Combating pests, the organic way

It’s really tough being a follower of organic farming methods, I‘ve learnt from my experiences of being one. Moreso, one who is a first generation farm owner. Patted by friends and acquaintances, one can pride being a ‘natural farmer’ doggedly believing that there are alternatives aplenty to chemical farming. But the road is truly crooked and the ride bumpy. However, I have not given up.
Adopting trial and error techniques are, I feel, is the only way to problem solving. If a solution is in sight you feel like you’ve broken new grounds. Here is the story of my encounters with one such ‘problem’ and the solution.
One such ‘problem’ I was facing was of my chickoo trees, of which I have I have eight, not yielding fruits despite being around for over eight long years. Generally, chickoos start giving fruits within the fourth or fifth year.
The moment new shoot of leaves appeared on my chickoo plant they were chewed, gobbled by some, yet unidentifiable insects. In spite of my best efforts and Mangal’s too, we were unable to lay our hands on the mysterious ‘pest’. Suspecting they were nocturnal I advised Mangal to light candles in half-cut pet bottles. For over a week Mangal carried the routine of lighting the candles as night settled on my farm. Come mornings he would inspect the bottle but with no luck.
“Saab koi keeda nahi mila,” Mangal would tell me over the phone.
Hoping that such a problem may have been encountered by farm owners in Dahanu, the place famed for supplying chickoos to the city of Mumbai, I spoke to them. I even approached horticulturists and posted my ‘problem’ on farming sites too. The answers I generally received were names of some chemical pesticides. I told them I was looking for organic alternatives. I tried spraying extract of chilli and garlic which didn’t help. Followed it up with gomutra (cow urine) spray, it didn’t help either.
Considering that neem could be of help I tried a combination of cow urine and neem oil with soap as a surfactant. For three long weeks with a gap of three days, between each cycle Mangal sprayed the mixture.
I am happy to tell you, fellow travellers, that it has worked. The chickoo plants are lush with new leaves in florescent green, sitting atop the old leaves clothed in a darker shade.
When I returned home last Sunday with my maiden chickoos wifey exclaimed: “Oh My God. See they are really big. Try selling them you will get a good price.”


2 thoughts on “Combating pests, the organic way

  1. Super.

    Next time try fermenting crushed neem seeds along with urine for three day and use it. It works wonders.

    I have been planing to compose something generic on pest control.

    I may visit Bombay soon. Will like to visit 🙂

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