EK Eyo, 72, from Nedumkunnam, Kottayam has always loved farming and finds a lot of pride in saying that he is a farmer. “I am a fourth-generation farmer, and have been farming ever since my childhood,” he declares.
Eyo was always keen on experimenting with new cultivation techniques and finding effective natural fertilizers and pesticides. It was during one such experiment that he found an innovative grow bag that can water itself.
“I found that cultivating plants in grow bags was quite effective because it prevented it from being affected by fungus and other pests in the soil. But the problem was that the grow bags started decaying in just a few months. I wanted to create something that could last for years, so I converted an existing grow bag to suit my requirements,” he explains.
Eyo’s grow bag is rectangular in shape, 2 ½ feet in length, 1 ½ foot in width, and 8 inches in height. The grow bag has 3-4 holes on the bottom which allows excess water to pass through. He has made two larger holes on top for the bottles, that serve as the drip irrigation system for the plant.
The plant in the centre of the grow bag will also receive enough space and soil to develop its roots because of its rectangular shape.
The grow bag made from silpaulin (plastic sheet) can withstand any climate and will provide the necessary support that the plants require. Eyo says that he has received a better harvest through his innovative grow bags.
Unlike the previous times, Eyo saw that there was no infestation of fungus and pests in his plants. Although the numbers remained the same, the quality of the fruits and vegetables have improved extensively.
Learning from Mother Nature
Eyo’s unconventional methods and experiments have always proved the villagers of Nedumkunnam wrong.
“I have a cashew tree on my farm that has been standing strong for ages. Initially, when we planted it, it was quite brittle and was close to falling down but I decided not to give it any support. And just as I thought, the roots of the plant strengthened on its own and it came back to life,” he mentions.
Eyo loves sharing such cultivation techniques with his villagers and although he doesn’t agree with many of the methods adopted by the younger generations, he loves to see a passion for agriculture in them.
“Being one with nature and truly believing in it makes a lot of difference. I see a lot of farming techniques today that the current generation is adopting. While some of them are relevant, most of the techniques nourish the plants way too much. This reduces the resistance power of the plants,” he explains.
He has recently applied for a patent for this unique grow bag and hopes to see it reach great heights once it hits the market. “The whole point of the bag is to make agriculture a simpler process and I hope we develop more techniques like this in the future that can bring the agricultural industry into the forefront,” he concludes.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)