Feedback: The best environment to grow melons

Friday August 11 2017

To successfully cultivate melons, the soils should be well-drained.

To successfully farm melons, the soils should be well-drained and have good water-holding capacity. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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WATERMELON FARMING

I have a passion for watermelon farming, which I want to grow on my one hectare in Webuye. Can it do well in the region?
Eve

Watermelons are warm season crops and they are susceptible to frost. They further need long growing season of high temperatures.

Good vegetative growth requires 18-32oC, the optimal being 18-24oC. Melons do better with adequate water supply.

At least 400mm of moisture will be required in a growing season. Soils should be well-drained and with good water-holding capacity.

The pH should be 6.0-6.8. Melons have been grown successfully in sandy soils, where water supply is adequate. However, the best soils are sandy loam or silt loam.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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MAKING TELEPHONE FARMING WORK

I am a teacher working in Isiolo County and I have a farm in Machakos, which is actually near River Athi. I have been unable to do any farming on that farm due to the distance.

Kindly advise me on how I can successfully do distant farming.

Paul Kinyili

You can employ a farm manager and workers who will always be on the farm but you have to make sure that you are present during major farming activities like planting or harvesting.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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REARING BROILERS

I would like to start rearing broilers but I have no information on market. Are there people or companies that offer contract farming in the range of 1,000-3,000 birds around Nairobi?

John Mwangi, Thika

The focal point of a successful broiler production is finding reliable market for the bird’s meat.

Failure to get market contributes to the collapse of many broiler production businesses because they get started without a good plan.

Most ready markets for broilers are local hotels or food joints, cafeterias, restaurants, supermarkets, butcheries and bars.

The focal point of a successful broiler production.

The focal point of a successful broiler production is finding reliable market for the bird’s meat. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

From my experience, the reason why many producers are turned away is due to doubt to supply ever fresh, tender, clean, quality and tasty birds as well as sustaining the supply.

Moreover, you will agree with me that Nairobi being an urban city, there is market, only that it is not streamlined. This calls for careful thinking outside the box to actually get access to it.

For instance, it may require that you deliver at your own cost and there being many producers, you must identify lucrative buyers and offer samples before they commit to make orders or contracts.

Occasionally producers shy away from buyers with little orders, ignoring that multiple ‘small’ outlets in the end translate to more sales wholesomely.

During production, feed birds well to build more meat especially at the thighs and breasts where customers are pay attention to.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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WHERE TO GET ALMOND SEEDS

I would like to know the conditions suitable for growing sweet almond and where I can get the seedlings.
Catherine Githui

Almonds do well at an altitude of 800-3,500m above sea level. They require warm dry summers and mild wet winters.

Temperatures shoud be between 15 and 320C. Soil should be well-drained and fertile. Loamy soil is the best. The soil pH should be 7.0-8.5.

Almond nuts.

Almond nuts. To successfully farm almonds, the soils should be well-drained and fertile, with loamy soil being the best. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Waterlogged soils should be avoided. You can get seeds from Mau Corporation LLC in Mombasa contact them through +2540788784773.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

I would like to grow almonds on my farm, where can I buy seeds or seedlings in Kenya?
Eliakim Ojwang

You can get almond seeds from Mau Corporation LLC in Mombasa, contact them through +254-0788-784773.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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BUILDING A DAIRY UNIT

Please educate me on how to build a dairy cattle structure.
Samuel

Kindly email me the design templates of a zero-grazing unit for five dairy cows.

Fred Omondi,
Green Oaks Farm, Koru

Dairy cattle housing is a big contributor to increased milk production as a comfortable animal produces more.

Dairy cattle feeding.

Dairy cattle feeding. Dairy cattle housing is a big contributor to increased milk production. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A good cow barn should take into account basic principles, among them ability to allow for expansion with minimal interference, labour efficiency, comfort of cows and health and hygiene.

Please send us a mail to [email protected] for a copy of basic standard unit.

We can also customise you a simple, suitable and cost efficient unit to suit your production needs taking into account number of animals you intend to rear and other structures like hay barn or crush.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.