May 23, 2024

The days are not becoming longer and the atmosphere is turning warmer without or limited rain that subject plants to water stress.
This is the El Niño phenomenon which negatively affects economic crops like cereal, vegetable, ornamental, and fruit crops during the months of March to May.
Farmers ask me how to plant successfully during the dry season.
Growers are advised to practice pre-sowing hardening of seeds or seedling hardening before planting; to apply organic fertilizers to increase the water holding capacity of the soil and additional amount of phosphorus and potassium to enable the plants to develop an extensive root system that absorb and deeper into the soil, and for potassium to increase turgidity.
I also advise to plant cultivars with thick cuticle, hairy, smaller but thicker leaves which have lower transpiration or loss of water from the plant and those that are succulent and have spongy tissues that can store water.
Thicker hilling-up of soil or placing mulching materials as base of the plants to minimize evaporation of water from the soil can be done.
Also, save water by having water impounding structures and irrigate the crops early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid rapid mid-day evaporation of water. — PERCIVAL B. ALIPIT, Baguio City