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Dhabolkar method of green manuring

Mr.Dhabolkar, an organic farming expert in Maharashtra, has proved the efficacy of green manure method, which helps to return to the soil many times more nutrients than what we take from that same soil.
The first step, therefore, to enrich the soil organically is to grow a variety of crops on the land and then plough the green matter back into the soil. Using this method it is possible to enrich the depleted soil in just two hundred days. Even land that has been depleted of all nutrients due to chemical farming can be resuscitated in this manner.By growing the following crops for 50-60 days and then ploughing them in-situ we add balanced nutrients and micro-nutrients to the land. The soil will become enriched in less than a year and micro-nutrient deficiency is eliminated.

The following quantities will suffice for one acre.

Choose four of each of the following types:(One from category total five)

1. Grains: 5Kg (Example: 1 kg Sorghum, 500 gms Pearl millet, 250 gms Foxtail millet, 250 gms Little millet).

2. Pulses: 5Kg (Example: 1 kg Blackgram, 1 kg Greengram, 1 kg Pigeon peas, 1kg Bengal gram).

3. Oilseeds: 5Kg (Example: 500 gms Sesame (gingelly), 2 kg Peanuts (groundnuts), 2 kg Sunflower seeds, 2 kg Castor Seeds).

4. Green manure seeds: 5Kg (Example: 2 kg Daincha, 2 kg Sunhemp, 500 gms Moth Bean, 1 kg Horsegram).

5. Spices: 5Kg (0.5kg Mustard, 0.5kg Coriander, 0.5 kg Methi, 0.5 kg Ajwain)

The entire biomass is incorporated into the soil. This has to be repeated two more times for best results. In this way, the topsoil gets replenished with all plant nutrients and also help in build-up of humus. It is essential that enough moisture is ensured for the growth and decomposition of green manure crops.

Conventional green manuring recommends the growth of green manure crop up till the end of its vegetative growth and then to be incorporated. In such biomass, the plant parts are succulent and decompose immediately upon incorporation. But for humus to form in the long run, the biomass to be used should be well matured with lignin and pectin contents. Dabholkar method recommends the incorporation of these green manure plants at the completion of their life cycles which have high lignin and pectin contents.

Conventional green manuring focuses on plants that have high nutrient content especially in terms of nitrogen. But Dabholkar method focuses on plants that have microbial association with diverse organisms at their root zones. Secondly, choosing several plants that are rich in certain nutrients also help different nutrients to be built up in the soil.

Sowing a variety of seeds in this manner is beneficial in many ways. The biomass of the soil increases. The physical and chemical properties of the soil are enhanced. The natural cycles of growth and decomposition take place unhindered. We incur very little expense because we minimize the use of external inputs like fertilizers. The water retaining the capacity of the soil improves, thereby minimizing the need for irrigation. The leaf area is increased leading to the maximum harvesting of light energy for photosynthesis. This leads to increased yields. Addition of biomass is important for improving the organic carbon content of the soil. The population of microbes increases, thus softening the soil. This helps plant roots sink deeper so they can reach nutrients that are farther down from the surface. This is the key principle.
Mr.Dhabolkar advises each farmer to do this on her/his farm according to facilities available on the farm itself. This is the first step towards self-reliance.

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