How to prepare land for drip irrigation in Kenya
Land preparation for drip irrigation in Kenya is a process that involves several activities which may include, plowing and breaking of soil particles or the clods and addition of important soil nutrients. The purpose of these activities is to improve crop/plant growth and development.
Land preparation ensures that there is sufficient water, heat, oxygen, and other important soil nutrients. This process will allow the soil to be more compressible to allow the penetration of the roots.
When preparing land for drip irrigation in Kenya, raised beds are very important. Beds refer to raised subdivided seedbed uniformly distributed all over the farm and they may have paths in between to allow ease movement of the farm operators. Moreover, raised beds also play a major role in drainage and aeration
Majority of the raised beds are normally constructed at a dimensions of a meter width with walking paths of 40 centimeters in between the beds
Factors to consider when selecting proper land for drip irrigation in Kenya
- Generally sloping land to minimize clogging in case of heavy rainfall
- Accessibility. This includes ease of access to relevant infrastructure which may include electricity, good road network to allow ease of moving farm inputs and produce
Labor and expertise
Expertise and labor are very critical when doing preparation for drip irrigation this may include skilled or non-skilled. Labor and expertise go along with the culture of a specific community in and around the farm.
Labour is a major component of production and its cost determine the success or failure of your enterprise
The farm should be well secured from thieves, stray animals, rodents and other disease-causing organisms. This can be done by erecting fence around the farm or employing the watch guard to care for the farm.
When doing land preparation for drip irrigation in Kenya, the area should be free from rodents because rodents are the major drip tape/ drip line destroyers. To keep these rodents away, the nearby bushes should be cleared and pesticides sprayed.
Soil characteristics and crop climatic conditions.
Different crops do well in different soil and climatic conditions.
Some crops do well in acidic soil.
Others do well in a basic or alkaline environment. On the same note, high land crops cannot do well in lowland areas unless special conditions are provided and if these conditions have to be reversed proper and special conditions should be provided.
These special conditions may include soil treatments and irrigation or using specialized equipment when installing your drip system e.g. venture injector
The procedure of obtaining a good bed for the drip irrigation system
The plowing should be done along with the land/garden during the first plowing and across during the second plowing.
This will ensure microorganisms and weed seeds are brought above the soil and exposed to the sunlight.
On exposing these it ensures faster growth of weed seeds due to warmth. After germination of the weed seeds due to favorable conditions brought by sunlight, use the recommended herbicides to kill the weed. Get recommendations from a qualified agronomist.
Do final plowing to bury the dead plants into the soil. The weed will later decompose/rot to add nutrients to the soil. The beds should then be leveled into a uniform height and tilth to ensure uniform germination of seedlings.
steps of obtaining the best bed for drip irrigation in Kenya
In bed preparation, the standard and most recommended bed sizes range from one meter (1m) for short season crops and sometimes one and a half (1.5) meters are for perennial crops like Stevia and other herbs.
The most convenient path width should be between 40cm to 50cm. This will ensure major parts of the land are put under cultivation.
After the selection of the convenient bed width and the paths, the beds are made to a depth of between 12cm to 30cm.
While digging the beds depths, breakdown soil clods (big soil particles brought about during plowing) into fine particles to allow free movement of air and water through the soil.
Remove weeds and mix manure into the soil to expose microorganisms the soil to the sunlight to be killed.
After all these practices prepare and organize for the drip installation process. Collect drip irrigation equipment like drip tape, drip fittings (takeoffs, end caps and starters) and drip irrigation pipes as the main lines
You can read more information on land preparation for drip irrigation