In our modern Kenyan homes, cabbages are very popular. They are loved because one can serve many people as well as last for a long time, thud cost effective. This fact alone makes it a very profitable crop in Kenya because its demand is very high at all times.
They are normally grown from seed. Its seed is widely available in many agro-stores in Kenya. Cabbages are a temperate vegetable which do best under cool climates where there is a significant difference between day and night temperatures.
The plants have a short thick stalk bearing leaves which form a tight ball called a ‘head’. They have a high-water requirement and do best with at least 500 millimeters of rainfall yearly. Cabbages are a good source of nutrients especially for calcium, iron and vitamins, but are low in protein. The leaves are eaten after boiling, or may be used raw in salads.
Plants are propagated from seed in a nursery and transplanted when the seedlings are about 10 to 12 cm high and about 4 to 6 weeks old. The cabbage heads are mature and ready for harvest when they become firm to the touch. This will be up to 3 months after transplanting depending on variety selected. Cabbages are best stored out of the sun and in a cool place. Heads can weigh up to 4 kg each. Yield/population per acre is around 12,000 and 16,000 heads.
Cabbage farming can give you an income (net profit) of of Ksh 220,000 per acre (This after deducting your expenses). The total cash spent is estimated at Ksh 80,000 (From nursery all the way to harvesting minus irrigation equipment).
The expense cost includes farm equipment, chemicals, seeds and labour. However, in some areas of Kenya, irrigation is required and it is not captured in the estimates. The price of cabbages will vary depending on the season as normally there is an over-abundance of material for sale late in the rainy season. If growers are equipped with drip irrigation, they should plan their planting times so that cabbages will be available for sale in the dry season when prices are highest.
Cabbage is a standout amongst the most well-known vegetables grown in Kenya by little, medium and substantial scale farmers for nourishment and income generation. Because of its popularity especially in the urban territories, a setback in cabbage growing consequently prompts increment in value which regularly causes an outcry by customers. Cabbage is consequently the best sort of vegetable for an agriculturist who needs profit over short timeframe with little production costs. Nutritionally, cabbages are essential source of Calcium, have moderate measures of Potassium and Sodium.
Cabbages are a moderate source of vitamin A and C and they therefore protect the body against growth assault (cancer), avert hypertension and are powerful against constipation.
While making a choice on the variety to produce, a farmer need to consider several key factors among them the maturity duration, yield potential, tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases, good field holding capacity, uniform maturity to ensure a single harvest and preference in the market among other qualities. Bearing this in mind, through a rigorous screening for the above desired qualities, several hybrid cabbage has been relaesed in the market. These varieties easily out compete other varieties in specific market segments due to their superior and reliable qualities.
The varieties include Gloria F1, Pruktor F1, Riana F1, Queen F1 Serena F1, Karen f1, sunny fi and most recently Polo F1.
Maturity in Days/After transplanting
Average head weight/Kg
Has strong root system and thick wax layer making it ideal for planting during dry season or under irrigation
It is extensively grown widely especially in Mt. Kenya, central and rich highland of Uganda
Medium early maturing variety
Grows in wide climatic condition
Highly tolerant to black rot.
Has perfect solid round heads that withstands long distance transportation
Widely adaptable to cool and warm climatic zones
Highly tolerant to black rot disease and bursting
Tolerance to black rot disease
Rich in green colour
Suitable for fresh market and processing industry
Has well compacted heads
Excellent tolerant to black bean disease
Does well in wide climatic zones
Very early maturing variety
Has light green round shaped heads
Very uniform and tolerant to bolting
Early maturing variety
Tolerant to humid weather patterns and ideal for coastal belt
Cabbage Farming: Seed requirement
One acre requires about 120g of seeds. Farmers are highly recommended to source seeds from a registered stockiest and get a receipt for the acquired seeds. Seedling can be raised on seed bed or seed trays for about four weeks before being transplanted to the field. Before transplanting, seedling should be hardened off to prepare them to cope with field conditions.
There are three varieties of cabbages in Kenya, to be specific smooth-leafed green, smooth-leafed red, and crinkled-leafed green, otherwise called savoy cabbage.
Cabbage develops well in full sun, however being a cool-climate vegetable, it can endure some shade amid the day. It particularly prefers cool evenings with morning dew. In good highland areas, cabbage can be grown throughout the entire year by progressive sowing after like clockwork.
You can likewise plan your planting cycle in a way that uses the cooler months for growing. Additionally, abstain from planting that will see the harvest develop in sweltering, dry January climate.
You can sow cabbage straightforwardly in Kenya or develop seedlings in a different seedbed and after that transplant.
Cabbage seeds take 4 to 10 days to sprout and if developed in a seedbed, they ought to be transplanted after five to seven weeks. They, from that point, take 80 days to develop and harvest.
In this way, for a July or August reap, you should plant your seedlings in March or April. Be that as it may, you can likewise plant them on any four-month cycle as long as you abstain from sowing in October or November in the event that you are in a more hotter region.
The prescribed spacing is 50 by 50cm to 70 by 70cm for bigger varieties. In a square-foot planting framework, plant a single cabbage for every square foot.
Cabbage is what we call a “substantial feeder”. Cabbage needs satisfactory nutrition to grow those substantial heads.
In this manner, it is ideally grown in soils with some clay content, yet the soil likewise should be profound and rich in natural organic matter with a high water maintenance capacity. This is the capacity of the soil to hold rain or irrigation water for longer periods.
To accomplish this, loosen the soil deeply before planting and dig in 12 to 20 tons of superb manure per acre of land a month and a half before planting.
Cabbage additionally needs very much circulated air through soil, so loosen the soil consistently and apply mulch. A thick mulch layer of 15 to 20cm deep will keep the soil moist and cool. Before head development, load up the soil around the root or stem area. This will increase root and plant growth.
We firmly recommend that you have your soil tested before you plant. A soil test will give all of you the fundamental information you require for effective and feasible fertility management.
Cabbage needs a pH of 6 to 7. In the event that the pH of your field is lower, the recommendation that accompanies the soil test will inform you on the sum with respect to lime you have to fuse preceding planting. Lime ought to be applied three to a half year before planting. So, do your soil tests early and frequently.
The soil test will likewise give you a proposal on the kind and measure of manure you ought to apply.
By and large, cabbage needs the folowing supplement necessities: 93kg nitrogen, 20kg phosphorus and 20kg potassium. In the event that you don’t recognize what the richness status of your soil really is, feeding these measures of fertiliser may make or intensify supplement awkward nature in your soil.
That is the reason soil testing is critical to fruitful fertiliser application and, in this way, farming.
It is significant that sufficient fertilizer excrement application will offer 36kg of nitrogen, in addition to the supplements from phosphorus and potassium.
Fertilizer applications ought to be split into two; at planting and top dressing or even into three at regular intervals. Use of hand crafted fertiliser produced using comfrey leaves at transplanting and when the heads start to shape will give the yield an additional lift.
Cabbage has high water needs, which crest after they begin shaping heads. Consequently, the product is best grown under water system to guarantee relentless water supply.
On the off chance that the soil dries out and after that a high measure of water is given all of a sudden, the heads tend to crack.
Harvesting should be done during cool morning hours to avoid from cracking of the heads.
Check for caterpillars and aphids frequently and dust your cabbages with wood ash from the beginning to keep away from the pests.
Cold season planting limits caterpillar pervasion. Likewise, keep the soil moist or mulched to maintain a strategic distance from flee beetle harm. Aphid invasion is an indication of warmth or water pressure and lacking supplement supply.
Typical cabbage diseases are black leg, black rot or leaf blight, club root, damping off and stem rot. If your cabbages have had problems in the past, look for disease-resistant cultivars.
To avoid soil-borne diseases, don’t plant cabbage-family plants (Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and broccoli) in the same area more than once every three years. Plant cabbage after beans and follow with maize and or potatoes.
Ultimately, for better growth, don’t plant cabbage close to capsicum, chilli, eggplant, garlic, lettuce, maize, mustard, radish or strawberries.
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