Ideas to cultivate horticulture crops in waste lands

Hello Friends

We notice that many farmers dont have borewells and pumpsets but are small land holders. They depend on rain water for their sole earnings. And when rains fail, their lives becomes hopeless.
This got us thinking as to how to get a crop in spite of poor rains and also some crop that can increase the income of the farmer.
We also have one piece of land in our farm that is very rocky and poor which we would like to take under intensive cultivation. Any amount of watering in this piece of land is not sufficient.

Irrigating practices have to change as the farmer today wets much of the land by flood or sprinklers where as what is required is only root zone to be wet. This is achieved through drip irrigation methods, but what to do in case of poor soil condition.

So we started exploringh one concept that I would like to discuss here.
One of the posts by Mr. Atul Kalaskar about hydroponic capsicum has a photo where he is using pots or bags to grow the
capsicum for 9 months in greenhouse.

  1. Can we not apply the same to open field cultivation with using medium that is mixture of sand, compost and good soil procured from somewhere else?

This way you need just small percent of soil compared to what you would have needed to convert the whole land into fertile.
So using nursery bags to grow vegetables commercially, what do you think?

Advantages

  1. Drip irrigation can be used where water remains near root zone longer. Or you can manually irrigate the plant as water requirement is considerably reduced.
  2. Soil condition is immaterial, you can have best premix in the bag.
  3. Cost of bag may not be big considering that land and land activities are not required.
  4. The plants can spend almost 50% of their time elsewhere in close spacing, like they keep ornamental plants in nursery. Then you shift to field with proper spacing For example: Watermelon can be kept for almost 45 days from seed stage in nursery and then shifted to field when the creeper starts to grow or brinjal can be maintained in nursery for 60 days before sending into field. You save time, you can take more crops in 1 year.
  5. Since each plant has root zone of its own, we can develop some mechanism where farmer can take his bullock cart and fill water in some 500lt drum and then use hose pipe to irrigate each plant, assuming each plant requires just 1 lt per 2 days, you can irrigate 500 plants in 1 go, then go refill and come back and repeat the process. Water can be filled from some local pond dug up in his land, or from some bigger ponds.

This way any farmer can grow profitable crops instead of depending on cotton or maize and rains for their livelihood.

A long post but I wanted to get opinions from my friends here who have come up with lots of creative ideas before.

Some questions to be answered

  1. Is it feasible to grow commercial crops in bags?
  2. What kind of bags to use?
  3. What impact does size of bag have on different crops? We might have to study root develpment of different crops to come up with this.
  4. HAS ANYONE TRIED THIS BEFORE?

Many thanks for reading and reaching this points. Please share your thoughts.

Thanks
Nikhil

Hi Nikhil,

This is totally doable. But you will want to consider the cost effectiveness.
The recommended potting mix would be 1/3rd soil, 1/3 sand, 1/3rd dried cowdung/compost…

Here is a sample video:
youtube.com/watch?v=bz-NF3CwYek

You can buy the grow bags online or in store (amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_ … Caps%2C228). I have personally used these for my garden. They are excellent product. You can bid for these in Ebay as well. Infact I bought mine from Ebay.

You can grow any plants in it (Veggies, bush, creepers etc…). I have grown tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum for my personal use and the yield is not effected. Ex:- I would get the same or more tomatoes that were grown in these bags compared to the ones I grew in soil.

One of the biggest advantage is that there is very minimal leaching of plant nutrition.

Start with a small area (may be 1/4 acre), study the cost, yield, operational efficiency etc. before you go big on it.

Good luck.
Biju

Here is such an initiative from Kerala (posted today)…

mathrubhumi.com/agriculture/ … 40638.html

Nikhil,

I have couple of examples. see below pictures. The rocky hill is converted by green garden in Mt.Abu Rajasthan,

They have made small tanks on rock filled soil and planted them.



Thanks Biju for the link, however I am not able to convert to English language.
If possible, please help me with english version of that website.

Ok, we have some examples that it can work. Anyone have any ideas on specifics like

  1. Is it feasible to grow commercial crops in bags? Any data available?
  2. What kind of bags to use?
  3. how to decide size of bag?

Thanks
Nikhil

This is the highlevel summary of that article:

  1. The grow bag is white in color on the outside to reflect the sun rays and black inside to help grow roots of the plants.
  2. Width = 24 cm, 40 cm height and 600 microns thickness.
  3. Fill the bag with Coconut coir pith at the bottom layer to retain the moisture. Rest fill with 1/3rd sand, 1/3rd soil and 1/3rd rotten cowdung.
  4. The cow dung is treated with trichoderma (!00:2 ratio) as well to prevent deceases.
  5. Seeds used - hybrid.
  6. This project is done in 2.5 acres by 2 post graduate friends and they grow all kind of veggies.

-Biju

Biju,

Any idea where these bags are available. I have tried with cement bags. They get torn out after 6 months when kept under sun.

Are they like sintex tanks?

Hi Sri, they are available online in ebay. There are also some online stores (google for grow bags in india).
I am not sure of the physical store that sells these bags though.

Best
Biju

[quote="sri2012"]
Biju,

Any idea where these bags are available. I have tried with cement bags. They get torn out after 6 months when kept under sun.

Are they like sintex tanks?
[/quote]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dear sri sir, coir bags are availble with walgreens coir industry,tamilnadu. They are supplying Troughs of diffarent sizes.Their phone number is 09894777711 . their web site is  walgreens coir inc  .pl try. gprao, farmer

[quote="sri2012"]
Any idea where these bags are available. I have tried with cement bags. They get torn out after 6 months when kept under sun.[/quote]

indiamart.com/creativepolyme … iners.html

Scroll down that page to see UV stablised bags. Specifications of these bags:

2.imimg.com/data2/PM/YE/MY-2310508/123456.pdf

Hi Nikil,

Did you manage to grow vegetables using UV bags and what are economics are ?
Did you faced any issues during growing themin bags.

Thanks,
bpypathala@gmail.com

Hi,

Can someone point me where can we buy these UV grow bags in india, When i searched in google everyone is offering the bags with cocopeat on it. I want empty bags.

Thanks in advance,

Black bags which you get in your city plastic dealers are UV bags, I am talking about nursery bags, the black ones.
I havent yet done the experiment of growing in the bags, but I will surely give it a shot in coming rainy days. The rains are playing tricks again.

Nikhil