No matter how urbanized or modern we become, we will always depend on agriculture to supply our need for food. It’s a chief industry where our very existence depends and experts and scientists have developed innovative methods to guarantee better agricultural production and meet the rising demands for food. One of these innovations is organic farming, where the system basically cultivates crops in such a way that it keeps the soil alive.
To attain this goal, the system uses organic waste from animal, crop farm, aquatic wastes, and other biological materials combined with biofertilizers to release nutrients to the crops. This is an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to farming methods that have consistently harmed the environment throughout the years. Organic farming methods avoid the use of chemical products such as fertilizers and pesticides because they harm the environment, not to mention the food that we eat.
There are three methods of organic farming: crop rotation, crop diversity, and biological pest control. Polyculture farming is categorized under crop diversity. Under this farming method, diverse crops are cultivated instantaneously on the same plot of land. Old-style farming methods are “monoculturistic” since it follows that only one type of crop can be cultured in a particular piece of land.
Polyculture, however, is one of the best ways to meet the rising demands for crops. It also yields better. Studies have found out that if three crops are planted together, they tend to yield more varied nutritive contents and also reduce weeds and pests.
Polyculture farming is so diverse in such a way that farmers will have to create an ecosystem using different methods and practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, alley cropping, multiple cropping, and companion planting.
But this method of organic farming benefits the plants themselves because they can feed off from the nutrients released by one another. For example, when cabbage, beans, and lettuce are planted together in a piece of land, the beans help in replenishing the nitrogen in the soil that gets drained out from the other plants.
This type of farming also reduces the number of pests, weeds, and disease outbreaks. A study conducted in China found out that planting different varieties of rice in the same field increased the yield by 89% because of a drastic decrease in the number of diseases.
The plants’ different sizes and shapes also maximize the use of the soil and increase the soil fertility. The study also found out that plants growing near other varieties tend to have better immune systems and they can fight off bacteria compared to the plants in a monoculture field.