METHODS OF ORGANIC FARMING
• Organic Fertilizer
Making fertilizer is one of the most important aspects of farming organically. This process includes using the optimal nutrients to enhance the growth of your crops. Organic farming methods like composting, mulching, and using bio-fertilizers will help promote healthy crop growth, as well as soil richness. Vermicomposting is another excellent method of introducing important nutrients into the soil naturally.
• Optimal Timing & Temperatures for Crop Growth
Prepping the soil for planting is key. Depending on the intended crop, soil prep should take place at certain times before planting. When growing organic corn, work aged animal manure or organic compost into the soil, then plot with plastic sheets for a few weeks to ensure the nutrients remain, making sure the temperature of the soil at planting time is above 12°C (55℉).
• Crop Rotation
Organic farming relies on good, natural soil health so crop rotation is a big part of the process. Rotating crops in your field keeps the soil balanced so certain nutrients don’t get depleted, since various crops require different nutrients and leave other ones behind. Crop rotation is important to reduce pressure from insects, weeds, while supplementing nutrients in the soil. These trap crops that are planted between the main crop will also keep the soil rich and help avoid erosion.
• Weed Management
For farmers, weed management can be a stumbling block to producing organic corn and other crops. Weeds can reduce your yields and consume resources intended for your crops, including nutrients, water, and sunlight. There are many options that organic farmers can use to control weeds including manual weeding (hand removal, pulling, and cutting), mowing, mechanical cultivation, and thermal control (flaming). For instance when producing corn, mechanical weed control is the best method.
Mechanical Weed Control includes using preplant tillage such as plowing, disking, and field cultivating to significantly minimize the spread of specific perennial weeds and get rid of emerged weed seedlings.
Manual Weeding is effective at stopping the growth of small weeds but be careful when removing as you want to make sure you don’t lose any corn seeds in the process.
Crop Rotation can also be an incredibly effective way at reducing weed pressure and is a good method for long-term weed control.
Thermal Control is a method that uses a propane, butane or gas powered flame thrower to rid the soil of pesky weeds. Flaming was a popular method used in the 1940s-1950s before the invention of synthetic pesticides and is gaining popularity again. Flaming is ideal for crops that are spaced out in wide rows.
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