Organic-based farm practices in CBE Part I

Organic-based farm practices are manifested throughout the CBE–from the terraces-occupied facade to the edges of the pathways, from small space turned into an urban agricultural prototype to the rainwater catchment. In this article, we showcase the first batch of the practices that are religiously implemented in the farm.

Mulching

Mulching is a natural practice of farming that places dried and fresh organic inputs to the soil or around the base of the plants. Mulching helps prevent the soil from crusting, holds soil moisture, prevent the weeds from growing and helps attract beneficial insects like earwigs. Rice straw, grass clippings, dried napier grass, rice hull are some examples of organic inputs use as mulching materials. These are the best materials because it easily decomposes which can later be source of nutrients needed by the growing plants.

Intercropping

Intercropping is a practice that involves growing of two or more crops in an area. This practice protects the plants from insects and diseases present in the field. It also provides better yield compared to monoculture as it utilizes the whole land and improve soil properties. However, careful planning in choosing a companion crop for a certain crop is needed because the crops might competes each other in terms on nutrients, space, and sunlight. One effective examples of intercropping pattern is to partner the shallow-rooted crop with deep rooted crop and shorter crop with tall crop. Here are some examples of companion planting:

  1. Pole beans- grow well with corn and onions
  2. Corn – best partner with sweet potato, peanut, cucumber, and squash
  3. Eggplant – leguminous crops like beans and peanuts
  4. Parsley – parsley and tomatoes grow together very well
  5. Tomato – cabbage, chives, onion, and carrots
  6. Lettuce – lettuce flourishes in combination with leeks, onions, radish, cucumbers, carrots and celery
  7. Cabbage – celery, tomatoes, dill, peppermint, beets and onions
  8. Soybean – grows with anything and help everything
  9. Carrots – lettuce, chives, onions, tomatoes, sage, and leeks
  10. Peanuts – grows with anything and help everything

Trellising

Trellising is a practice usually use for trellising plants like cucumber, bottle gourd, patola, squash and ampalaya. The trellis give support to the plants as it grows vertically. This technique minimizes plant disease because it keeps plants off the ground. It also makes harvesting and cultivation of soil for the farmers.

Standard Bed Size and Drainage Canal

This practice was properly maintained in the farm because of the following reasons: (1) easy documentation and computation of data gathered in the field, (2) more space for planting because less drainage canal was made, (3) less competition of nutrients among plants, (4) save time and effort in measuring the land, (5) easy application of organic fertilizer, (6) easy calculations of results, and (7) size of bed is suited for hand tractor used in the farm. Procedure:

  1. Clear the land using grass cutter for convenient plowing/harrowing of land.
  2. Gather all cut grasses using rake and place it in the vermicomposting area.
  3. Plow the land to destroy the seed of weeds and at the same time raise the soil to make it dry easily. (optional)
  4. Harrow the land to loosen the soil and destroy the remaining weeds in the field. The soil should be loose and friable to achieve good yield.
  5. Form a 10 square meter bed after cultivating the land. Drainage canal should also be made in between of the two ten square meters bed (30 cm wide) to avoid having stagnant water around the plants.

Note: Avoid plowing/harrowing the land when the soil is wet or too dry because it can destroy the physical properties and condition of the soil.

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