We can do organic farming by using organic fertilizers like green manure and compost manure. In this process, techniques like companion planting and crop rotation are used.
Before we start organic farming on the rooftop or at your farm, we should know what organic farming, rooftop farming is, the processes, and their benefits are? Manufactured green spaces created on the topmost levels of commercial, industrial, and residential structures are known as rooftop gardening or rooftop farming. By doing rooftop farming, we can get many benefits like recreational opportunities, foods, hydrological benefits, temperature control, architectural enhancement, corridors for wildlife, etc. It may provide ecological benefits on a larger scale.
Generally, rooftop farming can start using aeroponics, hydroponics, green roofs, container gardens, or Airdynaponics. When it comes to the food we consume, rooftop farming provides foods with nutrients and tastes, encouraging a thriving ecosystem. The area surrounded by rooftop farms is more pollution-free.
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Essential steps before starting organic farming
- First, gain knowledge about the standards and basics of organic farming
- Identify the helping sources
- Check your soil and take critical steps to improve the quality if needed
- According to your situation, choose livestock or crops
- Decide the pattern of good crop rotation
- Identify the pest challenges and rectify them
- Investigate the market
Some essential factors you should know before starting organic farming at your farm or rooftop.
Soil testing, its pH value, and solution
The pH units measure the measurement of alkaline and acid in the soil. Below 5.6 is the considerable soil pH value for most crops, and 6.0 to 7.0 is the ideal range. The negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration is the definition of soil pH. The pH scale starts from 0 and ends at 14 units, and 7 is the standard unit.
pH Testing tools and materials
- Hand shovel
- Liquid measuring cups
- Clean glassware
- Distilled water
- Baking soda
- pH testing kit
The process of testing the pH value of the soil by pH testing strips
- Dig your soil up to 4 to 6 inches using a hand shovel for collecting samples. To obtain a soil sample, you have to dig your garden from the surface.
- Take 1 to 3 teaspoons of collected soil sample in a glass.
- Pour it into distilled water.
- You have to agitate the soil.
- Drain the soil sample
- Then you can use the pH testing strips.
- Repeat the same process several times by using the different soils of different parts of your farm
- Then calculate the average pH.
- To find a quick pH unit of your soil, you can use baking soda (primary component) and vinegar (acidic) from your kitchen. When something basic is added to something sour, it generally reacts.
Needs for testing pH units of your farm soil
To know the fact about your soil, whether it is alkaline or acidic, you have to test the pH of the earth. Different plants have different requirements and need to grow. By testing the pH units, you can get an idea for farming the suitable crop for the soil or change the pH values according to your pre-decided crop or plant.
If soil pH is too high
If the pH of the soil is too high, then plant roots can not absorb some nutrients efficiently in general. Because of overload, the system of plants can’t be processed fast and can die.
If soilpH is too low
If the pH of your soil is too low, then it is a surety of too acidic nature of the earth, and your plant may be dying because of suffering ill effects. Acidic soil occurs deficiency in many critical nutrients like – potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and molybdenum.
How to maintain the pH level of soil organically?
If your soil is highly acidic, you can apply a material that contains acidic nature or some from lime. Ground agricultural limestone is the most frequently used material to make the soil less acidic. To be more effective, you can use fine limestone particles. Different soil requires an additional amount of lime to adjust the pH value.
Acidifying fertilizer can help change the soil’s alkaline nature and decrease the pH level. If you want to change the fundamental nature of the ground organically, then you can use manure or compost.
Preparing or buying organic fertilizer
Organic farmers use organic manure or fertilizer for harvesting crops, plants and provide organic foods by using natural products. For cultivating crops, organic manures are most helpful. Using organic fertilizer can increase the organic matter in the soil, and soil can hold more water. Organic manures are very helpful, and they improve the drainage system in clay soil. Using organic fertilizer can increase the organic acid in soil and make nutrients available for the plants.
Different types of organic fertilizers
Organic fertilizer includes vegetable and plant residues, animal excreta, animal matter, and mineral sources. Organic fertilizers have a complex biological structure, and they help break down the soil organisms into simpler nutrient molecules. Compared to chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers take more time to do their work.
Compared to chemical counterparts, organic fertilizers are better in the economic segment. You can prepare on your own by using locally procured materials, and they are environment-friendly and made from renewable elements.
Types of organic fertilizers
By composting process, the organic matters are decomposed. We can use animal excreta and plant, vegetable wastes as compost. For fertilization and improvement of soil, we can use compost which is a mixture of ingredients. This mixture is rich in beneficial organisms (fungal mycelium, worms), plant nutrients.
It is a natural fertilizer. From animal excreta like goat droppings, cow dung, manure is made. Cattle manure contains organic carbon and is a good source of nitrogen, and goat manure is rich in potash and nitrogen.
From clay deposits, it is mined, which is used to make fertilizer. a high amount of phosphate mineral is the main component of rock phosphate, a sedimentary rock. To fix the phosphate level of soil in the natural process, you can use this element.
This fertilizer contains sawdust and chicken manure, full of potash and nitrogen. You can use this fertilizer to condition the soil for harvesting organically.
Vermicompost consists of degraded organic materials using various species of worms. By decomposing food wastes, worms create heterogeneous mixtures.
Methods of preparing organic fertilizer at your farm
Preparation of organic fertilizer at home is straightforward or effortless. There are some popular methods to make organic fertilizers, and Those are – pot composting, vermicomposting, the Bokashi method, eggshell manure, and more.
you can use three pots for this process. You have to collect the dry wastes (plastic, paper, and packaging) and wet wastes (fruit peels, leftover food, and tea bags) from your kitchen and put them in two different containers. You can place the entire container of wet wastes into the first compost pot.
Then you have to add dry wastes of the same quantity. Now add buttermilk, semi-composed materials, or cow dung for decomposing. Every other day, you have to turn the pile around and put the piles at the correct level of dampness. If the mixture turns dry, then add water and if it becomes wet, add dry leaves and stir.
After the pot becomes full, leave it open for 30 to 40 days. Then move the matter to a larger bin. After two months, the waste will turn into rich compost manure.
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In this process, earthworms play a significant role. In this process, farmers collect the worm droppings after giving the worms organic wastes. Worms need food, water, air, and warmth to living and breed. You can produce vermicompost by adding these worms into a container that should be full of organic waste matters.
First, you must collect shredded cardboard, newspapers, dry cow dung, and coconut fibers. Then soak all these into a tub full of water. Leave these materials into the bottom of a worm bin after squeezing out the excess water.
Buy some earthworms, leave them in that tub, add kitchen waste, and half-done compost once every three to four days. Don’t feed fatty foods, meat. Avoid excess use of citrus fruits, any acidic foods in the vermicompost bin. Don’t use coffee grounds, tea bags or leaves, eggshells, stick peels.
The Bokashi method
Fermented organic wastes by microorganisms anaerobic are used in this process.
You have to add kitchen wastes into an air-tight drum for the fermentation process. The next day maggots are seen around the rim, then add Bokashi powder. A small amount of liquid will b generated in the drum from time to time. You have to set a system through which the fluid can drain. Some white fungus will be grown after 15 days in the drum, and the white mold will help suppress pathogens.
It is a sign of fermentation when you can see the white mold. Mix some semi-done compost to the drum’s content and leave the mixture in a tub. Cover the fermenting wet waste in a trench. The black compost will be ready after three weeks.
To stop the eggshells from growing mold, you have to rinse them with water and drying with the natural wind. In this way, you can create a slow-release calcium fertilizer. Once they dry, you have to grind the eggshells in a blender, pestle, or mortar. Store the particles in a glass jar.
You can compare these eggshell particles to the ingredients of lime because it contains almost 93% of calcium carbonate. It can be used as a soil amendment to reduce the soil’s acidity and improve fertility.
The pesticides which are acceptable for organic agriculture and come from natural sources are known as organic pesticides. Neem oil is the most beneficial organic pesticide to control pests. You can also use pyrethrin (made from the chrysanthemum plant). In organic farming, you can use a few synthetic chemicals to control pests.
Natural pesticides return to the earth with less danger and impact.
Different types of organic pesticides
Many organic pesticides come from insects, plants, and naturally occurring minerals.
Microbial agents are created from fungi, bacteria, naturally occurring viruses, algae, and protozoans. An example of these types of pesticide is milky spore. Because of microbial, certain insects can face disease and set limitations for reproduction.
Because of their sneakiness and simplicity, biochemical pesticides are fascinating. Pheromones are an example of biochemicals that can be artificial or naturally sourced, and they can control the population of insects and disrupt mating behavior.
These types of pesticides come from plants. Neem, nicotine, rotenone, pyrethrins, and sabadilla are some plant-based pesticides that come under the botanical pesticide segment. To flush out grubs, larvae, pyrethrin is very useful, and it is also effective for reducing flying insects.
Some examples of mineral-based pesticides are lime-sulfur and sulfur. As common insect pests, these two pesticides are used widely.
Preparing organic pesticides at home
Chemical pesticides are toxic to the environment, animals, and humans, and they can cause severe illness and cardiovascular issues. If you are worried about saving your plants from flies and bugs, you can use some natural pesticides from your kitchen, which are chemical-less and effective.
Neem leaves have culinary and medicinal properties in them. This is used as a deterrent to pests. Its pungent odor and bitter taste help to keep away the bugs from the plant. It is non-toxic to birds, animals, humans, and plants. The neem spray can be last for 22 days, and neem oil is very effective for young plants. Add neem oil and some warm water to a dash of liquid soap and stir it. The natural pesticide is ready to use.
This spray is the easiest organic pesticide that can be made at home. Besides deterioration of pests, it helps increase plant nutrition absorption (magnesium), and it allows plants grow vital nutrients like sulfur and phosphorus.
Only you have to do is add salt and water to a spray bottle and stir it. Then sprinkle around the base of the plant. You have to apply this mixture every week for better results.
Garlic and onion spray
Take one medium onion and a clove of garlic and add water. After a time of soaking the clove and garlic, you have to add a dash of liquid soap and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to them. Mix it and use it on plants. The spray makes sure of no bugs near the plants.
This oil has a strong smell that deters bugs and insects. You have to spray some oil on your plants regularly to see the result.
Chrysanthemum flower tea
The chemical compound pyrethrum is known as chrysanthemum flower. Pyrethrum is a powerful chemical compound substance that can damage the nervous system of pests and insects. You have to put some water and flowers in a pan and boil for about 20 minutes. Strain the mixture, add it into a spray bottle after cooling down. You can store this organic pesticide for at least two months. You can mix some neem oil with it for a better result.
Selection of crops
For successful farming, the most critical component is to select the right crop. Some essential factors of crop selection are –
- The location of the farm
- Land availability
- Soil type
- Invested money
- Hope of output
- Market demand
- Quality and availability of water
- Personal interests
Seed selection tips
- Increase in genetic purity
- Requirement of higher physical purity
- Possession of good size, form, color
- Better weight and physicality
- Depending on crops, an increase in germination is required
- Better endurance and physiological vitality
Some tips to know about the market demand for organic products
There has been an increase in market demand for organic foods in India in the last 5 Years. There is a great opportunity and scope for organic farmers. Because of the rich nutrients values in organic vegetables and fruits, the demand in the global market and the domestic market is increasing gradually. If you are planning for organic farming, then here we are going to give some tips –
Before starting any business, you should always have to learn about the marketing field. There are increasing incidences of adulteration of food in the organic food market, and it is a common fact that you must be aware of.
Understand the mindset of the target audience
For successful organic farming, you have to understand the target audience. As an educated generation, people prefer to eat healthy food. Ready to adopt is the essential mindset of Indian consumers. When you prioritize your health and want to buy organic food, you have to spend a basket full of MRP, but everyone is a potential buyer.
The organic food category falls into the high-margin and high-scale opportunity bracket when we put it on a graph opportunity scale. The emergence of eCommerce as a channel and the increasing variety of organic foods which is hitting the market are driven through opportunity scale.
Process the organic products
- Before the organic product processing procedure, all pieces of machinery and processing pieces of equipment should be made contamination-free and washed properly.
- All the filtration aids should be contamination-free and should not produce any substances that may negatively affect the organic integrities.
- To prevent contamination and to co-mingle non-organic and organic produce, measures should be in the right places.
- The processes that can be approved under PGS organic are – physical, mechanical, smoking, biological, precipitation, extraction, and filtration. The extraction process should be done with water, animal and plant oil, ethanol, carbon dioxide, vinegar, carboxylic acid, or nitrogen.
- NPOP services certified processing units can be availed.
- It is not allowed to be irradiated.
How to make your organic food brand
If you are going to start your organic food brand, it is a very wise step. Nowadays, demand for organic food is so high because everyone needs a healthy lifestyle. People are ready to spend more on natural, green, and healthy food. The grocery chain and organic farming are increasing day by day everywhere. There is an excellent scope for organic farming business and hope for growth in the Indian market. Some steps to establish yourself in the organic food industry –
Organic food store opening
The organic food store is about organic products in the correct location. For the success of the store, location plays an important role. You should choose an area with a high footfall sale and much local support accessibility. Adopt sales promotion techniques. Some tips –
- Find and secure a good place for your store
- Apply for necessary permits and registration
- Choose wisely the organic foods that you would be selling
- Set product prices wisely
- For the smooth running of your store, you have to hire human resources
- Good management of your store is needed
- It is required good marketing skills for your organic food store
- A good amount of investment is required
- It would help if you researched some financing options
Challenges to organic food store opening
Nowadays, organic food has become so popular, but it is in its nascent period. A significant stumbling block to the organic food market is a lack of awareness. It is costly to consume organic foods, and it is counted as a premium food in India. One of the topmost essential challenges for organic food stores would be e-commerce sites.
Marketing of agri-products
Some steps for marketing –
- Identify the market near the farm
- Set the farm apart
- Create a logo for your farm
- Set a tagline
- Launch your website
- Join farm associations
- Attend events that related to farm
- Advertise your brand
- You have to provide good customer services
- Establish a marketing calendar and budget
- Evaluate the success of your store
How to increase your customers
First, decide how you want to advertise your natural and organic products. Tell your customers about the authenticity, organics, and nature of your store. Tell them the benefits of using organic products and why you sell organic and natural. You have to clarify the facts and differentiate organic and non-organic products.
For a successful implement a marketing strategy of organics and natural, you have to follow some steps –
- Start an organic and natural with a merchandise strategy
- Create a system for in-store signage and communication
- Dedicate a brochure or flyer to your organics and natural products
- On organic and natural products, you have to educate your staff
- You have to campaign for organics and naturals on your social media and website.
Certification for organic foods
To ensure the handling and production of the products, which should be according to the particular organic standards stated by the law, it is mandatory to certify organic foods. Certification of the product helps promote fair marketing, trust in organic labeling, and competition in the market.
More than 60% of the total population of India is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture, and around 13% of real GDP comes from the agricultural segment. Agritourism helps so much to serve this purpose. In Indian Tourism Industry, it is the latest concept, and it gives opportunities to experience authentic contact with real life and natural enchantment. Agri-tourism promotion needs conceptual convergence with health, rural, and adventure tourism.
According to World Tourism Organization, Agri-tourism involves accommodation in a separate guesthouse or farmhouse, providing food, and organizing guests. Guests can observe and participate in farming activities and operations.
Scopes of agritourism are
- Gateways must be inexpensive
- Curious to know about the farming lifestyle and the farming industry
- Wholesome family-oriented recreational opportunities would be in demand
- Getting solace with nature-friendly means and health consciousness of the urban population
- The desire for tranquility and peace
Some agri-tourist destination points in India are
Dewalokam Farmstay Retreat, Karimanoor in Kerala, Vanilla Country, Kottayam in Kerala, Konyak Tea Retreat, Mon District in Nagaland, Maachli, Sinddhudurg in Nagaland, and Enhanced Forest Farm, Gangtok in Sikkim.
Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels
Organic farming is a reaction of rapid changes in farming practices in the early of 20th century. It is a good idea if you plan to do organic farming at your farm or on the rooftop. The process enables you to consume fresh and harm-free organic fruits and vegetables daily. Rooftop farming or gardening helps in increasing a natural green cover on the top of your house and makes your house environment cooler by 5 – 7 degrees.
You can do successful organic farming on your own even when you have a limited place or budget. To understand the placement of pots, you have to divide your available space first. To move between the rows, you have to leave adequate space. You will have to add organic fertilizer, provide water, and regularly investigate the plant’s general health.