Tips on making the most use of sunlight on your farm

There are various approaches that can be used to get the best out of sunlight on the farm. The most basic approach that you can practise on your farm is ensuring that your soil is covered by plants all-year round. How you achieve this?

1. Ensure you implement a programme where crops are grown in between the seasons. For instance, if you want to grow beans after maize (North Rift scenario) you can introduce beans in October allow then to grow under the maize and benefit from the few days of rain remaining so that they can grow until December.

2. Intercropping and mixed cropping, which are common among farmers in Kenya, also ensure that the space in between rows is utilised. It is also an effective approach in ensuring soil is covered all-year round, which eventually translates into optimum absorption of sunlight.

Intercropping attempts to use crop to crop interactions to enhance resistance to pests and diseases and the uptake of nutrients by plants. Mixed cropping might not necessarily be observing crop to crop interactions but it ensures that a greater surface is covered than when practising mono-cropping.

Through photosynthesis, plants take up CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into sugars (carbohydrates) and feed it into the soil through decomposition. Ensuring optimum soil cover, therefore, contributes greatly to the generation of biomass (green/compost manure) for healthy and productive soils.

There is abundant sunlight and we need to take advantage of it, especially when we have some moisture in the soil. It is not only to fill our baskets, but also to build our soils.

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