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22 Feb 2024, Edition - 3145, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Isha’s Save Soil movement has achieved the feat of growing vegetables such as carrots and beetroot – generally cultivated in hilly regions such as Ooty and Kodaikanal – in the plains

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“As part of our Save Soil movement we are conducting workshops on natural farming all over Tamil Nadu on a monthly basis,” said Swami Srimukha, the coordinator of the movement. “We also have model farms in Coimbatore, Erode, Thiruvannamalai and Thanjavur where – over a total area of 60 acres – we are using various natural farming techniques as an experiment.”

Elaborating further on this experiment, Swami Srimukha said, “At our model farm in the village of Semmedu in Coimbatore district, we grew carrots and beetroot – which only grow in hilly regions – as the primary crop over an area of 30 cents each. After 120 days the carrots had grown bigger and longer than we expected. Generally, when we purchase a kilogram of carrots at the store, it weighs in about 12 to 13 carrots. However, in this experiment we found that 6-7 carrots weighed 1 kilogram; all this without any chemicals… using only Jeevamritam – a naturally prepared fertiliser mix. To prevent pests and improve plant growth, we used a Neem-seeds based mixture. The beetroot also has grown well.”

Swami Srimukha revealed that vegetables such as radish, coriander etc have also been cultivated using similar techniques. “We used sour Buttermilk mixtures to combat the fungal growth caused by heavy rains, thus creating a good environment for the growth of the plants. The crop has been good. We expect 1.5 tons to be harvested tomorrow,” he shared.

It may be noted that under this movement, for the last 4 years, traditional rice variety, black kavuni, has also been cultivated using completely natural methods. Last year, 2.25 tonnes were harvested from 1 acre of land – much higher than the amount harvested by the neighboring farm which uses chemicals.

“These methods that we experiment with, and find success in, are taught to farmers through on-field workshops,” said Swami Srimukha. “We have taught natural farming to 15,000 farmers so far. Many of them are successful and are examples for other farmers to emulate. We use the farms of such farmers to teach the new farmers these natural methods.”

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