Harbir Singh, 45, a resident of Dadlu village in Kurukshetra district of Haryana, is a progressive farmer and runs a high-tech nursery in his fields. In his nursery he prepares vegetable plants, which today are reaching not only the surrounding states but also Italy. Harbir Singh, with his nursery spread over 16 acres, is making good profits today. He has also been awarded with honors such as the ‘NG Ranga Rashtriya Kisan Puraskar’ and ‘Haryana Nursery Ratan Award’ for his efforts in the offbeat agriculture sector.
While talking to The Better India, Harbir Singh told about his journey. He said that despite pursuing a masters in political science, he chose the path of farming. Because, he comes from a peasant family. Their aim was to do something different and better in agriculture itself. He used to have general farming earlier and at the same time he considered beekeeping. He first took training in it and then started his work with just six ‘B boxes’. He told, “We had farmers from Himachal Pradesh bring their bees. I learned beekeeping from them. He also gave me B box. Initially, I used to make honey for my family’s needs. But then as the demand for honey increased, I started beekeeping in the 70B box. ”
He says that along with beekeeping, he was also doing traditional farming and there he was not getting any benefit. Therefore, he was always experimenting in his fields. He said that he was making profits in beekeeping. But, in this work you have to move around with bees every season. But, after a time for Harbir Singh, it became difficult to travel. Because, his parents were feeling very poorly. So, he wondered what else he could do other than beekeeping?
From 2005, he started his nursery here. However, he also suffered losses in the beginning but he did not give up. They visited the nursery at different places and saw how people set-up the nursery. They also adopted means such as polyhouses, drip irrigation and sprinklers. He says, “I was slowly getting benefited, but I was not satisfied.” Therefore, I kept reading and learning different techniques used for nursery. Whenever I found something new, I used to experiment with myself. It took me many years to develop a good system in my nursery. ”
Harbir Singh’s nursery is famous all over the country today. 40-year-old farmer Harjinder Saini, who bought tomato plants from him for the last eight years, says, “Nothing can be better for farmers than Harbirji’s nursery.” Earlier we used to prepare vegetable plants ourselves. But, most of our plants used to get spoiled and those that survived, when we planted them in the field, also did not give good results. Then we had to go to nursery and buy more plants. The cost was also high and we used to get delayed in planting crops. But since we are taking the saplings from Harbir ji, all these troubles are over. ”
Harjinder buys more than 40 thousand tomato plants from his nursery. He says that more than two lakh saplings come from the ‘Harbir Nursery Farm’ in his village. He further said, “We are constantly visiting Harbir ji. His nursery is very high-tech and he always tries to give the best to the farmers. He sometimes guides us with varieties of vegetables. At his behest, we have planted different tomatoes for trial several times and we have got good results. ”
Special medium prepared for plants:
Along with other techniques, Harbir Singh also looked at what kind of soil and containers he would prepare the plants for. He does not use polythene bags for preparing plants, but uses a special type of cloth. Similarly, he has created a special and successful ‘Growing Medium’ meaning ‘Potting Mix’, through several experiments.
He says that this medium has made him famous. It contains three things – paddy husk ash, river sand (which he brought from the Markanda River) and manure made of cow dung. He says that he also prepares cow dung in a different way. First the cow dung is put into the biogas plant. The ‘slurry’ that comes out of it is dried and then grinded in a ‘rotavator’. After grinding, this manure is sieved with a sieve. From which manure is prepared. He uses these three things in different proportions according to each crop.
From this medium, he prepares beds for planting seeds. After planting the seeds, they are watered with a sprinkler. After watering well, these beds are covered with plastic or polythene sheets. By doing this, the moisture remains and you do not need to re-irrigate. When the seeds begin to sprout, the sheets are removed and tunnels are applied on the plants. He says, “Plastic sheets should not be attached to the tunnel because, it keeps too much moisture and when plants start growing, their stems are weakened by this moisture. Therefore, we remove the plastic sheets so that the stems of the plants remain strong. ”
He says that with the medium he is using, water does not have to be given for one to two-and-a-half months after irrigation. He grows plants in completely organic ways. To remove any kind of harmful pests from manure, he uses organic products such as Trichoderma. Harbir Singh prepares plants for crops like tomatoes, capsicum, brinjals, green chillies.
Plants going up to abroad:
Harbir Singh says that he started nursery work on less than an acre and today his nursery is spread over about 16 acres. Shortly before that they have developed another technique for nursery. Whose name is ‘Germanator Chamber’. Its specialty is that seeds germinate very quickly in this. For this, they have used a special kind of plastic sheet. The sheet which has been installed on the outside is black and the chamber has been made by putting a silver sheet on the inside.
Inside this chamber, a temperature suitable for the need for seeds is created, from which they germinate quickly. After the seeds germinate, the plants are kept in another ‘green chamber’. With this technique, he has produced around 13 lakh plants so far. Their plants are reaching not only states like Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh but also Italy. Farmers from abroad also come to see their nursery.
Ranjot Singh, a 30-year-old farmer who has grown plants from crops such as capsicum and brinjal, says that Harbir Singh does not only have a nursery, but has also set up his own lab setup. Where he is always experimenting with something. Ranjot buys more than one lakh saplings from his nursery and says, “Harbir ji prepares the plants so well in advance that farmers do not have to put any chemicals later. We prepare our fields by organic methods and plant and plant them. We do not incur any additional expenditure. ”
Today, his annual earnings from nursery are in lakhs. By giving good saplings to other farmers, he is also leading them on the path of success. Harbir Singh says, “Farmers now need to learn and adopt new methods. If someone wants to go to the nursery, first of all, train well and then start work. Similarly, other farmers can increase their income by doing things like processing. Only by doing normal farming will not get success. Agriculture is like the sea, the more you swim in it, the more you move. ”
If you want to do nursery work and want to get free training, then you can call Harbir Singh on 9813159427.