How to Grow Cabbages in Kenya
Cabbage (Brassica oleraceae) is one of the most common vegetable in the Kenyan table. It’s an all season vegetable always in the market all year round. There’s always a high demand for the cabbages in the Kenyan market.
Farmers have, for a long time, grown cabbages in their small farms. Growing cabbages which has seen a tremendous increase has become a business venture where farmers are hugely investing in cultivation of cabbages. The only discouraging factor in growing cabbages is the varying prices in the market.
Cultivation of cabbage is both done on small scale and large scale for business purposes. Many of the small scale farmers do it targeting the local market in their villages. The large scale cabbage farmer targets the national market where they transport their yields to the big towns.
Cabbage is grown through rain fed and irrigated conditions. Drip irrigation is highly recommended for irrigation in growing of cabbages.
Tips for growing of cabbages in Kenya
If you want to grow cabbages, here are some cabbage growing tips for you.
- Provide optimum temperature of 16°-20°. Higher temperatures of above 25° reduces head formation.
- Cabbages have a high requirement of water throughout. When irrigating, you should ensure intervals of 7-10 days of watering. You should also avoid overhead irrigation as it damages and hampers leaf development of cabbage.
- Soils should be well drained, with high organic content, high water holding capacity and an optimum pH of 6- 6.5. To ensure that your soil has a high organic matter you should ensure that you apply large amount of completely decomposed farm yard manure. Farm yard manure increases soil fertility, increases water holding capacity and also increases microbial activities within the soil.
- To augment and increase yield production, you should also apply the appropriate amount of inorganic fertilizers.
- Another important tip is to ensure enough space when planting the seedling to facilitate the development of bigger heads. Also ensure that the field is free of weeds to avoid competition.
In cold weather season avoid wetting your crops as they become more prone to diseases and pests. Acquisition of all the agrochemicals that will be used while growing your cabbages should be done at the initial planting stage; the seedlings. This helps to avoid late spraying and applying of the chemicals.
The cabbage variety cultivated depends on the market requirements and most consumer preference, as well as its sweetness. Cabbage varieties that are mostly preferred include the Gloria F1 hybrid, Sugar loaf and Copenhagen. These varieties are considered as sweet tasting varieties by most markets.
In the market, classification is also done according to the following;
- Urban markets require medium to small heads e.g. Copenhagen, Gloria F1 hybrid, sugar loaf and golden acre.
- Rural areas normally go for medium to large heads.
- Processing: Large heads, firm white varieties like drumheads.
- Kitchen gardens: Grow varieties with long harvest period e.g. sugar loaf and Copenhagen market.
Note; 1-4 months after transplanting, your cabbages should be mature and are ready for harvesting when the heads become firm. During harvesting avoid bruising the head as they encourage rotting.
These simple cabbage farming tips if followed will offer you a good start to your cabbage farming venture. Growing cabbage is a business venture that can offer employment opportunities. It can be done for wealth creation and a great source of income to farmers. Try it today.