Organic matter is essential for plantain cultivation / plantain farming if the field is to be very productive for a long time. A high level of organic matter in the soil is beneficial because it stimulates root development, improves soil drainage, decreases soil temperature fluctuation and increases soil porosity and biological life.
Mulching can be defined as the use of plant material such as straw, leaves, crop residues, green manure crops, or saw-dust, stones or plastic planes etc. that is spread upon the surface of the soil.
A mulch cover helps protect the soil from erosion and evaporation, nourishes soil life, increases soil organic matter content and provides nutrients to the crop.
Organic matter decays under the influence of micro-organisms in the soil, heavy rainfall and high soil temperature. The amount of organic matter will gradually decrease once the field has been cleared and cause a decrease in yield.
Therefore, newly established plantains which receive only fertilizer will produce a high yield only in the first year of production. Meanwhile, in the second year the yield will drop because the organic matter must have decomposed.
To compensate for this continuous decrease in the amount of organic matter, the field needs mulch from plants and/or manure from animals. There are many sources of mulch, it can be carried into the field or produced between the plants but to be very effective, it should cover the soil completely.
Once the field is mulched, weeds are controlled and the topsoil is protected against heavy rainfall and intense sunshine. Poultry, pigs and cows produce suitable manure which is applied only at the base of the mat.
Mulch is dry, vegetative material used to cover the soil. It helps reduce evaporation and retain moisture, reduce soil erosion, suppress weed growth and provide plant nutrients as the material decomposes.
Mulch can be used in fields before and after planting, as well as around young crop plants. It is especially useful for high-valuable vegetable crops, and for growing crops in dry areas, during dry-season cropping, and in places where the soil is easily eroded by heavy rains.
Where soil erosion is a problem, slowly decomposing mulch material (low nitrogen content, high C/N-ratio) will provide a long-term protection compared to quickly decomposing material.
How to Mulch Plantain Farm
Mulches can be applied at three different times–before the seed is planted, after the plants or seeds are planted, and after the plants are growing.
The mulch should be rayed over the soil without mixing it into the soil. It should be applied thick enough to prevent the growth of weeds.
A finely shreded mulch is easier to work with, especially around young seedlings or transplants. A heavy, coarse material, such as hay, if not applied carefully, will break the leaves off young transplants and seedlings.
A material such as bagasse, rice trash, peanut hulls, chopped grass, leaves and cow manure makes fine mulch.
To mulch a newly sowed seed bed, the mulch should be loose and thin over the row of seeds and more thickly compacted over the spaces between the rows of seeds.
Young seedlings should be allowed to become well established and hardened before mulching. Mulching young seedlings is likely to cause dampening-off fungus disease. This fungus causes young seedlings to rot at the soil line.
When using mulches such as saw dust or bagasse, a nitrogen deficiency may occur. This would cause the plants to be unable to take up nitrogen nutrients from the soil. This is only temporary and can be quickly corrected by applying some nitrogen fertilizer, chicken manure or manure tea.
Read Also: Recommended Plantain Fertilization Methods
Plantain and Other Plants Mulching Materials
Many mulching materials can be commonly found in Jamaica. These include the following:
Saw dust, wood shavings, bagasse, guinea grass, bahima grass, rice straw, rice hulls, bamboo leaves, cocoa shells, peanut hulls, banana trash, cow manure, pig manure, stable litter.
The experienced farmer can identify many others which will be available to him.
Mulching is a simple, time and labour saving gardening method. It makes use of local resources and waste materials. If the common mulch materials, such as grass, sawdust etc., are not available, materials such as newspaper can be used very effectively. The farmer’s imagination is the only limit. Organic materials that will eventually rot and enrich the soil are best.
The real beauty of mulch, besides conserving water, is the labour saving advantage. A crop that is mulched will require much less weeding and cultivating.
Mulching presents another method which the farmer can make use of for providing better growing conditions for his crops, and at the same time save himself labour.
Mulching is a valuable service that’s a big part of the professional landscaping world. If you want to keep your lawn in fantastic condition all year long, you should seriously consider investing in professional mulching.
Mulching, in a nutshell, can keep your soil healthy and happy. It’s a gardening practice that offers an abundance of advantages. Mulch is a covering that protects the soil.
It can help keep soil moist. It can even stop the growth of frustrating and unsightly weeds. Examples of kinds of mulch are plastic sheets, compost, sawdust, paper, bark chips and leaves.
(1) Mulching Can Keep Weeds at Bay
Mulching is a helpful gardening practice because it can help keep unpleasant weeds in check. Mulch can minimize weeds that emerge in open sections of landscapes. Mulch serves as an obstacle and restricts sunlight that can make its way over to weeds.
(2) Mulching Stops Soil Erosion
Mulching has the ability to maintain water levels inside of soil. It also, however, has the ability to stop rainwater from doing away with soil. Mulching accomplishes this by interfering with the water falling process and minimizing force when it hits the surface of the ground.
(3) Mulching Keeps Soil Moisture Levels
Moisture loss is a big problem in gardens. High temperatures, strong winds and moisture evaporation can all contribute to significant drops in moisture.
Moisture loss can influence how much H20 is necessary in order to properly water plants as well. Mulch application can be a hassle-free way to keep moisture levels in soil.
(4) Mulching Keeps Vital Nutrients in Soils
Mulching can be a great gardening technique in that it can help keep vital nutrients in soils. Organic mulches can give off nutrients that are beneficial to soil. This occurs during the gradual organic material decomposition process.
(5) Mulching Can Keep Irritating Pests Out of Your Life
The presence of pests can be a serious headache to anyone who wants to maintain a beautiful and healthy garden. If you want to keep annoying pests out of your garden and life, professional mulching may be the way to go.
There are many kinds of mulches that can successfully drive away pests. Cedar bark is a mulch variety that in many cases can drive them away. Cedar bark includes natural oils that function as repellents to insects.
People who want to take advantage of this should invest in mulches that have particularly strong scents. Mulches that have conspicuous smells can be especially successful in fighting off creepy crawlies.
(6) Mulching Can Promote the Presence of Earthworms
Mulching can keep many kinds of frustrating pests away. It can also, however, promote the presence of earthworms, interestingly enough. Organic mulch materials can promote the presence of these segmented worms inside of soil in gardens.
Earthworms offer amazing and undeniable gardening advantages, too. These little creatures can enhance the cycling of vital nutrients. They can even enhance soil structure.
(7) Mulching Can Make Your Garden Look a Lot Better
People always dream of achieving and maintaining gardens that look like the picture of immaculate perfection. If you want your garden to look like a vision of flawlessness, mulching may help do the trick. Mulching covers up sparse sections in gardens.
Mulching upkeep is generally a piece of cake, too. If you’re interested in garden fillers that are stress-free, mulching can make a great option for you. Looking after mulch tends to be a straightforward process. Don’t forget that mulch never tries to rival other garden plants.
(8) Mulching Does a Lot for Trees
If you want to keep the trees in your garden beautiful, robust and strong for as long as possible, mulching may be a terrific option for you. Mulching has soil insulation abilities and because of that can protect trees from excessively cold temperatures.
It can protect trees from excessive heat as well. Mulching stops weed access and as a result also stops roots from forcing their way in. Mulching even stops soil compaction.
If you have a brand new tree anywhere on your property, you should think about investing in professional mulching as soon as possible. Mulching can be priceless to young trees. Mulching brings so many diverse and interesting advantages to the table. It can minimize damage to lawn mowers, too.
Read Also: Ways of Preparing of Plantain suckers
(9) Mulching Can Save You Precious Time and Energy
Keeping a landscape healthy and aesthetically appealing isn’t exactly the easiest task. If you want to simplify the process, however, professional mulching can be the answer.
Since mulching can maintain moisture, keep pests away and strengthen tree health substantially, it can save people from many headaches and inconveniences.
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