“material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil”
Mulching or ढकावन is a technique every farmer should know and apply. Given a chance, nature would cover every single patch of naked soil with vegetation. This is nature’s way to protect, preserve and sustain the environment under that green cover.
Today’s farmers leave their fields under the sun, waiting for the next crop sowing. Go to a field which is covered with crop, feel the soil, smell it. It will be moist, dark in color, with lots of insect (some you can see, others you cannot) activity. This is the micro-climate this cover has created! Bacteria, fungi, earthworms are having a party! They are feeding nutrients to your soil for FREE! And because the soil is not exposed to the Sun, it retains water for a longer duration. It will also take care of the number one ‘enemy’ of the farmer, ‘Weeds’. Or as we Organic nerds like to call them, ‘Competing plants’ 🙂
Mulching can be easily done using any crop residue. Jantar, Prali, Sarson or dry leaves. In the image below (left), i have sown haldi and have mulched it with a thick layer of Prali. I have only watered it twice so far just enough to keep the moisture in the soil. And, i do not have weeds. My entire crop cycle will take HALF the normal water requirements for this crop.
Image in the right shows how dhaincha (Jantar) can be used as mulch as well as green manure. At a nominal seed cost, i can cover my empty field with dhaincha in between crops and get free nitrogen and the magic of mulch. I am happy 🙂