In Summary
  • Cabbage is a cool season vegetable and it cannot withstand drought. It requires average to high rainfall, which is well-distributed to avoid cracking.
  • Goats must be provided with balanced class of nutrients in energy, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.
  • Heifers are sold periodically at Egerton University’s farms. However, currently there are no animals for sale until around March or April.
  • There are several researches that have been conducted, efficacy trial done and a number of selective herbicide products registered for use in Kenya.

GROWING CABBAGES

I want to start cabbage farming but I have no idea what it entails. I need to know the best variety to plant in Kisii, pesticides and at what stage to use them and when to plant and harvest.

Momanyi

Gloria F1, Copenhagen market and Golden acre varieties can do well in Kisii. Pesticides are only used in case of pest outbreak. The most common pests are:

i) Cabbage aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae): They suck sap, causing curling of leaves and transmit viruses. Control:

Systemic insecticides; biological - use of lady bird beetle and cultural – intercropping, mulching (colour) and irrigation.

ii) Diamondback moth: It’s a caterpillar that is injurious. It is the most important pest of brassicas worldwide. It feeds on leaf lamina from the underside causing windowing effect.

Control: Chemicals; biological – Bacillus thuringiensis and cultural – inter-cropping (smell).

iii) Cut worm: Larvae feed on stem base cutting it off. It is more serious at transplanting.

Control: Chemical – dusting around stem bases of transplants, using chemical baits (sugar in water+poison) and cultural – unearth larvae and kill them.

Cabbage is a cool season vegetable and it cannot withstand drought. It requires average to high rainfall, which is well-distributed to avoid cracking.

Moisture availability is critical during head formation. Any water stress at this stage will result to no head or head will be elongated and of poor quality (bitter or with irregular taste).

Therefore, it is advisable to plant when there are rains or you can irrigate. Harvesting is done from 55 days after transplanting for early cultivars and up to 130 days for late cultivars.

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

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PUMPKIN PESTS AND DISEASES

I am a small-scale farmer in Kikuyu and I have planted several varieties of pumpkins. I wish to be advised on the management of the crop, pest and disease controls from the young stage to maturity.

Also, something on inter-cropping.

David Ngigi

Pumpkin growing in a farm in Usenge.

Pumpkin growing in a farm in Usenge. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The following are some of the pests that attack pumpkins.

Aphids: Green or black colonies of aphids on the lower side of the leaf. When the population of the aphids is high, the leaves will curl as they suck sap from them.

Control: Use of natural enemies to feed on the aphids, neem extracts, reflective mulch (polythene mulch) and watering can also be done because aphids are common during periods of water stress.

White flies: They suck sap from the plants and they also secrete honey dew on which sooty mould grows.

Control: Use of parasitic wasps to feed on the white flies, reflective mulch, and spraying with botanical pesticides like neem.

Fruit flies: The flies penetrate the fruit when it is still young and grow inside causing rotting.

Control: Crop rotation, destroy all infected fruits and wrapping of the fruits with a paper bag.

Diseases:
i) Powdery mildew

A white powdery substance is seen on the lower side of the leaf.
Control: Use of fungicides, resistant varieties and weeding to get rid of weeds that belong to cucurbit family.

ii) Downy mildew
Pale yellow areas are seen on the leaves. The disease is spread by wind and rain splash.
Control: Avoid wetting the leaves when irrigating and destroy weeds which belong to cucurbit family.

iii) Fusarium wilt
It causes rotting of the root and a decay at the stem base near the ground level.
Control: Crop rotation, use the recommended amount of nitrogen fertilisers, destroy infected crops and solarisation of the soil.

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

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SOURCING FOR GOATS

I want to buy a dairy goat which can thrive in Kieni East.

I would appreciate if you give me the contacts of good breeders and sellers such as the Dairy Goat Association of Kenya and Kanyama Self-Help Group.

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