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'AMRUT MITTI' IN SIX STEPS

A Soil Building Technique in Natueco Farming


Natueco Farming is a method of eco-friendly organic farming practiced by understanding Nature. Professor Sripad Dabholkar introduced the Natueco Farming and its techniques in early 1980. It is based on knowledge inputs & experiments shared by Natueco farmers to enhance the practice in an eco-friendly way. In Natueco Farming the soil is prepared through a special technique of soil building developed by observing nature, the resulting soil is termed as Amrut Mitti It is observed that Amrut Mitti, is nutrient-rich soil that has abundant diverse microbial life, supporting healthy plant growth. Amrut Giving & Supporting Life and Mitti Soil, therefore Amrut Mitti Living Soil.

The special technique to prepare Amrut Mitti is described here in six steps.

OBSERVE NATURE

STEP ONE

First let us understand how fertile soil is formed in nature for plant growth. It is observed that, the soil with necessary elements required for plant growth, forms on its own with available local resources. Plant life flourishes in it. Through wind the dry & wet leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, twigs, shredded bark, branches, etc. are blown randomly forming multiple layers of mulch (covering) over the top soil, thus keeping the top soil unexposed to sunlight and retaining moisture in it. A natural process of soil building takes place within the biomass that remains sandwiched between the top soil and the uppermost layer of mulch. This biomass which also includes other organic matter (excreta, urine, dead creatures, etc) is decomposed and broken down by various microbes present, the other living creatures that are present also help to breakdown by walking, eating, cutting, dispersing, etc. The fallen seeds, under favourable conditions begin germinating, few start growing and many perish at different stages and add to the biomass for decomposition. The decomposed matter receives the required sunlight, moisture & air naturally. Ultimately it is converted into soil that is rich in nutrients required for plant growth. This process continues throughout the year. Biomass, Topsoil, Mulching, Microbes, Seed Germination, Decomposition, Sunlight, Moisture, Air Nature's Soil

FOLLOW NATURE

STEP TWO

We follow natures method of soil building to prepare our nutrient-rich soil, 'Amrut Mitti'. Nature observation reveals that to prepare ideal soil, required ingredients need to; - stimulate microbial activity for decomposition - support diverse microbial growth - provide essential elements for plant growth - include diverse green & dry biomass - include seed germination of diverse plant species - include top soil - be used as mulch. - maintain favorable conditions for moisture & air to percolate & diffuse - be easily available, local resources. In addition to the above requirements, an ingredient that expedites the process of soil building is also required so that Amrut Mitti is ready in a short period of time.

COLLECT INGREDIENTS

STEP THREE

The ingredients needed to fulfill the above requirement are; Amrut Jal, Green and Dry Biomass, Top Soil, Variety of Seeds and Dry Organic matter. All the ingredients are naturally occurring resources that can be easily acquired except Amrut Jal which needs to be prepared.

AMRUT JAL
Amrut Jal is a liquid solution comprised of cow urine, fresh cow dung, organic black jaggery & water. Five minutes preparation, three days observation and Amrut Jal is ready for use on the fourth day.

Mix together Ten (10) litres of Water, One (1) litre of Cow Urine, One (1) kg of Fresh Cow Dung and Fifty (50) grams of Organic Black Jaggery. Keep this solution for three (3) days Stir this solution twice or thrice each day stir twelve (12) times clock wise and twelve (12) times anti-clock wise on each occasion. On the fourth (4th) day, the concentrated solution is ready. Mix one (1) part of this concentrated solution with ten (10) parts of water. Amrut Jal is ready. - Note -

> Cow dung contains millions of microbes, Jaggery aids fermentation that helps microbes to multiply, Cow urine provides numerous nutrients to microbes that speed up decomposition process. The microbial activity is highest on the fourth (4th) day and starts declining thereafter. Therefore, Amrut Jal should be used on fourth day to give its best result. It can be stored for maximum period of two to three days. > In case Black jaggery is unavailable it can be replaced with six (6) over ripe bananas or two (2) glasses of plain sugar cane juice or six (6) pieces of over ripe jackfruit or other over ripe sweet fruit that is locally available. > Cow dung, if unavailable can be replaced with dung of any other herbivorous animal. > Make sure the rest of the ingredients are made available before Amrut Jal is prepared. > Amrut Jal is required a number of times during the whole process of preparing Amrut Mitti, therefore read the whole procedure properly, note when it may be required and accordingly prepare Amrut Jal and keep ready for use. One part of Concentrated Solution + Ten parts of Water (1kg Fresh Cow dung+1ltr.Cow urine+10 lts.Water+50 gms.Organic Black Jaggery) Amrut Jal Amrut Jal

Accelerating Agent for Decomposition by Various Beneficial Microbes

GREEN & DRY BIOMASS


The green biomass is the tender and mature leaves obtained from nearby plants either by pruning or from freshly fallen branches / twigs, weeds. The dry biomass refers to fallen dry leaf litter. Both Green & Dry Biomass have to be dried before use. Dry till it reaches a stage of being easily crushed and the waxy coating on veins of the leaves is broken so that the leaves can easily absorb Amrut Jal when soaked in it. Mix Dried Green Biomass & Dry Biomass in equal proportion. - Note -

> Collect biomass of diverse plants such as herbs, shrubs, grasses, trees, climbers, creepers, runners, etc. so that different nutrients from various plants are obtained to prepare Amrut Mitti. > Biomass collection may include other parts of the plants but ensure collection of leaves in large quantity. > For good soil structure both dry & green biomass are required but if green biomass is unavailable, use only dry biomass to initiate the process. Dry & Dried Green Biomass of Diverse Plants Various Nutrients in Amrut Mitti

TOP SOIL
Without digging, just scrape (only one cm) layer of any unturned soil found under the bushes/ trees/ in 2

nooks & corners from the path of flowing water/ unexposed soil that lies beneath the layers of fallen leaf litter. - Note > If the soil has too much clay, add Ten percent (10%) river sand (coarse) to avoid hardening of compost with time. Similarly if the soil has too much sand, add river silt (fine) or clay soil in order to create the proper structure of soil. River sand can be acquired from river beds or from suppliers of construction material. Sea sand can be washed properly and used if river sand is unavailable. > In case top soil is unavailable, use red soil sold at nurseries. Top Soil Essential Minerals & Dormant Beneficial Microbes

VARIETY OF SEEDS
Collect a mixed variety of seeds of diverse plants that are locally available. Selection should ideally include fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables, herbs, grains, pulses, big trees, oil-plants, spices, etc. viz. papaya, tomato, chilli, cucumber, methi, ambadi, varyali or saunf, adulsa, amli, rice, jowar, maize, wheat, moong, urad, drumsticks, neem, groundnuts, erandi, rai, jeera, dhaniya, etc. They could also be selected as per the different tastes that the plants offer such as; sweet varyali/saunf, sour tamarind, tomato, ambadi, pungent chilli, astringent gawar, salty spinach, rajgara, bitter- karela, methi, etc. Seeds of Diverse Plants Various Nutrients & Diverse Species of Microbes in Amrut Mitti

DRY ORGANIC MATTER (MULCH)


Collect dry organic matter such as straws, leaves, grass, stems, twigs, plants, shredded bark, branches, etc. to be used as mulch (a covering over the soil/compost that lies beneath). - Note >In the whole process of preparing Amrut mitti, dry organic matter will be required a number of times for mulching. Therefore note the procedure properly and accordingly keep it ready for use well in advance. Dry Organic matter (Mulch) Moisture retention, Prevention of the growth of weeds and Protection to Soil and its microbes from direct sunlight

Once all the ingredients are collected, get started to prepare Amrut Mitti.

GET STARTED

STEP FOUR

Start the process of preparing of Amrut Mitti with Soaking, then follow with Heap making, First Composting, Greening, and finally Second Composting. Amrut Mitti will then be ready.

SOAKING

The collected biomass has to be crushed/broken/twisted to increase absorption of Amrut Jal. Soak the biomass in Amrut Jal for twenty four hours. By soaking it for twenty four hours all the veins & the branches will get saturated with Amrut Jal. After twenty four (24) hours of soaking start preparing heap. Biomass crushed/broken/twisted and then soaked in Amrut Jal for 24 hours

HEAP MAKING
Prepare heap of the soaked biomass having an approximate size of Three (3) ft. in width, One (1) ft. height and of any desired length.

Form first layer of the soaked biomass by spreading it on the selected area. Sprinkle a thin layer of topsoil over it. Repeat the above procedure by alternating the layers, pressing them downwards tightly by gently walking or dancing over the heap until a height of One (1) ft. is reached. After the heap is ready, keep it mulched with dry organic matter and allow it to compost 3

- Note > Always keep the heap mulched with dry organic matter and not directly exposed to sunlight. > Alternating the layers brings Top soil and Amrut Jal soaked Biomass in contact with each other, thereby enhancing the process of decomposition Heap of 3 ft. width X 1 ft ht. Multiple Layers of Amrut Jal soaked Biomass and sprinkled Top Soil

FIRST COMPOSTING

Keep the heap for composting for Thirty (30) days. Every seventh day till (mix) the heap. Ensure mulching after tilling. Sprinkle with Amrut Jal from time to time to maintain the moisture of the heap and the microbial activity. After an average of Thirty (30) days (depends on leaf type and climate) it gets converted to soil. Amrut Mitti is ready. Keep it mulched with dry organic matter. - Note-

> Good compost should never stink. Stink indicates that decomposition is not taking place and attention is required (Check the aeration or the moisture content). > The heap has to be kept moist and not soggy so sprinkle Amrut Jal only when required. > Though the Amrut Mitti is ready in an average of Thirty (30) days, it has to be further treated to ensure complete nutrient availability, diverse beneficial microbes and good structure of soil. Whether to continue or discontinue is an option when mixture of green & dry biomass are used but it is a must when only dry biomass is used. In either case experts recommend that it is good to adopt the whole process. Heap kept for 30 Days, Tilled every 7th day and Amrut Jal sprinkled when required to maintain moisture and microbial activity in the heap

GREENING
Greening is a seventy (70) day process, beginning with sowing seeds and then pruning the grown plants thrice at intervals of twenty one (21) days. Begin by Sowing of seed soaked in Amrut Jal in the heap.

Soak the collected seeds of different plant species in Amrut Jal for Eight (8) hours. Sow these seeds in the heap (restrict it to a depth of two to three inches from top of the heap) and ensure approximately ten grams (10gms) of seeds are sown in every square feet Keep the heap mulched by two to four inches of dry organic matter. Sprinkle with Amrut Jal from time to time to maintain the moisture of the heap and the microbial activity. Continue for Twenty one days after sprouting of the seeds.

First Interval of Twenty One (21) days after sprouting - First Pruning On the 21st day, the seeds must have grown into seedlings.

The seedlings have to be pruned to get the tender shoots. Prune upper approx. twenty five percent (25%) of the seedlings and not the entire plant to ensure collection of tender shoots of the plants. While pruning take care not to disturb the roots & the lower part of the stem, so that the plants grow again. The cuttings have to be spread over the mulch on the heap. Keep for Twenty one days.

This will enrich the heap with the nutrients of the tender shoots that are zinc, boron, phosphate and molybdenum. 4

Second Interval of Twenty One (21) days - Second Pruning On the 42nd day, the plants must have grown into saplings with matured leaves.

The saplings have to be pruned to get the mature green leaves. Prune approx. upper twenty five percent (25%) of the saplings and not the entire plant to ensure collection of mature leaves of the plants. While pruning take care not to disturb the roots & the lower part of the stem, so that the plants grow again. The cuttings have to be spread over the mulch on the heap. Keep for Twenty one days.

This will enrich the heap with the nutrients of matured green leaves that are nitrogen, magnesium and potash. Third Interval of Twenty One (21) days - Third Pruning On the 63rd day, the plants would have grown to a good height and started flowering.

The flowering plants have to be pruned. Prune the entire plant leaving approx. half inch (1/2) of the stem above ground without disturbing the roots. Keep the cuttings for drying for three (3) to four (4) days After fully dried, crush/break/twist for better absorption and immerse it in Amrut Jal for Eight (8) hours Mix into the heap. Keep the heap mulched with dry organic matter and allow to compost.

Cutting & recycling all the parts of the plants will add to the nutrients in the heap. The recycling of the roots will enrich the heap with wide variety of microbes as the microbial activity near the root zone is at its peak when the plants are in flowering state. - Note > In greening, it is not important whether plants grow vigorously or germinate and die or are suffering in keen competition. These plants are grown to be used as nutrient & microbe rich resource for the preparation of Amrut Mitti 1st day Seeds of mixed species soaked in Amrut Jal for 8 hrs., then sowed in the heap, Kept for 21 days after sprouting 21st day Pruning of upper 25% of the seedlings to get Tender shoots, the cuttings spread over the mulch on the heap, Kept for 21 days. 42nd day Pruning of upper 25% of the saplings to get Matured Green Leaves, the cuttings spread over the mulch on the heap, Kept for 21 days. 63rd day Pruning of flowering plants, Kept to dry for 3-4 days, Dried plants crushed / twisted / broken, Soaked in Amrut Jal for 8 hrs., Mixed in the heap, Mulched with dry organic matter, Kept for composting

SECOND COMPOSTING

The heap resulting from Greening has to be kept for Thirty (30) days for composting Every seventh day till (mix) the heap. Ensure mulching after tilling. Sprinkle with Amrut Jal from time to time to maintain the moisture of the heap and microbial activity. After Thirty days, nutrient rich living soil, Amrut Mitti is finally ready. Keep the Amrut mitti mulched with dry organic matter. - Note -

> Good compost should never stink. Stink indicates that decomposition is not taking place properly and attention is required (You may check the aeration or the moisture content). > The heap has to be kept moist and not soggy so sprinkle Amrut mitti only when required. 5

Heap kept for 30 days, Tilled every 7th day and Amrut Jal sprinkled when required to maintain to maintain moisture and microbial activity in the heap Though Amrut Mitti is ready we have still two important steps.

ADD MAGIC TOUCH

STEP FIVE

Throughout the process; from steps one to four, keep adding the magic touch of Yourself. You need to add a part of you in the process of soil building by passing your positive energy into it. Your attitude has to be that of gratitude to the matter that is being collected, mixed and prepared, so that positive energy is exchanged and the matter works faster & finer to bring abundance. Your Magic Touch (Positive Attitude & Gratitude) Positive Energy in Amrut Mitti

EXPERIENCE & EXPLORE

STEP SIX

With experience you may explore new avenues to enhance Amrut Mitti but remember Mother Natures soil is always the very best. So let her be your guide, follow her as a true learner and there will be abundance for sure. >Observe Nature >Follow Nature >Collect Ingredients >Get Started >Add Magic Touch >Experience & Explore These six steps lead to the creation of Amrut Mitti which will increase the yields of your plants and will be rewarding & fulfilling for you, once you start practicing it.

AMRUT MITTI

A measure of one litre of good Amrut Mitti should weigh about four hundred (400) grams. A higher weight implies that the mineral content is too high. In case the weight is higher, then add more organic matter to it. Amrut Mitti should smell like soil in first rain It should be crumbly, loose & unbinding such that you are unable to make balls (ladoos) out of it. In case the soil is not loose and forms stable balls then add either coarse river sand or washed sea sand till the desired soil structure is achieved. Always keep Amrut Mitti mulched with dry organic matter. Even when used for planting ensure dry mulching.

Amrut Mitti is one of the techniques that has developed through experiments and sharing by the Natueco farmers using a unique methodology called Prayog Pariwar or the Networking of SelfExperimenting Learners. Prayog signifies experiment and Pariwar means the networking family. People share the results of their experiments & experiences with each other so as to solve their farming problems. We have an online group www.c i tyfar mers@ ya hoo groups .c om wh ich is created for networking and sharing experiences, knowledge and skills with each other. As you practice the six steps for Amrut Mitti, it would be interesting to hear about your experience.

CONTACTS FOR MORE INFORMATION


Dipak Suchade Natueco Farming Expert CEO, MALPANI TRUST Email : deepaksuchde@gmail.com Mobile: +91 9329570960, 9826054388 www.natuecofarmingscience.com www.prayogpariwar.net www.sharan-india.org Preeti Patil Natueco City Farmer Honorary Technical Advisor, URBAN LEAVES An Initiative of Vidya Varidhi Trust Email : urbanleaves @gmail.com Mobile: +91 9819197071 www.natuecocityfarming.blogspot.com www.urbanleavesinindia.blogspot.com

Design & Concept by 'Nurturing Grounds' (tejal@nurturinggrounds.com, 09833707598) 6