Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Growing spinach vegetables in Kenya

Spinach vegetables are grown for it’s for its succulent edible green leaves. They are rich in vitamin and minerals especially iron. The vegetables thrive well in altitudes below 1000M above sea level. The soils should be fertile, well drained and high in organic matter content. Varieties of spinach vegetables include 

  1. Early hybrid No.7: This is an upright growing, compact and very prolific plant. The leaves are dark green, semi savoyed and large with short petioles. It is early maturing and highly productive, tolerant to downy mildew and has a very good regeneration ability.
  2. Bloomshade long standing: These are an upright compact plant with thick fleshy leaves which are dark green, savoyed, large and with very long petioles. It is vigorous and exceptionally long standing vegetables.
  3. Giant noble: These are a dwarf plants, fast growing but produces moderate yields. The leaves are mid-green, thick, and smooth with short petioles.
  4. King of Denmark: This is a spreading plant, very prolific and vigorous in growth. The leaves are mid-green, smooth, thick, broad, and medium sized with long petioles. This variety has rapid regeneration ability.
  5. New Zealand spinach: These are a hardy low spreading and branching plant. It has numerous leaves which are thick, fleshy dark green, triangular and smaller than other varieties. The seeds are large and prickly but germinate slowly. It does well in hot dry climates. It produces large amounts of green vegetables over a long period and is therefore best suited for home gardens. 

Prior to planting spinach seeds are soaked in water for about 24 hours in order to enhance germination. The seeds are sown thinly in rows 30-40 cm apart and 2cm deep. The seedlings are later thinned to 10-20 cm apart within the row leaving only strong plants. Adequate watering is essential for good growth. Spinach seedlings can also be raised in a nursery bed and transplanted into the field. Spinach vegetables respond well to fertilizer application before transplating.200kg of DAP fertilizer is recommended for every hectare grown with these green vegetables. The farm should be free of weeds to minimize competition for production of marketable leaves. There are no major pest and diseases/of economic importance. However ringspot disease which is easily spread through water splash can reduce the quality of marketable produce. Mulching is therefore a good control method. The crop can be harvested for a period of 6-12 months. The largest green leaves should be harvested as they mature. These should be cut off carefully to avoid injuring the spinach plant. Staggered growing should be practiced for sustainable vegetables production. Spinach leaves become coarse in texture and bitter as they grow old.  more-http://yagrein.blogspot.com/p/what-are-youth-saying.html