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close this bookBio-Intensive Approach to Small-Scale Household Food Production (IIRR, 1993, 180 p.)
close this folderCrop management
View the documentCrop planning
View the documentUsing the fenceline for planting annual and perennial crops
View the documentCompanion plant guide chart
View the documentVegetables that can be harvested in less than a month
View the documentShade-tolerant vegetables
View the documentDrought-resistant vegetables
View the documentSolarization: A weed control technique using sunlight
View the documentWatering
View the documentMulching
View the documentThe role of organic mulches
View the documentSome tropical materials for use as mulch
View the documentGardening in dry environments
View the documentWater-saving ideas for gardens during dry season
View the documentGrowing vegetables in saline areas
View the documentLead in urban gardens

Solarization: A weed control technique using sunlight

Solarization is a technique for killing weeds in a garden plot using the sun's heat. A clear plastic sheet is used to cover the garden plots and is then exposed to the heating rays of the sun for 10 - 15 days. This technique is used before the crops are planted and only when weeds are a serious problem and in the first year of starting a garden. Subsequently, garden practices such as yearround cultivation, crop rotation and intercropping should control weeds.

How to solarize:

1. Dig the garden bed to a depth of 20 - 30 cm, pulverize and level.

2. Water the surface to a depth of 15 - 20 cm.

3. Cover the entire surface of the garden with clear plastic (polyethylene).

4. Seal all sides by covering the edges of the plastic with soil or pieces of lumber/wood.

5. Keep the plastic in place for 10-15 days. During this period, the weed seeds will germinate and, through the intense heat of the sun, will gradually be killed.

6. Remove the plastic cover.

7. Apply compost and other soil supplements and incorporate into the soil to a depth of 10 15 cm.

8. Level the garden bed and plant.

How to solarize

* Water buffalo, cow and horse manures, if applied directly (even in dried form). can result in increased weed growth due to the presence of weed seeds in the excreta. If such uncomposted manure is used, it should be incorporated into the soil before the plastic cover is placed onto the bed. Weed seeds are not generally found in pig and Poultry manures.