Ecological farming in foil tunnels is a developing food trend. More and more people want to be aware of where their food comes from, how they were produced , whether it has been sprayed and whether they have chemical refinements. The products labeled “bio” appearing in stores, without proper certification, have as much to do with organic food than vegetables and fruits growing on busy roads. Additionally, it is important to remember that the certificates themselves are not all official.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is the body responsible for granting rights to BIO and ECO certification bodies. All other signs should be checked properly and those that do not get confirmed should be regarded as irrelevant. If you want to be sure of the quality of your vegetables and fruits, it is best to grow them yourself. Although organic farming requires some effort , the health benefits can be noticed after only two weeks.
Organic farming under cover eliminates chemicals from the growing process – but it requires knowledge from various fields. In organic farming, we use natural fertilizers, we use organic protection against pathogens and pests, we take care of the soil – without pesticide. One sentence sums it all: we use natural plant resistance and nature values.
Organic farming under cover
Fertilizers and fertilizing
Increasing soil fertility and biological activity is the target for any fertilization and leads to optimal conditions for plant growth. Providing them with nutrients and essential elements for growth and fruiting contributes to greater yield. The agricultural fertilizer are made of manure, compost and water , prepared mostly by the farmer. These ingredients are mostly derived from the excrements of hens, cows, horses, sheep or pigs. After removing impurities, pouring water and waiting for fermentation. One of the treatments that provide micro- and macro element is the planting of green manure that contribute to loosen the soil and improves the structure of the soil. The short growing season of green manure makes us plant them before the main yield. After digging and plowing. The crop becomes a valuable organic building material used by subsequent plants.
Fertilizers for crops under cover
Nutrient resources in the ground are limited. Picked up by plants and washed away by water , they require continuous replenishment. Proper adjustment of natural fertilizers is based on knowledge of the pH of the substrate. Demand varies from season to season and depends on the type of plant. Non-chemical mineral fertilizers can be used in organic farming, except for nitrogen fertilizers.
Mineral fertilizers can be divided into three types:
- Ground rocks – basalt, bentonite, gypsum, kieserite , dolomite, carbon lime, fertilizer chalk,
- Potassium fertilizers – calimagensate, kainite, potassium sulphate
- Phosphate rocks – phosphate powder
- Organic fertilizers – various compounds of plant and animal origin:
- Green fertilizers
- Animal material – blood, feces, feathers, egg shells, fish meal, milk, etc.
- Bark and sawdust
- Brown coal
- Humus fertilizers
- Mulch and sediment from natural water bodies
The Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, as a state research institute, keeps a list of fertilizers allowed in organic farming. A list of authorized resources can be found HERE.
Unauthorized fertilizers for ecological crops under cover are:
- Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers
- Industrial fertilizers
- Slow-acting fertilizers
- Compost from municipal waste
- Sewage sludge
- Fecal not compiled
- Feces from fur farm animals
- Fertilizer fertilizers
- Carbon ash from CHP, boiler houses and industrial plants
Soil care for ecological crops under cover
Every treatment for substrate should increase its fertility in order to optimize the growing process of the plant. Care methods are designed to reduce the risk of pests and pathogens that have a destructive effect on the crop. For the needs of the article, they were divided into three groups:
- Agro technical method – plant protection and improvement of vegetation conditions by shifting, co-ordination, crop rotation, selection of high quality varieties, trimming, irrigation and sowing in due time.
- Mechanical method – collection and destruction of pests, use of mechanical protection (sieves, traps). Eliminate the weakened and diseased fragments of plants, to avoid the development of diseases.
- Biological method – use of natural plant protection attributes through the use of plant extracts. Planting insect repellent plants, building shelters for beneficial insects.
Weed control for organic farming under cover
Due to the fact that we can not use herbicides on the organic farm. The mechanical method remains to remove weeds. Manual weeding is best done on a regular basis, because rapid weed growth could outgrow the crop. One way to reduce their growth in the polytunnel is to cover the bedding with synthetic bedding (agrotextile) or organic (bark, mown grass, straw or sawdust). This way, the development of weeds will be limited.
Ways to limit weed infestation in organic farming under foil tunnels:
- Crop rotation – adequate plant succession planning
- Use of organic fertilizers – creating the right conditions for composting
- Selection of cultivars – use of good quality seed, without contamination of other species.
- Fertilizers – cropping of crops to obtain a green soil for soil fertilization and to reduce weed infestation.
- Purification of seed – removal of all mineral impurities, use of healthy seeds, standardization according to the size and shape of seeds.
- Soil preparation – soil preparation, nursing work to improve its structure and fertilization.
Seed and planting material for organic farming
Seeds obtained based on natural resistance to diseases and pests, produced without the use of plant protection agents and fertilizers, are the best choice. Seeds sold on the market must comply with a number of EU and national standards in order to be eligible for organic farming.
It is not allowed to grow genetically modified plants.