One advantage with a small garden is that the farmer has the capacity to take the best physical care of the soil and hence come up with high crop yields.
It is easy for the farmer to do most of the work without using hired labour, fuelled machines, or the headache of giving directions to anyone at all in the execution of any farming practice.
For a long time banana growers in Buganda region have practiced mulching of their gardens with banana leaves. Yet only a few farmers in the region consider it necessary to do the same with crops such as coffee, maize, and other crops.
Agriculturists define mulching as the application of any material that can cover and protect the soil. Most people use organic material such as leaves, grass, crop residues and in some countries, plastic paper sheets.
The idea is to cover the soil so that weeds are not free to grow as they would when the soil is fully exposed. The practice protects soil particles from erosion by wind and running rain water.
The mulching materials act as obstacles to soil particle movement as the wind blows or as water runs and effectively minimise chances of soil removal from the garden. Such obstacles further enhance water infiltration into the soil.
Mulching actually sustains water retention in the soil and keeps it moist. Mulching materials are often food to living organism within the soil such as worms which are important for soil nourishment.
When the mulching materials decompose they turn into humus which is required for plant growth.
However, the farmer practicing mulching must constantly worry about the possibility of arson meted out by enemies or mindless bushfire perpetrators.
Burning grass or crop residues may destroy all the crops in the garden. Sometimes mulched areas act as breeding ground for crop pests such as weevils and other crop disease causing organisms.
It is the reason why banana farmers are advised not to place mulching materials too close to the banana stem.
In some cases, especially when rain is scarce, mulching prevents rain from reaching the soil.