General Information on Bio-fumigation
Bio-fumigation is based on incorporating soil amendment (fresh plant mass, manure) into the soil, which will release chemical substances, known as isothiocyanates (ITC's), able to suppress soil-borne pests and diseases, plus a soil heater to enhance biological activities.
Plants from Cruciferae family (cabbage, radish, cauliflower etc.) release large amount of these toxic to soil-borne pests and diseases substances - in the soil and are considered the best material for bio-fumigation.
How to do it:
- Incorporate the fresh mass into the soil. This can be done directly if the mass is coming from grown crop or plant mass taken from elsewhere and brought into the plot or field. If the mass is transported to the field, the soil should be well prepared before the incorporation. During transportation and storage of these organic materials in the field, care must be taken not to lose the gases produced from biodegradation, by covering the piles of the bio-fumigant with plastic until the time of application.
A dose of 50 t/ha is recommended, although when problems with nematodes or fungi are very serious, 100 t/ha should be applied, a dose that can be reduced by choosing a cultivation techniques such as application in furrows.
The bio-fumigant should be distributed uniformly, so that no concentration of pathogens will appear that could create problems for the crop. Once the biofumigant is distributed, it should be incorporated immediately into the soil.
- Water the field, if possible by sprinkling, until the soil is saturated, although watering can be done by flooding, or drip irrigation can be installed.
- Cover the soil surface tightly with a transparent plastic film for at least 2 weeks to retain the gases produced from the biodegradation of the organic matter. This could be the same plastic as the one used for soil solarisation.
- The film is removed 3-4 weeks after and the soil slightly removed in order to permit the gases to escape from soil.
- Planting of the interested crop can be done 24 hours later.