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The use of agrofibre, a specialized nonwoven material, is a relatively new trend in agricultural technologies, it is no more than 15-20 years old.
But in a short time, it has earned popularity among farmers and lovers of work on small individual plots.
This material allows you to achieve high and early yields and, at the same time, greatly simplifies the most laborious processes of the gardener's work.
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What is agrofiber
The use of film coatings in the cultivation of cultivated plants has been practiced for a long time. However, this material, for all its advantages, still does not fully meet all the requirements.
Widespread films do not allow moisture and air to pass through, so their area of application is quite limited - creating a greenhouse effect in greenhouses or directly on the beds.
For the sake of fairness, it can be noted that at present it is possible to purchase membrane films, in which this drawback is to some extent eliminated, but the cost of such materials is quite high, and not everyone can afford them.
The introduction of nonwovens in agricultural technology literally revolutionized agriculture.
Agrofibre is a lightweight covering fabric made from polypropylene fiber. This polymer is absolutely neutral, not releasing any toxic substances into the soil or air.
All manufacturers of this nonwoven fabric are required to obtain hygienic certification, which confirms its absolute safety for people, animals and plants.
The main advantages of this material are that its porous structure allows moisture, air and a certain range of sunlight to pass through. Thus, a unique microclimate is created in the beds or in greenhouses, which is most favorable for the growth and development of plants.
The foliage at the right time can be protected from the staring ultraviolet rays. During the period of spring or autumn frosts, plants receive excellent protection against freezing.
In addition, agrofibre coatings protect crops from heavy rains, hail, and pest infestations.
A special application has a black agrofiber, which is absolutely non-transmissive to light. This is a unique mulching covering of the beds, completely preventing the growth of weeds and, at the same time, creating the most optimal temperature and humidity conditions on the soil surface, protecting it from drying out during the hot period.
Agrofibre is affordable and significantly surpasses film materials in all respects. Many farmers and owners of suburban areas have already appreciated its qualities.
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The choice of agrofibre for growing strawberries
One of the favorite horticultural crops in a private household is strawberry. It is grown in the middle lane almost everywhere.
The use of agrofibre can significantly increase its yield, accelerate the ripening of the first fruits, and reliably preserve strawberry bushes in the most extreme conditions.
When growing strawberries, both types of agrofibre are actively used - covering and mulching spunbond, white and black.
Planted strawberry beds are covered with white agrofibre to protect them from frost, heavy rains, hail, and ultraviolet rays. The ability of such a spunbond to transmit up to 80% of sunlight does not slow down the normal development of plants in any way.
The density of the material is low, so it easily rises even with the most flimsy bushes. In addition, the material is used for the construction of greenhouses.
There are several gradations of the density of the covering material. So, spunbond with a minimum density of 17 g / m2 will reliably protect strawberry bushes when freezing to minus 3 degrees.
As the density increases, the security also increases: - 19 g / m2 - up to minus 4, 23 g / m2 - up to minus 5. Denser types of agrofibre (30, 42 and 60 g / m2 create an even higher temperature protection, but they are already more often used for the construction of frame greenhouses, for example, of a tunnel type using arcs.
Some farmers prefer to keep their beds covered throughout the gardening season, opening them only for weeding, mustache trimming or harvesting.
If there is no desire to tinker with weeds and with cleaning strawberries from the whiskers released, they use mulching spunbond, the density of which is 60 g / m2.
The development of plants under it does not occur due to the inaccessibility of sunlight, with the exception of the bushes planted in special slots. Convenience is that the released mustache cannot take root, and its removal is not difficult.
In addition, ripe berries do not lie on bare ground, they are clean and do not rot underneath. A well-known pest of strawberries, the slug is also deprived of the ability to reach the fruit. But under the black agrofibre, in constantly moist and warm soil, the necessary biochemical processes are continuing with might and main, contributing to the active development of plants.
It is quite possible to combine both types of spunbond - cover the soil with a mulching cloth, and cover the bushes on the ridges made from above with light white.
Standard sizes of agrofibre used in private households are rolls of 1.6 or 3.2 meters wide. Spunbond is implemented in footage, that is, it will not be difficult to calculate and purchase the required amount.
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Growing strawberries under agrofibre
The first thing that is necessary is to clearly determine the plot of the garden allocated for growing strawberries. This plant loves light, so at least half a day the area should be illuminated by direct sunlight. Strawberry does not tolerate waterlogging - the soil under it should not be waterlogged.
The site is completely dug up, freed from old rhizomes, stones, then it is well harrowed and leveled.
To cover the site with mulching spunbond, stones or paving slabs are prepared - they can press the edges of the material when laying, and then lay out the paths. A sufficient number of metal staples must be made to anchor the agrofibre to the ground. To make the fabric last longer, you can prick rectangles cut from old linoleum onto the staples.
Agrofibre cut to the required size is covered with the intended area. If there is a need to use several canvases, then the overlap between them should be at least 20 centimeters.
The edges of the canvases are first fixed with stones, then fastened to the ground with metal brackets. Better yet, dig a small groove around the perimeter, where to lower the edge of the agrofibre and reliably sprinkle it with earth.
After the site is laid out, they begin to mark the future beds. Planting strawberry bushes in two-row rows is considered the best option. The distance between the lines is 40 centimeters, and between the bushes in a line is 25.
For ease of passage, a distance of 60 centimeters is left between the rows. The landing sites are marked on the canvas with chalk.
A cruciform incision of about 10 x 10 centimeters is made in the marked places with a sharp knife. The resulting corners are tucked inward.
With the help of a narrow scoop, recesses are made for planting bushes. Strawberries do not require much depth - their rosette should be flush with the ground.
The depth of the pits will depend on the type of seedlings - open roots of plants or bushes grown in cups, with a lump of earth at the root.
After planting the bush, they are watered at the root with a garden watering can. You can switch to the usual external irrigation method in 2-3 days.
It is good if the garden bed is equipped with paths - it is undesirable to walk on agrofibre. They can be made from unnecessary planks or sidewalk tiles.
It is also advised to make paths from sawdust or straw - saturated with moisture, they will reliably hold the canvas on the surface of the earth. It is very good if it turns out to close the joints of the material with a path.
Caring for the planted strawberries will not be difficult - regular watering without waterlogging, harvesting, cleaning from dried leaves and loose whiskers, which, thanks to the fiber, do not take root.
Regularly, as in normal conditions, you can feed with organic fertilizers or special formulations for strawberries sold in stores.
If it is planned to use a covering spanbond, then it can creep directly onto the bushes, ensuring its easy lifting to carry out the necessary work. You can install arcs, and then in a matter of minutes the garden bed can turn into a tunnel greenhouse.
Covering agrofibre can cover the site before the onset of cold weather, leaving it for the whole winter. This will create additional protection for the bushes, especially in the snowless season, and will ensure the soonest warming of the soil with the onset of spring.
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