Friday, October 14, 2022

planting trays in kenya

Planting trays are called plastic or styrofoam sheet that holds the seed through germination to seedling

Farmers have slowly evolved from direct open-field planting to the use of planting trays made from high-density plastics. Compared to open field sowing, the probability of seeds germinating is relatively high on planting trays. Open fields expose seeds to natural environmental conditions such as preexisting weather conditions, wild animals, insects and birds, thus not all seeds will germinate and reach maturity. Planting trays are closely monitored, providing seeds with optimum conditions of growth which increases the probability of seed growth
Planting trays is yet another ingenious agricultural innovation. They perform the same functions as a seedbed. From the early stages of germination, a seed requires careful handling and the necessary conditions for growth; air, water and warmth. Seeds need to be protected from insects, wild animals and harsh weather conditions. Planting trays provide all these necessary provisions with minimum disturbance, making seeds germinate into strong plants. Seedlings in plastic trays take 10 to 20 days less to germinate compared to natural field planting. 
Planting trays are industrially moulded from high-density plastic materials, mostly recycled, into circular or square cells. The high-density plastic materials make the tray light in weight, durable to withstand all natural conditions, can be reused a couple of times and it's nonbiodegradable thus does not interfere with the plant's development. This allows for the holding of growing media, good drainage, and healthy root development and facilitates easy transplanting with minimum disturbance to the plant. Transplanted seedlings will be bigger and stronger, and able to withstand harsh climatic conditions in the field.  
Trays come in different sizes depending on the plant's growth. The number of cells in a tray varies from 28 to 288 seedling tray cells. Actual cell size has an average length of 40mm, width of 40mm and height of 50mm. Depending on the plant grown, tray cell has a perforation at the bottom to allow for drainage and root aeration while others do not. There are also tiny air holes around the cell to allow excellent air circulation. The material thickness is about 0.8 to 1.2mm and the weight varies between 100gams to 800grams depending on the number of cells. The cell helps promote downward root growth. The planting trays are black. 
Before a choice is made on the type of tray to be used, a few factors must be considered. Different types of plants require different conditions to grow. For example, it's economical to plant rice in a 288cell tray. Trays are light, portable and occupy very little space thus several trays can be stacked in a relatively small area. Shade nets and insect nets can be used to protect the seedlings from external intrusions, mulching paper to conserve water and control humidity and a sprinkler irrigation system to water the plant. Transplanting from plastic trays is simple and suitable for both automatic and manual planting. 
To get optimum and best quality products out of a farm, a lot of attention and care is required to be given to a plant from the point of preparing the seedling. Planting trays provide a conducive artificial environment to grow many seedlings fast and in a very small space. 
The result of planting trays technology has shown a significant increase in the quality and quantity of produce in a shortened period. The incidents of seeds not germinating because of intrusion by other animals or environmental factors have been significantly reduced by the use of trays. Although plastic trays have been widely used in growing crops with seeds, more research is required to find better and more efficient ways of growing crops with tubers and suckers.  


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