Mulching in ZBNF method is covering the topsoil with cover crop and crop residues or applying a layer of organic material to the soil surface in order to prevent water evaporation, and to contribute to soil humus formation. Mulching in ZBNF takes various forms. “Live mulching” is promoted with cover crops of a mix of monocotyledons (like millets) and leguminous dichotyledons (like beans). The monocots provide nutrients like potash or phosphate, while the dicots help in nitrogen-fixing. Straw mulching is also promoted, using dry crop residue (Palekar, 2006; Khadse and Rosset, 2019).
When we apply Jiwamrita to the soil, we add 500 crore micro-organisms to the soil. All these are beneficial effective microbes. Our soil is saturated with all the nutrients. But these are in the non-available form to the roots of the plants. These micro-organisms convert these non-available form nutrients into available form, when we add Jiwamrita to the soil. These micro-organisms available all the nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash, Iron, Sulphur, Calcium etc) to the roots of the plant. After applying Jiwamrita to the soil, the local earthworms start their work. These earthworms bring the nutrients from 15 feet deeper soil to the upper surface and get available to the roots. How the trees from the forest get all these nutrients? These local earthworms and other insects do this work. These uncountable micro-organisms, insects and earthworms work only when they have a favorable definite microclimate i.e. 25 to 32 °C temperature, 65 to 72 % moisture and darkness, warmth and deception in the soil. When we much mulch the soil, this microclimate is created automatically.
There are three types of Mulching:
- Soil Mulching
- Straw Mulching
- Live Mulching
Importance of Soil Mulching:
- It is necessary to create the microclimate under which micro-organisms can well develop.
- It conserves humidity of the soil , cools it and protects its micro-organisms.
- Mulching promotes humus formation, suppresses weeds and maintain the water requirement of crops.