• It Prevents evaporation of water.
• It sustains moisture in the soil.
• In case of shortage of rainfall, it helps to cultivate the crop by requiring less water. Soil Structure:
• Due to uneven climatic conditions and in case of excessive rainfall in saves the soil structure.
• Due to drip irrigation, the land remains soft which results in effective growth of plant roots.
• Due to porosity of land there is better movement of moisture, without effecting soil structure.
• Heat and Temperature developed in the soil is maintained. Weed Control :
• Effective for the better solarization of soil.
• Plastic mulch is very effective in preventing weed growth.
• In recent organic farming trend, there is no solution to control weeds. Plastic mulching is very effective in controlling weeds. Plastic does not react with land and plants. Hence the basic purpose of organic farming is also achieved. It saves lot of labour & fertilizer. Increase In Productivity:
• The seeds get Optimum Temperature, Moisture, Fertilizer, Which results into maximum yield of crop.
• It reduces root damages.
• It keeps ripen fruits away from the soil. This reduces contact with the soil which decreases fruit rotting. This is beneficial for the production of all Creeper plants like Tomato, Strawberry, Watermelon, etc. Reduction in the leaching of Fertilizer & Pesticides:
• The use of drip irrigation in conjunction with plastic mulch reduces leaching of fertilizers.
• It does not leach nitrogen and other nutrients to the depths below the root zone level.
• Due to reflective surface it provides sunlight on the ventral side of the leaves.
• Provides ideal environment for earthworms and other soil micro organisms beneficial for crops.
• Mulching provides resistance to plant from diseases thus reduces the usage of pesticides.
• The Land should be properly prepared with the help of rotovaters or other equipments.
• The bed should be prepared depending upon the crop.
• Drip irrigation pipe should be laid on the bed.
• Mulch should be laid in non windy condition.
• The mulch material should be held tight without any crease and laid on the bed.
Pre Planting Mulch : The mulch material should be kept for 10 to 15 days in idle position after supplying water. This results efficient soil solarization process and then punctures at the required distances as per crop spacing and laid on the bed.
• The seeds / transplants should be sown/transplanted in the holes.
• Farmers can lay this films through the help of labour.
• Machines are also available for laying mulch films.
Soil Solarization is normally done during summer months with temperature (air) more than 35^C for controlling weeds, seeds, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and other soil borne pathogens and pests by covering the moist soil with a transparent polyethylene film exposed to sunlight. The effectiveness of soil solarization enhances plant growth by improving soil colour, structure, temperature, moisture, etc. Advantages :
Controls weed, nematodes and other soil borne diseases.
Enhances germination and helps in the development of healthy seedlings.
Enhances plant growth and yield.
Helps in reducing usage of weedicides / herbivides / Insecticide.
25 Micron transparent Polyethylene film is used for Solarization
Physical identification of successful solarization:
Water droplets collected in the inner surface of the film.
The upper surface of the film will be very hot.
Weeds under the film will be eliminated due to high temperature.
Plastic tunnel popularly known as low tunnels are miniature structures producing effect like greenhouse. These tunnels facilitate the entrapment of carbon dioxide, thereby enhancing the photosynthesis activities of the plant that help to increase yield. These structures also protect the plants from high wind, rain, frost and snow. Besides being inexpensive, these structures are easy to construct and dismantle.
Low tunnels have been used for producing healthy and high value nurseries. Use of low tunnels has been effective in crops such as Tomato, Cucumber, Radish, Beans, Asparagus, Strawberries, Melon and Tobacco etc. Advantages