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Do you have trouble with pests and Diseases in your Fruit Farm?

There is nothing satisfying like the taste of a fruit straight from the garden. To add to that satisfaction knowing that the fruit is organically grown or is free from pesticides. The commercial fruit farmers in Kenya are more worried of the earnings they would get. This article recommends pest and disease control through the use of good practice, resistant varieties and low toxicity environmentally friendly products.

Pest and Disease Control in Fruit

The organic gardening philosophy is to let nature take its course, for all organisms to live in balance and therefore accept a level of pest and disease damage.

However most gardeners want to harvest good crops relatively free of pests and diseases, grown in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.

This article guides the home farmer to methods of pest and disease control that best suits their needs, taking into account –

  • Good yields, relatively free of pests and diseases.
  • Using best farm practices to minimize pests and diseases.
  • Using only safe environmentally friendly products.
  • Using products that are commonly available in home garden size packs and are legally registered for the purpose stated.

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Reducing Pest & Diseases

Using good basic farming practices to minimize pests and diseases is common to all farmers, whether conventional or organic. In simple terms—providing the best growing conditions to ensure a strong healthy crop.

The following are the simple basics –

  • In heavy soils, raise the planting area above the surrounding soil to ensure good drainage.
  • Add lots of compost and work into the soil.
  • Mulching with compost, grass clippings (free from any spray residue), or straw holds in moisture and improves soil structure.
  • Provide adequate balanced feeding—sheep manure pellets or a fruit tree fertiliser.
  • Provide good deep watering in dry periods.
  • Practice good farm hygiene by removing all diseased leaves and plants.

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Using pests and Diseases Resistant Varieties

While a few traditional varieties may be disease resistance, there are a range of modern varieties that are better. For example, the new grafted hass avocados and grafted tree tomatoes are resistant to many diseases. Using disease resistant varieties will ensure better crops and greatly minimize the need to use fungicides. We can assist you know the best varieties that are best suited to your area and resistant to disease.

Using Biological Controls

Biological control involves using another living organism to attack the bad one. This is becoming common with commercial growers, but these organisms are not available to home farmers.

What can be done however is to endeavor to use only pesticides that are soft on desirable insects such as bees, ladybirds and predator mites.

Using Pesticides

If good farming practices are followed and disease resistant varieties used, the use of pesticides can be minimized.

There is a range of  very low toxicity, environmentally friendly pesticides available to home gardeners. Also, be aware that some pesticides are toxic—both chemical and natural organic. Being natural organic doesn’t necessarily make it safe.

Prevention is better than cure. Once you have gained experience and are aware of what pests and/or diseases attack which crops, you will be able to anticipate and spray at the first sign, which is more effective and minimizes pesticide use.

NB: Follow recommended spray programmes for each type of fruit, especially the early season preventative sprays

Always read the label

  • The label is a legal document for registered pesticides.
  • Take normal precautions when handling concentrates during mixing.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using.
  • Store out of reach of children.

Which Pesticides should I use?

Fruits are susceptible to attack from a greater range of pests and diseases than vegetables.

There are also a number of complicating issues –

  • Different pests and diseases attack different fruits.
  • Most pesticides are only approved for use on some fruits.
  • There is also significant variation in the effectiveness of pesticides.
  • Withholding periods also vary between pesticides and between different fruits.

There are generally three choices for which type of pesticide you can use — ‘organic’, ‘environmentally friendly’ or other pesticides approved for use.

Pesticides vary greatly in effectiveness. While organic pesticides are usually safer (but not always) they are generally less effective.

Synthetic pesticides approved for home farming use are very low in toxicity compared to commercially available pesticides. So much so, that they are often less toxic and more environmentally friendly than an organic equivalent.

Withholding Period

Agriculture and Food Authority has set withholding periods for each pesticide, and particular crop.  The withholding period is the period that must elapse between spraying and harvesting, and is on the label of each product. Most pesticides have withholding periods of 3 to 14 days. Always check the label.

 

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What are the key pros and cons of using pesticides in our Farms?

Kenyans have now adopted use of pesticides and herbicides in the recent times. Pesticides are a mix of chemicals that are widely used on plants and crops to prevent damaging insects and animals from destroying them. The introduction of pesticides came around during the Industrial Age and completely changed the agricultural industry. They have created immense benefits and streamlined the harvesting process, however they also have had some significant negative damages to our health and environment. Let’s discover how these frequently used chemicals benefit and effect us by looking at all of the pros and cons associated.

Advantages of Pesticides

More Plentiful Harvest

Unwanted pests like mice and insects eat plants at their early stages and destroy their chances of producing fruits or vegetables. They also come in an contaminate entire plants that have already bloomed, which still renders them useless. They helps to keep all of these destructive pests away from crops, which results in more plants surviving and a larger harvest.

Very Easily Available

All types of pesticides are available in stores around the world and relatively affordable prices. This makes it a great way for people to simply protect their own personal gardens and plants from intrusive little critters.

Weeds Out The Weeds

Another huge benefit of pesticides is that they also take out pesky plants, like weeds. Weeds grow in gardens and fields and take up precious soil space, drink the water meant for the other crops, and can choke out the root systems of them as well.

Lowers The Cost Of Food

Farmers typically include the cost of their losses into the price of the food that they sell to the supermarkets. This cost is then transferred down to the consumer. Losses are much less significant with the use of pesticides.

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Major Disadvantages of Pesticides

Health Concerns

The mix of chemicals that are in pesticides are not safe for human ingestion, but they are still sprayed onto the food that we eat. This raises some major concerns about the health and safety of pesticide use.

Harms Animals and the Environment

Pesticides are designed and made to kill living things, which makes them dangerous to the things that they are not intended to kill. Many animals are killed from consuming plants that have been sprayed. Other types of plants, like grass and flowers, are also greatly affected by the use of pesticides.

Worse For Children

It is highly recommended to not use pesticides in any area that a child will be playing or present frequently. This is because their vital organs are still developing, which causes them to breathe at a faster rate than adults, thus breathing in more of the pesticides. They are also much closer to the ground, which is where the chemicals and danger are.

Home Use Is Not Recommended

One of the most common places that they are used is the residential home. People assume that since they are sold, they are safe. This is not true at all. The effects of pesticides can harm pets, kill good insects and animals that you need around your home, as well as harm your children’s health.

They Build A Resistance

Just like other living things, pests can build up a resistance to the chemicals that are used in the pesticides. This means that you would eventually have to begin using more and more of the product, making it even more dangerous.

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Access To Poison Is Not Always Good

Pesticides are poison, not only to insects and pests, but to other warm blooded animals such as dogs and humans. A person can go to the store and buy these poisons, and use them on many different things that they are not intended for. Every year 7 people die from a poisoning associated with pesticides.

Facts about Pesticides

  • Scientists say that there is a link between mental illness and long term exposure to pesticides. They are saying that this is the cause of many farmer suicides.
  • Those that have been deemed unsafe remain in the soil and plants for many years, even after they are not used any longer.
  • There are many different types of pesticides, each targeting a specific groups of pest. They include rodenticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
  • The production of crops increase nearly 30 percent when they are used.

If you  can grow plants organically, then that is the best way to go!! In addition, contact us if you need any type of fruit seedlings!

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Benefits of Cow Manure Fertilizer and how to compost it

Kenya is an agricultural hub and the use of cow manure in the Shamba is a common thing in the rural areas. This type of fertilizer is not as rich in nitrogen compared to other types, however when fresh it contains high levels of ammonia which can burn plants if applied when fresh. On the other hand, composted cow manure can provide many benefits to the garden.

Components of cow dung manure

Cow dung/cattle manure is basically made of digested grass and grain. Cow dung contains high concentrations of organic materials that are rich in nutrients. It contains about 3 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, and 1 percent potassium (3-2-1 NPK). Additionally, cow dung contains high levels of ammonia and possibly dangerous pathogens. Consequently, it is usually recommended that it be composted before using it as a form of fertilizer.

In addition, cow manure contains high levels of ammonia and potentially dangerous pathogens. For this reason, it’s usually recommended that it be aged or composted prior to its use as cow manure fertilizer.

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Advantages of Cow Manure Compost

Cow dung manure has many benefits. Apart from eliminating harmful ammonia gas and pathogens such as E. coli, composted cow manure removes weed seeds and adds generous amounts of organic matter to farmer’s soil. By mixing this compost into the soil, you can improve its moisture-holding capacity. This allows you to water less frequently, as the roots of plants can use the additional water and nutrients whenever needed. In addition, cow dung compost manure will enhance aeration, as well as help break up compacted soils. Composted cow manure also contains beneficial bacteria, which convert nutrients into easily accessible forms, so they can be slowly released without burning tender plant roots. Composting cow manure also produces about a third less greenhouse gases, making it environmentally friendly.

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How to compost cow dung into manure

Composted cow manure fertilizer makes an excellent growing medium for garden plants. When turned into compost and fed to plants and vegetables, cow manure becomes a nutrient-rich fertilizer. It can be mixed into the soil or used as top dressing. Most composting bins or piles are located within easy reach of the garden. Heavy manures, like that of cows, should be mixed with lighter materials, such as straw or hay, in addition to the usual organic substances from vegetable matter, garden debris, etc. Small amounts of lime or ash may also be added.

A crucial consideration when making compost manure is the size of your pile. If the pile is too small, it will not provide enough heat required for the composting process. On the other hand, if the pile is too big it may not get enough air. Therefore, it is necessary to keep on turning your pile every now and then. Composted cow manure adds momentous amounts of organic material to the soil. You can improve the overall health of your soil if you add cow manure fertilizer that in turn will help you produce healthy, vigorous plants.

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How to manage soil to prevent insects and pests

Followers of organic farming have for long promoted the idea that the likelihood of pest outbreaks is reduced if we practice organic farming, which includes establishing and maintaining healthy soil. Recent researches show that plant resistance to insects and diseases is linked to optimal, chemical, physical and biological properties of soil.

In farming, improvement of soil fertility is achieved through rotations, cover cropping and the application of animal and plant materials. Below are some of the main elements that can help reduce pest issues.

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Too Much Nitrogen

Vigorous, healthy plants that grow quickly are in a position to withstand pest damage.\However, over-fertilizing crops can actually increase pest problems. Research has shown that increasing soluble nitrogen levels in plants can decrease their resistance to pests, resulting in higher pest density and crop damage. For example, increased nitrogen fertilizer rates have been associated with large increases in numbers of aphids and mites.

Soil Food Web

Soils that are healthy and rich in organic matter and with a biologically diverse food web support plant health and nutrition better than soils low in organic matter and soil microbial diversity. In addition to supporting vigorous growth of plants better able to tolerate pest damage, healthy soils also contain many natural enemies of insect pests, including insect predators, pathogenic fungi, and insect-parasitic nematodes.

Different Organisms in soil

Soil and plant health are affected by soil’s physical condition, water holding capacity, level of compaction and drainage. The chemical aspects of soils (pH, salt content, availability of nutrients, etc.) can affect crop health and pest susceptibility.

There are several ways of improving soil health. In general, general, the focus should be on increasing soil organic matter to improve soil structure and to provide food for soil microbes that in turn make nutrients available to plants. Farmers should always rotate with cover and green manure crops in order to increase soil organic matter. Manure and compost can also be added to supply organic matter and to provide supplemental nutrients.

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Cultivation

Cultivation and tillage can be beneficial because it disrupts the life cycle of insect pests and can expose pests to predators and the elements. However, excessive tillage can accelerate the decomposition of soil organic matter and deplete the food source that soil microorganisms depend on, decreasing their ability to disrupt pests. Excessive and untimely tillage can also contribute to soil erosion.

Mulching

Whether organic or synthetic, mulches, can help reduce insect pest problems. Plastic mulch is often used to speed early season crop growth that makes plants better able to tolerate insect feeding. Reflective mulch repels thrips and aphids and can reduce the incidence of insect transmitted virus diseases in vegetable crops.

Research has shown that straw mulch can suppress early season pests activity by creating a micro-environment that increases the number of predators like ground beetles, lady beetles, and lacewings. Mulching with straw can also reduce the pests ability to locate  plants.

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Cleanliness

Health measures can be used to help prevent the introduction of pests onto the farm, to prevent the movement of pests within the farm, and to remove overwintering or breeding sites for pests on the farm. Here is what you should do to ensure sanitation is maintained.

  • Always try and plant pest-free plants; inspect plants brought onto the farm to prevent the introduction of pests.
  • Infested plants should be removed and composted, buried, or otherwise destroyed as soon as possible.
  • Removal of weeds and natural vegetation bordering crops may eliminate alternate hosts for some insect pests. Note that these areas may also harbor natural enemies; therefore, the farmer must carefully assess the potential threat from pest insects in these areas before mowing or removing any plants.
  • When working in an infested area, clean equipment and clothes before going to another area of the farm. Pests such as whiteflies and spider mites can be carried on workers’ clothes and spread to new areas.
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How to control various soil diseases in our farms

Fighting soil diseases in our shamba can be a nightmare at times. With our tips, you can learn how to detect problems early and keep them out of your shamba.

Just like any other living organism, soil is susceptible to viruses, harmful fungi and bad bacteria, particularly when its out of balance. If in any case the soil in your farm is infected by the diseases below, your entire crops might be affected and it might also be very hard to fight them. The most important thing in keeping your soil and crops healthy is through protection and prevention. You can also use the tips below to detect and prevent diseases even if your farm doesn’t have them currently.

Soil diseases: Damping-Off

Soil diseases
Plants affected by Damping off soil disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its a fungus disease that mostly affects spinach, beets, low-growing seedlings, , chard, and lettuce. Damping-off typically attacks young plants, but can also affect germinating seeds, preventing germination from happening at all.

To prevent it, try Growing in high-quality soil with good drainage as it is one of the best way to prevent damping-off. As for seedlings, thin young plants to create better airflow, and don’t over water. Consider planting into sterilized soil or companion planting with garlic and chamomile, which have been known to help reduce the fungus. Once you have damping-off, lighten up on watering, preferably using a mister. Thin young plants and move them to a warmer area to encourage more rapid seed growth.

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Soil Diseases: Verticillium Wilt

It’s a type of fungus. Crops affected include strawberries, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Symptoms include leaves wilting and dying, typically from the soil upward.

To prevent it you can purchase wilt-resistant seeds, but also check any plants you buy for wilt, and never transplant a wilting plant into your garden. Verticillium wilt is very difficult to get rid of, though healthy, well drained soil will help. Soil polarization has been shown to reduce occurrences.

Soil Diseases: Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is caused by fungus. Affected crops include squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits; basil; grapes. Its symptoms may include; tiny yellow spots appear on leaves in early to late summer, killing the leaf canopy and making the fruit vulnerable to sun scorch.

How to Prevent It: Buy seeds resistant to downy mildew, and if irrigating, irrigate from below to keep the leaves as dry as possible. Rotate crop families every season, and cover the transplanted crops with row cover if you’ve experienced downy mildew in the past. There has been some success ridding downy mildew with bio-fungicides. We recommend farmers to dilute solution of copper spray to reduce the spread of the disease.

Soil Diseases: Powdery Mildew

Its caused by fungus. Crops Affected may include, squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits; roses; grapes.

Symptoms: Yellowish spots appear on the top of leaves and purple spots appear below, most commonly in warm, wet weather.

To prevent it, as with downy mildew, buy resistant seeds and irrigate from below to prevent creating a culture where powdery mildew can thrive. Row cover can help prevent bugs from transferring disease from plant to plant. Rotate crops each season.

This disease spreads easily among plants, so consider tearing out any affected plants and throwing them away. (Do not compost to avoid risk of spreading the disease.) Early applications of milk spray has also been shown to help prevent powdery mildew.

Soil Diseases: Bacterial Wilt

Its caused by a bacteria. The Crops Affected may include passion fruits, cucurbits, especially muskmelons and cucumbers. Symptoms include leaves wilting on the stems.To prevent it you can grow cultivars that are resistant to this wilt, but the best prevention is using row cover to keep cucumber beetles and other bugs from transmitting the disease.

There is no easy way to get rid of bacterial wilt. If you see the infection, remove the plants from your garden, especially passion fruits.

Soil Diseases: Foliar Nematodes

Affected Crops may include strawberries; ornamental crops, including asters, primrose, violets, ferns and dahlias. Symptoms might include yellow patches appear on leaves and may turn brown or black. Shoots may also become stunted and produce deformed flowers.To prevent it, Plant resistant cultivars, and always plant in well-drained soil with good air circulation. Clean up plant debris every season. Irrigate from beneath the plant if possible. How to Get Rid Of It: Destroy any affected parts of the plant. Thin plants if possible for better air circulation.

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Soil Diseases: Root Knot Nematodes

soil deseases
Carrot affected by Rot Knot Nematodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a nematode disease which affects thousands of crops , including corn, tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes. Its symptoms include wilting or yellowing plants; stunted fruits and flowers. To prevent root Knot nematodes plant resistant varieties when available. Marigolds, used as a cover crop and tilled into the soil at the end of the season, have been shown to help prevent the disease. Healthy soil full of organic matter will likewise help crowd out the nematodes.

Neem oil has been shown to help rid a garden of nematodes, though they are difficult to eradicate in the current season. Add compost and organic matter to soil at the end of the season to improve soil quality for the next year.

Soil Diseases: Bacterial Soft Rot

Its caused by bacteria. The affected crops include corn, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and onions. Bacterial soft rot primarily attacks tubers, rhizomes, bulbs and corms, creating black spots, yellow spots, a rancid odor and rot. It can also affect already harvested crops, including potatoes and carrots. To prevent it, plant in well-drained soils with good circulation. Keep areas around the garden, storage houses and greenhouse free of plant debris. There are no known remedies to get rid of it. Dispose of affected plants, and do not bury or compost.

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Soil diseases: Mosaic Virus

Its kind of a virus that affects potatoes, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers. This disease can affect both the leaves and fruit, appearing often as leaves with mottled yellow patches or stunted growth of the fruit with both green and yellow spots. To prevent it find mosaic-virus-resistant seeds, and shielding the plants with row cover helps prevent bugs from bringing the disease. In addition, always rotate crops. For you to get rid of it, tear up the plants and throw them away. Mosaic virus is highly contagious and can destroy a crop and spread to others.

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Soil Diseases: Scab

Its type of a fungus that affects mostly tuber crops such as such as potatoes, beets and radishes. This disease doesn’t usually affect the yield of a crop, but can blemish crops with small, rough, corky spots making them unsuitable for sale. To prevent it, lowering the soil pH to below 5.2 can help reduce the chances of scab. Purchase disease-free seed when available.

Because scab is generally discovered upon harvest, it’s hard to detect. Keep soil evenly moist and rotate crops every season to avoid the fungus.

Thank you for finding time to read this article. For more information about farming and how to control pests and diseases kindly contact us.

 

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How To Make Your Own Compost Manure And Its Benefits

Compost manure as widely known is normally animal waste and rotten plant. Composting produces an organic fertiliser high in plant nutrients which improves soil physical characteristics, reduces organic waste on the farm and eliminates pathogens.

According to experts, the proportion of farmers in Kenya using inorganic fertiliser for maize planting has increased. However, the quantity applied has increased slightly from 56kg per acre  to 59kg per acre. This low usage of fertiliser is largely due to high costs. Compost manure is, therefore, a cheaper alternative.

Read: Soil Testing: How To Interpret And Its Importance

How compositing happens

Effective composting occurs when you create conditions that support the growth of tiny living creatures in the soil called micro-organisms. These are bacteria and fungi, only seen when using a microscope. These micro-organisms are needed to breakdown the plant and animal waste material. They produce heat during the breakdown of plant and animal waste.

After a few days, the prepared compost heap will get hot and when opened up can release steam. As the waste materials decompose, they release nutrients in forms that can be used by crops.

Procedure of Compositing

Crop residues and organic household wastes are thrown into pits and left to decompose for three to four months, after which the compost is ready for use. The waste materials are heaped under a tree shade and left to decompose. In both methods, compost is produced, but the quality is low. Purposeful methods can, however, be employed to produce high quality compost that can enable a farmer increase crop yields without using expensive inorganic fertiliser. This type of manure is called enriched compost.

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Advantages Of Enriched Compost

  • Cheap because it is derived from crop residues, animal manure, garden weeds, grass, hedge cuttings, kitchen and household waste.
  • Nutrients immediately available as the plant absorbs them directly without the need for further breakdown.
  • Increased crop yields.
  • Water holding capacity of the soil is increased hence supporting crops adequately.
  • In situations where the texture of the soil is not conducive to root penetration, it improves it so that roots grow better to spread and search for more soil nutrients.
  • It helps in release of nutrients gradually, enabling the following year’s crop to benefit from their presence unlike the inorganic fertiliser that lasts only a season.
  • It increases the soil organic matter content that is good for crops and the environment in general.
  • Because weeds can also be composited, compost manure reduces weed density in farms since weed seeds are destroyed during the process of composting by the heat produced.
  • Manure reduces environmental pollution associated with inorganic fertiliser use.

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Basic Requirements of Making Compost Manure

  • Panga, sticks, watering can and fork or spade.
  • Space of 2.5m long by 2m wide for the heap and a similar portion to turn the material. The more the material available, the more space one requires.
  • Crop residues from cereals (maize, sorghum, millet, wheat) and legumes (bean, cowpea, groundnut and green gram).
  • Any other types of waste plant material. Use of green manures such as tithonia (Mexican sunflower), glyricidia, leucaena, sesbania, crotalaria and lantana leaves increase the compost nitrogen content.

Process of Compositing

  • Select a location close to where you want to use the compost to reduce the strain of transporting it. The place should be sheltered from wind, rain, sun and runoff. A compost pile must not get either dry or wet.
  • The compost heap can be constructed above or below the ground. If constructed above the ground, scrub the grass and loosen the top few centimetres of soil with a jembe. In a pit, sprinkle top soil at the bottom to introduce micro-organisms.
  • Build the compost pile by beginning with a bottom layer of bigger sized materials such as maize stalks of about 15cm long.
  • Add another layer of dry vegetation, hedge cuttings or grass of about 15cm. Sprinkle top soil and add water to moisten the whole layer.

You can Also use manure from animal waste as it is cheap and readily available especially if you are practicing zero grazing.

Courtesy of (Daily Nation)

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Don’t Just Add Fertilizer Know Its Components

According to agricultural experts, farmers ought to learn the components used in fertilisers and if they are beneficial to their soils. Its noted that many farmers just buy fertilisers without knowing what their soils need, defeating the purpose of using them.

The experts have noted that there was improved logistical infrastructure for inputs and outputs in Africa, but more needed to be done.

Kenya is one of the countries that import fertiliser from different companies, with National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) being one of the main buyers.

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Fertilizer analysis

Understanding the fertilizer analysis is essential when choosing the right fertilizer to purchase and apply.

Fertilizers, such as 10-20-10, are identified on their package by their chemical analysis.
The three numbers on the bag or container refer to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium components in the fertilizer.
Chemical fertilizers for the home garden are available in two forms. The granular form is sprinkled on the soil and worked in with a tiller or hand tool. Water soluble types are mixed with water and the feeding is accomplished by sprinkling onto the leaves of the plant (foliar feeding) or used as part of the watering process, in which the plant takes in the nutrients systemically (through the roots).

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Fertilizer components and what each does for your plants

  • The first number in a fertilizer formula is the nitrogen content. Nitrogen is used by plants for producing leaf growth and greener, lusher leaves.
  • The second number in a fertilizer formula is the phosphorus content. Phosphorus is used by plant to increase fruit development and to produce a strong root system.
  • The third number in a fertilizer formula is the potassium (potash) content. Potassium is used by plants for flower color and size. It is also important to the strength of the plant.

Read: The work of Agricultural Engineer in Kenya

Using Fertilizers Properly

The easiest way to explain this would be that a 100# bag of 10-20-10 converted to component weight would equal

  • 25# of nitrogen,
  • 50# of phosphate, and
  • 25# of potash.

Before applying fertilizer to the garden, it is best to test your soil (or have it tested by sending a sample to http://oxfarm.co.ke/ .
These soil tests will tell you the level of nutrients that are already in the soil, as well as the acidity (pH) of the soil. Adjusting the pH of your soil is essential, because some nutrients may become unavailable to your plants if the soil pH is above or below a certain range.
If your test is done by us, the test results will be much more detailed, and will also provide our recommendations for any needed additions of lime and fertilizer to your soil.
The timing of the application of fertilizers is very important. Too much fertilizer, or applying it at the wrong time can lead to an overabundance of foliage, delayed flowering, leaf and root burn, or even plant death due to excess fertilizer!

Always read the manual of any garden product.