The agriculture in Ancient India during the Vedic period was an important vocation, and the social, religious customs were mainly associated with the agricultural practices, like ploughing, sowing, reaping and harvesting. The study of crops and plants, received considerable attention of the ancient Indians.
Crops: The rice did not appear in the Rigveda. The later Vedic literature contains reference to rice, wheat, and barley of different varieties.
Cultivation: As regards fertility of the soil, the method of rotation was practiced in Vedic Agriculture. The hymns of Rig Veda and Atharvaveda are full of references to the usefulness of rain, importance of cattle, six seasons. Some speculation of the role of light on the manufacture of food in green plants is recorded in the Rigveda.
Manuring: The origin of manuring can be traced back as early as Rigveda. It gives reference of some items that were thrown into the ground for increasing the fertility of soil.
The Atharvaveda refers to the value of the manures prepared from straw of barley and sesame plants which were used to improve the productivity of the land. The use of dry cow-dung as a manure has also been mentioned in the Atharvaveda.
Plants: The contribution of ancient India to the knowledge of plant and plant life was also of no mean order. This was developed in association with the studies of agriculture and medicine. The Vedic Aryans who are mainly agricultural people acquired sufficient knowledge about the cultivation and knowledge of plants. Different parts of the plant like root, seed stem, leaves, twigs, flowers and fruits have been described.
Classification of herbs: Classifications of herbs into seven types have been described in the Rigveda and Atharvaveda on the basis of morphological and other general characteristics.