Curbing blight in pepino melon - Daily Nation

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Saturday July 7 2018

Flower shedding/abortion in pepino melons is mainly due to some form of stress such as fungal diseases, insect-pest or nutrient deficiency.

Flower shedding/abortion in pepino melons is mainly due to some form of stress such as fungal diseases, insect-pest or nutrient deficiency. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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BLIGHT ATTACK IN PEPINO MELONS

Kindly advise on how I can save my pepino melon which has been affected by early/late blight. Flowers are also shedding off before they mature into fruits.

Gathuri

There are several fungicides that you could use for preventive and curative purposes. All chemicals that contain Mancozeb as one of the active ingredients are majorly used for prevention.

They include Milthane super. While fungicides that have Metalaxy and Carbendazim are mainly for curative purposes. They include Twigalaxy, Ridomil gold, Mistress, Rodazim and Victory.

Flower shedding/abortion is mainly due to some form of stress such as fungal diseases, insect-pest or nutrient deficiency. I would recommend that at the budding stage or early flowering, apply fruit and flower foliar fertiliser mixed with an insecticide.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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RUNNER BEAN FARMERS

I have been doing research on runner beans. However, I have not learnt much because I don’t seem to find farmers online from whom I can learn. Please share contacts for farmers growing runner beans so I can pay them a visit.

Martin Maina, Gatanga

Writer Kihu Irimu once featured a farmer, John Njoroge growing the crop in Kiambu. Talk to the farmer through him on 0724945952. Also, the best persons to learn from are exporters of runner beans for the various markets around the world. They would furnish you with the information that you require, in addition they are headquartered in Nairobi.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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I WANT TO GROW AVOCADOS IN MOLO
I write to inquire about growing avocados in Molo. I wish to know if the weather is good for the fruit and I also wish to know which is the best variety that I can plant for the region and the recommended spacing from one plant to the other.

Dominic Kariuki

Avocado will do well in Molo. If you are targeting the local market, Fuerte variety is the best and for export market, Hass. A square spacing of 10m by 10m or a rectangular spacing of 10m by 8m can be used to give plant populations of 100 and 125 trees per hectare respectively.

In avocado cultivation, if you are targeting the local market, Fuerte variety is the best and for export market, Hass.

In avocado cultivation, if you are targeting the local market, Fuerte variety is the best and for export market, Hass. FILE PHOTO |NMG

Planting hole size is 45cm by 45cm by 45cm.

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

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WHAT IT TAKES TO START AVOCADO FARM

I am interested in starting an avocado orchard in Juja, Kiambu County. Please advise me on how to go about it. I want to plant different fruits.

Jane Waweru

To establish an orchard, there are some factors which you have to consider:

i) Topography: It needs a gentle sloping land with some modifications like terraces. A level land would bring about drainage problems depending on the porosity of the soil.
ii) Temperature: In case of temperature inversions, avoid valley bottoms.
iii) Trees like eucalyptus are allelopathic and, therefore, fruit trees should be 25m away from the eucalyptus.
iv) The soil should be well-drained
v) Wind increases the rate of evapotranspiration, destroys young leaves and may also result to shedding of leaves. Therefore, consider a site which has windbreaks to prevent effects of strong wind
vi) Also consider a site which is near a market if possible for easy access to the market
vii) Fruits to grow should also be considered. Make sure the fruits you select are suited to the ecological conditions in the area

After considering these factors, the site should be prepared by clearing all the vegetation and trees, weeds and remove stumps. Layout of the site is then done after which the planting design is selected.

There are a number of planting designs namely: square, rectangular, quincunx and hexagonal. The square design is the most commonly used because it is easy to layout and it allows orchard operations like cultivation and harvesting, whether by hand or mechanical in either direction.

The spacing to be used will depend on the fruits to be planted, climate and soil.

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

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This is in reference to Carol Mutua’s answer to a question regarding the best manuring and fertilisation regime (Seeds of Gold, May 26). I found it very informative but inadequate considering that there are about 16 elements that an avocado tree requires. Can you please outline the topic comprehensively?

Chris Munene Charagu

In the answer I had indicated that the fertilisers to be applied will depend on results of soil analysis and the pH of the soil. In most cases, the micro-nutrients are applied when they fall short or if the soil tests show that they are deficient.

For more information please contact me through [email protected]

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

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THIS IS WATERMELON DISEASE, NOT WITCHCRAFT

I planted watermelons on one acre on April 1 but sadly there are no fruits, just over two months after planting. They form fruits and a few days later they rot. I am told it’s because of excess rains.

What could be the problem? Could it be some kind of witchcraft?

Jasper Omondi, Siaya County.

Jasper, there is no witchcraft when it comes to crop production. Watermelon is a warm season crop. This is a disease called Phytophthora fruit rot which affects melon fruits during heavy rains.

To control the disease, you should apply a fungicide when fruits start forming because the disease does not affect the leaves. Avoid planting watermelon during the periods of heavy rainfall.

As watermelons develop, the less water it gets the better as this will increase the sugar content and sugar concentration in the fruit making the fruit sweeter.

As watermelons develop, the less water it gets the better as this will increase the sugar content and sugar concentration in the fruit making the fruit sweeter. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Watermelons need water in the first few weeks of growth but when they start producing fruits, they need little water or if you are irrigating you can stop.

As the fruit develops, the less water it gets the better as this will increase the sugar content and sugar concentration in the fruit making the fruit sweeter.

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

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GROWING SAFFRON, FROM FARM TO TABLE

I am a farmer with 20 acres in Mwea, Kirinyaga County along the Nairobi Sagana Karatina Road. I wanted advice on how to grow and market Saffron spices

Sammy Munala

Kindly educate me on how to grow Saffron. I would like to know more about garden preparation, planting, harvesting and storage, market (where to sell) and the place they do well in Kenya. I am situated in Bungoma but I would like to grow them in Nyeri.
Jeldine

Saffron will do well in areas with an altitude of 2,000m above sea level. The soils should be well-drained and have a pH of 6-8. Land should be prepared to a fine tilth before planting the corms. Planting is done directly in the seedbed.

According to Agrifarming, corms are planted 12-15cm deep at a spacing of 10-12cm. In case of drought, irrigation is done. The field should be kept weed-free.

Before planting, 35 tonnes/hectare of farmyard manure should be applied and later each year 20kg N, 30kg K and 80kg P per ha should be applied.

Harvesting should be done when the flowers are in full bloom and should be preferably done in the morning. The commercial part of saffron is the stigma.

After harvesting, the pistils are dried in a well-ventilated place at a temperature of 45-60°C for 15 minutes, according to Agrifarming.

Dried saffron is then put in an air tight container for one month before consumption. Saffron is an expensive spice because of the labour involved in planting and drying the pistils.

It is sold locally or exported to countries like Europe, Asia and Middle East.

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