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Monday, 25 May 2015

Embracing kitchen garden to improve food security

By Bob Aston
Smallholder farmers in Naibrom area of Ol-Moran Ward in Laikipia West Sub County are embracing kitchen garden as a way of improving their livelihood. Through support from the County Government the farmers were on May 20, 2015 trained on how to set up a kitchen garden nursery.
In Laikipia County, the county government recognized promotion of Kitchen garden as a way of empowering communities at the household level. The County government through the County Development Authority is implementing Household Economic Empowerment Programme (HEEP) with an aim of reducing poverty level in the county.
Farmers preparing kitchen garden nursery

Kitchen garden is a simple method of farming that produce fresh fruit, vegetables’ and herbs for delicious, healthy meals. The objective of training farmers on kitchen garden include: to ensure households are food and nutrition secure; to ensure good management and profitable utilization of available resources is promoted in the county; to promote profitable agribusiness in Laikipia County.
“We want farmers to be able to have vegetables throughout the year. We expect that the farmers will be able to cut down on food costs, access fresh produce and get nutritive food,” said Mr. James Kamau, Ol-Moran Ward Agriculture officer.
He said that they are training farmers on establishment of wet garden as they are less capital intensive, use less water, one is able to realize high production and they are easy to manage.
He urged the farmers to use recommended spacing, keep weeds in check, plant crops in a place not susceptible to pests, do crop rotation, and remove things which can harbor pests as well as observe time of planting
The farmers prepared nurseries for Fanaka F1 cabbage, 1000 headed kale, Ford Hook Giant spinach, Amiran tomatoes and California Wonder capsicum.
The seeds being covered to reduce sunlight
He urged them to always consider selection of sight as it will determine the success of the kitchen garden. The garden should be near a source of water, should be away from shading tree, should not be water logged and weeds and grass should be cleared in the surrounding areas.
Planting and maintenance
The width of the kitchen garden should be 1 m while the length will depend on the availability of land. Well decomposed manure should then be added to the top soil to a ratio of one to one. That is one wheel barrow of top soil to one wheel barrow of decomposed manure.
The seeds should be planted in a row, the lines must face where the sun rises from. The lines should be spaced 15 cm apart using a string to make straight line. The lines should be 2 cm deep.
The nursery should be watered whenever necessary to avoid over watering the nursery bed for it can cause stress and compaction. The seed bed should be mulched to provide enough shade for the crops while weeding should be done regularly.
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