January 20,2014.Cabbage is one of the most popular vegetables grown in Kenya by small, medium and large scale farmers for food and income generation. Due to its high demand particularly in the urban areas, a shortfall in cabbage production automatically leads to increase in price which often causes an outcry by consumers. Cabbage is therefore the most ideal type of vegetable for a farmer who wants to make money over short period of time with little production costs. Nutritionally, cabbages are important source of Calcium have moderate amounts of Potassium and Sodium.
Cabbages are a moderate source of vitamin A and C and they therefore protect the body against cancer attack, prevent hypertension are effective against constipation.
Choosing a variety
While making a choice on the variety to produce, a farmer need to consider several key factors among them the maturity duration, yield potential, tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases, good field holding capacity, uniform maturity to ensure a single harvest and preference in the market among other qualities. Bearing this in mind, Simlaw Seeds Co. through a rigorous screening for the above desired qualities has over time released several hybrid cabbage in the market. These varieties easily out compete others varieties in specific market segments due to their superior and reliable qualities.
The varieties include Gloria F1, Pruktor F1, Riana F1, Queen F1 Serena F1, Karen f1, sunny fi and most recently Polo F1.
|Variety||Maturity in days/ after transplanting||Average head weight/Kg||Attributes|
|Gloria F1||80-85||5|| Heat tolerant
Has strong root system and thick wax layer making it ideal for planting during dry season or under irrigation
It is extensively grown widely especially in Mt. Kenya, central and rich highland of uganda
|Pruktor F1||80-90||6|| Medium early maturing variety
Grows in wide climatic condition
Highly tolerant to black rot.
Has perfect solid round heads that withstands long distance transportation
|Queen F1||80-85||5|| Widely adaptable to cool and warm climatic zones
Highly tolerant to black rot disease and bursting
|Riana F1||85-90||6|| Tolerance to black rot disease
Rich in green colour
Suitable for fresh market and processing industry
|Serena F1||80-85||4.5|| Has well compacted heads
Excellent tolerant to black bean disease
Does well in wide climatic zones
|Polo F1||70-75||4|| Very early maturing variety
Has light green round shaped heads
Very uniform and tolerant to bolting
|Sunny f1||70-75||3.5-4|| Early maturing variety
Tolerant to humid weather patterns and ideal for coastal belt
Seed requirement: About 120g of seeds is required to plant in one acre piece of land. Growers are advised to source seeds from a registered stockist and obtain a receipt for seeds purchased. Seedling can be raised on seed bed or seed trays for about four weeks before being transplanted to the field. Before transplanting, seedling should be hardened off to prepare them to cope with field conditions.
Spacing: Plant spacing is important and depends with the variety and the choice of the farmer pegged on the market demands.
Early varieties require closer spacing of 60cm between the rows and 45cm between the plants while late varieties require wider spacing of 60cm by 60cm. Generally, the wider you space the plants the larger the size of the head that will be obtained. The possible plant population per acre lies between 11,000 and 15,000 heads.
Cabbage is a cool season crop which requires an optimum growth temperatures range of 15- 20° C. It requires adequate well distributed rainfall. Moisture levels are especially critical during the early stage of the crop growth. If the levels are low, irrigation should be used to supplement and relive the moisture stress.
Pest and disease management
Cabbage is a host to several pests that include diamond back month (DBM), aphids and cabbage saw fly. Diseases that attack cabbage include black rot, fungal spots and bacterial soft rot.
For optimum cabbage production knowledge on diseases and pest management by the producer is very crucial. Pests and disease pressure can be managed by scouting and timely intervention. Integrated pest and diseases management method including judicious and timely application of pesticides and fungicides targeting specific should be employ if the pest population is above the maximum economic threshold levels.
Plant Nutrition management
Cabbage like most leafy vegetables requires high amount of nitrogen. Low nitrogen levels suppresses growth leading to low yields while excessive nitrogen levels causes loose puffy, cracked heads and increase the susceptibility to disease and pest attack.
To supplement available nutrients in the soil, a handful amount of well decomposed organic manure should be applied in each planting hole during transplanting. Application of inorganic fertilizer should be based on recommendations obtained from soil analysis of a specific field. This is will ensure there is no unnecessary amendment is done to soil for sustainable and optimum production.
To avoid loss of any inorganic fertilizer added, fertilization application should be done in splits.
By Kariuki Thomas, Simlaw Seeds Marketing Officer
Contacts: 0722200545 / 0734811861