Brinjal is one of the inevitable vegetables in our day to day food preparations and there could never be a festival or a marriage function without having brinjal sambar. At the same time it is one of the vegetables that is vulnerable to more number of pest attacks. Even while the conventional farmers using chemical inputs are hesitant to opt for brinjal cultivation, Nagarajan, a agriculture graduate from Ilupuli village, near Thiruchengodu, Namakkal district, profited in lakhs by cultivating brinjal even as an experimental trial, through organic farming.
Pasumai Vikatan that made me interested in organic farming
We met him while he was engaged in brinjal harvest. “We have 30 acres of land. We are traditionally from farming community. I used chemical inputs for farming. The income and expenses are equal. During that time I started reading ‘Pasumai Vikatan’. I got interested in organic farming. Along with that I attended the training program by Namazhvar Ayya. Then, as a trial I bought Cat head variety of brinjal from my friend and planted them in ¾ acre of my land, about 2500 saplings. In regard to brinjal it can be cultivated throughout the year. Now I continue it through well irrigation. Every alternate days, I irrigate water for half an hour. There is no more spending of water as I use drip irrigation. I am getting very good returns”. He continued.
Everything henceforth is organic
“There is more number of earthworms in the soil due to organic manures. So there is more growth in the crop and also lesser disease attack. If brinjal is successfully cultivated by organic methods, then any other crop variety can be grown easily organically. Henceforth, I will cultivate any crop variety only organically. If organic farming is done properly there can be more profit than what could be have through chemical cultivation. I am the best example for that. My friends, Senthilkumar, Ranganathan and Senniappan were helpful to me in my organic efforts so far. He was proud about his efforts and continued speaking about returns.
20 tons in six months
There is no problem for selling them as they are grown organically. But I don’t sell them at higher price. I sell them only on par with market price. On an average, I harvest between 120 and 150 kg of brinjal daily and there will be at least 15 kg of worm infested brinjals.
In one season, we can get quality brinjals of 20 tons and 2 tons of worm infested brinjals. I have started harvesting since last two months. Till now the yield is 6.5 tons.
I have sold one kg brinjal for Rs 15-25 but we can average it to Rs 20 per kg. I will sell worm infested brinjal for Rs 5 per kg. Till now I have sold 6.5 tons of brinjal amounting to Rs 1,30,000 and I expect an additional yield of 14 tons in the days to come. The total yield is 20 tons and with a price of Rs 20 per kg, I will get a total income of Rs 4 lakhs. After deducting the expenses for cultivation I will get a net profit of around Rs 2.75 lakhs. As I got a good profit out of it I am going to expand the cultivation area next time”. He bid farewell to us.
Controlling boll worm
To control Aswini and leaf lice, spray a mixture of fermented buttermilk with equal proportion of insect repellent. To control boll worms add grounded mixture of half kg each of green chilies, ginger and garlic along with Agni Asthiram and spray it on the plant. To control stem and boll worms, pheromone and light traps can also be used.
Caution with pheromone traps
There will be a bottle filled with the smell of a female insect in the trap. Being attracted by the hormone the male insects will reach the bottle. The life of this smell is 21 days only and it should be protected from the sun. If it is kept directly under the sun its life will be 15 days only and there is no use keeping it in the farm after that.
Therefore it is important to replace the bottle every 21 days. The trap can be fixed late in the evening and removed in the morning by 8 am. The trap should be kept at equal height of the plant and if it is fixed either lower or higher than the height of the crop, insects will not be trapped. Three traps are adequate for an acre of land.
Fish amino acid for better flowering
As soon as the flowering begins spray fish amino acid for every 10 days. Flowering will be better if natural insect repellent is sprayed every week. Besides, spraying a mixture of one kg of asafetida with 10 liters of butter milk will reduce disease attack and enhance flowering.
When there is natural why synthetic?
Jayapal, a relative of Nagarajan, used chemical inputs for brinjal cultivation and faced heavy loss which he shared with us. “I keep continuing chemical inputs for farming. Now, I cultivated brinjal in an acre and endured a heavy loss. The reason for the loss is due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers. The pest and disease attack was more than usual because of excess use of chemicals. Especially due to stem worm and leaf lice the damage was heavy, affecting the total income. But Nagarajan earned better yield by organic farming methods. I have also now decided to go for organic farming like him”, he concluded.
This is the best way of brinjal farming
The details of cultivating brinjal organically as described by Nagarajan are given hereunder.
“Spread farm yard manure in the one acre land chosen for brinjal cultivation. Plough the land till the soil becomes coarse. Lay bar channels and plant brinjal saplings with a space of 3 foot. For each four rows, leave a pathway space of 6 foot. By this measure, 3500 saplings will be required for an acre of land. Seven days after planting, pour 100 ml of Jeevamirtham extract at the base of each plant and support it with soil around it. Repeat it every week and based on the growth rate of the plants the quantity can be increased. From 10th day onwards spray natural insect repellent weekly once.
On day 15, sprinkle farm yard manure mixed with neem cake (400 kg of FYM with 70 kg of neem cake for an acre of land) and support each plant with soil around it. From day 20, spray 300 ml of Panchakavya mixed with 10 liters of water, every week. Based on the need weeding can be done. Keep pheromone trap on day 30. The plant will flower from 45th day.
On day 50, add 100 g of oil cake mixture (Mix neem, groundnut, coconut and sesame oil cakes in equal proportion) at the base of each plant and support it with soil around it. The plant will give out brinjal on day 60 and it will continue to yield brinjal for further six months.
(This article written in Tamil by Anandaraj in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)