Pit Beds an Innovative Method to Preserve Nutrients

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Farmers can produce heathy, high quality crops in fixed pit beds that ensure that their crops are able to get all required nutrients at its three growth levels of establishment, vegetative and reproduction as the crops access fertilizers placed at three different levels in the pit bed.

To construct the fixed pit beds farmers, need to simply to remove the top soil to a depth of 30 to 45 centimetres and put the first layer of fertiliser depending on the crop requirements. The second layer of fertiliser is put at 20 centimetres while the third layer is put at 10 centimetres. The farmer should ensure that all the soil put is devoid of large lumps and only of fine sand.

The large soil lumps do not permit good root penetration and that reduces good plant growth. At 10 centimetres the fertiliser promotes good plant establishment.

Speaking to AgriSeason the Charter Seeds Senior Agronomist Mr. Divara Phiri said that the beds are fixed and the farmer only rotates his crops upon applying the required amounts of nutrients.

At a commercial level the farmer can use a ripper to dig to the required level and a duck foot to open up the soil to the required depth while the excess soil can be removed manually.

It is recommended that farmers use quality seedlings from a reputable source for the best results.

Most farmers are making land preparations for the summer and it is the right time to make the fixed pit beds in preparation for planting before plant onset of the rains.

Farmers that irrigate their crops should have accurate capacity testing for their water source in preparation for the required crop production.

By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason

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