Showing posts with label organic farming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic farming. Show all posts

Monday, 9 March 2015

Leisure time activity - Organic Okra (lady's finger) cultivation at home

This is my first attempt at growing Okra/Bhindi/lady's finger organically at home. Fortunately, it has become a success, Thank God😊

Urban farming, as you all know, is challenging. With limited space, Sun and other constraints growing vegetables and fruits, that too organically, is very difficult and frustrating.

Armed with some farming experience in the past, preparing myself ready to accept setbacks, I took the first step in researching a lot, both online and offline, about organic farming at home. I learned that if we want better yield we must get top quality seeds. This has much better resistance to common diseases as well. So went to the Krishi Vigyan Kendra sales counter at CMFRI located on Goshree road near High Court Junction at Kochi and purchased Okra seeds (Arka - Anamika, an awesome variety of interspecific hybrid!).

I mixed organic soil with vermicompost bought from AVT gardenia at Panampilly Nagar, Kochi and cocopeat (a natural, organic soil conditioner made from coconut husks and fiber which has great water holding capacity) from Sterling, Poonithura. To this potting mixture, some cow dung powder and a handful of neem cake powder were also added. Neem seed cake, as you all know, is a good organic pest repellent. Two Okra seeds were soaked in water overnight and planted about two centimeters deep into this potting mix. Within a week seeds germinated. Watered it regularly and kept the pot in the narrow backyard at home where we get some amount of Sun...mind you, this is a metro city in a tropical country, lol, packed with concrete structures all around, not allowing full Sun to get through!

The terrace of my house is already covered with a sturdy aluminum sheet truss work so no Sun :) there too, else I would have tried terrace gardening. There is a balcony, well...will try something out there as soon as possible😊

However, my cute Okra plants grew happily. Now it is only a month and as you can see my beautiful plants have begun producing lovely fruits! These ladies are just a foot tall...! :), there are so many lovely fruits sprouting, as you can see!

I would like to share the joy with all my blogger friends worldwide and decided to post this :)
Buddies, aren't they cute?

In Kerala too, like many other countries worldwide, toxic pesticide and fertilizer usage has resulted in a very high incidence of cancer and other serious diseases forcing people to go organic in whatever way they can. The problems with organic are the genuineness of produce, certification, and exorbitant cost. Many are not at all aware of proper organic growing methods, availability of seeds and planting materials.

My advice to all who venture out into this wonderful task is to go for the easiest to grow plants like Okra, salad leaves like coriander and fenugreek. Remember, Sunlight is crucial. Start small and expand gradually. Watering can become difficult especially if you travel a lot, with no one to help in your absence.self-watering plastic bottle with a wick, I will post something about it asap. It will keep your beauties happy for a week if you use a big soft drinks bottle, no big deal!

Well, pests...if the plant is healthy you don't need to worry about them especially if you have used seeds bought from reputed sellers.

Neem seed oil, tobacco-water concoction and chilli garlic juice, all diluted, of course, are very effective natural, organic pest repellents. These are 'repellents', so use them before pests attack. Online you will find many resources on how to prepare these effective organic weapons against pests.

CMFRI outlet has many organic planting materials that growers would surely need, 'Panchagavya' included. It is a concoction of diluted cows urine, cow dung, milk, curd, and ghee. Organic foliar sprays like fish amino acid emulsion are also available which is a mixture of sardines and organic jaggery.

I didn't feed my beauties with any of the above, they were growing happily in the pot enjoying the potting mix :). Well, I gave both of them a little support with sticks, it is fair...we all need it, something to lean on, isn't it?

Online you will find so many tips about organic soil fertilizers, organic foliar fertilizer sprays, and repellents.

A word about foliar fertilizer sprays, they are the future...micro quantities are only needed to supply nutrition to the plants, they are sprayed, diluted as directed, directly onto the leaves preferably under them. Will explain in detail about its usage later.

Search online about Okra has made me aware of the many important facts about it that I would like to share with you. I am calling Okra, a fruit and not a vegetable. Well, does it matter?

Okra is nowadays recognized as a superfood. It is rich in calcium (82 mg % ), magnesium (57 mg %), (potassium 299 mg%), vitamin C (23 mg %) and fiber. A notable feature of Okra is it is rich in Vitamin K as well (31.3 microgram %). The fiber present in this juicy fruit can prevent constipation very effectively.

The oil extracted from Okra seeds is rich in Oleic and linolenic acid. It can be used as biofuel as well. Roasted and ground Okra seeds is a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. Any experience, anyone?

Okra is rich in antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals that cause serious diseases. The slime / mucilage is claimed to be medicinal; it boosts heart health. Okra reduces homocysteine levels thus reducing inflammation. Some eat Okra raw, no need to tell you, better to eat organic fruit raw, one advantage of having a plant at home :) A few plants are more than sufficient for regular supply for a small family. It is an all year produce. Okra leaves can be put in salads as well.

Okra's scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus.

Organic cultivation is a fun filled activity. Moreover, it has nowadays become a productive hobby as well considering the value of organic produce all over the world. This is a good thing to do with no pollution or environmental damage bringing positive health to mankind. Inspiring people to adopt healthy ways to grow foodstuffs is wonderful.

Another valuable activity that radiates positive vibrations. Moreover, go organic for better health!
  • If there is a will there is a way!
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