When we learn that chemical pesticides cause cancer and harm nature, we decide to go “organic” or “natural”. Instead of using Endosulfan, we make our own pesticide from Neem, Custard Apple Seeds or Carnea leaves.
Here, we take a pause and think. How different is chemical pesticide from so called organic or natural pesticides ? Fundamentally, they both kill or distract pests and interfere in the natural order. This exposes further questions –
1.) Why do pests and insects affect our crops in first place ? Do they have a natural place in this cycle ? Are they necessarily causing negative affect to our agriculture ?
2.) How come some crops are more affected while others are almost unaffected ?
3.) Are all pests / insects harmful ?
4.) Are we disturbing natural order if we kill these pests and insects ?
During one of the discussions with Shri. Deepak Suchde of Natueco Farming, he mentioned something very unusual and interesting thought about insects and plant relationship.
“Insect attack only the crop/fruit that nature doesn’t seem fit for human consumption. It is nature’s way of warning you against eating those substandard fruits or crop. A healthy crop in healthy soil which is suited for human consumption, will not attract insects in first place. ” – Deepak Suchde
Though this thought needs to be tested in field and time but it certainly provides a very different take on entire plant – pest relationship.
Ahimsa (non-violence) forms a very integral part of spiritual life. Thus, as far was spiritual farming is concerned, it must adhere to Ahimsa. This means, no intentional killing of any insect.
Perhaps, these figments of imaginations and random musings are beginning of “cide” free farming. We , at the Madman’s Farm are now experimenting with farming that doesn’t kill anything simply for our personal interest. Instead, we are trying to grow crops that do not invite insects. If it does, we learn to let go of our share of crop to those insects.
Insects form an integral part of farm, they must have equal rights to live and eat. Nature always maintains a balance between crop production and insect population provided we do not disturb the balance in first place. Here are some essential aspects of No-Kill Farming : –
- Wrong timing and wrong crops as per soil make plants susceptible to pest attack, so Grow right crop at right time
- Growing same crop in the same field for longer time, makes it week, foster pest growth and reduce natural diversity. Ensure proper crop rotation.
- Having one crop for many acres is unnatural in first place, this will inevitably attract pest. Grow diverse plants in your farm with inter-mixing.
- Give enough food for local insects by growing marigold and other sacrificial crops.
- A lot of insects are good and often very important for crop cycle, do not kill insects they are good too.
- If inspite of all our theorizing and practices, pests do attack the plant – learn to let go a part of your crop.
- Use local seeds
- Chemical fertilizers accelerate growth which makes the crop susceptible to diseases and pests, allow balanced growth for the plants
This is the beginning , whether this no-kill farming is possible or not -we will have to wait , learn, experiment and find out.
2 thoughts on “Towards “cide” free Farming (No-Kill farming)”
It’s a good thought. Deepakji’s insight must be tested…will be interesting if found correct.
I haven’t killed pests in my gardens for over 20 years. He is correct, plants that get pests are not healthy. I attend to the soil for a sick plant. As my tree guilds grow, health improves in the soil first, then the plants. I studied the plant-soil interface in school because I already saw this in my garden. Fertilizers weaken plants and makes them susceptible to pests. There is no shortcut, you have to improve the soil. I am moving some soil this week where I buried deadwood (like Hugelkultur) at the base of bermed beds. The soil is much improved as the tree branches break down. I hate burning dead wood, bury it and vastly improve your soil moisture carrying capacity and make it richer.