What is Organic farming?

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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

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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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Gardening a passion that existed only on my resume

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Ever since my childhood I had been obsessed towards plants, whenever I find a small sapling would get them introduced to their burial ground (I ought to call it that way) as most of the Neem, tamarind sprouts I had shifted never made it beyond few days. During my early years had grown some basic house plants such as money plant, croutons etc. But it was just a momentary time pass which lasted for few days.

Up during my teens had some accidental plantation that grew around our house papaya, drumstick, bitter guard etc. etc. but yet again they were just a bit of time pass work. No serious gardening otherwise. However my inner feel towards greenery was always there. I initially felt that this is the same way every one feels.

My resumes carried my passion as cooking, photography and gardening. While I had pretty good exposure to the first two the latter was only resting in papers and some occasional home plantation.

During my 7 years stay in the garden city (Bangalore) I always admired the green plantation across the city and the inner passion kept creeping day by day. However no serious initiative got in to grow some home plants at least.

When I moved back to Chennai my passion was completely put down by the creepy apartment where I had to stay along with my parents. When we planned to buy a new apartment budget was our main constraint and getting a decent apartment within our budget inside the city was impossible. So we had no choice to move out to the outskirts and yet again the place should not be very far from basic amenities. More over I also wanted to live in a place where there is fresh air and peaceful environment for my family.

Our hunt finally ended when we decided the location as Ottiyambakkam a farming village which is upcoming and is also not too far from the city. Siruseri IT tech park is just 6 kilometers however my place still kept its village sentiments. Booked the first house in the up coming 12 houses apartment building and moved from city to a nearby location to get used to the neighborhood.

The new place had also been a farming village however was turned into plots in the mid 90s. Being said the soil still remains rich by itself as any seed that falls in it grows vigorously with little care.

The inner gardener in me leaped high with this new opportunity and was rewarded with like minded neighbors and further the opportunity showered itself when I discovered winter melon or ash guard (Sambal poosani, dristi poosani in Tamil) that where thrown away after the house warming pooja in the near by empty plot started growing and within few months started yielding big time. We actually harvested close to 80 big size (2 to 4 kgs minimum) melons from it. Later some accidental drop of small bitter guard in the same land and Solanum torvum (Turkey Berry aka Sundaikkai in Tamil). So started buying some in house plants from a nursery in ECR and started keeping the momentum.

When I finally moved into my new apartment I was happy that the apartment had decent space around 5 feet on all sides and there where already few plants that were planted. But still the inner gardener was restricted only to few potted home plants and I also planted few topica sticks in the side space of the apartment.

One fine day when the power was down I decided to step out of my system and was lazily measuring the apartment to my surprice I observed lots of tomato, chilli, lemon, pomegranate saplings in the apartment side space. I came to know that those are the accidental growth of the left over thrown by the building workers. The spark in me got to a blaze .

That’s when I realized that my building care taker is also a farmer by nature and few hours of discussion with him I got to know more insights on these plant growth. The power came on and so was my passion. Time was well spent in curing the clayey soil by pouring water twice daily for the next three weeks and adding flowering plants one by one.

But the real seriousness started when I actually saw the tomatoes and chillies yield to a great extent that the next 3 months we had harvested close to 40 kgs of tomatoes and 10 kgs of chilies (still yielding).

Then started the mealy bugs that attacked the tomato and hibiscus plants and my search for getting a cure led me to the organic way of practicing terrace gardening. Started interacting with many good souls and read through many knowledge base articles which kept on fine tuning my passion.

All these years I have done many R&D in my garden and have fine tuned the conditions to suit my needs. Now I am able to address basic queries from fellow gardeners and share my experience and organically grown authentic natty seeds with which I have gained more virtual friends.

That’s how Gardening a passion that existed only in resumes has now turned my life to be a more worth living.

Happy gardening friends. Will write more soon.

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