Organic farming – as explained by Iyya Dr. Nammazwar

In my earlier post I had mentioned about the beautiful explanation from the legend organic agriculturist iyaa Dr. Nammalvar .

Speech from iyaa Dr. Nammalvar

This post is a full translation as said by him. Its after listening to this short speech from him I have changed my methods of organic gardening. Let me start without wasting time.

“The Doub/ Toddy Palm is considered to grow even in a desert, however its dying now in Tamil Nadu. This is a sign that our land is turning worse than a dessert.

What is causing this to happen?

The chemicals used in farming is causing damage to our environment by  mixing with rain water and entering deep into the soil . The turns the water poisonous to the extent that even if you fetch drinking water from the depth of 300 feet it has been poisoned.

The damage from this contamination affects the grass and hay stalk fed to the cattle . There by the milk from the cattle is also poisoned and so is the woman who feeds on such milk. While nursing the poison is fed to the new born. It is a most hideous truth that a mothers feeds poison to her child. This shows that both psychologically and physically we are in a pretty bad state.

So how do we get rid of this situation?

Here is what I have to say. Nature has its own law which existed even before the human race was formed. It will exist even after human race is extinct. Hence it is better that we understand these laws of nature. Our mistake was that we tried to outsmart nature. We decided to add 40% Nitrogen (N), 20% Potash (P), 20% Phosphorus (K) – NPK. However what we missed was when we added these chemicals to the soil the naturally occurring micro organisms died.

To get these micro organisms back you need to avoid usage of these chemicals as these kill the micro organisms. Further you need to enrich the soil with organic waste as the soil is carving for same. Organic wastes such as cow, goat, hen manure mixed with leaves and composted is fed to the soil. This compost acts as food for the micro organisms  Hence if we learn to return organic waste to the soil it will reward us with a bountiful harvest forever.

What is agriculture?

Agriculture is harvesting solar energy

Agriculture = Harvesting the solar energy + feeding the bacteria.

Agriculture is all about harvesting solar energy to the maximum. Next to support the process we also need to feed the bacteria’s. Its called Photosynthesis. This is the process by which a leaf absorbs light energy from sun and converts it into starch. Then the leaf after consuming this starch feeds the balance to its roots. The roots spread across the soil absorbs water and supplies to the leaves. The roots does not feed the leaves, its the leaves  that feeds the roots. Hence if you say that you are feeding the leaves through its roots, then its not science. Once you understand this then you can clarify to any one.

Then why are we manuring the soil?

These manure is for the microbes in the soil. We distribute these microbes to farmers in packets in the name of azospirillum, rhizobium, phospobacteria, pseudomonas. These are microbes.

  • The microbes supply nitrogen from air to the plant.
  • The microbes extract phosphorus from the earth and supplies to leaves.
  • The microbes converts the materials in soil to potash and supplies to the plant.

So there is no need to purchase these minerals from shop as these are produced by the bacteria present in the soil.

Hence a healthy soil should constitute the following 3 components.

  1. Physical property of the soil – The land should be rich in minerals.
  2. Biological property of the soil – soil should have all kinds of organisms. it should have micro organisms, earth worm, millipede, frog, crab etc etc.
  3. Chemical property – when the above 2 exists and work together all essential nutrients for the plants is formed in the soil.

It is this healthy soil which supports the growth of healthy plants which in turn provides a good yielding harvest.”

Hope I had made justice in translating iyya’s speech. Will write more detailed articles on what I do from his tips and how I get benefited.

Until then happy gardening folks.

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What is Organic farming?

What is organic?

Organic is anything that is derived from living matter. The natural growth of plants and animals is the organic method. Plants, animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products should not take antibiotics or growth hormones as a part of this procedure.

What is organic farming/ gardening?

Organic farming is growing our plants without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Even the highly nutritious manure from the animals should be from those which have not taken any antibiotics or growth hormones. When we say the word farming it does not stop with just growing plants it includes growing of animals as well in the same way. It should be the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bio-engineering; or ionizing radiation.

A beautiful explanation from the legend organic agriculturist Dr. Nammalvar. take some time to listen. The Speech is in Tamil with sub titles.

Speech from iyaa Dr. Nammalvar

Are we really doing organic farming?

Well this is a much debatable question. My below answer is just to trigger a thought. It might be a scary note but don’t worry too much. We can do less damage and the event of time our future generations will sure to reap the benefit. The soil we all know has been polluted by us. No one can assure that the animals which give us manure are 100% grown organically for generations. What about animals from water bodies? Have we left them as well? However we still have time to get things back it’s all in our hands. Hence my personal view to this is nothing is 100% organic.

What can I use?

Organic produce can be in 3 ways either from 1. Ground gardening/ farming, 2. Gardening/ Farming in grow pots/ bags, 3. Soil less – Hydrophonics.

Organic farming is use of non-synthetic bio fertilizers, compost and manure to form a healthy soil base which should be a proper proportion of NPK (Nitrogen – தழை சத்து, Phosphorous – மணி சத்து, Potassium – சாம்பல் சத்து). Adding true bio boosters such as wood ash, Panhchagaviyam, asafoetida, Epsom salt etc helps the plants to stay healthy

  • Ground gardening/ farming: A good soil test is first advised based on which you can decide on the NPK needs. In a larger scale it is cost effective to use cattle/ poultry manure and leaf and compost them to form a healthy soil base. The farming should be done on a location with good sun and water resource.

  • Gardening/ Farming in grow pots/ bags: Soil and compost forms the prime soil base. Unlike the ground gardening/ farming plants in pots do not have the capacity to hold water at all times hence to avoid drying of soil gardeners often use coco-peat (coir – CP) which has the capacity to hold water for certain period. This helps the soil to stay moist. Coir by itself does not have any nutritional value but it is an organic extract and eventually turns into compost when in soil.

  • Hydroponics: it’s the same concept when it comes to nutrients Just that the soil base is missing and all that the plant needs is supplied through water.


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The golden P’s

Gardening is not an activity where you just grow few plants and water them. Garden is not about investing money and buying plants. Its about expressing your love for nature, expressing yourself and your affection towards what you do. Remember any one can place a plant and water it but the caring one alone owns a garden.

Many a times I have come across people who say I brought some costly plants but they are not showing the results as in a garden or a nursery. Well the truth is its not just the investment of paper that matters its the investment of your ultimate care and love that matters. A true gardener will agree to what I say.

Let us ask ourselves do we stop doing something immediately just because it does not throw expected results?  Its the survival of the fittest that keeps mankind running and the golden P’s is what makes few excel in what they do. For gardening it is a must that we follow them religiously if we need results.

Passion: Passion towards what we do has always shown better results for  all of us. When it comes to gardening it is the same passion that will do and show better results always. Be passionate about what you do and your love for the greens will never let you down. Many friends keep giving me reasons “I do not have enough space for a garden”, “I do not have money for the plants, pots or their maintenance”, “I do not have enough time or skill to do it”… but after all these excuses they do say that I would love to have some plants in my place. Well all I would like to say to them is  all you do not have is the passion and it’s not just you even I was in the same boat few years back. The moment we have the passion it will unwind new horizons. So be passionate and do your part.

Patience: OK I am passionate? but still I am not getting the results… sounds familiar? Lets analyse… How many years did it take for you to be what you are today? How many years did it take to gain the knowledge you have got today? What lead you to your current status?  Was passion your only key? Did I hear No? well you are right. that calls in for the next P in action. It’s Patience. Yes the ideal quality of every passionate person is their patience which has given them the desired results. So when it comes to gardening patience is a dire important factor. Remember every living thing has 3 important phase before it matures. Budding, accommodating, growing and then maturing. Even your plants have all these phase and its important that we understand it and be patient. Be passionate, be patient do your part correctly and keep believing in nature. Your key to success for a better garden.

Perseverance: This is the required quality for any gardener. If you are a budding one then this is a must have quality. Even a professional in any field makes fails in their virgin attempts. Do you think you have nothing to grow your plants in? Look around nature our teacher has got all the answers. How many times have we seen plant growth in old buildings who planted them? who is watering them? what is the pot mix? what are the fertilizers? Its just that nature made the right condition for the plant to sprout and grow. Follow it, use any medium your imagination is the key. Do your part, understand the basics, understand the plant better, provide it’s needs and be patient. We are living in the world where knowledge is within our hands. Remember you are not alone and the key is being persistence in getting results from your garden despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

So remember the golden P’s Passion, Patience and persistence. I will start sharing the knowledge I have gained while practicing organic gardening.

Will discuss basic requirement to get started in my next post… Until then Happy Gardening.

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