BENGALURU: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) Bengaluru have developed a method of cultivation which does not require soil, and is ideal for domestic as well as commercial production of vegetables. Growth, yield and quality of different vegetable crops grown under this soil-less culture have been found to be either better or on par with soil cultivation.
IIHR, the only institute to develop this mechanism, has come up with this method by using coco-peat along with nutrients that are essential to grow vegetables. According to D Kalaivanan, scientist, division of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, ICAR-IIHR, “Nutrients like phosphorous, potassium, nitrogen and others which are essential for plant growth are added to coco-peat.”
Kalaivanan further said that soil-less cultivation technology is very much suitable for urban and semi-urban areas. “One can grow vegetables like tomato, chilly etc., at terraces, inside houses, backyards and balconies. Coco-peat can even be used in large spaces measuring two to three acres. This mechanism will be useful for coastal and desert region as well,” he said.
Explaining it further, Kalaivanan said in terms of duration, there will be no difference between soil and coco-peat. In fact, plants grown in coco-peat consumes less water. “It takes less water and holds moisture for long. Vegetables grown in coco-peat are good in terms of quality as well. For example, zucchini when grown in soil is normally uneven in size, whereas it grows uniformly in coco-peat,’’ he said, adding that it also weighs one-third less than soil.
Kalaivanan said that coco-peat cab be bought from IIHR campus for Rs 2.5 per kilo.