control methods:
Mulching is the process of mixing wet straw, leaves, and loose earth spread on the ground to reduce weed growth and to promote the productivity of the soil. Mulching is suitable in the area that has a moisture content, humidity, carbon-di-oxide, and good microbial activity.
B) Cover Crops
Cover crops are usually grown beside the main crop to suppress the growth of weed plants. However, one must be careful about the spacing element. Clover, Buckwheat, Rye, Winter Wheat, Oilseed, etc. can be used as cover crops.
C) Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation, along with plastic mulch and pre-plant soil fumigation, can prevent the growth of weeds effectively. The low volume of water used for drip irrigation is effective in preventing the weeds from reaching to the cropped area.
Apart from drip irrigation, you can also opt for other irrigation techniques like surface irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, etc.
6. Pest Control
Well, it is not just the weeds that an organic farmer has to remove from the space used for organic farming. You should take care to get rid of insects and pests to get better crop productivity. Pest control is more like a preventive step.
Organic farming can best be practiced till the time the crops stay free from pests and diseases. Here, you should talk to other fellow farmers in your network to know what practice do they adopt to keep the crops free from diseases and pests?
Following are some of the methods to protect the crops from pests and diseases:
Bio-pesticides are natural plant products that are beneficial against insects, fungi, and other harmful organisms. Some of the most effective bio-pesticides are neem, seed kernel, nicotine, rotenone, pyrethrum, margosa, and Acorus.
B) Build a population of beneficial insects
Another method to prevent pests and diseases from destroying the quality of crops is to build a population of beneficial insects that consume eggs of pests. However, it is not as if one has to bring these insects separately.
The easiest method to build the population of beneficial insects is to plant the border of the field with the crops that beneficial insects like.
C) Crop rotation
Crop rotation, along with the right amount of nutrients in the soil, can also help to prevent pests and diseases from destroying the crops.
7. Have Patience and Composure
You will not find this in an organic farming guide but it is crucial to have patience and maintain composure throughout the process. It is not an overnight process. Just like business ventures take time to earn enormous profits, organic farming also requires enough time to flourish to the proper extent.
And yes, just like start-ups come with huge risks, organic farming also has several risks associated with it. So, be prepared to handle any situation with a calm attitude. Also, make sure to regularly interact with your community of organic farmers to get all the latest updates and know where you could perform better.
Consider it as a commercial business activity, and you will understand how to have patience and maintain composure. It might happen that weather conditions do not work well for you, so keep that in your mind as well. Also, pay regular attention to your field. Lack of awareness may cause you to suffer huge losses.
Now that you have had access to an organic farming guide, this is the time for you to start working on it. Organic Farming is an excellent opportunity for those who do not have enough funds to invest in a start-up. Lack of funds can also be covered through loans offered to farmers under various Government schemes.
So do not hold back your intention to step into the field of organic farming. Better start with implementing all these ideas to earn passive income from organic farming. It takes time and not an overnight process. So, it’s better to start early. Those who start early often succeed earlier.
However, think wisely and do not rush into it. You have the organic farming guide, so you must ponder over each step in this process. Analyze your difficult areas, availability of crops in your region, the suitability of land, and other factors too.