Many farmers in the country like India have only vague ideas about organic farming and its advantages as against the conventional farming methods. Farmers lack knowledge of compost making using the modern techniques and also its application. Use of certified organic inputs and organic-pesticides requires awareness and willingness on the part of the farming community. Organic inputs means which are made only from plant, animal and seaweed extracts and approved to use in organic farming under specific organic standards.
Organic Approved (certified) Inputs :
These are organic fertilizers, organic pesticides , organic fungicides or any other inputs which are allowed to used under any specific organic standards. These are the products which are approved or certified by the any certification body with reference to any specific organic standards, there are more than 500 certification bodies across the world which provides organic certification to farm, inputs and handling.
List of certification bodies working in India can be obtained from following link..
You can get certified organic inputs worldwide online from www.orgakart.com.The home of certified organic inputs and home gardening equipment..
Approved Organic Fertilizer/inputs Manufacturer, M & M Industries, Nashik. www.vivekonexport.com
Silicon : A beneficial nutrient
Silicon is a major component of sand, silt and clay minerals. Because of this abundance, it typically has not been considered as a limiting factor in soil fertility. However various field studies have shown that supplying crops with adequate plant-available Silicon can suppress plant disease, reduce insect attack, improve environmental stress tolerance, and increase crop productivity.
Silicon is classified a “beneficial l nutrient” in plant biology.
In addition to naturally occurring soluble Silicon in soil, many crops respond positively to additions of supplemental Silicon. Plants can take up large amounts of Silicon where it contributes to their mechanical strength. For crops (e.g Rice), Silicon fertilization of soils increases crop yield even under favorable growing conditions and in the absence of disease.
Some observed benefit s due to Silicon fertilization are
• Direct stimulation of plant growth and yield through more upright growth and plant rigidity.
• Suppression of plant diseases caused by bacteria and fungi (such as powdery mildew on cucumber, pumpkin, wheat, barley, rice)
• Improved insect resistance (such as suppression of stem borers, leaf spider mites, and various hoppers)
• Alleviating various environmental stresses (including lodging, drought, temperature extremes, freezing, UV irradiation) and chemical stresses (including salt, heavy metals, and nutrient imbalances)
Plants growing in soils with high percentages of sand tend to have low Si concentrations. Although sand is largely composed of Si dioxide, this material provides very little soluble or plant-available Si. Sandy soils also usually have good drainage, which prevents Silicon accumulation.
Silicon is not a major component of soil organic matter. Therefore in soils composed almost entirely of humus and organic matter, crops grown on these soils may get benefited from Silicon fertilizer application. Similarly, the widespread use of soilless mixes in greenhouse production results in very little Silicon being supplied from the growth medium. Plants growing in these greenhouse production systems frequently show benefit t from Silicon fertilization. Silicon availability to plants does not change markedly across the soil pH range where most crops are grown. Many of the commonly used Silicon fertilizer materials also serve as liming agents and their application results in neutralization of soil acidity.
Rice and sugarcane are crops that often exhibit beneficial responses to Silicon supplementation.
Crop residues, animal manures, and composts are all potential sources of Si. Straw from wheat and other small grain crops also return significant amounts of Silicon to the soil.
Potassium silicate and sodium silicate are commonly used materials for horticultural or greenhouse crop applications. They are soluble Silicon products that can be added to nutrient solutions or used as foliar sprays.
An adequate Silicon supply can benefit t plants in a variety of ways, especially when in growing in stressful environments.
For your crop’s silicon need, Orgakart brought for you water soluble silicon fertilizer Viko silicon.
Please visit https://www.orgakart.com/viko-silicon
On general basis adjuvant is any material which increases the effectiveness of the material which has been mixed with it by altering the physical properties of that particular Agro chemical without altering its effectiveness.
The Spreader or sticker is examples of Adjuvant which we use in tank mix.
How surfactant & sticker works:
Surfactants are compound which lowers the surface tension of water molecule thus helps spraying solution to spread and cover more leaf area per volume of solution. In simple words surfactant helps to decrease the surface tension between two water molecules thus they can spread on larger area of leaf therefore when we mix pesticides or fertilizers along with these spreaders, less quantity of these fertilizers and pesticides is being used and maximum area is being covered.
Pure water will stand as a droplet, with a small area of contact with the waxy leaf surface. But water droplets containing a surfactant will spread in a thin layer over a waxy leaf surface.
Now for sprayed fertilizers and pesticides to work efficiently the droplets molecules must be absorb and penetrate into plant leaves so stickers and spreaders help to penetrate into leaves cuticle.
There are different kinds of spreaders available: Ionic Spreader, Non Ionic Spreader.
For better results one should go for Certified Organic Silicon base spreader, it is non ionic spreader which also fulfill the silicon need of plant since it is crucial compound for healthy plant growth.
This silicon base spreader helps to penetrate plant cuticle properly so fertilizers and pesticides got absorb at maximum level, it also reduces the surface tension of solution effectively by increasing the area covered by single droplet of solution.
For better result always spray in the early morning or evening when temperature is less so the stomata of leaves are open naturally gives good absorption.
The other benefits are :
There are many kinds of mushrooms. One of the beauties of growing your own instead of wild-harvesting them is that you can be sure you're not picking a poisonous mushroom.
These mushrooms are the types most commonly grown at home:
Each type has specific growing needs. Grow white button mushrooms on composted manure, shiitakes on wood or hardwood sawdust, and oyster mushrooms on straw.
There's no need to be in the dark about growing mushrooms. These tasty chameleons of the food world are fat-free, low in calories, and filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Mushrooms grow from spores -- not seeds -- that are so tiny you can't see individual spores with the naked eye.
Because the spores don't contain chlorophyll to begin germinating, they rely on substances such as sawdust, grain, wooden plugs, straw, wood chips, or liquid for nourishment. A blend of the spores and these nutrients is called spawn. Spawn performs a bit like the starter needed to make sourdough bread.
The spawn supports the growth of mushrooms' tiny, white, threadlike roots, called mycelium. The mycelium grows first, before anything that resembles a mushroom pushes through the growing medium.
The spawn itself could grow mushrooms, but you'll get a lot better mushroom harvest when the spawn is applied to a substrate, or growing medium. Depending on the mushroom type, the substrate might be straw, cardboard, logs, wood chips, or compost with a blend of materials such as straw, corncobs, cotton and cocoa seed hulls, gypsum, and nitrogen supplements.
Mushrooms prefer dark, cool, moist, and humid growing environments. In a house, a basement is often ideal, but a spot under the sink may be all you need.
Test the proposed location by checking the temperature. Most mushrooms grow best in temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees F, away from drying, direct heat and drafts. Enoki mushrooms prefer cooler temperatures, about 45 degrees F. Many basements are too warm in summer to grow mushrooms, so you might consider growing mushrooms as a winter project.
Mushrooms can tolerate some light, but the spot you choose should stay relatively dark or in low light.
Some mushroom types grow outdoors in prepared ground or logs, a process that takes much longer (six months to three years) than in controlled environments inside.
If you are growing mushrooms in your home, you have a couple of options for materials.
You can buy mushroom kits already packed with a growing medium that's inoculated with mushroom spawn. Buying a kit is a good way to begin your knowledge of mushroom growing. If you start without a kit, the type of mushroom you choose to grow determines the substrate you grow the mushrooms on. Research each mushroom's needs.
Button mushrooms are among the easiest types to grow. Use 14x16-inch trays about 6 inches deep that resemble seed flats. Fill the trays with the mushroom compost material and inoculate with spawn.
Use a heating pad to raise the soil temperature to about 70 degrees F for about three weeks or until you see the mycelium -- the tiny, threadlike roots. At this point, drop the temperature to 55 to 60 degrees F. Cover the spawn with an inch or so of potting soil.
Keep the soil moist by spritzing it with water and covering it with a damp cloth that you can spritz with water as it dries. Button mushrooms should appear within three to four weeks.
Sources: Wikipedia, Agriculture Research, google images,
Many people are surprised when they learn that organic farmers are allowed to use some pesticides. What they often don't realize, though, is how carefully scrutinized every pesticide is before it becomes allowed in organic agriculture, and how many steps organic farmers need to take before they can use these pesticides. Further, the law that created the national organic standard very clearly states that farmers can only use pesticides that were derived from natural sources, and these naturally derived pesticides must not have long term effects or persist in the environment.
You may be asking, "But why are organic farmers allowed to use any pesticides at all, even naturally derived ones?"
To understand the answer, it helps to take a step back and look at all the things organic farmers are required to do to avoid needing pesticides in the first place.
All organic farmers need to have an organic systems plan in place that details how a producer will use cultural, biological, and mechanical practices to control weeds and insect pests, and avoid the need for any pesticides at all.
These practices include activities like:
• Crop rotation and soil and crop nutrient management practices
• Keeping fields clean to remove disease vectors, weed seeds, and habitat for pest organisms
• Selection of plant species and varieties that are suited to site-specific conditions and resistant to prevalent pests, weeds, and diseases
• Use of beneficial insects, like ladybugs, that are predators or parasites of the pest species
• Development of habitat for natural enemies of pests
• Non-synthetic controls such as lures, traps, and repellents
Sometimes, despite a farmer's best efforts, these methods will fail to prevent infestation from a particular pest, fungus, or disease.
In these instances, organic farmers are allowed to choose from a carefully screened list of allowed pesticides. If farmers were not allowed to use these substances, they might face a total crop loss.
The standard is designed to prevent such catastrophes by allowing organic farmers to use approved pesticides as a last resort.
How are pesticides screened for use in the organic standard?
As stated earlier, pesticides are only allowed when they are derived from natural sources. But this isn't enough, because there are plenty of natural substances out there that could still have negative effects on human health or the environment.
Before a pesticide is allowed, the law requires it to be evaluated to make sure that:
• It is not toxic to non-target organisms (humans or wildlife)
• It breaks down quickly and does not persist in the environment
• The manufacturing process for the substance does not result in environmental contamination
• It does not have negative effects on soil health, soil microorganisms, other crops or livestock
• There aren't any safer alternatives that could be used.
If a pesticide meets all of these criteria, then it can be used as a last resort by organic farmers. We know that many of the pesticides allowed in non-organic agriculture are linked to a growing list of negative health effects, including cancer, nervous-system and lung damage, reproductive dysfunction, and possibly dysfunction of the endocrine and immune systems.
In contrast, the pesticides allowed for use in organic agriculture are carefully and regularly screened to make sure that they don't cause any harmful effects for human health or the environment. If new information comes to light that shows that a pesticide allowed in organic agriculture isn’t as safe as we thought, that pesticide gets taken off the list of allowed substances.
It's important that organic farmers have access to these carefully screened pesticides when they need them, so they can avoid catastrophic loss of their crops. But it's reassuring to know that these pesticides are carefully screened to make sure their use doesn't result in accidental catastrophe for the people and wildlife that are exposed to them.
For 100 % Organic Certified Inputs visit www.orgakart.com
serving you with best service at your doorstep.Free shipping anywhere in India.
Sixteen plant food nutrients are essential for proper crop development. Each is equally important to the plant, yet each is required in vastly different amounts. These differences have led to the grouping of these essential elements into three categories; primary (macro) nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micro nutrients.
PRIMARY (MACRO) NUTRIENTS
Primary (macro) nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They are the most frequently required in a crop fertilization program. Also, they are need in the greatest total quantity by plants as fertilizer.
Necessary for formation of amino acids, the building blocks of protein
Essential for plant cell division, vital for plant growth
Directly involved in photosynthesis
Necessary component of vitamins
Aids in production and use of carbohydrates
Affects energy reactions in the plant
Involved in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division, and enlargement
Promotes early root formation and growth
Improves quality of fruits, vegetables, and grains
Vital to seed formation
Helps plants survive harsh winter conditions
Increases water-use efficiency
Carbohydrate metabolism and the break down and trans location of starches
Increases water-use efficiency
Essential to protein synthesis
Important in fruit formation
Activates enzymes and controls their reaction rates
Improves quality of seeds and fruit
Improves winter hardiness
Increases disease resistance
The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulphur. For most crops, these three are needed in lesser amounts that the primary nutrients. They are growing in importance in crop fertilization programs due to more stringent clean air standards and efforts to improve the environment.
Utilized for Continuous cell division and formation
Involved in nitrogen metabolism
Reduces plant respiration
Aids translocation of photosynthesis from leaves to fruiting organs
Increases fruit set
Essential for nut development in peanuts
Stimulates microbial activity
Key element of chlorophyll production
Improves utilization and mobility of phosphorus
Activator and component of many plant enzymes
Increases iron utilization in plants
Influences earliness and uniformity of maturity
Integral part of amino acids
Helps develop enzymes and vitamins
Promotes nodule formation on legumes
Aids in seed production
Necessary in chlorophyll formation (though it isn’t one of the constituents)
The micro nutrients are boron, chlorine, cooper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. These plant food elements are used in very small amounts, but they are just as important to plant development and profitable crop production as the major nutrients. Especially, they work "behind the scene" as activators of many plant functions.
· Essential of germination of pollen grains and growth of pollen tubes
· Essential for seed and cell wall formation
· Promotes maturity
· Necessary for sugar translocation
· Affects nitrogen and carbohydrate
· Interferes with P uptake
· Enhances maturity of small grains on some soils
Catalyzes several plant processes
Major function in photosynthesis
Major function in reproductive stages
Indirect role in chlorophyll production
Increases sugar content
Improves flavor of fruits and vegetables
Promotes formation of chlorophyll
Acts as an oxygen carrier
Reactions involving cell division and growth
Functions as a part of certain enzyme systems
Aids in chlorophyll synthesis
Increases the availability of P and CA
Required to form the enzyme "nitrate reductase" which reduces nitrates to ammonium in plant
Aids in the formation of legume nodules
Needed to convert inorganic phosphates to organic forms in the plant
Aids plant growth hormones and enzyme system
Necessary for chlorophyll production
Necessary for carbohydrate formation
Necessary for starch formation
Aids in seed formation
In addition to the 13 nutrients listed above, plants require carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which are extracted from air and water to make up the bulk of plant weight.
For your crop development use certified organic products only
In this modern day to maintain soil quality for healthy plant growth every plant needs some components, humic acid is one of them. Humic acid is a natural bio-stimulant that is derived from leonardite and is among the most concentrated organic material available today. Elemental analysis of humic acid has shown it to consist largely of carbon and oxygen (about 50% and 40% respectively). Humic acid also contains hydrogen (about 5%), nitrogen (about 3%), phosphorous and sulfur (both less than 1%). Humic acid is a complex of closely related macromolecules.
Crystal Humic Acid
Humic acid is a principal component of humic substances, which are the major organic constituents of soil (humus), peat, coal, many upland streams, dystrophic lakes, and ocean water.
Humic substances of the soil provide a source of energy to living organisms of the soil, as they do not have access to energy produced through photosynthesis like terrestrial plants. For this reason, the presence of organic substances is of great importance in ensuring the occurrence of metabolic reactions in the soil. Soil organisms such as algae, yeast fungi, bacteria, nematodes, mycorrhizae, etc. perform important functions such as improving the soil fertility and structure and promoting plant growth and resistance against various diseases.
Humus compounds are complex natural organic compounds that are formed in soils from plant residues, by a process of “humification”. Humus materials are complex aggregate of brown to dark colored amorphous substances, which have originated during the decomposition of plant and animal residues by microorganisms, under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, in soils, composts, peat bogs, and water basins. Chemically, humus consists of certain constituents of the original plant material resistant to further decomposition; of substances undergoing decomposition; of complexes resulting from decomposition, either by processes of hydrolysis or by oxidation and reduction; and of various compounds synthesized by microorganisms.
Humic and Fulvic Acid Biostimulants
Most gardeners know the value of adding compost for growing a healthy garden. Compost, the decomposed remains of plants, animals and their byproducts, provide many of the raw materials for vigorous plant growth. Humic acid is extracted from prehistoric compost piles. Although much of the fertilizer value of the compost has long been leached away, the biostimulant value still remains. Humic acids consist of two parts, humic acid and fulvic acid. Humic and fulvic acids actively help the plant take up nutrient ions that are often locked up in the soil. The extracts, obtained from leonardite, alsocontain many beneficial trace elements that activate important enzymes in the plant.
Greatest Value as Chelators:
The greatest value of humic and fulvic acids are their roles as chelators. Humic and fulvic acids have functional groups that act as claws, holding mineral ions strongly enough to keep them from reacting with each other and becoming unavailable to the plant, but weakly enough so that they can be released to the plant cells on demand. Humic acid transports the minerals to the outside of the cell membranes, and releases the minerals for uptake by the plant. The fulvic acid fraction consists of small organic molecules that easily penetrate cell membranes. The more biologically active of the two fractions, fulvic acid transports minerals through the cell membranes and releases them directly to the plant cells.
"HUMIC ACIDS AND SEAWEED EXTRACTS, WHEN USED TOGETHER… WORK 50% MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN EITHER PRODUCT USED ALONE."
Why Use Humic products?
Growers must put Carbon back into their agronomy practices in an efficient and readily available manner, while reducing dependency on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. This is the only path to continued agricultural sustainability, otherwise the Carbon (Food for soil organisms) diminishes to zero and renders the addition of man-made synthetic nutrients pointless.
Enhance Nutrients Uptake-
Humic products are extremely effective in combating salinity issues that arise from heavy use of synthetic fertilizers and well water degradation. Feeding soil bacteria massive amounts of Carbon(their primary food source) along with the Energy and Oxygen necessary to respirate the food, stimulates massive root growth. Larger root system means more water and nutrients available for sugar production = Increased Yield.
Increase Crop Production-
Plant health is based on the ability to produce more carbohydrates than are consumed. The health, quality and yield are increased based on a surplus of carbohydrate.
Unfortunately, the overuse of fertilizers and chemicals made the soils more saline, limiting the plants ability to grow substantial root mass and therefore decreased the plants ability to uptake water and nutrients. Soil amendments such as elemental sulfur, gypsum, and other calcium materials do not help reclaim saline soils, but rather increase total salinity, further compounding the problems.
Modern farming practices, irrigation, drainage, cultivation, harvesting, compaction, heavy use of synthetic fertilizers and chemicals have contributed to the depletion of soil humus and beneficial bacteria to a level where crop sustainability is severely threatened. Humic substances have historically been re-generated in the soil through such practices as crop rotation, planting legumes, green manure, and applying compost. These practices are time consuming, costly and today's economic pressures prevent growers from sustaining these practices.
Now, a sustainable method of adding significant amounts of clean activated Carbon back into our soils is readily available through Humic products.
Humic substances add tremendous amounts of "natural" food for soil organisms in a cost-effective and sustainable manner, which also increases the Cation Exchange Capacity of the soil, another Huge benefit!
Decreases Water Uses-
Water and Nutrient holding capacity is greatly enhanced with the addition of Humic products. Soil is better "conditioned" with the addition of Carbon through Humic. Modern farm cultural practices like plowing and rototilling have significantly decreased soil Carbon levels through the introduction of atmospheric oxygen which volatilizes off as carbon dioxide. Another Huge reason to incorporate Humic products into your agronomy program.
Humic acid’s role in improving soil quality-
Most people are quick to say Humic Acids are fertilizers, but in fact, it is more of a natural soil conditioner. The benefits far outweigh the costs and with so many soils being depleted around the world today, Humic Acids are an effective product to reverse the depletion trend. In a world where we are seeing world population grow at an exponential rate, and are losing arable acres on which to grow crops, we need to fertilize crops to maximize production and feed the hungry.
Humic acid’s role in improving Plants growth-
One way plant growth is improved is through the structural improvement of both clay and sandy soil allowing for better root growth development. Plant growth is also improved by the ability of the plant to uptake and receive more nutrients. Humic acid is especially beneficial in freeing up nutrients in the soil so that they are made available to the plant as needed. For instance if an aluminum molecule is binded with a phosphorus one, humic acid detaches them making the phosphorus available for the plant. Humic acid is also especially important because of its ability to chelate micronutrients increasing their bio-availability.
The activities of beneficial soil microbes are crucial for the sustainability of any plant growth. Humic acid stimulates microbial activity by providing the indigenous microbes with a carbon source for food, thus encouraging plant’s growth and activity. Soil microbes are responsible for solubilizing vital nutrients such as phosphorus that can then be absorbed by the humic acid and in turn made available to the plant for better growth and root development. Additionally, microbes are responsible for the continued development of humus in the soil as it continues to break down not fully decomposed organic matter. This in-situ production of humus continues to naturally add to the humic acid base and its benefits.
Most of the time we seen tiny insects of various colors crawling on plants and vegetables in our garden: These are aphids! One of the most common garden pests, aphids are small insects found in an array of colors, including yellow, black, red, pink, brown and green. They live and eat in colonies, so if you see one aphid, it’s likely many more are nearby.
Aphids damage plant growth by sucking on leaves and stems and can also spread viruses throughout your garden. If that isn’t enough to make you immediately take steps to evict aphids from your garden, they their discharge, a substance called “honeydew” that subsequently grows a type of mold fungus, might. Yuck!
Fig.1 Aphids on Plant
Don’t panic, though, if you see these miniscule pests bouncing around your vegetable beds. There are simple, natural ways to reduce the aphid population and discourage them from utilizing your garden as the source of a free meal.
Many ways to control Aphids in Your Garden:
1. Inspect Your Plants-
Whenever we have free time inspect your garden. A daily inspection of your garden is probably the easiest and most effective method of controlling aphids. Daily inspections will help you to detect the presence of aphids before the situation gets too serious, allowing you to deal with them right away. Watch for curled leaves, stunted growth or deformed areas on your plants all of these can indicate the presence of an aphid infestation.
Fig.2 Plant Inspection
You might think that an aphid invasion would be instantly noticeable, especially if you work in your garden frequently, but sometimes it takes more than a glance to ensure everything is going smoothly. Keep your eyes open and examine your plants thoroughly, especially under the leaves. You’ll save endless amounts of time in the long run if you pay careful attention to the plants that aphids are particularly attracted to, including peas, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, roses and fruit trees.
2. Crops Rotation-
Crop rotation is an excellent though less immediate solution to minimizing aphids on the vegetables in your garden. You obviously won’t be rotating the location of your fruit trees and perennial plants, but take note of the vegetables and annuals that the aphids attack most frequently so that you can move those plants to a different area of your garden the following spring before the aphids return. (When rotating your crops, be sure to keep careful records of your garden for reference.)
Fig.3 Crop Rotations
3. Pick and Spray-Organic!
There are several ways you can manually remove these mini menaces from your plants, beginning with the easiest simply pick them off and squish them as you see them. Of course, this is a time-consuming process, and you might prefer a more efficient method, such as spraying your plants with soapy water. This washes the insects off of the plant and discourages them from climbing back on. You can also experiment with including additional ingredients in your spray, such as cayenne pepper or garlic, or skip the supplemental ingredients and opt simply for a spray of water it can be quite effective on its own.
You can spray certified organic pesticides like Ultra Act, Defender etc. for controlling Aphids in your organic garden.
4. Plant Companions-
While aphids are attracted to many garden plants, there are some they shy away from, including onions and garlic. Arrange companion plants near areas where you particularly want to discourage aphids, such as near rose bushes.
Fig.4 Companion Plants
5. Fit Traps-
Using sticky traps made for aphids can be another simple way to remove these pests from your garden. Simply placing pans of soapy water near areas of significant infestation can work, too. Use a yellow container, if possible, as aphids are attracted to the color yellow. Row covers can be another effective option for protecting your plants and keeping aphids away.
You can use Yellow Pads for controlling Aphids in your garden.
Fig.5 Yellow Sticky Trap
6. Encourage Beneficial Insects-
The praying mantis, the green lacewing and the aptly named aphid lion (or assassin bugs) are all beneficial predators to introduce to your aphid-overrun garden. But it’s the unassuming ladybug (also known as the ladybird) that takes first prize in the pest-eating contest. Ladybugs can devour an impressive number of aphids in a short period of time, while posing no danger to your garden.
Fig.6 Beneficial Insect
You can buy beneficial insects to release in your garden, but this doesn’t always work as well as encouraging them to visit your garden naturally. Attract desirable insects by opting for an organic garden, then selecting plants that are favored by ladybugs and their friends. Try marigolds, sunflowers, dill, cilantro, nasturtiums and even the lowly dandelion. By filling your garden with ladybug-friendly plants, you can naturally minimize the presence of aphids in an effective way.
Water is a precious resource and the cost is rising all the time. We can all tread a little lighter on the planet by taking a few moments to re-evaluate our garden design and watering habits to eliminate inefficient practices that waste water … and reap the benefits at the same time!
1. Water Pots in the Afternoon and your Garden in the Morning –
Research shows that the timing of when you water pot plants during the day can have a significant effect on plant growth. For watering the garden early morning before the temperature begin to rise, winds are lower and there is less evaporation. Morning watering gives the plants a good supply of water to face the heat of the day.
Fig.1 Water Supply
The research found that plants watered after 12.00 pm and during the afternoon, “significantly outperformed plants grown with early morning irrigation.” So, watering container plants in the afternoon may lead to healthier, stronger growing plants compared to container plants watered early in the morning.
Avoid evening watering especially on the foliage as night-time temperatures are often inadequate to dry the moisture on the leaves which can encourage some fungal pathogens to establish. However, any time plants start to show symptoms of drought stress is the time to water them – even if this means the middle of the day. Waiting too long may be too late.
2. Harvest Water – Save and reuse water wherever you can:
Install a water tank rather than wasting rainwater, to maximize roof runoff and redirect it for use on your garden. Slim line tank and water harvesting systems are available for even the tiniest of spaces.
Fig.2 Harvesting of Water
Save your Cooking Water – If you steam or boil vegetables, save the water rather than tipping it down the sink! It is full of nutrients and when cooled, makes a free fertilizer for watering your plants.
Reuse Fish Tank Water – When you clean your fish tank, use the ‘old’ nitrogen and phosphorous-rich water on your plants.
Use a Compost System – Even micro gardeners can make compost no matter how small a space you might have. Whether you make or buy a worm farm or mini compost system, you will add a valuable water saving resource in your garden. Worm castings and compost hold moisture in your soil and help retain nutrients where they’re needed. Frugal gardeners needn’t buy a compost bin – there are many micro systems you can make yourself. I’ve made several low-cost systems that work well including converting a 60 liter black garbage bin by drilling 1cm holes on the sides and base and covering with the lid. It can be turned regularly by simply rolling it on its side!
3. Choose Your Plant Container Carefully –
Different materials heat up quickly or lose moisture due to porosity so think about your pot location before making a final decision. For example, metal heats up quickly so raised galvanized garden beds and metal containers will draw moisture out of the soil and these gardens will need more watering. If you live in a hot climate, this may be a major consideration. Clay pots such as unglazed terracotta also lose moisture through their porous surface and the soil will dry out faster than glazed pots. If you just have to have that metal or terracotta container, then consider using them as a cache pot (an outer decorative pot) and put a smaller less porous pot inside to retain vital moisture. Use coco peat for increasing water retention quality.
Fig.3 Plant Container
4. Mulch in Garden-
Up to 70% of water can evaporate from the soil on a hot day if you don’t have mulch as a protective layer on top. Mulch is one of the best moisture holding strategies you can employ. It prevents evaporation from the soil surface, helps suppress water-thieving weeds from growing and many mulches add vital nutrients to the soil at the same time. Avoid fine mulches that tend to clump and become water-repellent. Instead, use a coarser mulch which allows water/rain to move down through to the soil. A depth of 3-5cm in a pot (depending on the size) and even deeper (8-10cm) in a garden bed is ideal. Apply mulch onto moist soil and water in well.
Fig.4 Mulch in Pot
Remember, any newly installed plants (even natives and drought-tolerant species) need adequate water until they become established when water requirements will reduce.”
5. Capture Water with Good Design –
Using a variety of design principles in your garden will help you retain moisture where you need it by storing moisture in the soil and can assist run-off in areas that get too wet. Some simple principles to apply are: use plant water-loving species that suck up moisture in boggy areas or use diversion drains, swales and terraces to help intercept water flow and spread it out, so it seeps slowly into the ground where you want it rather than being lost into drains and causing erosion. Build mounds around trees and shrubs to reduce runoff and allow moisture to soak slowly into the soil around the canopy drip line and roots. Good design also applies to pruning: remove unnecessary lower branches and leaves from trees. Not only does this create a more structurally appealing tree by ‘lifting’ the eye up to the canopy, but with fewer leaves there is less moisture loss and this lowers the tree’s water requirements.
6. Increase Organic Matter –
Whilst this comes naturally to most organic gardeners, many don’t realize the benefits of building humus in the soil. Organic matter absorbs many times its own weight in water, which is then available for plant growth. It provides many benefits: clay soils with added organic matter will accept water more quickly and organically amended sandy soils hold water longer, and don’t need to be watered as frequently. One of the easiest ways to build organic matter is to add compost that breaks down to humus. This has an amazing potential to hold moisture, nutrients and build soil health. It has a buffering effect against drought and plant stresses too. You can also add organic matter with worm castings; vegetable scraps; mulches like nutrient rich Lucerne (also known as alfalfa) and pea straw; lawn clippings and leaves.
7. Avoid Overwatering –
This bad habit increases your water bill; leaches valuable nutrients from the soil (costing you money to replace them); causes loss of oxygen in the soil pore spaces increasing the chance of root rot and other diseases from suffocation; and wastes a precious resource. Even worse, it breeds dependent plants with shallow root systems so you’ll never be able to take a holiday without returning home to a garden filled with dried arrangements!
Other Factors That Affect Plant Water Use:
Applying Organic fertilizer stimulates growth and increases plant water use in turf, ornamental shrubs and trees, fruits and vegetables.
Pruning of landscape plants promotes new growth that results in higher water use.
When plants are flowering and fruiting they have greater water needs.
High, frequent mowing of turf increases water use by providing more leaf surface for transpiration however, this type of mowing also increases rooting depth, making the grass more drought tolerant.
Increase mowing height of lawns to allow grass to develop deeper root systems.
Keep the lawn mower blade sharp to make cleaner cuts that cause less water loss than cuts from dull mower blades.
Control all weeds that steal water that would otherwise be available for desirable plants.
Be tough! Don’t waste water on unhealthy or undesirable plants – instead remove or replace them.