Sunday, 17 June 2012

Organically grown African spinach & black night shade indigenous vegetables in Kenya

African spinach also called amaranthus species are organically grown indigenous vegetables in Kenya. They are broadly categorized into grain, vegetables, and ornamental and weed types. The grain and vegetables types are utilized as flour and leaves respectively. Nutritionally they provide calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and protein.Amaranthus indigenous vegetables are adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions. This crop is easy to grow organically in fertile soils with enough moisture and the crop has high yields. These indigenous crops are nutritionally superior to exotic ones such as tomatoes, cucumber and cabbage. Farmers normally harvest and use their own seed but there is a problem of mix up of different types of amaranthus.
Amaranthus indigenous vegetables are organically  grown by direct planting in furrows 30cm apart and later thinned to 15cm within the row. The thinning should be utilized. This close spacing is possible because the amaranthus root system does not spread. The seed rate is 5kg per hectare and application of 30-40 tons of manure is recommended. The manure should be mixed well into the soil before sowing. The organically produced crop is harvested by selective picking of leaves which may be blended with other indigenous vegetables or utilized alone. For amaranths seed production mature  seeds should be harvested, dried in the shade for five days and in the sun for one day. Clean seeds are preserved by mixing with 5 handfuls of wood ash for every 20kg of seed.organically produced amaranthus yields 1 bag of seed and 120 bags of leaves per acre of growing land.

Black night shade indigenous vegetables are erect herbaceous plants that grows up to one metre, characterized by green ridged stems, smooth edged leaves and with long stalks. These indigenous crops grow organically and widely in east Africa. They are rich in protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. The seed rate is 500 grams per acre. Planting spacing is 30cm×drill and thinning is carried out after 4 weeks. The organically produced crop requires fertile soil with enough moisture for good growth. Manure should be applied as for amaranthus above. For seed production mature fruits yellow in colour are harvested, soaked in water for a day and seeds are extracted by squeezing the fruits in water. Good seeds will sink while poor quality seed will float. Floating seed should be removed, and then the good seed which can organically grow vigorously should be dried for 3 days in the shade and one day in the sun. Clean seeds are preserved by mixing with 5 handfuls of wood ash for every 20kg of seed. These indigenous vegetables produce one bag of seed per acre in addition to160 bags of leaves per acre.Market at