You can plant fruits and vegetables on any type of farmland: farm, field, moor, slope of a mountain, and other strategic areas.
Fruits and vegetable crops have high harvest productivity as long as you plant and take care of them well, carefully, and meticulously.
The correct and proper way of taking care of crops in a way that can give them positive added values in their growth and development sure needs intensive research on time and portion management. So it is important for farmers and home gardeners to really understand everything regarding healthy environment in agriculture, including how farmers should make work procedure and proper crops management.
The care of fruit horticulture crops needs serious attention so farmers can prevent bad happenings like a failed harvest, diseased fruits, destroyed harvest because of pests, or other things that lower your crops productivity. Surely we all want to avoid those things.
There are several steps in caring for fruit crops for a more fruitful and profitable harvest. Here are those:
Watering or sprinkling is the most important step for crops. It stabilizes the texture and humidity of soil so crops won’t undergo water crisis.
Some variety of hydrophyte crops (crops that grow in water like Limnocharis flava and Ipomoea aquatic), watering may not be necessary because of the water condition, but if the environment is suffering from dry season, watering may be done.
However, it’s a different case entirely if you are farming crops on land including hygrophyte crops (crops that grow on humid land) or xerophyte crops (crops that grow on dry land).
All those different characteristics of crops surely need different and special time, dosage, intensity of watering because each crop needs and gets different nutrients from the land depending on their habitats.
For land crops, like most fruits, usually the watering is done twice a day, especially for crops that are still in their DNA development phase of growth. The intensity and frequency of watering for certain fruit crops depend on their age and need for water from time to time.
So, the most important thing is to do watering on crops that is suitable in intensity and dosage, not more, not less. Controlled watering just as much as the crops need is far better for crops than uncontrolled, free watering without certain pattern or frequency. At the end of the day, how you do the watering for your crops matters most on your future harvest.
- Weeding and Harrowing
Weeding and harrowing are two things that cannot be skipped in your farming, for both vegetable and fruit crops.
For fruit crops, cultivating and harrowing play an important role in keeping crops healthy and free from bacteria and pathogenic diseases that can attack certain tissues on your crops.
Weeding can be defined as an effort by farmers to keep the land (soil or seedbed area, for example) clear from weeds that grow around the crops. Uncontrolled weeds can be dangerous to crops because it will hinder crops’ growth. Other than that, a struggle for nutrition between crops and weeds often happen and this will have bad effects on the crops where they will experience nutrient deficiency that will lead to thin stems, slow leaf growth, non-optimum height proportionality, and less fruitful crops.
Weeding and harrowing can be done at the same time. Harrowing is something that is done to break up lumps in soil to achieve finer, looser finish of soil that allows air to cycle properly giving way to fertile soil because oxygen is well absorbed through the roots from chemical substances in fertilizer and organic elements.
Harrowing is done using small hoes. It is done around the area where crops grow. Be careful when you do this as to not damage crops’ roots.
Several fruit crops that are most benefited from weeding and harrowing are limes, oranges, melons, mangoes, cassavas, tomatoes, pumpkins, peanuts, and so on.
Perempelan is the process of cutting off a few of young shoots or auxiliary shoots so your plant grows more productive shoots that can produce more and better fruits. Perempelan is usually done by farmers on certain types of fruits, for example coffee beans and guavas.
Fertilization (giving your crops fertilizer) is an activity that can be done by farmers to keep crops and farmland fertile that would end up giving them fruitful harvest.
In fertilization, usually farmers use either or both non-organic and organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer has a tendency to give more profitable result than non-organic fertilizer like urea, KCL, TSP, etc. It is proven that using cattle manure or fermented plants as organic fertilizer has far better effect on crops. To this day, a lot of farmers have been doing their thing organically because of that with the addition of organic fertilizer being friendlier to the environment and the human body.
Fertilizing also needs to be done correctly, just as much and as often as the crops need; nothing more, nothing less, everything needs to be on point.
- Crop Area Management
Managing your crop area and the environment around it is very important. This is done by paying attention to the farmland condition and your crops’ organs; the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits.
If, for example, you find your farmland area has a lot of weed that can endanger your crops’ health, be quick to do some weeding and maybe even harrowing as needed. Other technical difficulties may come, for instance, when your fruits get attacked by pests like caterpillars, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and bats or diseased from certain viruses, bacteria, or other parasitical microorganisms.
- Pest and Disease Control
Pests and diseases on your fruit or vegetable crops are the reasons for almost 80% of failed harvest. Farmers in Indonesia have experienced a lot of loss due to pest activity and diseases. Moreover, their growth can easily become epidemic when the climate and environmental situation suit their condition really well.
Pest and diseases control for your crops can be done by using organic bio-pesticide or using biological predators as hosts to kill other organisms that can endanger your crops. Some farmers use insecticide or nematicides to kill insects and animals from class nematodes.
Meanwhile, the danger from diseases that often attack horticulture crops like vegetables and fruits comes from black leafhoppers, rice ear bugs, snakes, bats, spodopteras, caterpillars, layu fusarium, and poisonous bacteria activity that can destroy the structure of your crops’ organs that will then die.
- Research and Observation on Farmland Environment
Research is a preventive way to push forward various scientific investigations on the field. The research I mean is the research done by farmers and gardeners on their own farmland area. For example, to find out the best way to care for your crops, you can choose to implement inter cropping or crop rotation system. Another example would be the research farmers do regarding pest and disease attack on their crops and how they fare against the usage of certain bio-pesticides and their effects on crops.
Further example would be the various investigations, hypotheses, and a series of scientific researches and observations in agriculture. Farmers should be innovative in finding chemical or non-chemical products that can be alternatives in crop caring like the innovation of organic fertilizer that can make crops bear fruit faster.
So, farming and other agricultural activities require physical activities as well as scientific researches to go towards an age of professional farmers that put farming as a public service activity.
There you go for a quick and simple way to explain the steps needed to get your crops as profitable as possible. Happy gardening!