Feedback: Our experts answer your questions on farming and agribusiness

Thursday July 30 2020

Spring onions. This onion variety does not form bulbs and is grown for the stems. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Guide to growing quality spring onions

Kindly share a guide to spring onion farming. How long does the crop take to mature and what artificial fertiliser should I use for planting and top dressing?

David Bor, Kericho

Spring onions are also known as salad onions or green and bunching onions.

They are very easy to grow for household use as well as for commercial purposes. They do not form bulbs and are grown for their stems.

Propagation is by use of seeds, which can be raised in a nursery bed first or directly planted in the main field.


Varieties: Spring green bunching, White Lisbon, American Flag and Italian Giant.

Propagation and planting: The crop is propagated sexually by use of seeds.

There seeds are used, they may be established directly in the main field or started in a nursery and later transplanted when they are pencil thick to the main field at a spacing of 30cm x 10cm.

When done directly, thinning has to be done when the plant establishes. Transplanting eliminates the need for thinning but the method is very tedious.

Fertilisers: Around 20 tonnes/ha of well-decomposed organic manure is needed before planting and some 200kg/ha of DAP at transplanting.

This is very important because onions are very sensitive to phosphorus deficiency.

You will also need 300kg/ha of CAN when plants start growing after transplanting to encourage early vegetative growth, which may be applied in two splits.

Weeding: Should be done regularly to remove weeds within and between rows.

Harvesting: Spring onions are ready for harvesting 60-70 days after sowing the seeds. Days to harvesting will depend on the variety planted. The leaves should be tall, green and succulent during harvesting.

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


Feeding a heifer

Please advise me on how to feed a young heifer from birth to maturity and control of diseases. 

Dairy business thrives on care and management of calves even before they are born. This ensures that they remain healthy after birth, gain the desired weight and grow fast into replacement heifers to start production early.

Control of diseases is all about raising the calf in a clean pen up to when she gets housed in a unit. During this time, keep hygiene and sanitation in check.

Have a deworming plan and ectoparasites control programme in place, some of these parasites cause diseases, which are costly to treat. Lay biosecurity measures that must be observed strictly. Provide balanced feeds and clean water to arrest any nutritional diseases. 

-Egerton University Team, 
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.


Chia seeds

Where can I get chia seeds?

Elijah Murage

Chia seeds are available at organic supplies firms like Chia Seeds Kenya, which is located in Kahawa Sukari, Nairobi, Kenya. You can reach them on 0712697337.

-Jayo Manyasi Tracyline,
Department of Crops Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.


I have two acres to lease for farming

I have two acres in Ichuga, Nanyuki, which I want to lease urgently. Please share the contacts of anybody who might be willing.


Please advertise the land on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp and also in your locality.

Also, talk to members of farming groups, you will not lack someone to lease.

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


I need quality seeds

I have a quarter of an acre. A section has sukuma wiki and I want to plant traditional vegetables, especially managu, cowpeas and sagaa on the rest.

Where can I get high quality seeds for the above-mentioned.


Kenya Seed Company would be  ideal for good quality seeds of vegetables.

-Egerton University Team


Establishing lucerne

Please advise me on how I can establish a lucerne farm.


Lucerne is best established by seeds at a rate of about 4kg per acre sown at the onset of a rainy season in a shallow seedbed (5 to 15mm) with good soil-seed contact.

Inoculating lucerne seeds helps germination, early seedling vigour and nodulation but in the absence of inoculants, seeds can be soaked in two to three litres of water per 25kg.

Approximately 50kg per hectare of nitrogen fertiliser can be applied during sowing.

-Egerton University Team, 
Deparment of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.