“Go natural”, is the age old belief true to any living organisms. Followers reaped rich dividends. Violators disappeared into oblivion. ‘Organic gardening’ is not a new age word as many people think. Until the synthetic fertilizers stuffed with hazardous chemicals invaded, Organic life style was the only way of living for all the living organisms. Plants are not an exception. Though in the beginning, the response to the chemical fertilizers in the gardening communities was tremendous, Of late the craze for chemical fertilizers is declining. People were lured to synthetic fertilizers for its unbelievable productivity in the earlier days. But they found the reality at what cost  the high productivity could be achieved.Chemical laden fertilizers instead of nourishing the soil, destroyed it. The benefits of chemical fertilizers for gardening were proved to be short – term benefits.

Rudiments of natural fertilizers.

The time tested belief, ‘If it is good for you, it must be good for the plants also’ holds good and it’s the principle on which a big branch of Natural fertilizers was framed by the seers of ancient India. 'Vrikhayurveda' by Surapala, 'Upavana Vinoda' are the two treatises on agricultural and gardening practices of ancient India were dealt in detail.

What a plant needs

A plant needs three things. Nitrogen, potash and phosphates. Of course some other trace elements are necessary, but in small quantities.

Where from the plant gets what all it needs?

From the nature, through compost and manure.

Compost is nothing but well rotted vegetable,  leaf and animal manure. Wherever this type of compost is available, there is a rich plant growth. Just see how green and how thick a forest is. There is no one to feed. No one to look after Flora and Fauna. How come the forests maintain such a robust health? The forest floor is fully strengthened by rotting plants and leaves. The creatures of all kinds and sizes living in the forest live and die here. After some time the  dead bodies enrich the soil. And the resulting soil is nothing but a huge compost made naturally.

Though all the above are available from nature, you will be astonished to know that there are many other sources from where a plant can get all its required nutrients for a healthy growth.

Out of all other sources, Your own kitchen is the best source for the best natural fertilizers. The icing on the cake is, they are inexpensive.

Fertilizers from Kitchen

I would like to repeat what I mentioned earlier at the outset of this article that, what is good for humans, is good for Plants also.

The following examples will prove my point.

Sometimes we feel weak. We won't feel like doing anything . In such situations grannies in the home will prepare a solution made of sugar and water and make you drink. You feel as if a miracle is taking place in your body. You  notice an instantaneous surge in the energy levels in your body. You feel energetic.

Now, whenever you observe your plants in the backyard of your home wilting,  realize they need a booster. The sugar and water mixture that boosted your energy yesterday will work here also. Feed your wilting plants with the same water and sugar mixture. They will thank you.

Some  more Kitchen  fertilizers.

We in India throw away the Dal (Pulse) washings. Don't throw the Dal washings. Instead feed the plants treating the Dal washings as mild liquid feed.  A regular feed will fill l the plants with energy. We wash the meat and fish with water and throw the water away. Henceforth don't throw that water. It makes a very good feed for your plants.

What do you do with empty milk packets? Throw them naturally. But a garden enthusiast will not do that. He rinses out those milk packets and milk bottles in to a plant. Can there be a better mild feed than this milky solution for your plants?

To make a soil rich in humus, collect lots of leafy compost and mix with animal manure. ( Cow dung, horse dung, buffalo dung, goat dung etc.) You can make another good liquid feed  with just kitchen waste. These are just a few examples of natural fertilizers at our disposal.

Some plants love to live together

Like human beings, plants too have  friends. Some friends love to live very close to each other. Akin to this there is a compatibility factor amongst plants. The  reason for this is, by being together each plant will  be benefited by the other. Long long ago our seers and peers discovered this strange  behaviour of the plants and implemented successfully  reaping rich dividends out of this symbiosis.

Do you know that by planting Marigold amidst vegetables, the root excretions can eradicate the whiteflies and nematodes in the soil?

No Gardener likes to keep Nettles in their garden. They will be treated ruthlessly. They will be plucked with all the hatred and thrown out with contempt and fury.  Poor Nettles. They are the most misunderstood species. But if you go for a walk, along the way you will observe all the plants growing in the near vicinity of nettles are healthy. Fruits, vegetables and flowers in their vicinity are the beneficiaries .

Wisdom lies in using the nettles carefully for your advantage. Most of the people fear its sting. If you use thick gloves, the problem can be solved.
If you are a Rose lover, it will be advantageous for you if you know that Roses like the presence of Parsley near them.  Onions and garlic  are also good friends to Roses. Parsley is good for tomatoes. The Same Onions and garlic can be good friends for carrots, if they are in a vegetable  garden.

Nothing can beat Tulsi, if it is planted among fruiting or flowering plants for it's 'Pest killing' qualities. Tulsi's presence will create a terror amongst the pests.

Some more compatible friends.

Peas, beans, and turnips are close pals and they help each other in growing together. Radishes are universal friends. Many plants grow in full bloom in the presence of Radishes.

Vedic and historical versions on Fertilizers

A modern gardener  will either scream with joy and astonishment or become squeamish  and stop gardening if he knows about the knowledge and practices of the connoisseurs in gardening in the days of yore. It’s said, the most important scripture Atharva Veda has a verse of plant nourishment in chapter 281. Gardening was given an elite status in the society and the knowledgeable and experts were treated with high reverence.

Kautilya, the author of the world famous book, Arthashastra wrote about  ideal manures. He metioned that compost for agricultural farming should be a   combo of pulses, barley, sesame seeds, the manure of sheep, fish and cattle flesh. Upavana Vinoda a Sanskrit treatise on  Indian agricultural and gardening practices of ancient India says, “Trees will not produce fruits and flowers if one simply plants them.”

The treatise quotes an example of Mango. It suggests what should be and how should be done to  get sweet and fragrant mangoes..

The Mango tree should be watered with a decoction of milk mixed with the fat of deer, jackal, elephant, horse etc. to be precise the fat of any animal.

Kampa, the unique manure.

Surapala in his book Vrikshayurveda prescribes a manure that helps the trees grow in a healthy way, yielding robust produce of Flowers and fruits. Mix dung, fat., flesh, marrow, brain and blood of a hog with water. The mixture is buried underground for a fortnight. This is called Kampa. A Full Circle“

A good rich soil is that which contains  decomposing vegetables in  good quantity along with animal matter” is how the ideal soil has been defined by the seers of yore. These farming and gardening practices worked well for thousands of years till the modern age and technology brought fertilizers laden with chemicals. The manufacturers of these fertilizers advocated a big boost in productivity with the fertilizers.

Indeed these fertilizers boosted the productivity. But at what cost? These fertilizers instead of nurturing the soil, destroyed the soil, turning the lands in to barren lands causing a  great deficiency in agricultural production.Then the necessity of resorting to age old farming and gardening practices arose, which came with a name known as ‘Organic farming’ , which is nothing but natural farming with which we were well conversant. Safe  and productive farming turned a full circle.

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