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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Smallholder farmers urged to embrace kitchen garden

By Bob Aston
Smallholder farmers from Wangwachi area of Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County have been urged to embrace kitchen garden farming a way of improving their livelihood. Speaking while training farmers in the area on June 3, 2015, Mrs. Elcy Kigano, Ol-Moran Ward Agribusiness officer said that farmers are able to get food throughout the year from their kitchen garden.
The Laikipia County government recognized 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.
Dry grass being added on top of the hardcore

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; and to promote profitable agribusiness in Laikipia County.

Mrs. Kigano 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. Materials required include; Polythene paper, stones, hardcore, ballast, dry grass, manure, water and watering can.
“Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. All you really need is to get started. It is appropriate to start with what you eat and you should also consider the nutritive value of the crops that you plant,” said Mrs. Kigano.
Selection of sight 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.
Preparing a kitchen garden
Soil mixed with manure being added
Measure the land where the kitchen garden will be located. The width of the garden should be 1m while the length will depend on the size of the land. Then put top soil and sub soils aside separately. Add well decomposed manure to the top soil to a ratio of one to one. Layout the polythene paper on excavated ground.
Ballast should then be added on top of hardcore then dry grass. Well mixed manure and top soil should then be added. The bed should then be watered and let to rest for two hours after which the seedlings should be planted at the spacing of 9 inches to 1 ft. Stones should be added around the bed to ensure the polythene covers the garden well. The garden should then be watered twice per week until the seedlings are well established then once per month after establishment. That is when the crop has developed deep root structures.
Planting and maintenance
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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