How does organic farming work? Today, “organic farming” is not only a common phrase, but it is also a subject of much debate. Some people think it is the best way to farm, while others believe it is only partly correct.
Let’s look at organic, natural, and nature-based farming and how they work.
Ecological farming is another name for organic farming. Organic farming focuses on the ecosystem, soil, plants, animals, and people.
Organic Farming History
The idea of organic farming is not as new as it might seem. Similar changes happened in the 1940s with chemical pesticides, which led to the “pesticide era.”
Even though these new farming techniques were helpful in the short term, they had severe long-term side effects, such as soil sloughing, erosion, a general decline in soil fertility, and health concerns about toxic chemicals getting into the food supply. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, soil biologists started looking for ways to fix these problems without lowering crop yields.
Albert Howard, one of the organic movement’s first leaders, and his wife, a botanist, founded the Institute of Plant Industry in 1921 to improve Indian farming. Through scientific training, they improved animal care.
Then, by combining traditional Indian methods, they made rules for crop rotation, erosion control, and the systematic use of compost and fertilizer. Albert Howard went back to England in the early 1930s after working in conventional farming. There, he began to use organic farming methods.
Several books on organic farming show that thinning the soil is better for nature, faster, and more productive than intensive farming.
Organic farming is growing crops, raising animals, and making other goods without using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, steroids, or other chemicals that speed up growth.
The study of natural farming did not end there. This doesn’t mean that it’s always been popular; it’s always had, supporters and critics. However, research has been going on for a long time and has repeatedly shown that taking care of the soil leads to accurate results. So, the following words can describe what organic farming means today.
- Protecting and preserving the soil’s natural fertility.
- Ecosystem preservation.
- Preservation of the soil’s natural fertility, ecosystem protection, and environmental friendliness
- Harvesting with significantly lower input costs.
The Essentials of Organic Agriculture
What is organic farming, and what are the basics of organic agriculture?
From what’s been said, it’s easy to see what organic farming is all about.
People don’t want to deep-plow the soil because they know that many organisms live in the top layers of the soil. These organisms make humus and improve the structure of the soil. Plowing and deep digging destroy their habitats by changing the microbial makeup of the topsoil and, with it, the natural ability to keep the soil fertile. This makes it more likely that elements that plants need will be lost through weathering and leaching.
The bad effects of this farming method don’t show up right away but after a few years. This means that mineral fertilizers and other chemicals need to be used to keep crop yields at the right level.
Conservation agriculture says that you shouldn’t turn the soil over, but you should loosen it to a depth of 2–2.7 inches (5–7 cm), preferably 1 inch (2.5 cm).
Mineral fertilizers aren’t used because most have hidden side effects. Under their influence, the soil’s acidity changes slowly, the natural cycle of substances is thrown off, and the types of soil organisms change.
Also, some mineral fertilizers are bad for the environment (air and water) and the plants themselves, which affects the quality of the products and people’s health.
In organic farming, glycosides, mulches, composts, and other organic products are used instead of fertilizers.
No herbicide, pesticide or fungicide is non-toxic. All of them are toxic, so there are strict rules about how to use pesticides. They also tend to build up in the soil as residues.
Using herbicides under the main crop can reduce the next crop’s yield by 25%.
Nature-based agriculture suggests taking steps to stop diseases and pests, but if that doesn’t work, folk remedies or biological agents should be used.
Promoting Microbes and Worms
Organic farmers value microorganisms and worms because they make soil. Microorganisms and larger soil residents (like worms, bugs, and spiders) mineralize organic waste, transform essential nutrients, fight pathogenic microorganisms and pests, and improve soil structure.
Healthy plants can withstand bad weather, diseases, and pests when the soil is healthy.
Natural Agriculture suggests adding organic matter, using EM preparations, and not digging too deep to follow this principle.