News and knowhow for farmers

Company helps farmers set up multistory garden that can last for 10 years

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Farmers with small pieces of land can today maximize their crop production by setting up multistory gardens that can last for up to10 years in their farms.

Dominic Opiyo, a Director at Legetet Link Enterprises says cone gardens enables high plant population per unit land of space and allows for crop diversification where symbiotic relationships are also enhanced.

The garden supplies greens all-year round through irrigation and needs minimal or no weeding.

“A four feet cone garden for instance can carry 50 strawberry plants or 130 Sukuma wiki or spinach plants, for a farmer who has limited space of land this would be sufficient in crop production,” said Opiyo. The company sells four feet diameter cone at Sh 2,500 while six feet goes for Sh4,500.

 Opiyo has so far worked with more than 50 farmers across Kenya helping them set up these gardens with no tillage required.

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Dominic Opiyo (right) helping farmers in Homa Bay set up a multistory garden. Farmbiz Africa.

“Multistory gardens ensures water utilization is enhanced as the garden enables for lowered soil temperatures and good root penetration and aeration hence enhanced plant performance and little or no subsurface hair-root formation,” he said.

When identifying a site to set up the garden, select an area that has access to morning sunlight and minimum shade in the afternoon as vegetables grow well when exposed to six to eight hours of sunshine.

“Add the soil onto the garden to form a near perfect circle on the first/bottom bund and mold it as you fill it with loose soil.

Ensure the narrow planting strip is uniform all-round the contour: usually two inches wide all-round the specific layer/contour,” said Opiyo.

After filling up the entire garden with soil, irrigate lightly until the entire planting ‘pockets’ are thoroughly wet. Scoop 3-4 inches of the mud and mix some dry soil with compost or goat manure and refill the spaces again.

 Each garden will use two buckets of dry soil mixed with two buckets of compost/manure during the refill stage. Irrigate again till well soaked and your garden is ready for planting. Make planting holes using a stick or your finger at spacing of 15cm (for Vegetables) between plants along each contour.

Introduce seedlings into each hole while firming the soil around it until the entire multistory garden is planted. The seedlings are transplanted early in the morning or late in the evening. Direct sowing is also possible with most vegetables. In case of multi-cropping, plant half of one side of the MSG with one crop and the other with the second crop type e.g. one side kales and the other side spinach or different plants on each row as per your agronomist’s advice. You can still use the top of the gardens as nurseries.

When you intercrop with spring onions it can aid in repelling some pests. Please read more about Integrated Pest Management for details on use of other plants in disease and pest control. If planting more than one MSG, space the gardens at 60cm apart to allow a passage and lighting.

Opiyo can be reached on 0722 630 509.

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