Transplants, Soil Conservation, Thinning


Farmers who grow only annual crops rarely have to transplant them, unless they use surplus seedlings for filling in gaps which have been caused in their crops due to poor germination, uneven sowing or adverse field factors.
On a garden scale, however, transplanting is a regular operation. Seedlings sown in boxes or containers have to be transferred to either a nursery bed or to the vegetable plots when they have reached a suitable size.
Since different types of vegetables have different rates of growth, no specific guide can be given to the most suitable age or height for transplanting seedlings, but is an advantage to transplant seedlings as soon as they can be conveniently handled. This ensures that the root system will suffer minimum damage and rapidly recover from the check to growth which transplanting normally produces.

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Transplanting should be carried out in cool or showery weather, preferably in the evening and the  plants should be well watered and shaded from the sun Immediately after being transplanted. Care should always be taken to reduce the amount of damage to the root system by lifting the seedlings from the bed or box with a small trowel or flattened piece of wood.

Soil Conservation

Soil conservation its not widely practised in West Africa but there is strong evidence that the extensive application of measures to prevent soil erosion in some areas should be undertaken immediately if valuable and irreplaceable resources are not to be lost.

The rate of soil erosion has increased in proportion to the increase in farming activity, particularly where mechanical methods of cultivation are used Wind erosion is not a serious problem in most parts of the humid tropics, though it has increased in some parts of northern Nigeria, but erosion due directly or indirectly to rainfall can be serious.

 When the topsoil of sloping land is eroded, the potential loss in agricultural value cannot be calculated, since it cannot be
replaced The fact that a proportion of eroded surface. soil may be deposited on lower levels is of minor consequence, since the most valuable portion, the organic, mineral and clay content is likely to be carried away in surface water and transported via streams and rivers to the sea. The remaining portion is likely to be made up largely of gravel, sand and silt which are of little value to either crop or animal husbandry. 

One of the most important factors which contributes to soil erosion is the felling of forest trees and bush on steep slopes.  When this is followed by burning, the effects on the soil structure are extremely serious.

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The main types of soil erosion by water are as follows,


This operation is the removal of surplus seedlings from stands of crops which have grown too closely together, possibly as a result of sowing too thickly. In some instances, however, seeds are intentionally sown more densely than required, particularly when a farmer is not sure of the germination percentage of the seeds he is sowing. He may, for example, sow 3-4 seeds per stand of maize and later thin them out to leave one or two of the most vigorous seedlings.

This practice is particularly important when a seed sample is mixed or of variable quality so that the vigour of individual seedlings cannot be estimated in advance.
The farmer also has to make allowance for the 'field factors' which affect the germination of seeds. Even if germination test has been carried out, he still has to allow for losses by birds, soil insects and fungi, uneven depths of sowing and the weather, including very wet or very dry conditions which may occur shortly after the seeds have been sown.


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