Monday, June 12, 2017
Soil steaming cuts tomato losses.
Soil steaming cuts tomato losses. After a two-season sustained decline in the greenhouse tomato produce, Nathan Mala is recovering in yields after steaming the soil to kill pathogens like bacteria wilt. The Kiambu County farmer steamed the soil to kill the bacterial wilt before packing it into 400 polythene bags for his 8m by 30m greenhouse in Nyambari. The soil was also mixed with farm yard manure, but he used folia and other granular fertilizers to boost the nutrients content. The farmer spent more than Sh10,000 in 2015 in controlling soil borne diseases such as fusarium wilt, bacterial wilt and other pathogens, which cause death of the tomatoes before flowering. He repeatedly filled a 200kg capacity drum with soil and 20 litres of water before heating it in an open fire. Every day, the farmer filled 20 polythene bags with the treated soil until he reached 400. In preventing recontamination of the soil he covered the floor with a polythene liner. Although he did not have an instrument of confirming if the heat had killed the pathogens, the drying or limited steam from the soil was a sign of certainty. The door path into the greenhouse had a disinfectant, jik, for cleaning the feet before entry. For effective control of the pathogens he germinated the seedlings in a soilless culture, which is a rich nutrient medium. The seedlings are clean and the roots are least disturbed during transplanting, which enables fast establishment and a vibrant growth vigour. more