organic irrigation systems

A Close-Up Look At Irrigation Systems Used In Organic Farming

We brought in a guest writer this week for the article on organic irrigation. The writer’s name is Matt Highsmith and he has a lot of experience in installing and repairing irrigation systems in the farms of Oxnard, CA. He’s owner and operator of Highsmith & Daughters Plumbing Inc. located in Simi Valley, CA. Thanks Matt for taking some time to explain organic irrigation to our readers…

Setting up an irrigation system is one of the biggest challenges organic farmers face. One has to think through the irrigation design system to use, how to install it and most importantly, how much it will cost. Having the right knowledge about irrigation systems is the first step to ensuring your organic farming project turns out to be a success.

So, here are things you need to know about irrigation systems employed in organic farming:

What Is The Essence Of Having An Irrigation System In An Organic Farm?

Irrigation is basically meant to supply water to crops in a farmland so as to aid crop growth. Sometimes plant nutrients may also be applied via irrigation. In organic farming, irrigation systems are mainly used for purposes of conservation and crop sustainability, especially during the dry season(s). Irrigation generally ensures high-quality crop yields and smooth transition into another planting season.

What Options Are Available For Organic Irrigation?

There are several irrigation methods that farmers can use in any type of farming but there are those that are specially designed for organic farming. However, the methods differ largely depending on the climate and the type of crops being grown.

Here are the main irrigation design systems you can choose from, as an organic farmer:

– Drip Irrigation:
This form of irrigation conveys water to crop roots via low-pressure pumps, installed either at the ground level or underground. Drip irrigation has the potential to save water, especially in the dry season, since it allows water to drip slowly to the plant roots.

-Surface irrigation: This method does not require the use of pumps. It actually uses gravity to move water across the land that’s on a downhill. The fact that this form of irrigation uses less energy to deliver water makes it one of the best options for organic farming.

-Center-Pivot Irrigation: With this type of irrigation design system, water flows from a series of sprinklers set up on wheeled towers. Center-pivot irrigation uses pumps to operate. The method is mostly used on flat, large-scale farms and is capable if irrigating up to a 130-acre farm area.

-Manual Irrigation: This method of irrigation, which is only practical in small-scale farms, involves someone physically watering each plant in the farm or greenhouse by hand. With manual irrigation, a farmer may use a bucket or watering can to water the plants. The method is commonly used in backyard farms.

So, Which Is The Best Irrigation Method For Organic Farming?

Well, each of the methods discussed above has its own merits and demerits. It all comes down to your organic farm size and needs as well as your irrigation budget. Otherwise, all the methods can work as effectively as they should on your farm. If you are planning to farm during the rainy season, then there’s no need to set up an irrigation system. You can simply let the rain take care of all your irrigation needs.

Why the Water Source Matters In Organic Farming Irrigation

As an organic farmer seeking to water plants, especially during the dry season, it would be important to consider where you are going to draw water from. You can use water from an onsite-well, rainwater collection or from the local municipal water source. The source of the water, regardless of the one you prefer, should always remain pure and unpolluted. The use of polluted water-even for a short period of time might end up contaminating the crops, something that’s purely against your organic farming goals.




Organic Foods: Disadvantages? Are There?

Given all the said advantages and benefits of an organic lifestyle, surely, it can make you healthy. But, are there really disadvantages of organic foods? Here are a few notable ones.

EXPENSIVE. ORGANIC FOODS ARE EXPENSIVE.

Why are organic foods expensive? Farmers do not use artificial methods to cultivate their crops and livestock, they need an extra manual labor which causes their costs to increase. Thus, the only way to have a profit is to sell their organic products at a higher price.

People who want to change their diet to complete organic foods should prepare their budget. If it is possible, then change your conventional foods to the organic ones. However, those who are interested in living an organic life that does not have enough budget opt to stay the conventional way.

ORGANIC FOODS ARE HARD TO FIND.

As you go through the food store, you cannot find a lot of organic foods. You have to go to the farmer’s market.

ORGANIC FOODS DO NOT LAST LONG.

Organic foods spoil easily because it does not have preservatives, thus more foods are wasted if not consumed and more frequent buying. You have to buy more than once in a week, thus your grocery budget doubles up.

ORGANIC FOODS NEEDS A LOT OF EFFORT.

Organic foods may have a lot of benefits because of the way they are cultivated. However, it has to go through a lot of effort. Farmers use manure fertilization, the mineral content of this kind of fertilizer is difficult to apply and maintain. Farmers do not use herbicides and pesticides or any chemicals, thus they need an extra labor manual to weed the crops. Farmers use crop rotation to prevent acquiring plant disease and to minimize the damage to the soil composition. More so, the area to cultivate the crops are reduced because of the nitrogen-fixing plants.

Yes, it requires a lot of hard work, and no matter the hard work, it still results in a lower production. It is also an inefficient method for some crops.

ORGANIC FOODS DOES NOT HAVE A STRONG PROMOTION.

Well, yes, organic foods contain more nutrients than the conventional one. But wait, statistics have shown that there is only a few difference between certain nutrients in the conventional foods. But we can let that slide since organic foods really have a strong concentration of nutrients for promotion.

Not to discourage you, but there is no significant difference with the bacterial contamination in organic foods and conventional foods. Did you know that E coli is prevalent in organic crops? There is 7% in organic crops and 6% in the conventional crops, this has to do with the fertilizer.

Just like any other things, organic foods are not perfect at all. But it can be perfect for you! These disadvantages can be easily surpassed, organic foods have numerous advantages. You just have to get a heads up and discipline yourself with the organic lifestyle. Be healthy! Be organic.

Organic Grocery: Tips

We have been talking a lot about the benefits of organic grocery, and yes, organic food is indeed a great choice for our environment and health. Now, we might have noticed that organic foods are expensive, thus, here are some tips on how to maximize your budget in living an organic life.

FIND A TRUSTED FARMER OR MARKET.

It is idealistic to buy both organic and local foods. Look for a trusted farmer or market, if you still have not found any, ask for some referrals from your co-workers, friends, and family. There might be a market or farmer right around your neighborhood.

DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK SOME QUESTIONS.

Most of us are hesitant to ask some questions, but don’t! When you buy directly from a farmer or market, do not be afraid if their products are organic, and ask them what methods they have used. Local farmers and store managers will understand that these issues are important to you.

CHECK AND READ THE LABEL.

When you are in the supermarket looking for some organic foods, check and read its label. Packaged organic foods are sealed and have a mark of a certified organic seal. Stickers are put on vegetables and fruits, this has a Product Look-Up code that identifies how the food was produced. Foods that are produced organically has 5 digits and starts with 9, while conventionally produced foods have 4 digits and start with 3 or 4, and those foods that are genetically modified has 5 digits and starts with 8.

 

BUY ORGANIC FOODS THAT ARE WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

You may be one of the individuals who limit their foods with their budgeting. For you to be able to purchase quality organic foods, buy them during the season, or in bulk.

YOU HAVE TO BALANCE.

It is not realistic for each person who is under an organic lifestyle to be able to purchase organic foods. Some does not have access to farmers or supermarkets that offer organic products. Do not be stressed out, it is fine to consume plant-based foods for awhile, it can still be beneficial for your health. Just do the best that you can to look and buy the freshest and best quality fruits and vegetables that is within your budget.

JOIN A COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE.

This is an organization that allows people to have an access to a high quality and fresh organic foods that are grown locally by farmers. When you are a member of a community supported agriculture (CSA), you will receive a box of fresh, all organic foods for a fraction that you have paid at the store.

We know that organic food has increased in demand, and you may have wondered if it truly has a beneficial impact on our environment, economy, and health. It is up to you to decide whether you stick with the conventional foods. Discern more, if you cannot purchase everything that is on your list, choose wisely.

ORGANIC LIFESTYLE: Introduction

You may be wondering on how to live life in an organic and natural way, you might have been convinced by someone that having an organic lifestyle does not only improve your health but the overall quality of your life.

To live with an organic lifestyle, one does not only choose to eat organic foods, wear clothes that come from organic materials, and use organic facial and body supplies. These methods can remove the waste and toxins in your body, but there is more than just using organic products.

What gives people the motivation to change their lifestyle is their concern for the environment, pollution, the unnatural food sources, and health problems. Living an organic lifestyle basically includes conserving energy, cutting off waste to protect the environment. It is a lifestyle that regards choices that can benefit your health and the community.

Switching to an organic lifestyle is not an overnight change, this can take a while. But do not worry! It is fine to take one step at a time.

Start an organic lifestyle now, follow our blog for more relevant information.