Organic farming is a cultivation technique which only allows the use of natural substances, existing in nature, and avoids the use of chemical synthesis substances (fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides).
It is a production method that has its basic principles in the care of soil fertility and in the balance of the environment in which it is grown.
The key is therefore not the replacement of products with what is permitted by the European Regulation, but the correct application of the principles of agroecology.
The cardinal principles of organic agriculture are:
- improving and increasing organic fertility through the use of composted organic fertilizers, the practice of green manure, the burial of crop residues and the inclusion in large rotations of leguminous crops, to increase quantity and quality of soil organic matter.
- crop rotation: it is the main weed control element, supplemented by mechanical actions, containment and prevention of diseases and parasites. A Ministry decree indicates that inbetween the planting of a crop on the same land there should be at least two cycles of different crops, of which at least one composed of legumes or green manure.
- variety choice: it is useful to rely on the technical knowledge and experience of organic producers in one's area to move towards particular varieties that have demonstrated adaptability to the territory, ability to compete with weeds and resistance to major adversities.
- planting of hedges and trees: useful not only to improve the landscape but to increase biodiversity, giving hospitality to the natural predators of parasites and also acting as a physical barrier to possible external pollutants.
- intercropping: simultaneously cultivate two or more species (preferably legumes and cereals) in the same land.
If it is necessary to intervene to defend crops from parasites and other adversities, the farmer can use the products allowed by the European Regulation.