The Organic Goal

By Madhava Ghosa dasa

Taken from the March 16,1975 issue of the Brijabasi Spirit.
sindhave ratna-nikaran
girayo nnam catur-vidham
upayanam upajahruh
sarve lokah sapa lakah (S.B. 4.9.9)
Translation.: “King Prthu was presented with various gifts from the general populace and predominating deities of all planets. The oceans and seas were full of valuable jewels and pearls, and. the hills were full of chemicals and fertilizers. Four kinds of edibles were produced, profusely,”
From the purport; “…In this age so many factories for the manufacture of fertilizers have been opened, but when the Per­sonality of Godhead is pleased by the per­formance of yajnas the hills automatically produce fertilizing chemicals, which help produce edibles in the fields. Everything Is dependent on the people’s acceptance of the Vedic principles of sacrifice.”
“Dear Lord, when the bee approaches the celestial tree called the parijata. It cer­tainly does not leave the tree, because there Is no need for such action. Similarly, when we have approached Your Lotus Feet and taken shelter of them, what further benediction may we ask of You?” (S.B.4.30.32)
In the spiritual world, there is no des­truction because there is no creation. A bee approaching the parijata does not need to leave, because it can extract unlimited honey. In this material world, there is de­pletions and the bee, having extracted the nectar from the flowers must pass to another. By the same token, a vaisya extracts the fertility from his fields in the form of foodstuffs. By continuously cropping, the fields are depleted of plant soluble chem­icals necessary for plant growth. These main chemicals are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, commonly referred to as NPK.
Without, rain, nothing can. be produced. Yet the same rain will produce varying amounts of foodstuffs according to the fertility of the fields upon which it falls. This was graphically illustrated at cur Nandagram farm last year. The previous owner had taken hay off it for years, feeding his cows, and then merely piling up the manure beside the barn.

We broke up part of the meadows, and planted corn in strips on the hillside. We used chemical fertilizers (fertilizers pro­duced in factories). A 2-row corn planter was being used, pulled by horses. Each row has its own fertilizer attachment. The tube on one row plugged, and this was not dis­covered until it was time to refill. At har­vest time It was readily apparent which, rows had received fertilizers and which had not. The fertilized rows were green and each plant formed an ear. The unfertilized rows, right side by side with the fertilized rows, were stunted, yellow, and failed to produce any ears.
So a program of fertilization is essential. One cannot continue to take from the fields without putting something back in. Indust­rialized agriculture recognizes this, and. puts in heavy amounts of NPK. But the source of this NPK is factories. Obviously, we can­not depend on the factories to supply our fertilizers if we wish to actually become dependent on the land and cows. So here at New Vrindaban we have made our goal to be that of farming organically. By this, we mean to return to the fields the necessary NPK in forms supplied by nature.
The cows are so merciful that not only do they supply us with milk,, but their dung is a valuable fertilizer. By proper management of the manure, most of the nutrients con­tained in it can be returned to the fields. Manure is also an excellent soil conditioner; that is to say, it gives tilth to the soil. Tilth is a relative condition. Good tilth would be when the soil is loose, friable, well-aerated, moisture absorbent and possessing good structure. These are characteristics beneficial to immovable living entities, but not supplied by the artificially-produced chemical fertilizers supplying NPK.

In add­ition, scientists have recognized the im­portance of many other minerals necessary in trace amounts, such as calcium, zincs molyb­denum, boron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, iron, sodium, etc. All these are present in a naturally occurring matrix in manure.
Other organic techniques are also being adopted. Rye, grown as a winter cover crop to protect the soil, will be disced down in the spring, before the boot stage, thus add­ing humus to the soil. Other crops can also be utilized as ‘”green manures”, such as buck­wheat, clovers, oats, soybeans, or whatever is most suited to the climatic conditions.
The use of a crop rotation also helps maintain fertility. Growing the same crop year after year on the same land runs down the energies of the soil. Each crop feeds a little differently than another, and thus converts minerals Into plant form that may be inaccessible to another crop. As the crop residues are worked back into the soil, these minerals can become available again to ether plants.
A most important feature of a crop rotation is the inclusion of a legume. Legumes are a class of plants that take nitrogen from the airs rather than from the soil, as do non-legumes. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are non-legumes. The legumes are beans, peas, clovers, vetches, and alfalfa. Most important in our rotation will be alfalfa. By inoculat­ing the seed with nitrogen affixing bacteria, this action is increased, as legumes are de­pendent on a symbiotic relationship with such bacteria. After the legume has been finished on a field more nitrogen is avail­able than was previously.
Although all the necessary elements may be present in the soil, certain conditions must exist for the plants to utilize them. The most important is the presence of suf­ficient moisture. For this, we can only hope that somehow our feeble efforts in His be­half will please Krsna, thus the demigods will supply sufficient rain.
Another important factor is the pH of the soil. The optimum pH is between 6.8 and 7.0 (neutral to slightly acid). This facilitates the cation exchange by which process the plants feed. The natural tendency of culti­vated fields is to become acid. This is cor­rected by the addition of finely ground limestone. The test results from our soil samples show some revealing things. Our best producing fields last year rated about 6.5 pHs while most were between 5.0 and 6.0, and some went as low as 4.5. In order to rectify this, the State University recom­mends we spread a total of 257 tons of agri­cultural limestone. This makes the nutrients that are in the soil more available to the plants. Our soils also tested low in avail­able phosphate. This will be improved by application of lime, but we have also pro­cured 40 tons of colloidial phosphate to spread around. This is a high percentage phosphate clay that has been dried, pul­verized and sifted. It releases slowly (al­though faster than rock phosphates) and will benefit for several years.
Thus the majority of our effort in fer­tilizing will involve spreading manure, spreading lime and phosphate, discing in rye and establishing alfalfa. These all have long term benefits, increasing general soil fer­tility by improving tilth, stimulating ben­eficial microbial activity, and supplying a complete selection of major and trace min­erals. This is a gradual build-up, however, and takes several years to really develop.
So far this year, we will be using fac­tory fertilizers in order to get the yields necessary to avoid purchasing large quantit­ies from karmis.
The program we decided to go with is one that should, give us the most benefit from the use of chemical factory fertilizers. It is a program that uses a 10-20-10 NPK in a liquid solution. Two gallons are applied with the seed-at planting. With corn, anoth­er two gallons are applied as a foliar spray two weeks before tasseling and another two gallons at tasseling. Alfalfa and Trudan are sprayed after each cutting. Small grains are sprayed in the prenode stage. By appli­cation of the nutrients as a foliar sprays only about 1/5 the normal amount is requireds as the plant uses all that is applied and receives it when needed most. By incorpor­ating a granular fertilizer directly into the soil, much is never used by the plant. The excess depresses the earthworm and microbial activity, and is lost through evapor­ation or leaching. Thus, by using liquids, we will be actually decreasing the amount of factory plant nutrients used and so min­imizing their detrimental effect on the organic aspect of our program. But such use will not sacrifice any of our yield, which would have happened this year if we had gone straight organic. As the fields grad­ually become built up, these liquid chem­icals will also be phased out.
Ultimately, of course, all our efforts will be wasted unless we can please Krsna. Super-fertile fields yielding bumper crops are worthless unless these crops are of­fered first to Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Vrndavana Candra directly, or indirect­ly as milk products from our cows. Then we can understand that we are successful, be­cause if Krsna is pleased, then the highest welfare work for mankind is being performed. Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krsna, Jaya Vrndavana.

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