Laying Out Nursery Structures

Nursery bed is specially prepared exclusive area where seedlings are raised. The seedlings can be raised from seeds directly planted in the soil or from seeds planted in polythene bags. Nursery beds for passion fruit can be arranged in different ways.

Why is it important to lay the nursery structures on the ground?
1. You want to get the best quality seedlings that are strong therefore they must be raised in properly designed and effective nursery structures.
2. The structures should be strong enough to withstand any weather conditions like strong winds, heavy rainfall, possible soil erosion during the growth period when the seedlings are growing.

Types of nursery beds
There are three main types of nursery beds: flat, raised or sunken. These beds can be in an open, under a screen shade or in a greenhouse. Potted seedlings can be raised on a flat bed or can be set into a sunken bed. In the case of a sunken bed, the basin-like excavation is about 1 m by 1 m and about 10 cm deep. Such a structure holds seedlings together, and helps to conserve water especially in dry areas.

Steps to undertake to prepare a nursery bed
1. Plough the site for the nursery bed to remove all weeds and stumps left after clearing.
2. Excavate the top soil to a depth of about 10 cm deep and heap it somewhere separately.
Top soil holds most of the organic matter which improves the nutrients and structure of the soil. It is kept separately and mixed with manure and sand to improve drainage. The top soil acts as the planting substrate for planting.
3. Excavate the subsoil and also heap it separately to be used later when mixing the nursery media
4. Remove any stones and roots in both soils, ideally by sieving
5. Return the topsoil into the dug trench of the nursery bed.

6. Mix 2 parts of soil with 1 part of manure or compost and 1 part of sand (if available) to
assist in drainage.
7. Level the soil in the sunken or raised bed in readiness for planting seeds.

When constructing the nursery beds, be keen and diligent in the following:
1. Decide where to heap the soil for use without being carried away by rain.
2. Decide what to do with excess top soil. This can be kept aside in a covered shed for future use.
3. Avoid constructing poor foundation for the nursery beds for them to last longer.
4. Use the seedbed construction guide to ensure suitable nursery beds are.

Steps for preparing media
1. Level the media on the nursery bed.
2. Cover the nursery bed with the clear polythene sheet.
3. Cover the edges of the polythene sheet with soils to create a seal.
4. Leave the covered nursery bed for a period of 2-3 weeks.
5. By the third week, the temperatures under the sheet will have risen and destroy soil micro-organisms.
6. Uncover the nursery bed after the three weeks and proceed with the next steps of the process

After the seed bed is prepared and sterilized, it is now ready for sowing passion seeds.

Steps in sowing seeds in the nursery bed
1. Mark lines on the nursery bed along the contour spacing the lines at 10 centimeters apart.
2. Using the stick make furrows that are up to 3 centimeters deep.
3. Drill the seeds using your fingers into the furrows.
4. Then using the stick, cover the seeds in the furrows by leveling the furrow surface.
5. After that place the mulching materials on the surface of the nursery bed and water using the watering can.
6. Continue watering every three days in case there is no rain or as the soil conditions dictate.
7. Remove the mulch material when 70% of the seedlings have emerged.

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