The rainy season is finally here and it is already replenishing much needed water to our thirsty environment. Our work is also a bit lighter as our need for irrigating is supplemented by frequent rainfall. This continuous flow of water also comes with some challenges. Excessive leaching of nutrients is a key contributor to rising cost of production at this time of year.
The loss of essential nutrients directly affects plant health and its natural ability to resist pests and diseases. This heavy mobilizing of nutrients away from the root zone could also lead to increased soil acidiy and reduce plant available phosporus. Furthermore Aluminium and Managanesse toxicity could further compromise crop productivity.
The problem is not necessarily the rain but rather how well we manage these natural variables. Providing that rainfall frequency remains around average, there are cerain preventative approaches that we could consider to for better nutrient management.
Choose the right type of fertilizer
Synthetic fertilizers are usually in a form that is readily absorbed by plants, consequently this also leads to rapid leaching away from the root zone, into our water ways. To achieve maximum yield farmers may often repeat fertilizer applications following prolonged rainfall.
Slow release fertilizers take the form of granules or as compost. These granules work similar to their synthetic counterparts, however they differ based on their rate of solubility over time. Similarly compost acts as a nutrient bank, slowly liquidating its valuable assets throughout the crop cycle.
Additionally compost conditions your soil’s physical structure and allows water to move freely while minimizing loss of topsoil.
There are also soluble fertilizers in either organic or synthetic forms.
These two types of fertilizer share some similarity as they both replenish essential plant nutrients. Additionally however compost tea also inncoculates benefical microorganisms and plant growth regulating substances (PGR’s) which aid in pathogen reduction, nutrient absorbtion and boosting plant’s defence mechanisms against pests and diseases.
We recommend our compost tea to be diluted using a 1:1 ratio with dechlorinated water and applied weekly. Also for top-dressing we recommend our vermicompost to be applied once every 2- 3 weeks.