FEEDBACK: Watch out for rainwater splashes on veggies

Monday May 16 2016

Dorothy Kanyiri sells fruits from her handcart

Dorothy Kanyiri sells fruits from her handcart at a stage in Nyeri town on May 11, 2016. She delivers fruits orders from the market to her customers at stages, offices and even residential areas as a way to maintain them. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MY SPINACH WILTS
I have been planting spinach for a while, but when it rains, they wilt when water splashes on them. Is there a way I can prevent this?
Vesh

Fungal diseases are easily spread through water splashes that carry the fungal spores to the healthy plant. High incidences of spinach anthracnose are common in wet weather conditions. It is recommended to practice crop rotation with non-host crops to reduce the pathogen load, or to spray fungicides during wet weather conditions to control the pathogen.
Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.

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KEEPING TURKEYS
My name is Alice, I am about to start keeping turkeys and my question is, is there a specific climate condition for keeping them, and what cage size do they require?

Turkeys require a cool environment of room temperature ranging from 22–240c. The house space will vary from age to age; 1.5sq ft/bird at 0-4 weeks, 2.5sq ft/bird at 5-16 weeks, 4sq ft/bird at 16-29 weeks (ready for market) and 5sq ft for the breeding population. The spacing per bird should be adequate for movement and staff as well as placement and access of feeders and drinkers.
Sophie Miyumo,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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WHITE FLIES INFECTION
Please tell me what is wrong with the crop below?



Crop infested by a viral disease.

Crop infested by a viral disease.

This is a viral disease. Mostly the plant is infected by vector insects like white files. Control is only by preventing the insect from biting the crop. After the plant is affected the way it is, there is no cure. Uproot it.
Peter Caleb,
Horticulture Scientist Crops Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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I NEED A POULTRY BUSINESS PLAN
I have a bunch of Kienyeji chickens, a pair of geese, and a turkey hen, after I lost the Tom to infection. I have little information on keeping the entire lot. I kindly request that you send me a copy of business plan that include housing plans, disease control and vaccination, feeding schedule and marketing for my further knowledge.
Reagan Fredrick

Kindly send your contacts to The Smallholder Indigenous Chicken Improvement Programme on email: [email protected] or Tel: +254 51 221 7684/5 to be assisted on your requests and also to be informed on the charges for the materials.
Sophie Miyumo,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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CASTOR OIL PLANTS AND SUNFLOWER BUYERS
I wish to know the serious buyers of castor oil and sunflower, and if there is any contract farming for the two, to avoid middlemen exploitation.
Geoffrey Mbobua

Agricultural produce is highly affected by forces of demand and supply. During the bumper harvest, the supply exceeds the demand, thus, the prices go down; this adjusts with time though. However, the influence of the middlemen in this already fragile market complicate things for the worse especially for the farmers. The end result is the low price for the produce. The possible solution is to bulk the grain and deliver to large grain handlers such as Cargil/Lesiolo Grain Handlers, Kenya. The oil processor Bidco too buys sunflower.
Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.

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BEST NJAHI SEEDS
Which are the best njahi seeds to plant in Naivasha (Ndabibi) and where I can get them?
Agnes, Karen

The available varieties are DL 1002 (KAT/DL-1) and DL 1009 for Naivasha area. You can obtain the seeds from a stockists in your area or from farmers who grow the crop.
Muriuki Ruth Wangari,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and soils, Egerton University.

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KARANJA TREE
Do we have the Karanja tree in Kenya? If so, where can I access its products like seedlings, seeds and leaves? I have read that it has a lot of value just like the neem tree.
Phares

Please visit the Kenya Forest Service, which will be able to provide you with the seedlings and other products that you require. They will also provide you with advice on how to care for the trees and value addition on the products.
Muriuki Ruth Wangari,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and soils, Egerton University.

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BENEFITS OF COMFREY



A Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) plant.

A Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) plant.

What is the real name of the vegetable above that looks like tobacco? Also, what are its nutrients value compared to sukuma wiki (collard green)?                        
Edward, Nyahururu

This plant is called Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.). It is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bear small bell-shaped flowers of various colours, typically cream or purplish, which may be stripped. It is native to Europe, though has now been so well-established in many parts of tropical Africa. In Kenya, it is hybrid and is mostly found and well known in Central (mavaki in Kikuyu) and Rift Valley. For many years, I have known this plant to be very important in making mukimo (well-known food in Kikuyu community).
The roots and leaves, generally collected from wild plants, have medicinal importance. The name Symphytum, is derived from the Greek symphyo (to unite). This has been associated with the ‘unity of bones’ as it has been reported, with assumption that calcium could be among the mineral constituent of the plant. It has also been reported that the roots are more effectual than the leaves and are the part usually used in cases of coughs. It is highly esteemed for all pulmonary complaints, consumption and bleeding of the lungs. A strong decoction, or tea, is recommended in cases of internal haemorrhage, whether from the lungs, stomach, bowels or from bleeding piles to be taken every two hours till the haemorrhage ceases, in severe cases. However, all these require more and detailed investigation in laboratories to confirm these reports. The use of the plant for food and the mode of tradition preparation is of importance.
Peter Caleb, Horticulture Scientist Crops Horticulture and Soils,
Egerton University.

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SANDALWOOD SEEDLINGS
Where can one source sandalwood seedlings?
Mark Suge

Due to over exploitation of this tree, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has taken a key interest in establishing plantations and regulate its trade. Please visit the KFS to obtain seedlings and advice on the care of the tree.
Muriuki Ruth Wangari,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and soils, Egerton University.