An experiment was conducted at the Model Organic Farm of CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur (31º54’ N and 76º17’ E), Himachal Pradesh, India, to evaluate the effect of various organic management treatments on the productivity and quality of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus). Organic inputs (viz. farm yard manure (FYM); vermicompost; agnihotra ash; and neem powder) were added at the time of planting, while Bt + Himbio and the biodynamic preparation BD 500 were sprayed regularly at one month intervals. Crops were sown on dates matching moon and non moon position according to the Biodynamic Planting Calendar. Addition of agnihotra ash along with sowing as per moon position resulted in a higher yield of lemongrass (+124%, +99%) and a higher oil per cent (+155%, +144%) over the control, in both the years of study. Sowing as per moon position may have improved germination rate, water absorption and metabolism of the plants, whereas addition of agnihotra ash may have stabilized the nutrients present in soil.
The experiment was laid out in a randomized block design replicated thrice with twelve treatments consisting of all the combinations of organics and time of sowing as per moon position and non moon position.
Highest biological yield (7833 kg per hectare) was obtained in the treatment with organic manure + Agnihotra Ash + sowing according to the moon calendar, while lowest yield (2833 kg per hectare) was obtained in control + not following the moon calendar. Second best treatments was that using organic manure + Agnihotra Ash, but not following the moon calendar.
In both the years of study, sowing as per moon position significantly increased plant height and number of off shoots (Plates 1 & 2) which may be due to better germination rate (Maw, 1967), water absorption (Brown & Chow, 1973) and metabolism in these plants (Brown, 1960). These growth parameters improved all the more with the addition of organics, contributing towards healthier chemical, physical and biological conditions of the soil. Significantly higher plant height and number of off shoots were obtained with addition of agnihotra ash, followed by addition of Himbio + Bt and BD 500.