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MAINTAINING SOIL FERTILITY
THROUGH THE USE OF MULCHES
A much is any material used to cover the soil surface to prevent excessive loss of water through evaporation, to control surface runoff of suppress weeds.
Materials commonly used include dry grass, banana leaves , coffee husks, crop residues e.g. Maize straw and black polythene.
Where plant materials are used, care should be taken to make sure they do not re-grow into weeds and that they are not transmitters of pests and diseases.
Advantages of mulches.
Disadvantages of mulches
Mulches are a fire hazard
Mulches can be a breeding place for pests e.g. termites.
They may encourage soil bome diseases especially fungal diseases.
Mulches may bring about an inbalance of soil nutrients for example magnesium becomes deficient in heavily mulched coffee. Some nutrients may increase in the soil to toxic levels.
IF the mulch is not well dried, it may regrow into weeds e.g. elephant grass.
Mulching is expensive because we have to cut transport it and lay it in the garden all these require alt of a labour.
When the mulch is laid too thick, it can interfere with infiltration of water into the soil.
THROUGH THE USE OF ORGANIC MANURE
It is made by incorporating green vigorously growing plants to the soil just before flowering time (this is when they contain most nutrients. The method works well where the permanent plant to be grown is propagated vegetatively for example sugar cane that is propagated with stem crops with very small seeds may not germinate.
A good green manure crop should have the following characteristics.
Advantages of green manure:
Disadvantages of green manure
GREEN MANURE IS EXPLAINED MORE IN THE VIDEO BELOW;
FARM YARD MANURE:
Is made of fermented dung and urine of animals together with rotting vegetation matter, left over feeds and beddings.
The quality of the farm yard manure will depend or the following:-
The type of animal giving the manure: e.g. Ruminants (cow, goat, sheep) are capable of making some amino acids and vitamins in the rumen.
The age and purpose for which the animal is used g. claves take a lot of nutrients from their feeds so their manure will not as rich as rich as rich as that of old animals. Milking animals used most of the nutrients in the feeds to make milk so their manure is not rich.
The type of food given to the animal for example when cattle feed on concentrates (dairy meal ) that has a lot of proteins) vitamins and minerals. It will give manure that is richer than cattle feeding on grass alone.
The type of bedding for example straw will have a greater capacity to absorb urine and dung than so dust there will give better manure.
The method of storage; manure heaps should be sheltered from direct sun shine to avoid lots of nutrients through leaching and evaporation especially of Nitrogen phosphorus and sulphur.
The length of time for which the manure is stored; the longer it is left to frot the richer it becomes.
PRESERVATION OF FARM YARD MANURE
This is a mixture of poshaly decomposed crop remains, vegetable matter e.g. weeds and sometimes livestock faeces and urine are added.
Materials that are good for making compost should have the following characteristics:-
PREPARATION OF COMPOST MANURE:
It is also known as the in door method because it was first used in a place called indoor in India. It is recommended for dry areas so that as much water as possible can get into the pit.
After pit has bee dug, foundation stones are laid and materials are arranged in the same order as the heap method.
Every 2-3 weeks material ore turned from one pit to the other.
After pit 5, the manure will be ready for use.
Precautions taken when preparing compost manure:
Advantages of using compost manure:
Disadvantages of compost manure:
Follow this link for more information
120 Things You Can Compost from Home
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