Panchakavya, the farmer’s elixir, is being rediscovered by organic farmers and city gardeners, saysHEMA VIJAY
Panchakavya is finding takers not just because it is organic manure, but because it is an amazing fertiliser, growth and immuno-stimulant rolled into one. Spraying it regularly activates the plant’s photosynthetic system, rooting, branching, fruiting and foliage and also increases the plants’ resistance to drought and pathogenic microbes. “Using Panchakavya, I have seen the yield of gardens increase over time, and our greens stay fresh longer,” says R. Jagannathan, founder, Nallakeerai, an organic farming venture by city-based individuals.
“Laboratory analysis of Panchakavya has shown that it has all the macro and micro nutrients and growth hormones (IAA and GA) required for crop growth,” says Dr. R.S Satyan, application specialist in herbal research, who has researched the topic at M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.
“It also enriches soil fertility because of the urea in it and increases natural nitrogen fixing in the soil,” says Dr. M.V. Vishwanathan, retired CSIR plant scientist and associate of Parampara, an organisation that is working to revive traditional knowledge systems.
However, Panchakavya is not a direct substitute for pesticides; it increases plants’ resistance to pests because of its constituent ingredients.
Panchakavya is now available in select organic stores and nurseries but can also be made easily in your home garden. It is made from ‘five’ kavyas or substances obtained from cows.
While traditional methods are very elaborate, try this simple procedure adopted by Jagannathan for your home. Mix fresh cow dung (5 kg), cow urine (3 litres), cow’s milk (2 litres), curd (2 litres) and ghee (1/2 kg), besides sugarcane juice (3 litres), tender coconut water (3 litres), 12 ripened yellow bananas, and 150 gm of yeast in half a litre of warm water. Mix it all well in a wide-mouthed mud pot, concrete tank or even a plastic bucket. The container should be placed in the shade, but left open and stirred thrice a day — a hundred turns in the clockwise direction followed by a hundred turns in the anticlockwise direction at morning, noon and evening) for 21 days, and your panchakavya is ready to use.
Spray a 3 per cent solution of Panchakavya (3 litres of mix to 100 litres of water) once every week or once a fortnight on your plants. A word of caution - cover the fermenting mixture with wire mesh or mosquito nets to prevent insect infestation.
Using Panchakava makes the greens stay fresh longer