Time to Sow

Published on: 06:48AM May 30, 2010
The end of May is a hot and tense time of the year for the sub-continent of India. A scorching sun joins with searing winds to parch the land and its people. Satellites now show us images of clouds over the ocean, but who can say which direction they may take on the morrow?

Prohibitively expensive seeds distinguish modern agriculture from traditional farming. Most Indian farmers prefer to sow monsoon crops in soil blessed with natural precipitation. Irrigation and covered-nursery infrastructure is scarce in any event. Fertilizer supplies are regulated in India. All this adds to the misery of farmers in distress because of the distressing heat.

Soil ecology does not get its due in these excrutiating circumstances. A timely soil analysis report is not easy to obtain. Many laboratories lack the expensive equipment needed for micronutrient tests. There are no standards or valid test protocols for earthworms and beneficial microorganisms.

Silica has a unique role in successful sowing. It is certainly available in soil in far more than the traces that crops require. Bacteria that can make the crystals available to roots in soluable form can help seeds withstand moisture stress, support seedlings to grow with vigor, and build resistance in rows of crops that will unfold and blossom in the weeks and months ahead.

Take a close look at the picture below:


Cucurbit seeds were sown in both pots and left without water in 12-hours of daily sunlight. The soil in the pot was treated with an innoculum to help in germination and growth. The other pot had untreated soil. The photograph was taken 5 weeks after sowing.

Well begun is half done!