PALAKKAD: Taking the organic cultivation movement a step further, a group of small farmers, under the aegis of Kerala Jaiva Krishi Samithi have successfully turned a laterite quarry into fertile land.
Though they started it on an experimental basis, the farmers said the result they got at Mannampatta in Sreekrishnapuram panchayat here has boosted their confidence.
"The mud in the zone turned barren after the laterite soil was removed," said Reji Joseph, one of the initiators of the venture. Their road to fertility was simple: They put coir pith as vermicompost in the mud where saplings are planted.
"We have been following the concept for both vegetable and fruit cultivation; this time it was developed as a model that suits each farm," said Vinod, president of the samithi.
"It takes about six months for the coir pith to get absorbed into the mud. We also carried out live mulching, which will protect the soil," said Suryaprakash, environmentalist and farmer.
"We are using the Dabholkar style of natural farming in which four types - tall trees, small trees, middle-level trees and shrubs - are planted. The challenge lies in planting it at apt distance. We have sought help from experts and then planted the trees based on a pattern drawn on paper," said Reji.
On the 90 cents, almost 86 varieties of trees are nearing fruition. It includes coconut, mango, rambuttan, breadfruit, orange, etc apart from medicinal plants and cereals.
" We do not use any pesticide or fertiliser, just the organic mixes like jeevamritam which is made of dungs of different domestic animals," said Ravindran. They have also adopted rainwater harvesting, solar power fencing and drip irrigation to conserve energy.