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Zero Starter Guide Of Onion Farming In Kenya

There are different varieties of onion, although the most popular in Kenya are the green and the bulb-purple. According to KARLO, Kenyan farmers do not look out for the required cinditions like soil chemical composition, soil fertility, and climatic favourable conditions before going for a specific onion. For example, onion and garlic prefer a fairly neutral PH, of between 6.5 and 7.0. Soil that is too acid or too basic causes slow growth and late maturity.

Below is a guide that you might follow while planting onions.

Onion Farming in Kenya: Preparation and Fertilizing

Onions require full sun, good soil drainage and soil rich in nitrogen. Choose a location that gets plenty of direct sun and where your onion plants will not be shaded by other crops. Onions grow best on raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inch high and 20inch wide. Pull and remove all visible weeds. The soil should be loose and crumbly. If it’s compacted, work in compost to improve aeration and drainage.

Onions are heavy feeders and require consistent feeding to produce big solid bulbs. At planting time, prepare the soil first with compost and also work in a good source of granular, high nitrogen fertilizer.

As plants grow and begin to bulb up, plan to supplement feed every few weeks with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Be sure to apply all fertilizers according to suggested rates or quantities.

Read Also: The work of Agricultural Engineer in Kenya

Onion Farming in Kenya: Planting

Rows should be made 12-18 inches apart. If you want the onions to grow to mature bulbs, plant them 4-6 inches apart and 1inch deep (and no deeper, as this will inhibit their ability to bulb). If you prefer to harvest some earlier as green onions, space them 2 inches apart and pull every other onion during the growing season, leaving the rest to grow to maturity.

When the ground starts to crack as the onions push the soil away, the bulbing process has begun. Stop fertilizing at this point. Do not heap soil up around the bulbing onions; it’s normal and beneficial for much of the onion bulb to be above the ground as they mature.

Onion Farming in Kenya: Watering

Water thoroughly after planting and regularly thereafter – onions require about 1 inch of water per week and the closer to harvest, the greater the need for regular watering. They have shallow roots, so don’t let the soil at the base of the plants become dry and cracked. If an onion plant fails to receive enough water, it will not make a large bulb. Overwatering is equally problematic – if leaves develop a yellow tinge, cut back on watering. Drip irrigation is a good way to stay on top of onions water needs and helps discourage foliar diseases. When bulbs are mature, the onion tops will begin to fall over. At this point, stop watering and let the soil dry out before harvesting.

Onion Farming In Kenya: Weeding

Weed control is especially important early in the growing season to prevent competition for nutrients. When the onions start to bulb up, push the mulch back so that they get good air circulation.

Also Read: How to establish the type of irrigation needed in your farm

Onion Farming in Kenya: Pest and disease control

The most common conditions that affect onions are blight, purple blotch and thrips. They are caused by fungus and are more common during periods of high moisture. Blight appears as small white spots surrounded by a greenish halo. Purple blotch causes a purplish discoloration of leaves. Proper plant spacing helps increase air flow and reduces both blight and purple blotch. Thrips are sucking insects that sometimes attack onion plants, causing the leaves to turn grey or silvery. Thrips are barely visible as tiny yellow or dark specks about 1 mm long. Organic controls for thrips include safer soap or Pyrethrin. They can hide in weeds, so be sure to weed your garden patch after harvest and control weeds in the onion bed throughout the growing season.

Onion Farming in Kenya: Harvesting

Proper treatment at harvest maximizes the amount of time you’ll be able to store your onions. When the tops of the onions turn brown or yellow and fall over, it’s time to harvest. Ideally, the plant will have about 13 leaves at this point. Pull the onions early in the morning on a sunny day and shake off excess soil. Dry the onions in the sun for two days. To prevent sunscald, lay the tops of one row over the bulbs of another.

Do the right thing, visit the experts!

Also Read: How Do I Monetize My Passion On Farming?

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Cabbage Farming in Kenya: New better varieties

 Cabbage Farming: Fiscal importance

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.

Also Read: Lucrative onion farming in Kenya

Cabbage Farming: Choosing a variety

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.

Variety Maturity in Days/After transplanting Average head weight/Kg Characteristics
Gloria F1 80-85 5 Heat torelant

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

Pruktor F1 80-90 6 Medium early maturing variety

Grows in wide climatic condition

Highly tolerant to black rot.

Has perfect solid round heads that withstands long distance transportation

Queen F1 80-85 5 Widely adaptable to cool and warm climatic zones

Highly tolerant to black rot disease  and bursting

Riana F1 85-90 6 Tolerance to black rot disease

Rich in green colour

Suitable for fresh market and processing industry

Serena F1 80-85 4.5 Has well compacted heads

Excellent tolerant to black bean disease

Does well in wide climatic zones

Polo F1 70-75 4 Very early maturing variety

Has light green round shaped heads

Very uniform and tolerant to bolting

Sunny F1 70-75 3.5-4 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.

Also Read: Cabbage Growing In Kenya: All You Should Know