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Crops

N THE CULTIVATION of cut flowers, nets are usually

set out to support the flowers (Fig. 1). This is done in

order to prevent the flowers from lodging and to improve their quality. However, the average age of flower growers in many Asian countries is increasing. The cultivation of cut flowers needs to be made a lighter work, with a lower labor input. This leaflet describes a labor-saving way to set out flower nets. It has been used successfully for the cultivation of gentians for several years in Japan. A plastic holder was cut into short pieces. Each piece was the same size as the width of a thin wooden board (Fig. 2). Notches were cut along the top of the

wooden board (Fig. 2). Notches were cut along the top of the board, to hold firm

wooden board (Fig. 2). Notches were cut along the top of the board, to hold firm

board, to hold firm the meshes of the flower net (Fig. 3). Two plastic holders were fixed vertically with screws to each board. A board was then put at each end of the row of flowers, held in place by the plastic holders, which fitted inside strong plastic poles (Fig. 4). Then S-shaped hooks were made from strong galvanized No. 16 wire (Fig. 5). The curves of the hook were designed to fit round the pole (Fig. 6) , and hold the net firm on either side (Fig. 7). A long net was stretched tightly between the boards at either end of the row. Poles were fixed into the ground at intervals at each side of the row. The S- shaped hooks were used to fix the net to the poles at

The S- shaped hooks were used to fix the net to the poles at Food and

The S- shaped hooks were used to fix the net to the poles at Food and

both sides, so the net was tightly stretched over the row (see Fig. 8).

This is not an expensive technology, since most of the items are made by the growers themselves. Using this method in a field of 0.1 ha (50 x 20 m 2 ) will take 70 pieces of plastic holder, and 1,400 S-shaped hooks. A great advantage is that only one worker is needed, whereas, the conventional method of setting out and stretching the nets needs two people.

of setting out and stretching the nets needs two people. Also, in the conventional method, each

Also, in the conventional method, each end of the net has to be strengthened by weaving it with a polythene cord reinforced with fishing line. Then each end has to be tied tightly with pieces of string to stretch the net as tightly as possible. This time-consuming work does not need to be done when the S-shaped hooks are used. The working time required to set out flower nets over a bed 14 m in length, using the plastic holders and S-shaped hooks, is only about four minutes. This is about one-third of the working time required for the conventional method.

hooks, is only about four minutes. This is about one-third of the working time required for

hooks, is only about four minutes. This is about one-third of the working time required for

hooks, is only about four minutes. This is about one-third of the working time required for