Mulching Sheets in Organic Agriculture – Procedure and Advantages

unnamedThe use of mulching sheets is a technique of organic agriculture that tries to imitate natural forests’ processes. This agricultural process follows no-dig gardening or non-cultivation method. This technique is used to produce healthy and prolific ecosystems that require low maintenance.

Procedure

The technique of using sheet mulching involves the following steps:

  • The selected area is flattened through trimming or chopping down of existing vegetation.
  • The soil is examined and if required, its pH (measure of acidity or basicity) or mineral amendments is adjusted.
  • The soil is soaked in water to assist the natural process of decomposition.
  • The soil is covered by an organic weed barrier (a thin layer of slow decomposing material). This is done to restrain the weeds by blocking out sunlight. As weeds decay quickly under the barrier, they become nutrients for the soil and enhance the stability of the growing medium.
  • A layer of around 10 cm thick, rich in nutrients and weed-free soil is added on top of the weed barrier to create a soil horizon.
  • A layer of around 15 cm thick woody, weed-free and leafy matter is added to imitate the forest floor. The soil is now all set to receive plant seeds.

Advantages

There are several advantages of using sheet mulching in organic agriculture. They are as follows:

  • Improvement of plant health, vigour and productivity
  • Enhancement of soil structure
  • Retention of nutrients and water in soil
  • Prevention of soil erosion
  • Suppression of weed growth
  • Avoidance of dangerous pesticides and herbicides
  • Reduction of maintenance cost

How to Prepare Organic Pesticide at Home

say to pesticidesPests are very harmful for the growth of plants. They can cause severe damage to the flowers, fruits and vegetables. Using chemical pesticides is not the best option as they cause harm to the environment. They also leave behind pesticide residues on the fruits and vegetables, rendering them unsafe for healthy as well as for human consumption.

However, there are many organic pesticides that can be prepared at home to control the menace of pests. Let us read about one such home-made pesticide.

An easy way to prepare organic pesticide at home is by using vegetables.

  • Take 113 grams (1/2 cup) of hot peppers with 113 grams of onions or garlic cloves.
  • Chop the vegetables and blend them together in an electric blender to form a thick, chunky paste.
  • Warm 500 millilitres (2 cups) of water and add the vegetable paste to the water.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly and transfer the contents to a glass or plastic container.
  • Allow the solution to stand undisturbed in a sunny location for the next 24 hours.
  • Strain the mixture with the help of a strainer and collect the water of the solution in a neat container. This vegetable-induced water is the pesticide.
  • Transfer the pesticide into a clean spray bottle.
  • Spray your plants with this organic pesticide once in five days.

This pesticide generally causes the pests to scatter after using it for three to four times on them and prevents them from returning during the rest of the season.

Know How to remove Pesticides from Fruits and Vegetables

Eating healthy food is the key to a healthy body. But most fruits, vegetables and other food items today are laden with pesticide residues. These residues can cause several diseases in our body. So, it is necessary to remove them from our food as much as possible. Let us take a look at the steps that we can follow at home to get rid of the pesticide residues in our fruits, vegetables and other food items.

 Washing

  • Washing is the first step towards the removal of traces of pesticide in our food items. Wash with 2 percent salt water to remove the residues from the surface of food items.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water for two to three times.
  • Wash the green leafy vegetables thoroughly to minimize the residues on them.

Blanching

Steaming or treating most vegetables in hot water for a short while is effective in the removal of pesticide remains.

Peeling

Peeling of fruits and vegetables can remove both systemic and contact pesticides to a large extent. Concentration, dehydration and extraction from the raw product are also effective against the problem.

Cooking

Cooking different types of food in the proper manner helps in removing pesticide remains from them.

  • Pressure cooking, baking and frying of animal products removes the pesticide residues from animal fat tissues.
  • Boiling of milk results in destruction of such residues present in the liquid.
  • Proper heating of vegetable oils before cooking helps to remove the residues from the oil.

Top 5 Foods for your Kidney Health

A balanced diet is one of the most essential requirements for a healthy body. Eating the right food often helps in controlling certain ailments. If you are suffering from kidney disease, you will be glad to know about certain foods that are good for your kidney health. These super foods are helpful for your overall health as well. Let us have a look at 5 such kidney-friendly foods.

Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers are one of the most helpful foods for promoting kidney health. They contain low amount of potassium but are rich in vitamins A, C, B6, folic acid and fiber. These peppers are known to contain the antioxidant lycopene that is effective against certain kinds of cancer.

Apples

We all know that apples are one of the best foods for a healthy body. This fruit has high fiber content and possess anti-inflammatory properties. It is effective against constipation and heart diseases. It also acts to decrease the risk of cancer in your body.

Egg whites

Egg-white is very effective for your kidney health. This food is rich in protein and amino acids. Egg-whites also contain low amount phosphorous as compared to other sources of protein.

Fish

Fish is another super food that is good for your kidney. It is a rich source of protein and anti-inflammatory fats called Omega-3s. Fish also prevents heart disease and cancer.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains a lot of vitamin C, folate and fiber. It carries compounds that facilitate the liver to act against toxic substances.