Understanding Organic Pest Control

There was a time when our agriculture scientists as well as farmers believed that with the invention of various types of chemical pesticides they had overcome the problem of pests or bugs in crops. Undoubtedly the initial success was marvelous and soon people began to put their whole trust solely on chemical pesticides and began to use in over dosage, which resulted in the progressive accumulation of pesticide residues into the soil.

Application or use of high dosage of chemical pesticides causes deterioration of the soil fertility as well as accumulation of harmful elements and compounds in the soil takes place. Hence farmers realized the need of turning to organic farming and utilization of organic pesticides.

Types of Organic pesticides

Organic pesticides can be prepared from the ordinary things that are available with the farmers.

1. Custard Apple, Neem, Chilli

Soak 25 gm of well ripe dry red chilli in one litre of water for the whole night. Then take 50 gm of crusted neem seeds and soak in 200 ml of water.  Next day grind both the mixtures separately into a paste. Also, grind 100 gm of custard apple leaves and mix it in 500 ml of water. Make filtrate of all the three mixtures. After that mix all the three filtrates with 5 litres of water and filter again. Now spray it on the crops affected by Aphids, spotted beetles, red scale, leaf roller etc.

2. Ginger Rizome

Grind 50 gm of ginger rhizome into a paste and dissolve it into 2-3 litres of water, strain it properly to remove minute particles in the solution. Then spray the mixture on the plants affected by pest like trips, hoppers, aphides.

3. Ginger, Garlic, Chilli and Kerosene

Soak 50 gm of Garlic in 10 ml of kerosene all night. Next day, take out the outer skin and make the garlic into a paste. Take 25 gm well ripe red hot dry chilly and grind it into a paste in water. In the same way make a paste of 25 gm of ginger. Mix all the three pastes into 2-3 litres of water thoroughly and spray this mixture on the crops affected by shoot borer, fruit bores, caterpillars leaf miner, and army worm, aphids.

4. Papaya Leaf Extract

Mix 50 gm of shredded or crushed papaya leaves in 100 ml of water. Shake them strongly and leave it overnight. Then, filter it and spray the filtrate on plants affected with leafy caterpillars.

5. Tobacco extract

Chop 150 gm long tobacco into very thin slices and pour it into one litre of boiling water and keep it covered after removing it from fire. Leave it over night. Next day mix them well and strain it through a fine sieve or muslin clothe. Dilute 4-5 ml of this filtrate with one litre of water and spray it on the plants affected with aphids, green hoppers, thrips, and mealy bug.

6. Tulsi Leaf Extract:

Soak 50 gm tulsi leaves in 2-3 litres of water for the entire night and on the next day grind it adding some water. After filtering, spray it on crops affected by caterpillars, red spider mite, spotted leaf beetles, red scale fruit fly.

7. Turmeric Rhizome Extract:

Smash or grind 20gm of turmeric and soak it in 200 ml of cattle urine overnight or at least 12 hours. Strain the content to remove the residues or sediments.  Dilute the mixture with 2-3 litres of water and spray it on the crop plants affected by caterpillars, aphids, red spider mite etc.

The article is written with the guidance of Dr. K. T. Chandy, who is the Director of Agriculture and Environmental Education.

Plant Diseases

Plant diseases are generally caused by fungi, bacteria, virus and mycoplasma. Here are common types of plant diseases.

Fungal diseases

The common fungal diseases affecting vegetable crops are Damping off, Die back, Powdery mildew, Downy mildew, wilt, fruit rot, fruit rot, Dry root rot, rust, alternaria leaf blight, cercospora leaf spot etc.

Viral diseases

Leaf curl, mosaic are the common viral diseases of vegetables.

And now let’s discuss how to control these plant diseases.

1. Cow urine

Take 50 ml of cow urine and mix it with 500 ml of water and spray on crop plants affected by any of the fungal or viral diseases.

2. Cowdung Extract

Take 1 kg of cowdung and mix it with 10 litres of water. Filter the extract with a gunny cloth. Add 5 litres of water and filter it again with the same cloth. Spray the filtrate on the plants. This controls the bacterial leaf blight and other bacterial diseases.

3. Mint Extract

Take 250 gm of mint leaves and grind it into a paste. Add 2 litres of water and spray the solution over the plants. This controls the bacterial leaf spots effectively.

4. Seed treatment for disease management

Seeds are the basic material for any plant to grow. Plants are affected by several diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. These organisms affect the plants either through soil or seeds. Hence they are classified as soil borne or seed borne pathogens. For the prevention of seed borne diseases, it is important to treat the seeds. We can use a number of plant products to treat the seeds so that the seed develops resistance against the pathogens. An effective seed treatment procedure is described below.

5. Seed treatment with Sweetflog Rhizome extract

Mix 10 gm of dry sweetflag rhizome with 60 ml of water. After filtration, about 50 ml will be obtained. Soak the seeds in this filtrate for about 30 minutes to control seed born fungal and viral diseases.

6. Seed treatment with Sweetflog Rhizome extract and cow urine

Boil 1 litre of water and leave it to cool for the whole night. Next day, add 50 ml of cow urine and 50 ml of sweet flag rhizome extract. To prepare the sweet flag extract - take 10 gm of dry sweetflag rhizome powder and add to 50 ml of water and leave it for one hour. Filter the extract. Mix both the cow urine-water mix and sweetflag rhizome extract. Treat the seeds by dipping them for 15 minutes before sowing. This will prevent from a number of fungal and viral diseases.

*It is important to mention that all these methods of crop protection are still under trial and experiments. Hence the readers are advised to take these recommendations as mere suggestions.

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