Foliar feeding is a plant-feeding technique where liquid fertilisers are applied directly to the leaves.
The liquid fertilisers are water-dissolved. Plants absorb essential elements through the stomata (present in the leaves underside) and epidermis of leaves.
Total absorption of nutrients takes place through the leaf epidermis. Sea-based plant mixes obtained from kelp contains trace nutrients and hormones useful for plant development - leaves, flowers and fruit. Foliar feeding is mostly performed in the early morning or late evening.
Foliar spraying on trees
Plants show a quick response to nutrients applied through foliar sprays. The efficacy of the nutrient uptake, when applied directly to leaves, are \(8-9\) folds higher when compared with nutrients applied to the soil. Foliar feeding is recommended when the plant is suffering from any nutrient deficiencies and when environmental condition limits the uptake of nutrients by roots.
Effective microorganisms (EM) Technology
Effective microorganisms are cultures that contain different effective microbes commonly occurring in nature.
Nitrogen fixers, phosphate stabilisers, photosynthetic microorganisms, lactic acid bacteria, yeast, rhizobacteria, various fungi, and actinomycetes are used as effective microorganisms.
Each of the microorganisms has its benefits in the recycling of plant nutrients, plant protection, soil health, and fertility enrichment.
Vermiwash is a liquid extract obtained from vermicomposting beds or after the passage of water through a column of worm action. It contains excretory products and mucus secretion of earthworms along with the micronutrients from the soil organic molecules.
Vermiwash is used as a foliar spray for crops and contains growth hormones. It is a brown, odourless biofertilizer, which is a storehouse of nutrients and microorganisms.
Panchagavya is a growth promoter and contains nine products. Five are obtained from cows - cow dung, cow’s urine, milk, curd, and ghee. Four other products included are tender coconut, poovam banana (ripened), water, and jaggery. The five products obtained from cows are together called as panchagavya.
Panchagavya promotes growth and provides an immunity booster. It also provides pest resistance and increases the overall yield. The farmers can prepare it by themselves with the materials present on the farm.
Panchagavya can also be used for seed treatment, where the seeds are soaked for \(20 \ minutes\) before sowing it in the land. Panchagavya is a single organic input that can act as a potentiator. The products obtained from local breed cows have more potency than the products obtained from exotic breeds.