- The ideal material used for shelter is a plastic shed net that is produced in various grades.
- The grade includes the percentage amount of sunshine that is cut off from the nursery.
- For example, 70% shed net means that the shade net fabric cuts off 70% of the sunshine thus letting through 30% to reach the seedlings.
- A shed net distributes light evenly in the nursery and is mist durable.
- It doesn’t allow hailstones to fall on the seedlings and weakens the strength of raindrops such that they have completely no effect on the seedlings.
Metallic and treated wooden poles
- Metallic poles are the most durable but are very expensive.
- Treated wooden poles are relatively durable but also expensive to a local farmer.
- Do not put concrete at the base of the wooden poles as they will break down in a short time.
- A chain link is an ideal material for fencing.
- It is also very durable but very expensive.
- A chain-link will never let into the nursery animals like goats, chicken, pigs let alone cows.
- Thieves will also not be able to access the nursery as the only entrance is via a doorway
- A concrete floor is ideal for the nursery.
- It is washable when it becomes dirty and doesn’t allow the growth of weeds on the floor of the nursery.
- Plant roots cannot establish on the floor of the nursery and drainage is fast.
All the above-mentioned materials are expensive, not locally available and need skill for construction. A local farmer however has alternative materials that he can use to construct a nursery in his homestead. These materials are easily available, cheap and farmers know how to work with them.
A shed can be constructed with any locally available materials. The poles are obtained from local trees, which produce hardwood. The roof can be covered with elephant grass reeds, bamboo wood, and any other material that will not give total darkness in the shed and is durable. The floor should be leveled and rammed. The perimeter fence can be made of bamboo wood, elephant grass reeds or papyrus reeds.
Nursery Tools and Equipment
The tools used in the nursery are simple but of good quality. It is worthwhile spending a little more on their purchase than having to replace low-quality tools frequently. Use tools for the purpose they were designed. Their proper maintenance is one of the activities of a good nursery manager.
Below is a list of basic logistics needed for a standard nursery:
- Working the soils – hoes, spades, rakes and shovel.
- Soil preparation – a sieve
- Watering – watering can/a hose with a nozzle
- Transport – a wheelbarrow
- Trimming the young plants – secateurs
- Grafting and budding – knives, binding tape, sharpening stone, pruner
- Crop protection – pesticides and disinfectants
Nursery Management and Hygiene
- Fence the area of the nursery with entry points at a minimum
- Always have a footbath at the entrance. Jik can be used as the detergent as it is cheap enough
- Provide workers with gumboots and overalls if they can be afforded
- Raise potting bags on a platform to minimize the possibility of contamination from the floor
- Eliminate any possible chances of disease transfer by sterilization /disinfecting of seeds, buds, scions and cutting tools
- Use clean seeds, buds and scions
- For crop protection, alternate chemicals to avoid resistance
- Label and arrange plants properly in the nursery