No-till garlic cultivation

No-till is a farming system in which the seeds are planted directly into untilled soil which still contains the previous crop residues. No-till cultivation of garlic is practised in the tropical lowland districts of western Nepal where garlic is sown directly into the soil after the paddy is harvested.

No-till* methods minimize soil disturbance and allow crop residues or stubble to remain on the ground instead of being removed or dug into the soil. As practised in the western Terai of Nepal, the seedbed is prepared by leaving a 3–5 cm thick layer of rice paddy crop residue on the soil surface after the paddy harvest. Garlic seed is planted directly into the soil soon after the paddy is harvested at a spacing of approximately 15 cm and the entire field is then covered with a 10 cm (or more) layer of hay. The seeds germinate with the help of the ambient moisture. The frequency and timing of irrigation depends on need, but since there has been no tillage and the ground is covered with mulch, much of the ambient moisture is retained in the soil. The mature garlic is harvested in February–March. This technology is gaining in popularity because farmers can directly see the economic benefit of not having to till the soil.

WOCAT database reference: QT NEP 39

Location: Gadariya VDC, Kailali District, Nepal

Technology area: Approximately 1–10 km2

Conservation measure(s): Agronomic

Land Use: Annual cropping

Stage of intervention: Mitigation

Origin: Innovative; this is a local initiative started about 10 years ago

Climate: Subhumid/subtropical

Related approach: Learning about no-till methods through farmer-to-farmer dissemination (QA NEP 39)

Compiled by: Krishna Lamsal, LI-BIRD

Date: July 2011, updated March 2013

Gadariya VDC, Kailali District, Nepal