Feedback: Best practices when growing cabbages

Friday May 11 2018

Show-goers view cabbages in a farm.

Show-goers view cabbages in a farm. Cabbage is shallow-rooted and care should be taken not to damage roots in the field as this would encourage entry of fungi and bacteria. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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BEST CABBAGE FARMING PRACTICES

I am a farmer in Bahati Settlement Scheme in Nakuru North sub county. I currently have potatoes, which are at the flowering stage, and doing well. I want to grow cabbages immediately after before I get potato seeds ready for the third season.

Kindly guide me on the best cabbage farming practice to attain maximum produce.

Calvin Queens

Cabbage is a heavy feeder of nitrogen and potassium. Organic matter, phosphorous and potassium fertilisers should be applied before transplanting and dressing of nitrogenous fertilisers done about four weeks from transplanting and three weeks thereafter.

The rates are 5-10g/plant (185-370kg/ha) of CAN and 200kg/ha DSP. Cabbage benefits from heavy doses of well-decomposed organic manure but there is need for balanced application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Excessive application of nitrogen alone results in loose puffy heads, which cannot be stored for a long time.

Cabbage is shallow-rooted and care should be taken not to damage roots in the field as this would encourage entry of fungi and bacteria.

Cabbage is also a poor competitor of weeds thus it should be protected. Avoid excessive weeding. This may lower yields due to excessive water loss through evapotranspiration and root damage.

Mulching may be beneficial in weed control and conservation of soil moisture.

Irrigation should be done whenever necessary. It is important to note that cabbage is relatively shallow-rooted, thus may need regular watering if rainfall is not adequate. Critical water requirement is at head formation.

Carol Mutua,

Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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MARKET FOR RABBITS

I got into high breed rabbit farming hoping to excel like any other businessperson. However, I am unable to get market both for meat and urine in Kakamega County. 

Sarah, Kakamega

Raising rabbits can be very rewarding because the animals are one of the most productive and economical livestock.

They are prolific breeders, mature quickly, take up a relatively small space, produce compost, offer meat high in protein, lean and low in cholesterol.

The animals do not compete for grains with humans as strongly as chickens, require little housing structures and have an efficient feed conversion ratio.

A farmer displays one of the rabbits she keeps.

A farmer displays one of the rabbits she keeps. Rabbit keeping is of paramount importance in achieving food security and creating employment especially for the youth. FILE PHOTO | NMG

There are butcheries that specialise in rabbit meat in towns in western Kenya, for instance, one located at Majengo.

You can also talk to Magiri, a rabbit farmer we featured last week based in Mombasa on 0726781242.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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I wish to inquire on behalf of a Class Eight boy who has reared over 130 rabbits along Moi South Lake Road in Naivasha and has failed to get sustainable market for his bunnies. Kindly, how can you assist him to get market so that he raises his school fees?
Justus Maranga

Rabbit keeping is of paramount importance in achieving food security and creating employment for the youth. See the answers above for market.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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I WANT TO KEEP RABBITS, POULTRY

I am Omwami Ashiali from Shitsitswi, Butere sub county. I want to keep poultry and rabbits and I have two questions; Is there market guarantee for them and second, where can I get experts who can guide me with every knowledge and information on the two agribusinesses?

They are both viable projects to generate income. Contact Kenchic for guidance on chickens on [email protected] or mobile +254 722202163, +254734600204. For rabbits, see the answer above.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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PLANTING DELICIOUS RHODES GRASS

I have been trying to get quality Rhodes grass seeds for planting without success. I tried planting sometime back and the germination rate was zero. 

Jediel Muthuri , Cubuiga, Meru 

Hay farming is a profitable business with good returns and specifically, Boma Rhodes is soft and has excellent herbage, gives bottom tillers and forms a thick grass, It is very popular in the medium altitude areas, and is drought-tolerant.

It takes 90-105 days to mature on an altitude of 1,000-2,500m above sea level. Contact Kenya seed company on [email protected] or 0722205 144 or 0726144856.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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GROWING MUSHROOMS

I’d like to grow mushrooms and I have no idea what exactly is planted. Please advise me what to do.

Purity Bancy

There are two types of mushrooms namely button and oyster. Spawns (seedlings) are the ones which are planted and you have to buy them from Kalro, farmers or any other institution.

Women sort harvested mushrooms.

Women sort harvested mushrooms. Depending on the days the spawns took to emerge, mushrooms are ready for harvesting after 10-14 days and harvesting continues for one and a half months. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The biggest challenge in mushroom production is getting quality spawn. You will also need a room where you will plant the mushrooms because they are not grown in the field.

You will also need wheat straws, bean straw, millet straw or rice straw for preparation of compost on which the mushrooms will grow. Compost is made by mixing the straw with molasses, cotton seed cake and urea.

The straw should first be soaked in water and then mixed with the other ingredients. The compost should be sterilised to avoid pests and diseases.

After compost preparation, planting of the spawns follows and this is done by mixing the compost with the spawns in sacks.

The sacks are then taken to the growing room. The temperature around the bag should be maintained at 32°C. After about 10-14 days the spawns start to emerge.

When they are visible as small white grains, add some soil preferably from forest in the sacks. At this stage, humidity should be introduced by use of a humidifier or a knapsack sprayer.

Make sure you use clean water and spray the air and the floors of the growing room. Humidity is needed for growth of the mushrooms.

Depending on the days the spawns took to emerge, mushrooms are ready for harvesting after 10-14 days and harvesting continues for one and a half months.

Make sure that you observe high standards of hygiene.

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