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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.

Abha Toppo
Insect on the leave
Insect on the leave

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 the utilization of organic pesticides.

Types of Organic pesticides

Organic pesticides can be prepared from the ordinary things that are available to 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 crushed neem seeds and soak in 200 ml of water.  The 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 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 the 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 pests like trips, hoppers, aphids.

3. Ginger, Garlic, Chilli and Kerosene

Soak 50 gm of Garlic in 10 ml of kerosene all night. The 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 armyworm, 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 overnight. The next day mix them well and strain them through a fine sieve or muslin cloth. 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 mealybug.

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, and red scale fruit flies.

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 mites etc.

The article is written under 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, viruses and mycoplasma. Here are common types of plant diseases.

  • Fungal diseases: The common fungal diseases affecting vegetable crops are Damping-off, Dieback, Powdery mildew, Downy mildew, wilt, fruit rot, fruit rot, Dry root rot, rust, and Alternaria leaf blight, Cercospora leaf spot etc.

  • Viral diseases: Leaf curl and mosaic are the common viral diseases of vegetables.

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 cow dung 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 soil-borne 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. The 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 sweet flag 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 sweet flag rhizome extract. Treat the seeds by dipping them for 15 minutes before sowing. This will prevent a number of fungal and viral diseases.

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

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