Green farming: DIY Organic fertilizer and pesticide

There is a great deal of interest in organic agriculture around the world and some Indian states such as Kerala are completely dedicated to this nature-oriented method of cultivation. Tamil Nadu also has a growing organic farming movement.

I propose to periodically extract this traditional, received wisdom which has been reproduced by organic experts such as Mr. Nammalwar in popular magazines like Pasumai Vikatan, for the benefit of the community. Links to mainstream media will also be included. Whether you are big farmer, a small farmer or just a homesteader, these formulae are bound to be useful.

My attempt is to provide the formula for the individual biopesticide/biofertilizer, and a graphic that can be downloaded with the information on how to Do It Yourself (DIY). The list is small but will keep expanding. At the moment, I have covered the following:

  • Panchakavya
  • EM
  • Amuthakaraisal or Amruthakaraisal
  • Cocomilk or Themor Karaisal

Here is the formula of Panchakavya, the biofertiliser and biopesticide that is very potent and easy to produce. This organic liquid is primarily produced from materials related to the cow – dung, urine, milk, curds and, according to some formulae, ghee. A mixture of these, as given below, is then added with bananas, jaggery/sugarcane juice, tender coconut, yeast and groundnut cake. It is important to keep the mouth of the vessel covered with a fine cloth that does not block off air, but prevents flies from getting in and laying eggs, as that is said to render the Panchakavya useless.

I am thankful to Pasumai Vikatan for sharing this traditional formula with its readers, and which I have translated here for the benefit of those who do not know Tamil. If you do know Tamil, I urge you to read Pasumai Vikatan regularly and benefit from its repository of rediscovered wisdom of traditional, organic agricultural practices. Download the PDF for the formula here.

 

I will continue to add to this post as I work on this theme. Here is a biofertiliser named “Amuthakaraisal”, also called “Amruthakaraisal” and “Amirthakaraisal.” This requires the use of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery and stablisation for 24 hours in the shade. Here is the formula.

 

 

 

The second edition of Pasumai Vikatan for July publishes a piece about Ponneem, a simple mix of 45 per cent Neem oil, 45 per cent Pungam (Pongamia) oil and 15 per cent of soap solution to act as a surfactant (which helps the oils remain on the foliage). The dilution ratio for the concentrate with water is 30 ml to one litre, according to the magazine article; it is not clear if there is a specification for the oil itself, in terms of its purity and so on. The story in the magazine describes the use of this oil as an effective biopesticide, and the role of the Loyola College Chennai entomologists in test-manufacturing it. It was surprising when a newspaper reported sometime ago that the College wanted to seek a patent for it, but that could have been poor understanding on the part of the reporter, because the substances used are natural and the unsuccessful attempts to patent neem products in the US is an old story.

  • Today’s edition of The Hindu (2008/06/05) carries an article on a variety of plant-based pesticides that can be made on the farm or at home. These are derived from pungamia, neem, calotropis, turmeric and so on, some of them using cow urine as an additive. The entire story, titled “Taking a leaf from the book of ancient time tested practices” is here
  • An earlier piece published by the The Hindu here based on an interview with Mr. Nammalwar gives a good idea of how to create a “live fence” around a farm or large piece of land, using specific varieties of trees and shrubs, which also serve to boost fodder availability for livestock.
  • This is a formula from Pasumai Vikatan for a biofertilzer that they call EM. It adds to soil health by boosting microbes, and acts as a growth promoter. You can also download a PDF version of this formula here.
  •  

    EM a biofertilizer

     

    Here is the formula for one of the simplest recipes that I have come across. It was published by Pasumai Vikatan on June 10, 2008 and is a simple combination of butter milk and Coconut milk left to ferment for a week. The resulting fermented liquid is being described as “Themor” Karaisal (Karaisal being liquid biopesticide/biofertiliser). It has to be diluted at the rate of one part to 10 parts of water. It apparently acts as a growth promoter and also a pesticide. Try it out and let me know! The PDF is here…

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