- Farmers need to know that with the ever-changing climatic patterns and every farm being different, training is crucial for any successful venture.
- Doubling application of some inputs to hasten the growth process is a common phenomenon. This not only stresses the crop but also causes them to fail. What’s more, too much of chemicals will affect the soil.
- Farmers need to understand that the technology behind quality drip irrigation systems ensures each crop gets the right and equal amount of water and nutrients.
Greenhouse farming is not a new concept in Kenya, with many farmers growing crops under the system.
However, despite increased uptake of greenhouses, many farmers, including the experienced ones, make several mistakes that lead to huge losses. Here are the common ones.
a) LACK OF TRAINING: A good number of farmers don’t believe in greenhouse agricultural training modules or those who seek training do not concentrate during sessions.
The excuse behind this is that most say that they have watched other people engage in the farming, so they can borrow lessons from them. Farmers need to know that with the ever-changing climatic patterns and every farm being different, training is crucial for any successful venture.
b) FARM MANAGEMENT: For a crop to attain its optimal potential, it requires good care. This includes adhering to the watering regimes and schedules, feeding nutrients and controlling pests or diseases. A farmer should monitor growth of his crops or have someone to do so. Modern farming techniques have made farming an easy activity but this should not mean total neglect of the crops.
c) TECHNICAL SUPPORT AT THE FARM LEVEL: Farmers need to understand the importance of professional input and advice. As an addition to the monthly field visits by agronomists, there are guide books that explain how to take care of crops. One can also get online support. A farmer should seek help always, even when he feels he does not need it.
d) DESIRE FOR QUICK RESULTS: Greenhouse farming has eased field activities, however, this does not mean there will be absolutely no work to be done. The general perception that the crop will grow by itself is misleading to say the least.
In the desperate attempts to achieve even higher yields, farmers are known to distort professional advice accorded to them in search for quick money. Doubling application of some inputs to hasten the growth process is a common phenomenon. This not only stresses the crop but also causes them to fail. What’s more, too much of chemicals will affect the soil.
e) PESTS AND DISEASES: It is important to note that greenhouses decrease chances of pest attack but they do not eliminate them as some farmers believe. Greenhouse kits such as the Amiran Farmers Kit come ready with pesticides that help in controlling inevitable pests such as whiteflies. However, correct application of the chemicals is necessary.
f) SOIL TESTS OR ANALYSIS: Some farmers skip this test without understanding that pathological analysis of the soil is crucial in greenhouse farming. Timely detection of pathogens like bacterial and fusarium wilt and nematodes will help you know what to grow and curb losses.
g) GREENHOUSE HYGIENE: Farmers are strictly advised to limit human traffic into their greenhouses. People might carry bacteria, especially on their shoes into the facility. It is important to have a footbath at the entrance of the greenhouse structure for cleaning feet or shoes before entering the greenhouse.
The outside cover of the greenhouse should be clean and farmers should remove dust from cover to ensure enough light reaches the crops.
h) NOT EVERY PIPE WITH HOLES IS A DRIP LINE: Farmers need to understand that the technology behind quality drip irrigation systems ensures each crop gets the right and equal amount of water and nutrients.