Gardening on Coastal Sand;Who’s Afraid!
September 2, 2015 - Article
Farming on coastal sand may not be expected by many of us before. Agriculture, in the most part, is still finding the appropriate type of soils, which is usually loamy, to get an optimal result. However, more and more farm lands are disappearing to accomodate the growth in population. This phenomenon motivates Indmira to look into marginal lands for agriculture.
Marginal lands are characterized by the limited amount of nutrients they contain. One type of marginal lands that are plentiful in Indonesia is sandy coastal lands. Indonesia, as the largest archipelago in the world, has the longest coast line. However, this area is sadly still under utilized.
Sandy soil is highly porous and does not hold water very well. Coastal land, moreover, has a high salinity, high winds, and high evaporation rate, all of which also reduce the fertility. But, these challenges do not discourage Indmira to shy away from this area.
On the other hand, coastal lands have their own advantages, such as the vastness, flatness, flood resistance, high sun exposure, and high water table. In addition, the preparation for coastal sand is quite simple; no raised planting beds are required, which can increase efficiency.
The roles of technology are needed in the utilization of coastal sand for agriculture. Indmira, as a research-based company in agricultural and environmental fields, has combined farming technology and organic products, which we develop ourselves, to bring about farming on coastal sand in Pandansimo beach, Bantul, Yogyakarta.
Apa saja langkah yang telah ditempuh PT Indmira yang memulai upaya ini sejak 1999?
What steps has Indmira been taking since 1999?
- Improvements of physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of the soil
We use our own four organic fertilizers to improve the soil. F4 (200 kg/ha), SNN (15-20 kg/ha), SAN Tanaman (20kg/ha) and Pembenah Tanah (250 kg/ha) are dissolved in water and applied on the soil to achieve saturation point. The land then is tilled and kept moist for two weeks before planting commences.
- Use of A Non-permeable Layer
This layer is used to prevent water loss in the ground and can be made from plastic, concrete, or other non-permeable materials. The plot to be planted is dug to lay down this layer, then sand is returned. The non-permeable layer is only used for plants that require soaking, such as rice, and not for others, such as peanuts and vegetables.
- Use of Wind Breakers
Wind breakers are used to reduce the amount and speed of coastal winds. A temporary wind breaker can be made from woven sugarcane or coconut leaves, or plastic sheets, whereas a permanent one can consist of perennial trees. These trees include, but are not limited to, coconuts (Coco nucifera), Accacia mangium, Gliricidia sepium, Albizia falcataria, Leucaena leucocephala, Sesbania grandiflora, Casuarina equisetifolia, and screwpines (Pandanus amaryllifolius). We use casuarinas at our location.
- Hydrology and Irrigation
Our approach to low water availability is by drilling wells. Since the water table is high, this process is not difficult.
Based on the steps above, Indmira’s method can be considered very simple compared to the usual method of adding topsoil. The addition of topsoil method requires a thickness of 30 cm, which translates to need for 20 tons of outside materials per hectare. That amount is significantly larger than the less than 500 kg/ha of organic fertilizers that Indmira uses. The outside materials can be clay, volcanic ash, sediments of river and reservoirs, and composted manure. Our technology allows planting after two weeks of treatments, and thus not only it is fast, but also is low cost.
So, why should we be afraid of farming on the beach?(Le)