By Albert Makendenge
Heavy thunderous rains are a common feature of any agricultural season and farmers need to be ready for such times in order to prevent significant damage to their crops. Below are a few tips on how to mitigate the effects of heavy downpours.
In the event of heavy rainfall water should not be allowed to accumulate in the field or garden, a situation which will eventually drown the roots and destroy the plants. Farmers should therefore set up structures such as a simple canal or channel that will ensure runoff into a drainage or collection area. When the garden has had its fill, the water will simply go to a safe place where it does not cause any damage.
One other way to protect the garden and the soil in it is through establishing so come cover either through trees, shrubs or mulching (organic matter application). This goes a long way in reducing the impact of the raindrops which might otherwise hit crop leaves or the soil with maximum force. Adequate soil cover or crop cover preserves both the quality of the plants and the soil in which they are growing.
Heavy rains are usually accompanied by some string winds which can even be more damaging to the plants. In order to save them, farmers would have to secure the plants and all trellises with extra support and ties. Additional beams can also be added if necessary. Smaller plants can be covered in cages or similar constructions or put inside if enough room is available.
Last but not least is the act of pruning all the damaged parts of the plants. All shoots or limbs that look like they are going to fall off should be cut off immediately to prevent the problem from spreading into the other parts of the plant and thus give it the chance grow healthy again.