Preparation of Beds

Preparation of Beds

Preparation of Beds (1)

Size of the beds varies from locality to locality. Generally, beds are 1.2-meter-wide but sometimes, they are even kept up to 1.8 meter wide locally. But beds which are wider than 1.2 meter will be having the difficulty of reaching into the center. Similarly, if the beds are narrower than 1 meter, the paths between them take too much space. As a rule, width of the bed should be such that it can be weeded by labour sitting on both sides of it without resting the hand or foot on it. Length of nursery beds will depend upon the space available. Generally, the length varies from 8 to 12 meter. 

In south, general size of standard nursery bed is 12.2 x 1.2 meter (40’ x 4’). With the adoption of metric system, nursery bed of size 10 x 1 meter is recommended. If the beds can be oriented east-west it will be possible to use shades most efficiently. 

The outline of the seed beds is marked with string tied to the sticks at the corners. After demarcation, along the line of the string, a trench is dug to a depth of 0.3 to 0.45 meter so that stones, roots etc., lying underneath are all dug out, picked and thrown outside the nursery. Before the earth is again made up into a bed, it should be well mixed with leaf mould or farmyard manure. Wood, bamboo or bricks can be used for the seed bed frame. If no frame is used at the edge, the soil and seedlings will be sometimes washed away. The bottom of the bed is filled with a 5 cm layer of gravel, small stones or broken bricks, to improve drainage. If there is danger of termites, Aldrex 5% dust should also be mixed in the earth at the rate of 75 kg per hectare. For covering, forest top soil taken from 2 to 3 cm depth is used and for dressing the 2cm top of the frame, a mixture of sieved sand and forest soil in 1:1 ratio is optimum. Each layer should be levelled and compacted with a flat board before adding the next layer. 

In moisture areas, raised beds are used which are raised 10 to 15 cm above the level of the paths by shifting some earth from the paths. In areas with long dry hot weather but ample rain, beds are kept level with or slightly below the general level (sunken beds). Such beds can be raised and well drained by lowering the paths during the rains.

The top layer of the beds should be raked to make sure that it has no stones or lumps in it and pressed with a flat wooden board to ensure that the surface stays perfectly level. The soil should be so firm that it will have only slight impression on first pressing. If the soil is heavy, a top dressing of washed river sand is usually given. A top dressing of sand or leaf mould is beneficial because the top soil does not cake when watered and there is no splash during the rains

It is easier to maintain suitable moisture conditions for germination under shade. Therefore, seedbeds are shaded throughout the germination period and for a short time thereafter, until the seedling are large enough to withstand gradual exposure. Following arrangement can be made for shade,

- sorghum stalks tied in a rock,

- Palm leaves,

- bamboo splits,

- sacking or white cotton material,

- a type of shade and windbreak cloth manufactured with high density polythene filament and tape (extruded with carbon black or an inhibitor to limit ultraviolet degradation),

- hedges of closely planted trees or shrubs can act as a shelter around the nursery, to check exposure to winds,

- mats, screens or windbreak cloth can also be used as a shelter.

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Vrikshayurveda

Ancient indian science of plant life and plant care: Area of this website provides a comprehensive insight into plants and trees widely used in Vrikshayurveda; methods of plant health, nutritional care and management and biological control measures along with the scope for developing process and products.