Earlier this summer I joined the Chandigarh Organic Farmer's group and started selling some of our surplus in this market. While its great to sell produce as a farmer, and I enjoy the respect one gets as an organic farmer, from the conscious consumers community, the biggest gain for me has been to meet and learn from other farmers. Remember, till now, we had been working pretty much in isolation, reading books, researching online, and doing our own thing.
Meeting other organic farmers, has opened up a support group for us. Whenever I have a problem with a crop, a pest, a need to identify something or get any advice, I turn to this organic farmer's group. And every time I learn something new and interesting!
When our potato crop was showing signs of a fungal blight (which started when the weather turned breezy), i panicked and asked my co farmers what they would do. Sukhi, the most experienced of them all, suggested I use Khatti Lassi (buttermilk) spray, and Pathi ka Paani (Cow Dung Cakes water). The former would fight the fungal rot, and the latter would enhance the growth of the plants which would make them stronger to battle the infection! Wow!!
So let's see what is Khatti Lassi / Buttermilk. Well this is how its made:
1. Take one litre of milk and make curd from it.
2. Dilute the curd to make 10L Lassi. Put the Lassi in a plastic drum. Keep the content for one week.
3. After one week, add about one foot long copper strip or about one meter long copper wire (after making a spiral). Keep the content for at least 5-days (can be kept even for 7 days).
4. Lassi will become greenish-blue, and is ready for use.
5. Dilute the 10L Lassi to about 100L by adding water. Spray the diluted Lassi on crop in one acre area.
This is how our Khatti Lassi looked and we happily sprayed it all over our potatoes, with beneficial results.
Similary, Paathi ka Pani, has something called Gibberellic which is a plant growth hormone. Use of this liquid in fields, stimulates the crop into growth giving it the strength to fight off disease.
To make Paathi ka Pani or Cow Dung Cake water:
1. Take a wide mouth container – 100 or 200L barrel, open from top.
2. Add about 50L of water in the barrel.
3. Add about 15 kg of one year old cow dung cakes. Let them soaked fully in water for four days.
4. The resultant liquid when sprayed on crops has been noted to improve crop growth by several farmers in Punjab.
5. Take about 2L liquid in a 15 L capacity sprayer. Fill it with water. Mix well and spray.
Note: the dung cakes can be dried and used as a fuel.
Simple isn't it? And one need not worry about side effects, toxicity or contamination. Its all natural!