Organic farming is both exciting and challenging. From the farming activity, we have compiled the knowledge about how the plant grows and why one growing method is preferred over another method. Farming becomes the main income especially for the agrarian country. Our food source such as rice, vegetables, and fruits are produced from agriculture. The farming products can fill out the people needs, that’s why the existence of farming activity should behold. As we know, the agriculture system is present the extensive input of insecticides, fungicides, weedicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and the growth hormones. Most of them become the harm to the environment and hazardous to human being health. The impacts of these chemical substances aren’t only on the soil and crop product, but also the natural ecosystem in there, including the biodiversity, food chain, the water ground, pollinators, etc.
1. Organic Farming
To reduce the pollutant risk, there’s a new method which is more adaptive for the environment, named organic farming. Organic farming becomes the most popular farming method today, it also usually called organic agriculture. This method claimed as an environmentally friendly method because it works in harmony with nature rather than against it. Organic farming is the production system which operates based on the ecological processes and function of the farm ecosystem to produce healthy food sustainability. This system is forbidden to use the synthetically compounded include pesticides, growth hormones, fungicide, insecticide, weedicides, and fertilizer. This method is developed as the answer to avoiding the chemical farming in this era. By applying the farming with organic basic, it will create healthy food and happy living.
2. The Organic Farming Concept
The terminology of an organic farming is oriented to cultivating the land and raising the crops in such a way, keep the soil condition and good health by utilizing the organic wastes (animal, farm waste, aquatic waste, and crop) also the biological materials which contains the biofertilizers to release the essential nutrients for the plant. Imagine that farming is the relationship among soil, plant, water, the soil microbes, waste products, agriculture, forestry, animal, vegetables, and atmosphere that should be maintained seriously. The essential thing for you who want to apply this farming method is how to represent the agriculture system rather than merely a set of technology. This system adopts the agro-ecology principle, include.
A. The general step
- Maintenance and improvement process of agro-ecosystem is according to the conservation of soil, biodiversity, and water
- You can reduce the consumption of non-renewable natural resources
- Prevent the over-exploitation of natural resources
- Conserve the traditional farming system and indigenous culture
- Protect the farmer freedom, especially for the seed sovereignty
- The best role model of farming is nature.
B. The Practical Step
1. The soil is the central living entity of this method.
2. The microbes and other organisms are the largest contributors to the soil fertilization.
3. The mobilization of natural nutrients.
4. The biological pest control is one way to pest management.
5. Improving the biodiversity of the genetic base.
6. Prohibition to use the synthetic, agrochemicals, and genetic engineering.
7. Utilizing the crop residue and farm manures.
8. The biologically active soil life
C. The Characteristics of Organic Farming
- Ensure the biological function include soil, water, hummus, and nutrients continuously
- Maintaining the plant diversity
- Use the local resources sustainability
- Maximizing the input and output scale
3. Four Principles of Organic Farming
It’s important to understand the principles of organic agriculture. These principles work as the fundamental aims and should be applied in practice. The IFOAM (International Federation for Organic Agriculture Movement’s) explains that organic agriculture is done based on:
1. The principle of health
Organic farming should present the health principle in every step. This farming method is intended to create healthy soil. The healthy soil will produce a healthy product. By starting to create healthy soil continuously, the living system will be appropriately formed. That’s why this farming is forbidden to use animal drugs, fertilizer, pesticide, and food hormone.
2. The principle of ecology
As we know, the natural ecology becomes the first thing that should be protected from damage. Organic farming requires the ecological balances in nature. The organic agriculture must be able to adapt to the biodiversity, microbes, animal, farm ecosystem, etc. The farming with organic basic doesn’t have a side effect on the living.
3. The principle of fairness
A good relationship is key to increasing this farming method. The fairness is represented by the respect, the equity, the stewardship and justice between people and another living factor. It also adopted in organic farming, the good relationship among all parties (farmers, workers, traders, and consumers) should be built in manner.
4. The principle of care
The organic agriculture work as a dynamic system which respond to the internal and external condition. The responsibility in managing the organic products must be done sustainably. The technology which implemented in this method also should be accounted.
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4. The Organic Farming Technique
Organic farming doesn’t mean flash back into the traditional system. This method combines the farming methods which still exist today with the modern scientific knowledge. When you are applying this organic farming method, you have to create a balance condition between farming and nature. Besides you should keep the soil quality, the selection of crops also influences the success of farming. Learn the guideline below to prepare the organic farming well.
The living soil is the basis of organic farming. While applying organic farming, it’s essential to choose the strategic area. The most problem in any country is the poor soil health due to loss the organic matter. We are not recommended to depending on the store to supplying the energy; it may be spent high cost. We should build the farming system which is not only productive but also low budget and conserving the resources. The healthy soil is needed for all farming activity. The soil health can be known from some indicators, there are:
The soil provides an adequate micro and macronutrients for the plants and microbes. The ideal soil condition with pH 6.0-7.0. It allows the nutrients are absorbed easily.
Have a good structure that able to resist the degradation like compaction and erosion.
Provides good water infiltration and adequate aeration.
Can maintain the habitat of biotic sustainability and promotes the growth of the root.
Low of toxic components level and low of salinity level.
Choosing the perfect soil with enough temperature. If you are detected the unhealthy soil, you can do the treatment to repair it. The improvement of soil health is according to three principles.
The organic matter usage. The soil organisms need the food; they rely on the organic matter supply as their food. A rich supply of organic matter will improve the variety of organism living.
Develop the plant varieties. The various crops can create the great diversity of resources to help the stimulation of soil biodiversity.
The habitat of soil organism should be protected. Improving the soil living includes the moisture, temperature, aeration, and nutrients supply quality and quality are necessary. It can be done by reducing the soil tillage and minimizing the compaction.
The important point is don’t using the chemical substance although just a little. You are obliged to use the biological or organic matter to enrichment the soil. It is also good to allow the micro-organism work as decomposer and nitrogen supplier.
4.2. CROP SELECTION AND MIX CROPPING
Each crop has its requirements, it may grow well in some places, but also it will be bad in another place. Choosing the best crop for this farming because with the right consideration. These crops are affected to several factors, such as the rainfall, temperature, soil type, the number of nutrients and water needs. If the plants aren’t grown in a suitable place or climate, it possible to susceptible the disease and pests.
To be the successful farmer, you should learn the condition of crop varieties. The vegetables or fruits can be your choice; you also can apply the multiple or mixing crops. Mix cropping is the outstanding feature of organic farming which planting several crop varieties in the same land. In the one of planting season, it’s recommended to growing the legume at least 40 %. The mixing crops are supported to the photosynthesis process and avoid the lack of nutrients because each crop has their nutrients. The farm should have 8-10 plants varieties in one time. The combination of vegetables and fruits will produce the maximum result.
4.3. CROP ROTATION
The organic farming practice is needed to crop rotation. It has the function to improve the soil health and support the natural microbial system to work well. The rotation plan should be done for three until four years. The crop rotation also helps the soil to get the best fertility level and structure; it will be so beneficial for crops. Several benefits can we get if we implementing the rotation of plants are:
1. Not all the plants have the same needs (especially for the nutrients)
2. The types of roots will improve the soil structure
3. Crop rotation is to avoid the development of pests
4. The build of weeds can be against
You can select the plants that you want to rotate. Ensure that these crops aren’t damaged or to be harmful to another crop. Besides you have to consider the types of plant, you also should consider the climate. It may be influenced to the plant growth. Here, the example the crop rotation.
There’s no standard of methodology to seeding and planting. It’s the same with the farming method as usual. You can use the seedling or transplanted plant to fill up the ground. The selection of seeds quality will be affected into the productivity. Ensure that you use the disease-free seed stock. For the seed treatment, you can apply two ways below.
Firstly. Submerged the seeds in hot water with 53 degrees Celsius for 25-30 minutes.
Secondly. Using organic fertilizer
- Prepare 5 kilograms of cow dung in a cloth bag to get the extract by suspending it.
- Put the container with water under the cow dung
- Suspend 50 grams of lime in one liter of water using another container.
- After have done the extraction for about 12-16 hours squeeze, add five liters of cow urine, the lime water, 50 grams of virgin forest soil, and 20 liters of water.
- Let them passes the incubation for 8-12 hours.
- The content is ready to use to seed treatment.
Organic farming need the compost to increase the soil health. The compost is an organic matter that can be made by your hand. Mixing the leaves, animal manures, and fruit skins. Let them over a period of time. These materials will produce the organisms and bacteria which are good for the soil. It spent about 4-5 days to create good compost. The application of compost can be made the routine. You can add the compost while you plant for the first time then after 15 days.
Besides you can practice the composting structure above, you also can make the vermicompost. What is vermicompost? The vermicompost is one of the compost methods which contains the worm casting, bedding materials, and organic residue. The earthworm contains high nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, that’s why the vermicompost method is good for the soil. Then, how to make it? Follow the steps below.
1. Prepare the shady place which protected from the sun, rain, and wind.
2. Digging a trench for about 200 cm x 100 cm x 100 cm in the soil or wooden crate.
3. Arrange the pebbles at the bottom of crate. It has the function of controlling the drainage system.
4. Add the coarse sand with 6-7 cm depth.
5. Then fill the loamy soil with a minimum thickness of 15 cm
6. Add enough earthworms (about 100)
7. Covered it with dry or fresh dung with 10 cm thickness
8. Watering them sufficiently to get the most, don’t be over.
9. The last layer is adding the coconut leaves or jute bags.
10. Allow it works for 30 days, watering it if necessary.
11. Start 31st day, adding the organic waste with 5cm of thickness twice or three times.
12. After 45 days from the last giving of waste, the compost is ready to use.
4.6. MULCHING TIME
Covering the ground with the loose material give some benefits for organic farming. Generally, the mulching activity can be done by applying the black plastic sheeting or cardboard. But, there’s another way to do that. You can add the manure, compost, the dry grass, crop residues, straw or leaves there. The mulching activity can reduce the weed growth and preventing the soil erosion. For organic farming, it’s recommended to implementing the organic mulch too. Then, how to apply the mulches? Learn the tips below.
Applying the mulches to wet or warm soil. If you are applying them to dry soil, it may keep the soil dry.
Be careful into the thickness of mulches which you applied. You should control that because too much or too less mulch is possible to become the problem for the plant growth.
For the germination process, applying at least 10 cm of mulches. It also is valid for the clear an area of land of the persistent weeds.
The best time to mulching is when the plant starts to grow. Ensure that the mulch isn’t contaminated with the chemical component. It will damage the soil structure. There are lots of benefits that we get from the mulching activity. There are:
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5. The Weeds Control
Organic farming can’t be separated from the weeds development. Weeds can be harmful to the plant. Sometimes the weeds are beneficial to protect the soil from erosion, and as the food for insects and animals. You should think the weed management that effective and efficient. In this system, the weed management doesn’t mean eliminating all the weeds but control their development. It means we are controlling the weeds to reducing the adverse effects on the crops. On the chemical farming, it can be solved by using the herbicides to prevent the grass and weeds. But, it’s not allowed the organic certification. That’s why you have to look for the best solution for this case. The weed management is affected by several factors, such as physical cultivation, mulches, planting cover crops, and crops rotation. To control the weeds, it can be done by some methods.
1. Hoeing the plant area which affected the weeds.
2. The crop rotation can reduce the improvement of weeds because the soil structure always changes and influence the weeds existence.
3. Green manure is very good for large-scale farming
4. Planting another crop around the first variety, such as green onion or garlic to decrease the space for weeds.
5. Add the organic mulches over the plant area; it will stop the weed seeds.
6. Resolve Pest and Insects
Pests and insects are dominant life form on the earth. In organic farming, these are two danger thing. Each crop has their own risk of pests and diseases which are different from another crop. The management of resolving the pest and insects must be understand. While you are detected the pest symptoms on your plant, it’s highly recommended to separate the plant to avoid the spreading of these pests. The insect is actually beneficial for human life to help the production of honey. Wax and silk. Such as a bee, butterfly, etc. In another hand, the insects also become the enemy for the plant. You should be aware of this condition. There many ways to overcome the problem. Chemical and non-chemical way.
A. CHEMICAL CONTROL
This way requires the pesticides and insecticides used for the plant. This does not surely solve the problem. This substance will damage the soil structure. The long term use of both aren’t good for the plant. We should remember that we create organic farming which is highly not recommended for using the chemical components. It can’t be denied that the pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. can reduce the growth of harm. But, it’s not good enough for the plant products.
B. NON-CHEMICAL CONTROL
The non-chemical or natural control is the best way to overcome the insects and pests. The natural control relies on the natural process with no contamination of the chemical substance. It’s suitable for organic farming because it won’t destruct the soil and crops. We can implement some alternative ways here.
- Select the crops that less suffer from pests and insects.
- Consider the resistance of plant while you plant it.
- Choose the right planting time to avoid the high development of pests and insects.
- Combine the crops with another plant which pests and insects dislike, such as garlic and onion.
- Provide the natural habitat for the insects that separate with your crops; you may create the food chain there.
- Maintain the crops rotation.
As the farmer, you must have careful planning to overcome this problem. If these ways above aren’t working correctly, you can implement the EM technology in your farm. What is EM? EM or Effective Microorganisms is microbes that strengthen the plant into the nonsusceptible plant. This can control the insects and pests improvement. EM consists of two types, primary and secondary. Here the tutorial to make the secondary EM formulation.
1. Dissolve 100 grams of jaggery with 600 ml of water.
2. Adding the natural vinegar to about 100 ml and EM.
3. Mix them thoroughly and transfer the mixture into the plastic bottle or seal container.
4. Store under the shade and let them ferment for about 5-10 days.
5. Release the gas daily
6. After ten days, your EM will ready to use. You can stored EM for three months with normal temperature.
7. Dilute the EM with ratio 1:1000, apply it as a foliar spray to the plant.
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7. The Benefits of Organic Farming
Implementing organic farming around your home is the one way to build the clean, clear, and healthy environment. As the farming method, organic farming isn’t only easy and practical to apply, but also give so many advantages for us. By implementing organic farming, it means you contribute the small thing to maintain the earthly existence. The benefits that we can get from this method are.
1. For the Farmer
- It’s easy to implement
- This make spent low cost for the planting care
- Can keep health because it’s far from chemical
- For the large scale, it will profitable
2. For the consumer
- The consumer gets healthy food especially the fruits and vegetables
- Guaranteed to get the best food for better healthy life
3. For the environment
- Reduce the chemical substance and pesticides content
- Organic farming can build the healthy soil
- The solution to minimize the global warming effects
- Supporting the water health and conservation
- Provide the environmentally place for animal
- Promoting the biodiversity
Organic farming is a method and as the solution for the harm and dangerous farming that already done for million years ago. The main difference factor between this method and conventional method lies on the chemical substance usage. Organic farming rely on the natural process, follow the steps by steps of nature. In this case, the innovative and creative mind is necessary to overcome the condition that may occur.
Organic farming isn’t only giving the advantages for people, but also the world. Through this way, hopefully, the people aware about the importance to consume healthy food will increase. They will choose the best food for their life, and healthy food doesn’t get from the damaging environment. In the long term, we contribute to save our beloved earth.