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Researchers raise red flag on soils in Nyeri

Dickson Kahuro in his farm in Nyeri where he grows a variety of crops. Researchers have noted that soils in the county have become too acidic to sustain quality food production. Dickson Kahuro from Oxfarm Organic was featured on Daily Nation on Saturday 19th 2017 on one of our farms in Nyeri. You can contact him on 0723662773 for soil analysis and testing.

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Soils in Nyeri County have become too acidic to sustain quality food production, researchers have noted as output from farms dwindle.

Climate change, soil infertility and emerging pests and diseases are also to blame for the low productivity seen in the last few years.

The researchers in a report by the Department of Agriculture and Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation, said the county’s soil pH ranges mostly from moderate to strongly acidic.

Soil pH in Tetu, Othaya and Mukurwe-ini constituencies is strongly acidic with the pH ranging from between 4.1 to 4.4 and it is moderately acidic in Mathira, where the pH stands at soil PH 5.4.

In Kieni constituency, the county’s food basket, the soil is slightly acidic to a few moderately alkaline with a pH of 7.1 to 8.1, which is not suitable for both food and industrial crops.

Agriculture is the main economic mainstay in Nyeri with maize, beans and potatoes being commonly grown for subsistence while coffee, tea and horticulture are the main cash crops.

In the report dated last month, some soils tested had a low pH of 3.6 to 4.2 for growing food crops in the case of Tetu.

Soils tested for coffee in Mathira East and Mukurwe-ini are extremely acidic with an average pH of 4, according to the report.

Soil infertility is attributed to soils that are strongly acidic, which renders soil nutrients unavailable for crop use.

The report blamed the acidity to inadequate application of manure resulting to poor soil structure, texture and water retention capacity, and inadequate inorganic fertiliser use and poor or lack of soil conservation.

Emerging pests and diseases have also taken a toll on the main cash crop, which is coffee.

 

MAKE USE OF ORGANIC MANURES

The fall armyworm and maize lethal necrosis diseases are also a major threat to food security in the country.

The report projects a decline in coffee, maize, beans, wheat and potato production if corrective measures are not taken.

“The soils get acidic due to poor farming practices and aggregated use of acidifying chemical fertiliser, continuous mining without replenishment and furrowing,” said Robert Thuo, the Agriculture county executive.

Farmers have been urged to shun the use of conventional fertilisers that have been excessively used taking a toll on their output, Instead, they are asked to use organic fertilisers to boost soil health.

The report further noted there is low soil organic carbon matter content in the soils, a situation prevails across the entire county.

Low soil organic matter content results in low water-holding capacity and encourages soil erosion by water and wind.

Most of the limited nutrients in the soils are nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium which are below adequate levels across the county while potassium and magnesium are also below to acute adequate level.

“Micro nutrient zinc and copper are low in most soils across the county and boron in coffee growing zones,” read the report.

Thuo said farmers in the entire county should make use of organic manures and agricultural lime to modify acidic soils.

He also encouraged crop rotation or mixed cropping especially with nitrogen fixing crops.

Dr Patrick Gicheru, centre director Kalro in Embu said it is important for county governments to provide subsidised fertilisers depending on sub-county particulars.

“Different sub counties have different soil pH, the government should distribute fertilisers that suit particular sub-counties as opposed to uniform use,” he said.

 

Application of manure the way to boost soils

Well-rotten manure or compost improves the organic matter content, supplement the soil nutrients, improves soil structure, water retention capacity and soil microbial activities.

Farmers are also encouraged farmers to adopt conservation agriculture where minimum tillage is highly recommended.

Most farms have poor soils compromising nutrient uptake and water retention and this challenge can be tackled through conservation agriculture.

 

Source: Daily Nation

 

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAW PAW FRUITS

The health benefits of papaya include better digestion, relief from toothache, improvement in the immune system and the promotion of better heart health. Papaya also known as paw paw, pawpaw or papaw is also believed to prevent cancer. Papaya, also known as Carica Papaya, is commercially famous for its high nutritive and medicinal value.

Papaya

Fruits like papaya immensely benefit your body. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body. It is famous for the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics and has many health benefits. Papaya can be eaten as a fruit, a smoothie, a milkshake, and as a vegetable in raw form. Papaya, a cerise-orange colored juicy fruit is not only fragrant and delicious but also very healthy. Papaya has been famous for hundreds of years and it was once called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus.

Latex derived from the raw fruit is used as a meat tenderizer and is also used in the manufacturing of several cosmetic, skin, and beauty products, as well as certain chewing gums. They are available for consumption throughout the year.

The whole fruit, including other parts of the papaya tree, are beneficial to health in several ways. An enzyme called papain is present in the fruit which helps in the digestion of proteins. Papaya in raw form contains this enzyme, which is used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums.

Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help to improve cardiovascular health and protect against colon cancer.

 

Health Benefits of Papaya

Better Digestive Health

Papayas are commonly used to aid digestion. The presence of papain, a digestive super enzyme, improves digestion by breaking down proteins and also cleanses the digestive tract. This ensures a reduced conversion of protein into body fat. If the protein in our diet is not digested properly, it may cause arthritis, constipation, diabetes, high blood pressure and other related health conditions.

Promotes Weight Loss

Papayas are also good for people who are trying to lose weight naturally. Having a bowl full of papaya as a mid-evening or mid-morning snack is good for health.

Prevents Infections

Papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with them.

Relief from Toothaches

A paste of fresh papaya roots can be massaged onto the teeth and gums to give relief from toothaches. The bark of the tree, primarily the inner bark, is also an excellent remedy. (Somonsohn, 2002).

Anticancer Properties

Researchers have discovered that papayas are effective against breast, pancreatic and other cancers. A papaya leaf extract obtained from dried leaves produced anti-carcinogenic effects against tumor cells that were grown in the laboratory. It was observed in a study conducted by a University of Florida researcher Nam Dang, and his colleagues in Japan, that the effects were stronger when the cells were given larger doses of tea. The scientists exposed different types of cancer-affected cells to different papaya leaf extracts and found that the growth of tumors had slowed down in all the culturesThe fruit has gained credibility and has been used in many western medicines for its anticancer powers.

Skin Care

Papayas can be great revitalizing agents, which is why they are used in many cosmetics. Also, papayas are used in homemade face masks by many women. Papain kills dead cells and purifies the skin. The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papayas help treat sunburn and irritated skin. A good facial massage using papayas is good for the skin and removes the dead cells. If you are a person who spends most of their time outdoors, then papayas can be a great help, as papayas fights free radicals that age your skin. The peels of papayas are also used to rub on the face and hands for healthy skin; it will work wonders for your skin.  Papayas are also used to treat skin disorders like eczema, psori

Improves Heart Health

The seeds of papayas are good for a healthy heart. Having three powerful antioxidant vitamins, namely vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, means that papayas are helpful in preventing problems such as atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. The presence of pro- carotenoid phytonutrients helps prevent oxidization of the cholesterol in the body. When oxidation of cholesterol takes place, it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and forms plaque that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin E and vitamin C obtained from papayas will help in preventing the cholesterol from sticking to the walls, thereby keeping your heart healthy. As a good source of fiber, papayas also helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. Include papayas in your daily diet as a mid-evening snack to keep your heart young. It also helps in treating sores, wounds and ulcers .

Reduces Acne and Burns

The latex obtained from papayas is used to treat the areas on the skin affected with acne.  The fleshy side of the papaya skin can be used as a mask to cure acne. A diet which includes papayas will help to cure the conditions internally, making the skin clear. Also, when the latex is applied on the burnt area, it helps in reducing the marks caused due to the burn.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The enzymes present in papayas, especially the papain and chymopapain, reduce the inflammation in different parts of the body.

Papaya for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. In this condition, the ocular cells degenerate, which results in blurred vision and can cause blindness as well. This is an age–related illness and adding papayas to the diet is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration. An antioxidant named beta-carotene gives color to the papaya. Just as carrots help to improve the eye sight due to the presence of beta-carotene, it is also known to be effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, the consumption of 3 or more servings of fruit on a daily basis day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

Treating Constipation

The presence of folate, vitamin C and vitamin E in papayas reduces motion sickness by producing a tonic effect in the stomach and in the intestines. Papaya juice and the ripened form of papaya also help aid digestion. The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements. Improved bowel movements help to ease the passage of stool, thereby reducing the effects of constipation (Pinoy B. 2010).

Regulates Menstruation

Papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular periods. Consumption of green, unripe papayas can also normalize the irregularity in the periodic cycle. Papayas are considered as a ‘hot food’, meaning that it produces heat in the body. This excessive production of heat in the body stimulates the estrogen hormone. This induces periods in the females. Hence, papayas can be beneficial to handle difficult periods.

Arthritis

Papayas have been known to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. One of the enzymes found in papayas, called chemopapain, has a significant effect on controlling rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Improves Immunity

Papaya consumption has also been linked to improvement in the immunity system of the body. Research conducted by Hiramoto, Imao, Sato, Inoue, and Mori from Japan is a proof that the antioxidants present in papaya play an important role in improving the immunity system of people.

Flowers and roots of the plant have been proven to be beneficial against jaundice, bronchitis, kidney colic and other illnesses.

source: Organic Facts

RELATED : make money through passion fruit farming

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ONE ACRE INVESTMENT UNDER PAW PAW FARMING

Scientific name: Carica papaya

Local names:

English: Pawpaw; Swahili: papaya. Pawpaw is a widely cultivated fruit tree in the tropics and subtropics. General Benefits of Pawpaw Ripe papaya is a favorite breakfast and dessert fruit that is available year-round.

It can be used to make fruit salads, refreshing drinks, jam, jelly, marmalade, candies and crystallized fruits. Green fruits are pickled or cooked as a vegetable.

Suitable Growth Condition

Papaya thrives in warm areas with adequate rainfall and a temperature range of 21-33°C. Its altitude range is similar to that of the banana, from sea level to elevations at which frosts occur (often around 1600 m). However they grow best in areas below 1000 m.

The quality and yield are low at higher altitudes. Frost can kill the plant, and cool and overcast weather delays fruit ripening and depresses fruit quality. Fruit tastes much better when grown during a warm sunny season. Evenly distributed annual rainfall of 1200 mm is sufficient if water conservation practices are employed.

Papaya grows best in light, well-drained soils rich in organic matter with soil pH of 6.0-6.5. It can tolerate any kind of soil provided it is well-drained and not too dry. The roots are very sensitive to water logging and even short periods of flooding can kill the plants.

 

RELATED: Why Africa offers growing opportunities for agricultural products

 

PLANTING

Papaya is propagated by seed. To reproduce the desired characteristics it is best to get seeds through controlled pollination. Use of sterilized soil minimizes losses resulting from nematodes and damping-off fungi. Germination takes 2-3 weeks.

Another practice is to sow the seeds in sterilized nursery beds and to prick out at the 2-3-leaf stage, transferring 3-4 seedlings to each container. Seedlings are transplanted about 2 months after sowing when they reach the 3-4-leaf stage or 20 cm height, preferably at the onset of the rainy season.

During transplanting, take care not to disturb the roots. Older seedlings recover poorly after planting out. Papaya needs adequate drainage and is often planted on mounds or ridges. Transplants must be watered regularly until they are established. Field spacing are in the order of 3 x 2 m to 2.50 x 1.60 m, giving densities of 1667 and 2500 plants/ha respectively.

Thinning to one female or one hermaphrodite plant per hill is done when the plants reach the flowering stage. In the absence of hermaphrodite plants, 1 male plant per 25 – 100 female plants is retained as pollinator.

Papaya plants grown from seed produce fruits of different shapes, sizes, colour and even taste. Vegetative propagation of papaya provides a solution to most of these problems. The clone is selected for higher productivity and good quality fruits besides agronomic qualities such as dwarfness for easy harvesting and good resistance to diseases.

Planting holes of 2*2*2 ft are prepared with 1 bucket of compost and is mixed in with the dugout soil and returned around the plant. Firm the soil and water liberally and add mulch around the young plant.

The farmer can choose to grow the crops conventionally or do organic farming.

 

Inter cropping

Papaya grows best when planted in full sunlight. However, it can be planted as an inter crop under coconut, or as a cash crop between young fruit trees such as mango or citrus. Low growing annual crops such as capsicums, beans, onions and cabbages are suitable good inter crops.

Harvesting

The stage of physiological development at the time of harvest determines the flavor and taste of the ripened fruit. The fruit matures at 9 months after transplanting. The appearance of traces of yellow colour on the fruit indicates that it is ready for harvesting. Fruits harvested early have longer post-harvest life, but give abnormal taste and flavor. The fruits also tend to shrivel and suffer chilling injuries when refrigerated. The fruit is twisted until the stalk snaps off or cut with a sharp knife. Yields per tree vary from 75 to 150 fruits annually, giving 35 to 50 tons of fruit per ha per year. A papaya plantation can be productive for over 10 years but the economical period is only the first 3 to 4 years. It is therefore advisable to renew the plantation every 4 years.

 

COST AND RETURNS FROM ONE ACRE

Number of seedlings in one acre at a spacing of 6ft*9ft 800-900 plants.

For 800 plants.

Item description Unit cost (800) Total cost
Manure One bucket per hole @30 24000
Holes Digging, transport of manure to the hole, mixing and planting @30 24000
Seedlings Certified @50
Fertilizer N.P.K

C.A.N

@70

@70

800

1500

Pesticides Entire season 5000
Fungicides Entire season 5000
Water Entire season 20000
Management farm manager, (Weeding, splaying etc) @7000 for 9 months 63000
Misleneous 7000
TOTAL COST 150000
Return per year.
75 fruits per plant

150 fruits per plant

With 800 plants

With 800 plants

@30

@30

1.8 million

3.6 million

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Why Africa offers growing opportunities for agricultural products

The main drivers of demand for agricultural products are population growth, urbanisation, economic growth and changing diets.

Population growth brings greater demand, urbanisation leads to more people buying food rather than producing their own, economic growth increases purchasing power while changing diets implies that people are opting for diverse, and sometimes healthier, consumption.

Africa is expected to double its population from 1.2 billion to 2.4 billion by 2050, making it the fastest growing region in the world. The continent is also urbanising rapidly. More than 50% of the population still lives in rural areas but this is changing. The continent is expected to have one of the highest urbanisation rates in the world over the next 35 years.

The fact that the growth factors are present on the continent and most are increasing presents opportunities for businesses connected to the agricultural sector. For South Africa, this is a chance to widen opportunities for its struggling agricultural industry. The foundation has been laid by some agro-processing companies and retailers that have successfully set up operations in countries north of the Limpopo River.

Taking the gap

South Africa’s agribusinesses and retailers have set themselves up to take advantage of these opportunities. Its businesses started increasing their participation on the continent soon after 1994 when the country was accepted in the international community.

Supermarket group Shoprite, for example, had 131 stores in 16 countries (excluding South Africa) in 2013. Woolworths has 65 stores in 11 countries; Pick n Pay 110 stores, including joint ventures.

These retailers are usually linked with agribusiness in the home country and thus source most of the food, fresh and processed from South Africa. In return, South African exports of food and agricultural products benefit.

South African exports to the rest of the continent have more than doubled from the mid 1990s to 2014. In 1994, Africa accounted for less than 10% of total exports. By 2014 the continent was the leading destination for agricultural and agro-processed products, accounting for more than 45% of all exports and surpassing some of South Africa’s historical partners in the European Union and the US.

Products that have benefited most are maize, apples, wines and processed food. The main destination countries are Zambia, Angola, Nigeria and Ghana. These countries achieved higher rates of economic growth over the past decade than the global average. Nigeria is not only the most populous country on the continent, but it is now the largest economy. In the last 15 years, Zambia achieved GDP per capita growth of more than four times, from about $400 to $1800. Angola managed an average annual growth rate of more than 10%, supported mainly by oil resources.

Targeting the affluent

General incomes have been growing in most African countries. In the past five years at least four African countries have been making the list of the fastest growing [economies]((https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/01/09/these-10-countries-are-set-to-be-the-fastest-growing-economies-in-2014/) in the world. They include Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique and Kenya. In theory, the growing economies improve average incomes and affordability.

But one of the weaknesses with these growth rates and progress in economic growth is that the gains have not been evenly distributed. Income inequality in many countries remains high and continues to increase in others. For example, the wealth gap in Zambia and Nigeria is growing. The richest 20% in Zambia had national income share of about 57% in 1993, and their income share increased to 62% in 2010. In Nigeria, the richest 20% controlled 45% of income in 1985, and then increased to 49% by 2010.

South African companies have targeted the rich segments of the economy. Stores are usually located in the main centres, with high population density, relatively better infrastructure than the rest of the country and generally high income than the rest.

This practice has led to criticism being levelled against South African companies. Resentment from local businesses has been fuelled by the fact that South Africans are not developing local capacities in agro-processing, manufacturing and other value adding activities that will make local products meet the required standards of those retailers.

Related Posts:

Africa is not for sissies

Businesses face a number of constraints and potential threats.

Infrastructure in many countries is relatively undeveloped and weak, especially in rural areas. As a result, the cost of moving goods across the continent is higher, making the products unaffordable to many.

There are still concerns about political instability and social unrest even though a great many more African countries have become peaceful over the last 20 years.

There are also concerns about the sustainability of current growth rates. This is because most of the fast growing countries rely on resources for their growth. These include oil, copper, gas, gold and other minerals. These commodities are usually exported in raw form or with little value added and their prices are highly volatile.

Competition from countries such as China, Indian and the developed world is also increasing. Although it is fragmented, it remains a concern.

There is a need to manage trade relations on the continent and deepen integration. The right foundation has been set with the completion of the [SADC free trade]((http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/africa-in-focus/posts/2015/06/17-tripartite-free-trade-area-andriamananjara) area as well as the signing of the tripartite free trade area in June 2015 providing additional access to African markets. This expands duty free markets in 25 countries, a combined population of more than 620 million and aggregated economic value of $1.2 trillion.

Intra-Africa trade is very low at about 10%, but this widening of market access should help to improve that trade. It should also encourage further expansion of South African retailers which in turn will facilitate that intra-Africa trade. South Africa is already the largest contributor to intra-Africa exports, accounting for one third of the total export value. This contribution serves a a useful building block for both deeper economic integration and further capacity development for future growth of the people of the African continent.

 

Source: THE CONVERSATION

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ONE ACRE INVESTMENT AND RETURN OF FARMING TREE TOMATO.

GRAFTED TREE TOMATO

Grafted Tree tomato is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 2-5 meters.  The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. We graft our tree with ‘muthakwa’ for several reasons.

  • Resistant to Nematodes.
  • Drought resistant.
  • Fast maturing.
  • Higher life span.

CLIMATE, SOIL REQUIREMENT & GROWTH

The tree tomato prefers subtropical climate, they grow in many parts of Kenya with rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters and annual temperatures between 15 and 25 °C. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. Tree tomato plants grow best in light, deep, fertile soils, however, soils must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging. They grow well on soils with a pH of 5 to 7.5.

REQUIEMENTS:

Land, Manure, Grafted seedlings, Irrigation system, Labour, Pest and Diseases control,

At a good spacing an acre can accommodate 1200 – 1500 plants.

  • Require a recommended spacing measuring 6ft by 6ft, then dig dip holes measuring 2ft by 2ft this helps in roots penetration and also to be able to accommodate enough manure.
  • Add a bucket of well rotten manure into per hole and mix well with top soil.
  • Plant your grafted seedlings by first ensuring you have watered your soil well or plant during rainy season. Add mulching to every stem of your plants.
  • In case of a dry season apply irrigation either drip irrigation or bucket irrigation.
  • For those that need to grow organically consult your agronomist about organic farming.
  • For conventional farming apply NPK fertilizer after two weeks of planting this will ensure faster growth and root development.
  • Protect you plant from pest and diseases from early stages by splaying at a good interval depending with the rate of infestation with pesticides and fungicides both protective and curing ones.
  • During entire growth season apply CAN fertilizer three times.
  • Splay your plants with foliar feed to ensure faster and stronger plants and also during flowering to boost more flowers and ensure they do not drop.

PEST AND DISEASES

Tree tomato is fairly resistant to most diseases and pests. However, the tree is prone to powdery mildew, which causes the leaves to fall off. Application of copper oxychloride (allowed in organic farming) can control the disease. The main pests that attack the tree include the aphids, thrips, whiteflies and nematodes (grafted tree tomato is best in control of nematodes).

MARKET

We buy all the fruits from our Farmers both for export (organically grown) and for local market and for value addition. We have never satisfied even a fraction of the local market. Our main buyers for local market are Super markets, Marigiti and Githurai in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret. We buy from all comers of our country.

COST AND RETURNS ESTIMATES OF PLANTING TREE TOMATO IN ONE ACRE LAND

PLANT POPULATION 1200 PLANTS

Preparation of land (digging ,fallowing) to attain fine tillage 6000
Buying of seedlings from reputable dealers @100 each 120000
Digging of holes 2ft by 2ft @10 each 12000
Buying and application of manure per hole @30 per bucket 36000
Planting, mulching of seedlings 2400
Fertilizer for the entire season 12000
Chemicals for the entire season 20000
Water expenses (for irrigation) 50000
Management and miscellaneous. 50000
Total cost 300000
Expected average output 20-50kg per tree Ksh @80 for the first one year

Average 40*80*1200

 

 

3.8 million

 

Unit Cost and return of growing grafted tree tomato.

  • Unit cost = 300000/1200 = 250
  • Unit return = 3500000/1200= Ksh 3000

Read More: Why You Should Try Our Grafted Tree Tomato Seedlings

OUR SUCCESS STORY

One of the best investment we have ever done is Farming tree tomato, it was not a smooth journey to master this type of farming, and we encountered failures like not planting the hybrid varieties, and also planting non grafted plants that survived only for one season then withered. Our success story have lead us to be featured in local TV and Radio programs also in Newspapers. We came to a conclusion that we needed to ensure the success of our farmers interested in commercial tree tomato farming. We ensure we remove barriers that hinder successful tree tomato farming like enlightening our customers on.

  • Soil testing.
  • Type of manure to use.
  • Organic Farming.
  • Why and how to use drip system in your farm.
  • How to control pest and diseases.
  • Management of the farm.
  • Field visit.
  • Management of the farms.

We do visit farms in any part of Kenya to advice farmers on what’s suitable on their farms depending on their area. Apart from tree tomato we grow other types of fruit trees like passion fruits, Hass avocado, Macadamia, Oranges, Apples etc. We also do manage the farms on behalf of our customers. We deliver seedlings and fruits in any part of the country. Contact us and be part of the community that believe money grows on trees.

Watch the following video on tree tomato farming (Kikuyu version)

The Videos have been captured at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

 

Value added Products from tree tomato
tree tomato packaging
Fruit ready for market and value addition

Value addition where we make Jam and Juice
tree tomato grafting
Mithakwa seedlings

We create more local employment
Delivery of seedling to client

 

 

Contact us for more information

Buy seedlings from our online shop.

Grafted Tree Tomato Seedlings

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ORANGE FRUITS INVESTMENT

The orange tree is an evergreen, flowering tree, with an average height of 9 to 10 m (30 to 33 ft), although some very old specimens can reach 15 m (49 ft). Its oval leaves, alternately arranged, are 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) long and have crenulate margins.
Some of the varieties grown in Kenya are

  • Sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis)
  • Limes (C. aurantifolia)
  • Grapefruits (C. paradisi)
  • Lemons (C. limon)
  • Mandarins (C. reticulata).

Being a citrus fruit, the orange is acidic: its pH levels are as low as 2.9, and as high as 4.0

REQUIREMENTS
Citrus species can thrive in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Citrus is grown from sea level up to an altitude of 2100 m but for optimal growth a temperature range from 2° to 30° C is ideal. Long periods below 0° C are injurious to the trees and at 13° C growth diminishes. However, individual species and varieties decrease in susceptibility to low temperatures in the following sequence: grapefruit, sweet orange, mandarin, lemon/lime and trifoliate orange as most hardy.
Temperature plays an important role in the production of high quality fruit. Typical coloring of fruit takes place if night temperatures are about 14° C coupled with low humidity during ripening time. Exposure to strong winds and temperatures above 38° C may cause fruit drop, scarring and scorching of fruits. In the tropics the high lands provide the best night weather for orange color and flavor.
Depending on the scion/ rootstock combination, citrus trees grow on a wide range of soils varying from sandy soils to those high in clay. Soils that are good for growing are well-drained, medium-textured, deep and fertile. Waterlogged or saline soils are not suitable and a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal. In acidic soil, citrus roots do not grow well, and may lead to copper toxicity. On the other hand at pH above 6, fixation of trace elements take place (especially zinc and iron) and trees develop deficiency symptoms. A low pH may be corrected by adding dolomite lime (containing both calcium and magnesium)

 

A citrus orchard needs continuous soil moisture to develop and produce, and water requirement reaches a peak between flowering and ripening. However, many factors such as temperature, soil type, location, plant density and crop age influence the quantity of water required. Well-distributed annual rainfall of not less than 1000 mm is needed for fair crop. In most cases, due to dry spells, irrigation is necessary. Under rain-fed conditions, flowering is seasonal.
There is a positive correlation between the onset of a rainy season and flower break. With irrigation flowering and picking season could be controlled by water application during dry seasons. Irrigation systems involving mini sprinklers irrigating only soil next to citrus trees have been developed as an efficient and water conserving irrigation method.
 

HOW TRANSPLANTING IS DONE

  • Transplant in the field at onset of rains.
  • Clear the field and dig planting holes 60 x 60 x 60 cm well before the onset of rains.
  • At transplanting use well-rotted manure with topsoil.
  • Spacing varies widely, depending on elevation, rootstock and variety. Generally, trees need a wider spacing at sea level than those transplanted at higher altitudes. Usually the plant density varies from 150 to 500 trees per ha, which means distances of 4 x 5 m (limes and lemons), 5 x 6 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins) or 7 x 8 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins). In some countries citrus is planted in hedge rows.
  • It is very important to ensure that seedlings are not transplanted too deep.
  • After transplanting, the seedlings ought to be at the same height or preferably, somewhat higher than in the nursery.
  • Under no circumstances must the graft union ever be in contact with the soil or with mulching material if used.



CITRUS MANAGEMENT

  • Keep the trees free of weeds.
  • Maintain a single stem up to a height of 80-100 cm.
  • Remove all side branches / rootstock suckers.
  • Pinch or break the top branch at a height of 100 cm to encourage side branching.
  • Allow 3-4 scaffold branches to form the framework of the tree.
  • Remove side branches including those growing inwards.
  • Ensure all diseased and dead branches are removed regularly.
  • Careful use of hand tools is necessary in order to avoid injuring tree trunks and roots. Such injuries may become entry points for diseases.
  • As a general rule, if dry spells last longer than 3 months, irrigation is necessary to maintain high yields and fruit quality. Irrigation could be done with buckets or a hose pipe but installation of some kind of irrigation system would be ideal.

FERTILIZERS

For normal growth development (high yield and quality fruits), citrus trees require a sufficient supply of fertilizer and manuring. No general recommendation regarding the amounts of nutrients can be given because this depends on the fertility of the specific soil. Professional, combined soil and leaf analyses would provide right information on nutrient requirements.

In most cases tropical soils are low in organic matter. To improve them at least 20 kg (1 bucket) of well-rotted cattle manure or compost should be applied per tree per year as well as a handful of rock phosphate. On acid soils 1-2 kg of agricultural lime can be applied per tree spread evenly over the soil covering the root system. Application of manure or compost makes (especially grape-) fruits sweeter (farmer experience).

Nitrogen can be supplied by inter cropping citrus trees with legume crops such as mucuna, cowpeas, clover or dolichos beans, and incorporating the plant material into the soil once a year. Mature trees need much more compost/well rotted manure than young trees to cater for more production of fruit.
Conventional fertilization depend on soil types as well.

DISEASE CONTROL
There are a large number of citrus diseases caused by bacteria, mycoplasma, fungi and viruses. The organic citrus disease management consists in a 3-step system:

  • Use of disease-free planting material to avoid disease problems
  • Choosing root stocks and cultivars that are tolerant or resistant to prevalent diseases
  • Application of fungicides such as copper, sulphur, clay powder and fennel oil. Copper can control several disease problems. However, it must not be forgotten that high Copper accumulations in the soil is toxic for soil microbial life and reduce the cation exchange capacity.

 

source; Goldenscape Tree Africa

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New Mango breeds promise fortune for farmers

More than 500 farmers in Kilifi and Malindi are growing five new commercial mango breeds with yield potential of 10 times conventional varieties. The new drive is aimed at taking the returns from local mango farming to new highs. Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) has brought in five new mango varieties from Florida, in the US.
The varieties include Haden, Tommy Atkins, Van Dyke, Sensation and Kent. They yield between 1,000 to 1,200 fruits per tree. The move will increase yields for farmers who were previously growing conventional mango varieties like Ngoe, Boribo and Apple, which yield at most 200 fruits per tree.
“The coastal area was chosen for the roll-out of the new breeds because of its endemic poverty levels and the economic impact the project would have there,” said Kari assistant director of horticulture and industrial crops Lusike Wasilwa. Kari has also developed dwarf varieties for the coastal region — Peach and Sabre, to add to the other five varieties. The dwarf varieties have been developed by grafting superior varieties onto local varieties that do well in the coast to produce high yielding varieties.
Value addition Farmers are also being taught value addition to their crops through post harvest methods to preserve their fruits. The shelf life of a picked ripe mango is two weeks, but farmers can preserve peeled mangoes in sugar saline solution for up to three months. This “stops farmers from panic selling at throwaway prices,” said Wasilwa.
“In Kenya, industrial and small scale processors process four of the 10 mango products processed worldwide, confining processing to juices, pickles, Indian chutney and jams. Yet all the 10 products, which include mango paste, puree, pulp and powder, can be processed locally, said Wasilwa.
Next year, Kari aims to help farmers process mango powder for selling. Currently, farmers sell a kilo for Sh5 to Sh20 season. Yet if these are solar dried and packaged, a pack can sell for between Sh120 and Sh150 in supermarkets. Farmers at the Coast sell half a kilo of locally processed jam for Sh100.
Read more at: Standard digital
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Mango varieties in kenya

Francis

Francis has a deliciously spicy and sweet taste. The flesh has fibers but is very soft and juicy. Francis is Bright yellow in color with green overtones and flaunts an elongated and sigmoid S-shape. Owing to the fibrous flesh, Francis may not be a popular choice for salads, but it finds great use in chutneys due to its tangy flavor.

 

 

 

Glenn

Glenn is an excellent choice among various varieties of mango. It has a sweet, silky and peachy flavor and an exotic odor which make it popular among mango lovers. Glenn mangoes are a little red or pink in color and oval to oblong in shape.

 

 

 

Kent Mangoe

The Kent mangos feature a sweet and delicious taste which is further enhanced by their juicy flesh which has a limited number of fibers. Due to their texture and flavor, Kent mangos are ideal for juicing and drying and also find uses in baking (they make for a great mango bread recipe!). Kent mangos are dark green having a dark red blush over a small portion of the fruit. The fruit itself is large and oval in shape.

 

 

 

Madame Francique

also known as “Dessert Mango” owing to its great use in desserts. This variety features varying colors from light green to orange to slightly yellow. Madame Francique is known for its rich, sweet and spicy taste which is rare and tangy but exceptionally brilliant.

 

 

 

 

Ataulfo

The vibrant yellow Ataulfo with a sweet and creamy flavor is every mango lover’s absolute favorite. Ataulfo has smooth, firm flesh with no fibers making it easier to use in salads or just consume on its own. This kind of mango is small and oval in shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tommy Atkins

They have a mildly sweet flavor with firm, stringy and fibrous flesh. Tommy Atkins have different shades going on their medium to large oval bodies. The most prominent of them is the dark red blush which covers most of the fruit.

 

 

 

Valencia Pride

A child variety originating from Haden mangos, the Valencia Pride also finds its roots in Florida. First reported Valencia Pride fruit was produced in 1941. This variety is large and the skin is covered with a large red blush while some yellow hues also find their way around it. Valencia Pride is a fibreless variety and has a smooth, melting, juicy texture along with a mouthwatering odor which makes it a premium choice.

 

 

Keitt

It is enjoyed both when fully ripe and green and also as pickles when not fully grown. Keitt mangos have a sweet and fruity flavor with firm, juicy flesh having only a limited amount of fibers. Keitt mangos are dark to medium green often with a pink blush over a small portion of the mango. The keitt mangos are vast and oval in shape.

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Surprising Benefits of Mangoes

When you savor delicious and succulent mangoes every season, you probably don’t think about the immense health benefits coming with every bite. A common nickname for mangoes is actually ‘the king of fruits’. Beyond the sweet, luscious taste of mangoes, they also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that assure your optimum health.

For decades, mangoes have been used to soothe stomachs. Similar to papayas, they contain certain enzymes with stomach comforting properties. As the popularity of mangoes has spread, many food manufacturers have introduced jellies, jams, squash, pickles, marinades and spices that include pure mango flavor.

Mango is rich in fiber, so if you have at least one mango every day in your diet, you are almost guaranteed to prevent constipation, piles and symptoms of a spastic colon. Research and studies published at Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety have demonstrated that dietary fiber has a positive effect on eliminating degenerative diseases, including certain cancers and heart conditions. Now you have even more reasons to include this delicious fruit in your daily diet. The more you participate in strenuous activities,the more bodily potassium you lose, which is yet another helpful side effect of mangoes – high potassium content!

Nutritional Value of Mangoes

Mangoes belong to the same family as that of pistachios, gandaria, mombin and cashews. Some common names for mango are mangot, manga, and mangou, depending on the region or nation. It originated in southern Asia, more specifically in Burma and eastern India, almost 4,000 years ago. Many stories in Indian mythology include the mention of the mango plant, and Lord Buddha is said to have often meditated in a mango grove. Mango cultivation first spread to Malaysia, eastern Asia and eastern Africa and was finally introduced to California around 1880. They were introduced to Africa and Brazil by Portuguese explorers, while mango cultivation started in Hawaii and Florida around the 19th century.

According to Indian beliefs, mangoes symbolize life (it is the national fruit of India) and is used in almost every sacred ritual. Mango leaves are almost always used for festivals and wedding decorations. ‘Chutney’ made from Indian mangoes is the original chutney and has become universally popular. Today, India remains the world’s major producer of mangoes, but Thailand, China, Brazil and Mexico also cultivate this highly beneficial fruit.

Health Benefits of Mangoes

Mangoes are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin B6, as well as a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. They are rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper, and they are one of the best sources of quercetin, betacarotene, and astragalin. These powerful antioxidants have the power to neutralize free radicals throughout the body. Ailments like heart disease, premature aging, cancer and degenerative diseases are due to these free radicals that damage the cells.

In China, mangoes are sweet and sour and offer a cooling sensation. The tonic made from mangoes in Chinese herbal medicine is known as yin tonic, and it is used to treat bleeding gums, anemia, cough, constipation, nausea, fever, sea sickness and as a cure for weak digestion.

MangoesKeeps Blood Pressure Under Control

Mangoes have an impressive vitamin content that assures overall health. They are rich in potassium (4% in 156 mg) and magnesium (2% in 9 mg), and mangoes are great natural remedies for high blood pressure patients. They also contain selenium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. They are said to be vitamin powerhouses as they are rich in riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin A,vitamin C,vitamin E,vitamin K, niacin, folate, thiamin and panthothenic acid. These components help you to avoid a host of diseases that can come from deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals. The vitamin E content in mangoes can even help to boost your sex life by triggering the activity of your sex hormones.

Cancer Prevention and Heart Health

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Mangoes have high amounts of pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that efficiently contributes to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Pectin can also help prevent you from developing prostate cancer. Recently, studies at The Institute for Food Research discovered that a compound within pectin combines with galectin 3 (a protein playing significant role in all the stages of cancer). The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer also has come up with a strong association between eating mango and lowering the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

Weight Gain

Mango consumption is one of the easiest ways to gain weight. 150g of mango has around 86 calories, which can be absorbed easily by the body. Moreover, they contain starch, which transforms into sugar that aids in gaining weight. Some people work hard to put on weight for a variety of reasons, and mango should definitely be a part of their diet. Mango milkshakes will accelerate the process of gaining weight since they also contain milk, and are notoriously delicious!

Aids Digestion

Mangoes play a prominent role in eliminating problems such as indigestion and excess acidity. The digestive enzymes in mangoes help to promote natural, efficient digestion. The bioactive ingredients in mangoes like esters, terpenes and aldehydes contribute in enhancing appetite and also improve the function of the digestive system.

Cures Anemia & Helps in Pregnancy

Mangoes are rich in iron, which makes them beneficial for people suffering from anemia. A regular, moderated intake can help eliminate anemia by increasing the red blood cell count in the body.

Mangoes are also very beneficial for pregnant woman, since the iron requirements during pregnant is extremely essential. Doctors often prescribe iron tablets during pregnancy, but instead of supplementation, you can enjoy a healthy iron-rich diet with juicy mangoes. The taste buds during pregnancy usually lose some of their sensitivity, so mangoes will surely prove to be the delight of your day, for more than just its health benefits.

Cures Acne

Perhaps you are surprised to know that mangoes are closely related to skin health. Other than bringing a healthy glow to your face, they also help to lighten skin color. You can easily enhance your beauty by including this tasty fruit in your diet on a regular basis.

Mangoes effectively treat acne by opening the clogged pores of the skin. Once these pores are opened, acne formation will eventually stop. Unclogging the pores of the skin is the most effective way to eliminate acne. To enjoy this benefit, there is no need to eat them every day; you need to remove the pulp and apply it on the skin for around 10 minutes, then rinse it off.

Slows the Signs of Aging

Mangoes contain high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, which both help to produce collagen proteins inside the body. Collagen helps to protect blood vessels and the body’s connective tissues, thereby slowing down the skin’s natural aging process. Therefore, mangoes can rightly be called an anti-aging food. Dietary supplementation is the best way to restore your youth in a natural and delicious way.

Promotes Brain Health

Mangoes have abundant quantities of vitamin B6, which is vital for maintaining and improving the brain’s function. These vitamins aid in the amalgamation of the major neurotransmitters that contributes in determining mood and the modification of sleeping patterns. They naturally provide significant quantities of this vitamin. With mangoes as a part of your diet, you can be assured of a healthy brain and effective nerve functioning. You will also be avoiding medicinal supplements, which have a long list of possible side effects. The Glutamine acid content in mangoes also improves concentration and the power of your memory.

Boosts Body Immunity

As mentioned earlier, similar to carrots, mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful carotenoid. This element of mango helps in to enhance the immune system of the body and make it impervious to bacteria and toxins. Excess beta-carotene is also transformed into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is another antioxidant vitamin and gives you additional protection against the free radicals that can harm your internal systems. Thus, mangoes are great choice for food items to add into your regular diet. They not only increase your chances of living a disease-free life, but is also a pleasure to eat due to its magnificent taste.

Diabetes Management and Prevention

Further research is still ongoing, but some studies have already revealed that mangoes are a great natural remedy for diabetes. It was a long-told myth that diabetic patients should avoid mangoes because of its sweet taste; now it is being shown that other than the fruit, the mango leaves are also helpful in curing diabetes. Place 10 or 15 mango leaves in warm water and close it with a lid before going to bed. In the morning, drink the water on an empty stomach after filtering the leaves. Regular practice of this method has shown positive results for diabetic patients in the management of their blood sugar levels.

What are Mango Allergies?

It is possible to suffer from mango allergies. Some people can be sensitive to mangoes, since they belong to the Anacardiaceae family and are therefore a distant relative of poison ivy. Mangoes contain a small amount of a substance called urushinol, which is a toxic resin that can cause dermatitis. The severity of this skin allergy varies between individuals. However, the peel and juice of mangoes are more responsible for this allergy, while the flesh of the fruit has a relatively low chance of inducing this allergic reaction.

source: organic facts

 

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Passion Fruit Benefits and why you should grow them

Passion fruit is an intriguing and mysterious fruit that has a surprising number of health and medicinal benefits for those fruit lovers who add it to their diet. Some of these benefits include passion fruit’s ability to prevent cancerous growth, stimulate digestion, boost immune function, improve eyesight, increase skin health, regulate fluid balance in the body, lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and improve bone mineral density. Furthermore, it reduces signs of premature aging, lessens inflammation, improves sleeping habits, and eliminates asthma.

Passion fruit looks a little strange growing on its creeper vine, which can wrap itself around almost any surface and cling on, seeking the sunlight. However, don’t let appearances fool you, this fruit is widely celebrated and eaten around the world, and has been for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. There are more than 500 varieties, and their appearance varies widely. In terms of color, they are usually yellow or dark purple, and look somewhat like a grapefruit. The interior is filled with a firm, juicy meat and an abundance of seeds. The fruit is regularly squeezed for the highly beneficial juice, and you often see it added to other juices to improve the flavor and add an exotic taste.

You can find passion fruits grown in nearly any warm climate, provided they are frost-free throughout the year.

passionfruitNutritional Value of Passion Fruit

That long list of health benefits commonly attributed to passion fruit is due to the nutrient, mineral, and vitamin content of the fruit, which includes antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein. The percentages of many of the vitamins and minerals are shockingly high, and passion fruit is a great addition to the diet that can result in a number of amazing health benefits. Let’s explore some of those benefits in greater detail below.

 

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

Immune System: Since ancient times, passion fruit has been cultivated and enjoyed because of the boost to the immune system that it seemed to provide. Although this was unknown to most people until modern times, this immune strengthening property was due to the presence of vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin. In fact, a single service of passion fruit has more than 100% of the total required intake of vitamin C for a healthy diet. All of these vitamins act as antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals from the body and neutralize them before they can harm the organ systems and result in conditions like cancer, heart disease, or premature aging. Furthermore, vitamin C stimulates the activity of white blood cells and the rest of the immune defense system, thereby protecting you from common illnesses and serious diseases at the same time.

Cancer Prevention: In a related note to the immune system health, passion fruit is also a powerful source of anti-carcinogenic activity in the body. Antioxidants in passion fruit primarily eliminate free radicals, which are known for mutating the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous ones. Passion fruit also contains vitamin A, various flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, all of which have been linked to anti-cancer properties, particularly in terms of oral and lung cancers.

Vitamin-A Content: Aside from its cancer-protective qualities, vitamin A is also linked to health and medicinal benefits in eye health, including the prevention of mascular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness. Furthermore, if you are concerned about the appearance of your skin, not only is the high antioxidant content of passion fruit helpful in reducing wrinkles, but vitamin A specifically functions to boost the health and richness of the skin, and promotes the proper functioning of membranes throughout the body, including the skin, to keep it hydrated and glowing!

Digestive Health: Passion fruits are a very strong source of fiber, and a single serving provides the human body with approximately 98% of its daily requirement. Fiber is an essential component of a health diet, since it is the substance that facilitates healthy digestion of food and the regulation of bowel movements. Passion fruit is a good source of soluble fiber, both in the pulp and in the rind, which acts as a bulk laxative, moving food through the digestive tract and reducing exposure time of the colon to any toxins. It can reduce signs of constipation by regulating bowel movements, scrubs the blood vessels clean of excess cholesterol, and even prevent gastrointestinal conditions like colorectal cancer!

Blood Pressure: If you eat one serving of passion fruit each day, you can satisfy 1/4 of your potassium needs immediately. Potassium is a vital mineral in the human body for a number of reasons, one of which is its role as a vasodilator. It relaxes the tension of blood vessels and promotes increased blood flow. This reduces the strain on the heart and increases overall cardiovascular health. Furthermore, potassium is necessary to maintain the proper fluid balance of the body’s cells. Movement between membranes is often only allowed through potassium-regulated channels, so proper amounts of this mineral are of extreme importance. So make sure you pop a passion fruit into your lunch once in a while to keep your heart healthy and your cells functioning!

Related Post: make money through passion fruit farming

Improved Circulation: When combined with the vasodilating properties of potassium, the high iron and copper content of passion fruit can really make an impact. Iron and copper are both essential components of red blood cell production, so once the RBC count increases and the vessels are dilated, then healthy, oxygenated blood can flow freely to necessary areas of the body, stimulating the metabolic activity in all the organ systems and boosting productivity and efficiency. Healthy blood flow is essential for proper functioning!

Bone Health and Mineral Density: Since passion fruit is such a rich source of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, it is a very important fruit for increasing mineral bone density and bone strength. Some of these minerals are integral parts in creating additional bone matter, strengthening existing bone matter, and speeding up repair. This can be a means of eliminating, preventing, or alleviating the symptoms of osteoporosis and the associated pain and inflammation that occurs when bones deteriorate with age and activity.

Insomnia: One often overlooked compound in passion fruit is a medicinal alkaloids, including harman, which functions as a sedative. This compound of passion fruit has been connected to a reduction in restlessness, insomnia, sleeplessness, and nervous anxiety which can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. So, instead of a glass of warm milk, next time try reaching for a slice of passion fruit and head back to your pillow!

Respiratory Conditions and Asthma: Recent studies have shown that a combination of various extracts from the purple passion fruit peel creates a novel mixture of bioflavanoids, which have an expectorant, sedative, and soothing effect on the respiratory system. It has been positively connected to a reduction in asthma attacks, wheezing, and whooping cough. Next time someone in your family starts hacking and coughing, slice off some passion fruit peel and see if that calms them down.

A Few Words of Warning: There are no inherent risks of eating passion fruit, and its wealth of nutrients and health benefits take care of most bodily concerns. However, most of the calories of this fruit do come from sugars, so people with diabetes should be careful to not eat it excessively, or at least be aware of your blood sugar levels. Other than that, enjoy passion fruit and start feeling better in countless ways in no time!