Asp newsletter dec 2010


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Asp newsletter dec 2010

  1. 1. Green News from Adarsh Seuj Prakalpa A DEMONSTRATION GARDEN and RESOURCE CENTRE FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE 98546 78719 or 03751 269880 December 2010 Transforming a ruined building into a beautiful community schoolOver the past decade, Fertile Ground has provided ideas and information to many small growers from the Singphotribe who were interested in growing tea naturally. Now several families are successfully growing, processing andselling organic tea.In Ketetong village near Margherita there was partially broken building, covered by wild climbers and creepers.Because there was not a single Singpho-medium school in this year, the Singpho people thought if it was repaired,they could make a school where their children could study their traditional language and culture.Then, like magic, people from the area came and asked if they could help. Someone donated ceiling material,others gave windows and doors. Staff from ASP have offered their assistance to establish a "learning garden"next to the new school. Many people from Canada also believe its important to honour traditional culture andpractices, and Fertile Ground was able to locate a source of funding to pay for a new roof for the school. Nowa-days the computer is an important part of life all around the world, so in addition to their language and culture, theSingpho people want to teach computer courses. To make this possible, the Indian army donated five flat-screencomputer sets, chairs, desks and a printer. The inauguration for the Singpho Mother Tongue School was cele- brated on 16th September 2010. It was attended by many people from the area, including ASP coordinator Ms. Pompy Ghosh, and two visitors from Australia. Once it was a ruin, but now it is a beautiful facility that will be enjoyed by the whole community.New techniques for growing potato...Mrs. Jude and Miss Rhianna, a mother and daughter from Australia, visited Adarsh Seuj Prakalpa in September.Whenever volunteers from other countries come to work here, always they do something. Mrs. Jude gave us theidea of growing potatoes without digging soil - something which we have not practiced yet.In India, Australia and other countries, tomato and potato blight is a serious problem. The fungus that infects theplants lives in the soil. This technique keeps the potatoes AWAY from the soil, and may reduce incidence of blight.Mrs. Jude makes a round bamboo fence of radius of 1-1/2 ft. and 5 ft. high in a place where there is lots of aircirculation. She places some good quality potatoes on top of a pile of newly-made compost inside the bamboofence and covers it with about 6 cm. of straw, keeping it light and fluffy so the air can pass through. As the potatobranches climb up through the straw and grow, more straw is placed around the plants. Adding a few handfuls ofgobar/manure on top of the layers of straw provides food for the plant. Make sure there is some moisture, but nottoo much. Every time Mrs. Jude puts some water, she checks the straw. If compressed, she pushes a stick throughthe fence and moves the straw a little bit so that it is fluffy and air can pass through.Old jute bags, rubber tires and poly bags with small holes in the sides and bottom can also be used to grow pota-toes. Please let us know if you have success with this approach, or if you have any other suggestions! EVERYONE IS WELCOME ! ADARSH SEUJ PRAKALPA is a joint initiative of the Rotary Club of Digboi, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (AOD) and the Canadian NGO, Fertile Ground: East/West Sustainability Network
  2. 2. Page 2Chemical agriculture and water pollutionA report released by Cornell University in the US estimatesthat 2.5 million tons of pesticides are applied to crops through-out the world every year. million tons of pesticides apIn Assam, farmers spray Endosulphan, Thiodan, etc. on theircrops to control harmful insects. Research reports show thatless than 1% of the chemical applied actually reaches thetargeted insects.Pesticides are absorbed or ingested by workers who apply thepesticides. They also harm the local wildlife as well as peoplewho consume pesticide-sprayed products.The rest goes into our environment, and a big part of that endsup in water bodies like ponds and rivers.How chemicals from agricultural fields pollute surface water. When rain falls, it washes awaythe chemical residue from the field and drains it towards the local rivers and streams Thus thewater in village ponds or rivers become contaminated with poison.How chemicals pollute the underground waterWhen a farmer uses chemicals in his farm for several years, first the chemicals mix with the topsoil and then they leach into the deepest part of the soil to mix with ground water. Thus chemicalsused in agriculture and tea plantations are polluting the underground water, too.A safe, locally-available alternative to chemicalpesticides and fertilizers!Karanj trees grow everywhere in Assam, often along the side of theroad or fields. The scientific name for this plant is Pongamia pinnata.The seed cake contains around 4.2% nitrogen, 0.9% phosphorus and2.0% potassium. It can be used in nursery as top dressing to supplynecessary nutrients to the plants.Over that, karanj cake reduces fungus, harmful bacteria, and nema-todes in soil. Thus it helps protect plants from the attack of bacteria andsoil-borne diseases.Leaves of karanj tree are high in nitrogen and decompose very rapidlyso they are useful for preparing compost and liquid fertilizers or com-post “teas”. They can also be applied directly to the soil in sugarcane,paddy, betel nut and in tea gardens. Around 50 kg. of karanj leaves arerequired for 3 bigha’s of land.MORE GOOD NEWS! Testing carried out in various parts of India indi-cates that a preparation made by mixing seed powder and choppedleaves of karanj with cow dung and urine reduces damage done byseveral insect pests, including tea mosquito (helopeltis). The formula isfermented for 5 days, mixed with plenty of fresh water, strained andthen sprayed on crops. The Agri-History website has information aboutthis and other Vrikshayurvedic practices. www.agri-history.orgA detailed article specific to tea cultivation is available online A few words from our Visitor’s Register Mr. Ashok Kumar Agarwal, Rotary District Governor, 3240, 28/8/10: “You are showing the future path. Countries will have to survive. Maintaining the nature’s ecological balance is the only way we can survive. Please keep up the good work.” Ms. Nivedita Phukan, teacher for English Dept. from Namrup College, 9/10/10: “Excellent steps for keeping in balance with nature. Wish you good luck.”