By Anu, Student (15)
During the ten-day break senior school had, due to the fact that our teachers were out on excursion, I went to a farm for six days, to learn about organic farming.
I’ve been interested in organic farming for a while, having visited a few organic farms when I was very much younger. I wanted to learn about farming methods—mulching,organic pesticides—that consumed few resources,and did not use chemicals.
The farm I went to was recently set up, around four months ago, by a couple—Swetha and John—who live on the farm itself.
Among some of the many things I learned, was how to make Deepika’s beds; Deepika being the organic farmer who showed Swetha and John this method for improving soil. The idea is to convert dry soil lacking in nutrients to fertile soil. The seeds are sown only to fix nitrogen,which is good for plants,and are uprooted in a month. After you uproot your seeds,you can grow the plants of your choice in these beds.
How to make Deepika’s Beds
What You Need:
-hammer/rock used as hammer
For The Fence
-sturdy sticks around one foot in height
-thinner sticks to be used for wall (coconut leaf stem,sunhemp,any thin, straightish,longish,stick)
-any nitrgen fixing seeds,horsegram, mung dal,toovar dal
Mark out the perimeter of the bed you want to make. It is usually a good idea to consrtuct beds against a wall. Make a raised line of soil on top of the marking and fill in the area with water (the raised soil keeps the water from leaking)
Once the water has soaked and the ground is soft, hammer in the sturdy sticks at half-foot intervals—make sure the sticks are well in and very well fixed, as they hold the entire structure together. When this is done, place the twigs/coconut sticks along the inside of the hammered in sticks to form a wall, stacking them one on top of the other. It doesn’t matter if the “wall” looks messy, so long as it is fairly sturdy, and seems like it will hold under pressure. After this is done, it is time to prepare your soil. You could start with a thin layer of soil, followed by a thin layer of dry leaves (mulch), followed by a thin layer of rock dust and so on. You will need a lot of leaves.Continue until the bed is filled to the top. If the wall is too low, build it up by stacking more sticks. Water the bed, but do not overdo it, as you don’t want the contents of your bed to spew all over the place. Take your seeds and scatter them quite densely over the beds.Cover with a layer of soil, followed by a final layer of leaves, to retain water. Water every alternate day, unless the weather is very hot, or the soil is drying. Sprouts should be up within a week.