Growing up in an organic world
– By Sujata C
The November sunlight feels so good. It has the right amount of warmth to counter the hint of cold that lingers in the air. It’s a great time to spend outdoors with your family and you are tempted to spend hours just lazing and soaking in the sun. It’s Children’s day, and instead of rushing off to the mall or catching the new movie at the multiplex, try something that’s real quality time. How about familiarising your children with the organic way of life?
You can begin right in the garden or your balcony. Get your children some basic gardening tools like a hand rake or a trowel to turn the soil over and gardening gloves if they are prone to skin allergies. This will build up the excitement. Being outside, they will get a healthy dose of sunlight and some physical exercise as well.
Since organic way of life is too large a universe to get all at once, you can introduce it in small but specific topics like pest control, for instance. Where there is a garden there are pests, we know that too well. So how about getting rid of garden pests in an eco friendly way without upsetting the delicate living system of soil?
As you work you can explain a bit about the soil system and its nature and take the children’s help in gathering ingredients. Climbing tree to pluck leaves off a neem tree would be a real fun thing to do for children. For children such activities help build a connect with nature and they will grow up with a higher environment quotient. Keep the conversation going and tell them why you are not opting for chemical sprays and liquids, explain how they harm the soil and leave residues.
Experts at Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad suggest many simple ways to make home based natural pesticides. Here are some natural remedies they advocate:
For insects in soil:
Two tbsp of red chilli powder, two tbsp of garlic paste. Mix it in one litre of water. Add a little of the mixture to the soil in each pot. The severe burning sensation caused by the chilli kills the pests.
For leaf spray:
- Black tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) leaves: 50gms
- Two glasses of water
- Half tsp of detergent powder
Boil tulsi leaves in water for 30 minutes
Let it cool. Add detergent powder to it. Stir well. Let the kids fill a spray can or bottle with the mixture and spray on plants.
Well known agricultural expert Hari Shankar Panwar known for chronicling the traditional farm practices of farmers recommends this neem leaf decoction for pests like aphids, grasshoppers, white fly and caterpillars.
- 1 kg leaves of neem (Azadirachta indica)
- 1 litre water
- ½ tsp of detergent powder
Grind the neem leaves to a smooth paste. Mix it in water along with the detergent powder. Stir the mixture well. Spray it on plants.
Researchers are also recommending pomegranate peel decoction as an effective way to keep bugs off the plants.
Try out these eco friendly ideas in your garden. Not only will your garden be pest free, you would have instilled an appreciation for the organic way of life in your children.