Sowing techniques (Beejopti vidhi)

Sowing techniques (Beejopti vidhi)

Sowing techniques (Beejopti vidhi) (6)

Vrikshayurveda provides necessary guidelines related to sowing techniques from micro to macro level, which includes collection, quality criteria and seed treatment practices. The other aspects related to sowing techniques mentioned in Vrikshayurveda are preparation of the seed pit, seedbed, aeration of soil before sowing, optimum time of sowing, guidelines for sowing, procedures to be adopted in seed nursery and irrigation techniques.

Beejopti vidhi

Collection, Preservation, Germination and Propagation of Seeds

This section of website mainly focuses on the protocols developed by the ancient Vrikshayurvedic experts based on the information documented in various Ayurvedic textbooks and the outcome of experimental studies carried out by the scholars from time to time. This include guidelines for seed collection, pre and post treatment of seeds, preparation of seed pit, aeration of soil before sowing, suitable time for sowing seeds and planting trees, guidelines of sowing, method of plant propagation etc.

Seed collection is usually carried out during the month of January-March (Magha or in Phalguna). The first step is to dry the seeds by properly exposing to the sun light. Avoid any kind of contamination during the drying process. Removal of chaff from the seeds is required to ensure proper sprouting of the seed. The seed should not be kept in ant-hill, in a cow shed and avoid contact with remenants of food, ghee, oil, buttermilk, lamp and salt. The seeds of different plant species are to be collected during the proper season when they are matured (Arthasastra).

Pre-treatment of seeds is highly essential to prevent infections, pest attacks and for quicker germination. This will further help to provide adequate nutritional supplements for healthy growth of plants / trees. Some of the pre-treatments mentioned based on different textual references related to Vrikshayurveda are given below: 

  • Grains should be exposed to mist and sunlight for seven days to condition the seeds before sowing. Pulses should be treated in the same manner for three to five days (Arthasatra).
  • Properly dried seeds are soaked in milk and dried again. This process is repeated for five days and fumigated with powder of Vidanga (Embelia ribes) along with ghee (clarified butter). (Sarangadhara padhathi) 
  • The seeds dried in milk (by the process mentioned above) is smeared with the paste prepared from Brihati (Solanum indicum), Tila (Sesamum indicum), ashes obtained from cow dung and ghee (Clarified butter) and dried properly. It is again smeared with cow dung and fumigated with animal fat. This will enhance the process of sprouting within one day. (sarangadhara padhathi) 
  • The seeds are soaked in milk and dried, then rubbed with cow dung paste and dried again. 
  • A paste prepared from the powder of Vidanga (Embelia ribes) along with honey is smeared over the seeds for number of times. This will help quick germination. (Sarangadhara padhathi) 
  • The seeds of Jambu (Syzygium cumini), Panasam (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Chutam (Mangifera indica), Saralam (Pinus roxburghii), Lekucham (Artocarpus hirsutus) are soaked in milk and dried. A paste prepared from Vidanga (Embelia ribes), Cow dung powder along with ghee is smeared over the seed before sowing (Sarangadhara padhathi), Vacha (Acrous calmus) is used as a fungicide to prevent fungal attack during the germination. 
  • Before sowing the seed, it is smeared with the paste prepared from Vidanga (Embelia ribes) along with honey. 
  • Seeds are soaked in milk exposed to sunlight for five days before sowing.
  • Before planting stem cutting is smeared with the paste prepared from honey, ghee, pig fat and cow dung. (Arthasatra).
  • Before planting, tubers are smeared with the paste prepared from honey and ghee. (Arthasatra)
  • Seeds are soaked in milk for ten days and smeared with ghee. Then they are coated with cow dung paste a number of times and fumigated by using the meat of pig. The soil is mixed with pig fat before planting saplings. A mixture of milk and water is recommended for sprinkling over saplings. This pre-treatment will help to enhance the growth of plant and enhance profuse flowering. (Brihat Samhita).
  • To enhance the fruiting, seeds are smeared with the gum of Azhinjil (Alangium salviifolium) or oil obtained from the Azhinjil (Alangium salviifolium) seed. Another option is to keep it inside the fruit of Naruvari (Cordia myxa). The process is to be repeated hundred times and seeds sown in the soil containing dews, during the winter season (Brihat Samhita).
  • For fast growth and profuse fruiting of trees, before sowing seeds are put inside Naruvari (Cordia myxa) fruit which’s outer covering is removed. Then soak the seeds in the mixture prepared from mixture of Azhinjil (Alangium salviifolium) gum and water. The seeds are dried in shade and the process is repeated in seven times. The seeds are then rubbed with dung of buffalo and kept in the Vardi or Varali (Dung Cakes) prepared from the same dung and then sown in the soil containing dews, during winter season. (Brihat Samhita).
  • Matured seeds are to be collected during the suitable time and proper season, soaked in milk for five days and then smeared with root powder of Brihati (Solanum indicum) along with Tila (Sesamum indicum), ashes and ghee. It is then rubbed with cow dung and fumigated with animal fats. This will help fast growth of trees (Surapala).
  • Seeds are soaked in milk and mixed in a paste made using cow dung powder, honey and powder of Vidanga (Embelis ribes). This will help fast growth of trees. (Surapala).
  • Seeds are soaked in milk till they become swollen. Then they are dried in shade and smeared with an ash prepared from the ghee mixed with root powder of Brihati (Solanum indicum), Tila (Sesamum indicum) and stem of Kamalam (Nelumbo nucifera). This is highly effective for treating the fresh seeds of trees like Ambra (Mangifera indica), Njaval (Syzygium cumini), Panasam (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Pazhamun pala (Manilkara hexandra) and Elanji (Mimusops elengi) for the quick germination and fast growth. (Surapala).
  • Seeds of Trapusha (Cucumis sativus) are soaked in the solution prepared with jaggery and water will they swell. Then they are placed in a basket prepared from the fresh leaves, covered with soil and fumigated. This treatment will help to enhance the fast growth of trees, formation of tender foliage and profuse flowering and fruiting. (Surapala).
  • Patupatutha mannu (soil with good tilth) is suitable for growing trees. As a pre-treatment of soil, one has to sow Ellu (Sesamum indicum), Masha (Vigna mungo) etc. to the soil and after flowering, these plants are removed and used as bio manure for planting trees or sowing seeds. (Surapala).
  • After sowing the seeds, they should be mulched with dried grass to protect from direct sun light. This is followed by pouring of milk. This help to maintain proper soil temperature, which helps in proper germination of the seed. When the seed germinate, the mulching should be removed to get adequate sunlight. The saplings should be removed along with the soil and transplanted to suitable place. (Sarangadhara padhathi).
  • Saplings of trees should be planted in the pit filled with ash followed by the application of manure prepared from powdered bone of cow mixed with cow dung. (Arthasatra).

Aeration is the process of impregnation of soil or liquid with air. For example, for the effective cultivation of cotton, land should be ploughed sixteen times, for Moolaka (Raphanus sativus) eight times, for Vrihi (Oryza sativa) four times and for Thambulam (Piper betle) land preparation / conditioning is not required. These guidelines have a scientific base because cotton has a tap root and lateral root system, similarly Moolaka (Raphanus sativus) is having tap root system, Vrihi (Oryzqa sativa) has a fibrous root system, and Thambulam (Piper betle) is a climber that produces numerous adventitious aerial roots. Based on the amount of aeration required for different plant species this has been determined.

The months of Aashada and Sravana (Mid-June-mid August), which is the season of early rains is suggested as being the best for sowing seeds and planting trees. Unless the plants are fragile, they can be planted in any season except Greeshma – hot summer season. The following waxing phase of the moon are auspicious for planting trees – lunar fortnight (Sukla Paksha), fifth and thirteenth days of the Lunar fortnight (Panchami and Trayodashi), the week days representing Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Moon (Monday) and Mercury (Wednesday). Other than this the 16th lunar mansions, Varuna, 19th lunar mansion, Mriga (Makayiram), Chitra (Chithira) and three asterisms following it, Praajapatya, 17th lunar mansion, Jeyeshtha and 3rd lunar mansion.

It is recommended that the seeds should be sown in the prepared pits filled with loose soil and irrigated with water that has been used for washing meat. This will help for the quick germination and growth. Trees should be grown in the soil on which Tila (Sesamum indicum) and Black gram (Vigna mungo) crop have been sown earlier and mulched after flowering. 

Big seeds should be sown individually and small seeds should be broadcasted using hand. The seeds of lemon (Citrus bergamia) should be sown by spitting out from the mouth. The seeds of Phanijjaka (sida acuta / Ocimum basilicum / origanum majorana) must be sown in soil mixed with cow dung. Water should be poured carefully with hand so as sprinkle on the seeds slowly and gently.