The exquisite taste and fragrance of organically grown fruits and vegetables is well known. Less known is the fact that organic yields can be bountiful too, says Hema Vijay
Ever noticed the numerous, giant-sized fruits hanging on trees in forests and mountain sides? How did this bountiful yield happen? Nobody adds synthetic fertilizers to these soil patches. Obviously, nature left to herself has brought forth this abundance.
With more and more city dwellers taking to urban farming, the yield factor does come to the fore. The good news is that, in the long run, organic farming does give you a comparable and even far more bountiful yield than plants grown with synthetic fertilizers. “Plants like brinjal can throw up such large yields in a year of switching to organic farming, while a few other plants take more time”, says Ananthoo, founder volunteer of Restore, and coordinator, Safe Food Alliance. “I harvested ten kilos of bitter guards from two plants in just one season, in the second year of my organic gardening. The average yield is usually put at four kilos per plant”, shares Kavitha Ramakrishnan, who grows vegetables in the terrace of her house at Thiruvanmiyur.
More nutrients per unit mass
Besides the obvious benefit of being free of harmful pesticide and fertilizer residues, organic yield also holds more nutrient value, and a longer shelf life even without refrigeration. Research conducted at the reputed Rutgers University found that the mineral and vitamin content is higher in organically grown food, compared with the same crops grown with artificial fertilizers, and also that the absorption of the nutrients into the body is higher with organic food. “Only organic manure can enrich the soil with the spectrum of minerals and trace elements needed and found in organisms”, points out Ananthoo.
Dr. D. Narasimhan, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Madras Christian College, adds, “When soil is enriched with organic manure year after year, the soil’s vital micro-flora and its water retention improves, as does the plant’s inherent resistance to flood, drought and pest attacks”.
Moreover, and you end up incurring zero cost for manure and pest protection, because organic manure is freely available from the kitchen. Of course, adding growth promoting organic concoctions like Panchgavya or even plain cow dung, use of native seeds, methods like mulching etc can further boost the yield.