What is Organic Farming?
Organic Farming is a system of growing agricultural produce which generally excludes the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Organic Farming is practiced by: -
1. Using the crop rotation method, whereby crops from the same family are not grown in the same area more than once every four years at least.
2. Crops are rotated in such a way so that they help each other. For example potatoes can be grown after sweet corn as the latter leaves nutrients in the soil that are beneficial to potatoes. Sweet corn follows brassicas because this crop shows no sign of loss in production compared to other crops that follow brassicas. Nitrogen hungry brassicas follow legumes which leave plenty of nitrogen in the soil. Whilst tomatoes have to be kept in a rotation of four years away from any soil that has been planted with potatoes as they are of the same family and therefore are both attached by the same pests. Potatoes and squash are easy to clear of weeds and thus help in reducing the density of weeds and therefore it is good to sow underground crops after them.
3. Intercropping is practiced, where crops which are known to be beneficial to each other are planted together, like for example basil helps tomatoes by repelling mosquitoes, flies and hornworms; leeks help carrots and roses by repelling aphids, mites and nematodes; dill helps cabbages, lettuce, sweet corn and cucumber by repelling aphids and mites; garlic help roses and stone fruit by repelling the Japanese beetle, aphids, boring insects, caterpillars and mosquito larvae. Then there are crops which dislike each other, for example onions and garlic dislike legumes; sweet corn dislikes tomatoes, etc and therefore these should not be intercropped.
4. Organic farmers need to get to know more about beneficial insects like the lacewing, ladybug, praying mantis, tachinid fly, trichogramma wasp, soldier beetle, ground beetle, assassin bug, etc. These are all predators or parasitic insects which kill the bad bugs and therefore every organic farmer must do his utmost to create the right environment for these beneficial insects to thrive. The more beneficial insects there are the less pests we have to attack our crops
5. In an organic farm it is important to have farm animals which apart from giving the farmer produce like eggs and milk and meat, they also produce manure. It is important for an organic farm to be as independent as possible from importing foreign matter into the farm which might not always prove to be free of chemicals. Apart from this goats can be great at lawn mowing and weeding, whilst poultry for eating fallen fruits and their insects.