By JAMES TABABA
The rainy season in the Philippines typically lasts from June to November, and while it brings much needed relief from the scorching heat of summer, it can also pose significant challenges for farmers and gardeners. Heavy rains can damage crops and lead to reduced yields, which can have a severe impact on the livelihoods of those who rely on agriculture. However, there are some strategies to protect crops and minimize the damage caused by the rainy season. Here are some of them:
Choosing the right crop
Choosing the right crops to plant is one of the most effective ways to protect crops during the rainy season. Some crops are more resistant to heavy rain and moisture than others, making it essential to select crops that are well-suited to the conditions of the rainy season. For example, crops such as rice, edible fern, and okra are more resilient and flood-tolerant, making them well-suited for the rainy season. These crops can withstand the effects of heavy rain and have adapted to grow in wet and waterlogged soil conditions.
Waterlogging is a common problem during heavy and continuous rain, and it can lead to root rot and other diseases that can damage crops. To improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, create ditches or furrows that allow excess water to drain away from the crops. By doing so, excess water is channeled away from the crop area, preventing it from accumulating and saturating the soil.
Use cover crops
Planting cover crops is an effective way to mitigate soil erosion caused by heavy rainfall during the rainy season in the Philippines. Heavy rainfall can cause soil detachment, leading to soil erosion and the loss of valuable topsoil. Cover crops protect soil from erosion by intercepting raindrops, binding soil particles together with their root systems, and improving water infiltration. Legumes such as cowpeas, mung beans, and pigeon peas are particularly effective cover crops, as they have deep root systems that can penetrate the soil and improve soil structure.
Shade nets are a versatile and cost-effective solution for protecting crops. They can provide protection from heavy rainfall, strong winds, and pests. By providing shade, they can prevent crops from being battered by raindrops and reduce soil erosion caused by the impact of rain. Additionally, strong winds caused by typhoons can cause damage to crops by breaking their stems and branches or uprooting them entirely. Shade nets can help to reduce the impact of strong winds by providing a physical barrier that can withstand the force of the wind. These nets are available in different sizes and densities to suit different crops and growing conditions and can be reused for multiple growing seasons, making them a sustainable investment for farmers.
Using windbreakers is an effective method that farmers can use to protect their crops from strong winds during the rainy season. Windbreakers are essentially barriers that are designed to slow down the wind and reduce its speed. Natural windbreakers are made up of trees, bushes, and other vegetation. They can be planted around the perimeter of a crop field or in between rows of crops. Natural windbreakers can be effective at reducing wind speed and providing shelter for crops.
Farmers often long for rain after a prolonged drought, but the excessive rain and strong winds brought by typhoons can lead to soil erosion and crop damage. This can cause significant financial losses for farmers. By using some methods such as choosing resilient crops, improving drainage, planting cover crops, using shade nets, and installing windbreakers, damages can be minimized and reduced.