Like any other business, there are vital pillars after commitment that leads to SUCCESS.
- knowledge 2. Know/Do How 3. Quality Input =SUCCESS
Also ESSENTIAL to the success of the AFK from Dizengoff, with success being measured as achieving high crop yields is:-
- The acceptance that crop cultivation is NOT a 9-5, 5 day a week, activity; farming is not an office occupation, rather it is a field based activity rotating around land, soil, weather and other seasonal variations all of which must be properly considered and accommodated;
- The total commitment of the AFK owner to absorb the knowledge and to consistently apply the know-how being provided by Dizengoff;
- The daily diligence of the actual kit operators, in particular those employed by the AFK owner with the sole purpose of successfully operating the owners AFK
The greenhouse covers 192m2 (8m x 24m). It is strong and durable.
Why the greenhouse?
- Small area big production.
- Source of food(basic )-alleviates hunger
- Complete course of diet
- Growing round the seasons
- Source of family income
- Employment opportunity-youth
- Education tool
- Management of limited resources
- Social gesture -hand that gives
The netted sides
- Control of insect pests from accessing the crop. This is part of Integrated Pests Management strategy.
- Acts as an air filter into the crops (Dust, environmental wastes).
- Restriction of unwanted in-out movements’.
The plastic cover
- Woven plastic and not plain nylon paper.
- Not easily UV degradable.
- Not easily torn and can be repaired with Needle & thread or solarig patch.
- Diffusion/spread of light is uniform.
- Rain and airborne water exclusion from crop.
- Very strong and portable steel material.
- Peaked roof to allow maximum growing space and easy drainage
- Keep off fire and hot objects.
- Keep off sharp objects.
- Regularly clean the plastic.
- Avoid leaning, hitting, mishandling.
- Keep door closed always.
The drip irrigation system
- Covers 192m2
- Heavy duty lines and high quality drippers with wide water passage
- Easily filled and drained.
- Gravity fed and can discharge between 0.5-0.6lit/hr.
- Why the drip line?
- Brings water directly to the plant roots.
- Plant uses its energy to develop production and not searching for water.
- Soluble fertilizers (plant food) can be brought directly to the roots.
- The system is suitable for all types of soils, climates and water.
- It’s suitable for use in flat land or slight slopes.
- Eliminates foliar wetting.
- Easily manageable and accessories provided (e.g. the blind caps, connectors)
- Keep off sharp objects from drip lines.
- Control rodents
- Keep off from fire.
- Filter cleaning and flushing to be done accordingly.
Clean the filter daily
The filter should be always cleaned on daily basis before irrigation. The filter’s screen must be well maintained to protect against tearing, therefore cleaning will be performed manually or with soft cloth
Flush the drip system on weekly basis.
This is the cleaning of the entire irrigation system
- Fill up the tank to gain maximum pressure
- Open up the valves to allow water to flow
- Open the extreme end of the main pipe till clean water starts coming out then fold back
- Starting from the closest drip line to the tank, open its end to allow any trapped dirt come out then fold it back.
- Repeat the above to all the drip lines from the closest to the tank outwards
- When through with the main pipe and drip lines, clean up even the tank and the filter
- The system is ready to be used.
- Portable, held pressure sprayer operated by a lever.
- Top quality materials resistant to all treatment products.
- Adjustable cone nozzle – can fit a nozzle depending on target.
- Machine reversible either for right or left handed people and improved ergonomics
- How to use the knapsack effectively:
- Always ensure correct nozzle choice, and adjust it to get fine droplets.
- Contact sprays are done targeting pest residence and behavior e.g., under leaves, in the flowers, roots, when insects are active, when the insects are resting etc.
- Systemic pesticides will be available in the plant system regardless of where they are applied.
- Keep nozzle up to one foot away from the target to get best fine droplets and control drift.
- Observe weather and spray in the cool of the day.
- Avoid spraying when windy. Drift may lead pesticide off target and may compromise spray operator safety. Avoid over spraying
- Know the target pest clearly in order to ensure proper coverage and achieve best results.
- This is important especially when it comes to contact pesticides
- Under leave coverage (Mites), flowers (Thrips), stem and branches, soft tissues (Aphids) fruits (Ca) dark – wet place(slugs),
- The knapsacks should be calibrated regularly in order to maintain successful results after pesticides applications.
- In calibrations one should look at worn out parts, Nozzle discharge, Operator’s speed, Pressure chamber conditions, Lance height, amount of water per chemical etc.
- After each working day, it’s very important to clean the knapsack carefully using clean water.
- Keep out of children & public reach.
- Use water screens provided when filling.
Personal Protective equipment (safety)
- One should wear full protective gear i.e.
- Face shield and or goggles
- Read the label to know which PPEs to use. This information is clearly provided on the pesticide label.
- One should make sure that the correct procedure on wearing the Personal protective equipment is followed.
- The PPE should be cleaned immediately after spray is done and these should not be mixed with other clothing. The PPEs should be stored in a separate place.
- The Sprayer operator should take a shower immediately after the spray activity and cleanings are completed.
- LAND PREPARATION
This entails digging the soil to a depth of 60cm. The process is repeated two times ensuring that the soil is well turned. This method of land preparation has many advantages:
- breaking of the hard pan which allows good root establishment and networking
- Proper drainage, water and nutrients uptake is promoted.
Manure application and incorporation
The manure is applied in the green house at a rate of 3 tons per green house (8x24m) at least of dry manure. The spread will be followed by thorough mixing with the soil.
The source should be preferably from compost or from well composted livestock waste free from possible pathogens.
Use of manure helps to improve the soil structure by binding the soil particles together which encourage proper drainage.
Manure allows beneficial soil micro fauna to thrive on top by providing the important slow release nutrient to the plants.
Shaping the bed
The bed is raised to 80- 90cm width and 15cm above the ground level. The soil that is between the rows is lifted on top of the bed using a digger or shovel. Bed forming has many advantages which include effective management of the crop and sustaining the soil structure established when double digging was done.
It is important to do soil analysis before farming starts. The procedure involves collection of slightly moist soil at various points within the greenhouse. The sample is then taken to the accredited laboratories for the pathological and nutritional analysis. The results help the farmer to make decision on the best system of farming to adopt.
B POT/BAG FARMING(PLANTING IN BAGS)
Pot farming is compulsory when the soil analysis shows the presence of bacteria wilt, soil borne diseases.
(To be continued in the next article)