Saturday, 31 March 2018

Go Green: Tips For An Eco-friendly Small Farm


If you have a small farm, it is easy to implement eco-friendly practices. You will be able to save yourself money and the environment by using techniques such as no-till farming and natural animal grazing. While you should still use the feed mixers South Africa has to offer to keep your animals fed and healthy, you can eliminate the need to use other equipment. Below is some advice you can follow to go green and enjoy an eco-friendly small farm.

Invest in vermicomposting

This may sound like you are composting with vermin but in actual fact, vermicompost is the product of the composting process using various species of worms. It is an effect green farming technique which is ideal for small or hobby farms.

You will be practising eco-friendly farming with vermicomposting because you will limit the amount of waste you will throw away and the soil nutrients will improve significantly. Using worms as part of natural compost has been shown to increase the fertility of the soil too, making for a better crop yield.

Try hydroponics

Hydroponic growing is no longer a mystery but has become a common practice among eco-friendly farmers and gardeners. It is an effective, simple and efficient manner of growing certain crops and herbs.

Instead of growing crops or vegetables in the ground, hydroponic growing sees the crops grown inside a series of tubes in a nutrient-rich water solution. If you house this system indoors, you will be able to grow crops such as vegetables all year long, saving you from having to till and prepare land during the year. Another perk is that you can save up 80% more water than if you had grown the vegetables in the soil.

Water strategically

When watering your crops or even just watering the pasture, it is important to water strategically. Instead of setting your sprinklers to activate at certain times of the day, rather water at night so there is less evaporation. This will mean you water the land less than if you did so during the day.

Not only will you be saving water, you will also be strengthening the roots of your crops and increasing the moisture of your soil. If you feel you must water during the day, avoid doing so at the peak hours, where the sun is at its highest. Rather choose to water early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the day is cooler.
Practise crop rotation
If you plant crops, an eco-friendly way to improve your ‘green footprint’ is to implement crop rotation when planting. It is one of the easiest ways to maintain the health of your soil, and reduces – and in some cases – eliminates the need to use fertiliser.

Grass and legumes used in crop rotation are highly beneficial as they protect the water quality by preventing excess nutrients or chemicals from entering the water supplies. Using crop rotation correctly can help in destroying the spread of diseases, as well as reduce soil erosion on your farm. Your crops will become more robust and the health of your soil will improve ten-fold.

Use local crops

Planting crops which grow locally is more effective than planting crops which are not local to your region. Crops which are not suited for your region may be difficult to grow, requiring more resources such as fertiliser and herbicide.

If you live in an arid region, then farming crops local to the region makes sense. They will be more accustomed to drought and harsh weather conditions, and may need less water to survive. You will also lessen the damage caused on the soil by not having to use herbicides or pesticides on plants. Growing local crops is much friendlier to the environment than trying to force crops to grow in an environment they will not flourish in.
Use organic pest control
If you notice that you have insects in your crops which are causing problems, you should avoid reaching immediately for the pesticide. A natural way to eliminate pests is to use organic pest control, meaning that you use beneficial insects to rid your crops of the pests.

You can also look into purchasing bats or birds to keep for ridding you of larger pests, and store them in a shelter or aviary when you are not letting them out to catch rats or eat insects. If you do not want to spend money on animals, you can create an environment which they will naturally turn to live in. You will reduce the amount of pesticides used by choosing organic pest control over chemicals.

Final thoughts

Green farming does not have to be a chore. It can be an enjoyable and exciting endeavour with rewarding results. It is simple, natural and an inexpensive way to reduce your farm’s environmental impact and improve your crop yields. Be sure to research any eco-friendly methods you would like to implement to be sure that you understand them completely.

Article Submitted By:
Michelle Jones
HEAD OF CONTENT
a 1 The Crescent, Durbanville.
www.rogerwilco.co.za
South Africa.

For EnvironmentGo!


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