News and knowhow for farmers

A spinach variety that yield 48kg per tree now in Kenya

Vegetable farmers can now harvest up to 300 pods weighing 48kgs per year from a single spinach tree, thanks to the Swiss Chard ford hook spinach, a new variety in the Kenyan market by Amiran which can grow up to 2.5 feet
High yielding
This super variety yields 70 more pods than other varieties in the market which produces 218 pods per year on average. A part from high yield, the Swiss chard variety matures in up to 50 day after sowing, hence quick returns on investment. It can be refrigerated for up to 10 days, three days longer than other varieties hence commercially more viable.
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Growing conditions

Unlike most spinach varieties that require well drained loamy soils rich in organic matters, the Swiss chard ford hook spinach variety can also do well in sandy loam soil with soil PH value of 6-6.8. This means, the variety can be grow in various parts of the country especially western, Rift valley, Central and parts of upper Eastern region.
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An acre of land requires 32,000-40,000 seedlings with spacing of 45 x 45 or 60 x 45 or 60 x 60cm. Closer spacing results into smaller heat but high yield per unit area while wider spacing gives bigger heat but low production per unit area. Although for hotter areas larger spacing is desirable to reduce moisture stress.
Use 200kg to 400kg of NPK fertilizer per acre in the ratio of 2:3:4 while planting depending soil fertility of the farm. This is followed by 70 to 90kg LAN per acre at four weeks and eight weeks.
According to Johnston Makau, an Agronomist at Amiran Kenya Limited, spinach rarely witness pests and diseases, however, farmers are asked to be on watch out for diseases like bacterial spot, downy mildew and pest like nematodes and cutworms.
Small spinach leaves can be harvested with scissors by simply cutting the leaves at the stem. One way to do this is start harvesting the outer, older leaves first and then gradually working your way in to the center of the plant as those leaves mature. You can also just cut the whole plant off at the base. Harvesting spinach by this method will often allow it to re-sprout and give you another partial harvest

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