A new method of sowing seeds under transparent plastic tunnels is being practiced very extensively and successfully in large modern farms. These tunnels are made simply by 'embedding' semi-circular steel wires/rods in the ground and then stretching a rigid transparent plastic sheeting over a succession of such arches to form a tunnel. These create a greenhouse effect. The benefits of such tunnels are said to be manifold:
1. The soil remains moist over a long period creating the right conditions for germination when the warmth of the sun filters through the plastic.
2. The emerging seedling is protected from the vagaries of weather.
3. You can sow your seeds earlier than in the open, because under the protection & warmth of the tunnel, the seeds are 'decieved' into believing that the weather is warmer than it actually is & consequently that there time to germinate has arrived.
Believe it or not, this has a relevance in kitchen gardening/terrace gardening too if you are sowing seeds and not just buying seedlings from nurseries.. We don't need tonnels because we don't sow that many seeds. But for our few seeds, we can create mini greenhouses that will keep the media from drying out and prevent the seedlings from the vagaries of weather like a sudden thunderstorm or cold. These mini greenhouses are easily made from rigid plastic sheets by a few steps of folding, cutting & taping. I am using these very successfully since last year.
I have tried to shoot some pictures but am not very sure if you can make out what I am trying to convey. In any case I am posting the pictures here. If you need any further info, please do contact. It will be very nice if you guys have some suggestions to improve the mini greenhouse.
Actually I tried something similar with a PVC (electrical pipes) cuboid frame with a height of 2 feet. I wrapped it with a PVC sheet, the kind used for covering notebooks. It was a spectacular failure probably because of the height and the gap of 1 inch between the ground and the pvc sheet. I was never able to trap any moisture and heat.
I once tried wrapping a seedling tray with a clear plastic cover, the kind you get in vegetable and super markets. That worked great. I could notice moisture in less than 2 hours.
Apart from providing humidity and heat, these tunnels also provide for protection against insects.
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