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September 14, 2021
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September 14, 2021

Ever heard of soil fertigation and solarisation?

Fertigation is the direct application of fertilisers for soil adjustments, water adjustments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.

In this system, fertiliser solution is distributed evenly in irrigation. This is necessary especially for crops that are affected by flooding and lose nutrients in the soil. When the soil is flooded much of the existing nutrients are washed out and the soil loses fertility.

Fertigation has various means of application with various grades of efficiency. Advantages of fertigation include:

  1. Nutrients and water are supplied near the active root zone through fertigation which results in greater absorption by the crops.
  2. As water and fertiliser are supplied evenly to all the crops through fertigation, there is possibility for getting 25–50 per cent higher yield.
  3. Fertiliser use efficiency through fertigation, ranges between 80–90 per cent, which helps to save a minimum of 25 per cent of nutrients.

Through fertigation, many farmers can restore soils that may have been affected by natural floods and increase produce while doing so.

Soil solarisation is also a very important practice needed when replenishing flooded soils. It is an environmentally friendly method of using the sun’s power to control pests such as bacteria, insects, and weeds in the soil.

To solarise the soil, you must cover the area with a transparent, durable, lightweight plastic to trap the solar energy. In this way, the sun heats the soil to kill the bacteria, weeds, fungi, and insects.

Here are the steps to take:

  • Clear the area of plants and debris
  • Cover the area with clear plastic (such as 1 to 4 mil painter’s plastic)
  • Bury the plastic edges in the soil to trap the heat
  • Leave the plastic in place for at least four weeks on the hottest days
  • Remove the plastic

This method works best on heavy soils that contain clay or loam or a mixture of the two because they can hold water long enough to produce steam everyday more than lightweight soil can.

Solarisation may be less effective on sandy soil, which drains faster and produces less steam. To maximise the benefit of solarisation in sandy soils, lay drip irrigation lines under the clear plastic cover and add water regularly.

Send questions to rayannaboodram@hotmail.com.

 

Your question answered:
Growing Desert Rose plant from cuttings

Dear Rayanna,

I have read your articles in the Catholic News and found them very interesting. Quick question: how do you plant cuttings from a Desert Rose plant? Any tips would be appreciated. —Grace

Dear Grace,

Thank you for reaching out! While Desert Rose seed propagation is relatively easy, most gardeners have better success with growing a desert rose from cuttings.

Not only do they start from cuttings easily and quickly, but you will also be able to keep the true nature of hybrid plants, as hybrids will revert if grown from seed. Therefore, you may be wondering, “How do I grow a Desert Rose from cuttings?”.

Take a cutting from the tip of a branch. Allow the cutting to dry out for a day or two, then wet the end of the desert rose cutting and dip it in rooting hormone, available at your Agri-shop for a cost of no more than $50.

Stick the cutting into a well-draining growing medium like perlite or sand mixed with soil. Water the cutting daily, making sure the water is able to drain out of the soil. Use a spray bottle and mist the cutting daily as well.

The cutting should take root in about two to six weeks. With a little patience, you can have your own Desert Rose plants in abundance by this method! Hope this helps! —Rayanna Boodram

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