What you need to know:
- One must engage the farm operators while developing the work plan to enable them know what they are supposed to do.
- Watering is a key activity in the greenhouse. In this case, it should be done between 8am and 4pm daily.
It is two weeks since farmer Grace transplanted her capsicum seedlings into the greenhouse.
Last week, she carried out gapping to ensure she maintained the required plant population and for higher yields.
The crops are currently growing well but she must manage them through out the season for better growth.
To enable her do the requisite management practices the entire season, she has to develop a work plan of activities.
A work plan enables the farmer meet their production targets. It lists all the activities that are to take place during the period.
One must engage the farm operators while developing the work plan to enable them know what they are supposed to do. This also ensures everyone owns the work plan and works towards achieving it.
Scouting is one of the major activities to be carried out. This involves the identification, monitoring and recording of pests and diseases and physiological disorders to apply the appropriate preventive and control measures.
It should be carried out routinely and that should be included in the work plan. One may decide to scout every day especially if dealing with hydroponic crops or at least four times a week.
Sanitation protocols such as ensuring the footbaths are clean should be done daily. This means the footbath should be cleaned every day and a new disinfectant put in place.
Watering is a key activity in the greenhouse. In this case, it should be done between 8am and 4pm daily.
To prevent waterlogging, the frequency of irrigation has to be increased to ensure we give the plant adequate time to absorb the water. Farmer Grace's schedule will, therefore, involve watering the crops every hour.
But this will also depend on the weather condition and the physiological state of the plan. Other routine management practices include pollination that will begin once the plants starts to flower.
Weeding work plan
It should be done regularly when the relative humidity is about 75 per cent every day. Fertiliser application will be done according to the soil test analysis from which we developed a fertiliser programme.
A weeding work plan is based on scouting. In most cases, weeding is typically done after three weeks. Training is the process of providing support to the crop which encourages vertical growth and prevents the fruits from getting into contact with the ground.
After a month, the crops should be provided with support. This is, in addition, to a weekly management practice that should be observed. Pest and diseases control by use of chemicals should be done based on the scouting report. This means one should be scouting and spraying based on the need. If the scouting is necessary, plan for the labour.
Activities on our work plan (left) are an indication that we require a farm operator in the greenhouse every day. Activities such as sanitation, pollination, watering, and scouting should be done almost daily.
It is the role of the farm operator to carry out the activities in the greenhouse. Farmer Grace will provide relevant materials required to carry out the activities. In our next article, we shall look at watering as management practices.