By George Munene
A small section of Peter Nyanjui’s one-acre farm at Kabete in Kiambu County is forever a canopy of resplendent green. On the hived off plot, he keeps veggies: largely managu and capsicum, which are his pride and joy. He also grows grass to feed his rabbits.
With age, the 58-year-old Mr.Nyanjui has come to appreciate the need for healthy eating and a visit to a friend’s farm in 2019 gave him the expertise and impetus he needed to grow his own organically sourced produce. He has since devised a virtuous green loop that supplies his family supplied with greens throughout the year. Every so often, he’ll even have some excess to sell at the nearby Wangige market.
His costs have fallen sharply, he reports, and he now succeeds in growing many more vegetables in the same amount of space.
It’s an upgrade that begins with manure, for which he uses a composted mix of vegetable waste, grass, rabbit and pig manure that he moistens by sprinkling with rabbit urine. He covers up the compost to ‘ripen’ for three weeks, when he churns it for aeration before covering it up once again for another three weeks, at which point it’s ready for use in his shamba.
To control pests, he sprays his crops with a 1:2 ratio of rabbit urine to water. For the first month after planting, when his vegetables are most vulnerable, he does this twice a week, and from then on only once every week. He sticks to this regime religiously; it’s especially important in organic farming to be proactive in disease and pest control.
The few times he’s had to visit agro-dealers is when he’s had to fight off blight affecting his hohos/ capsicums, for which he bought a ready-made organic solution.
“From the onset, I feed my crops adequately and with the right nutrients; they have little afflictions and if they do, they’re well able to withstand them,” he said.
His fertiliser, too, is a product of some home cooking goodness. He’s found a mixture of 1 litre of urine for every 5 litres of water works best. Once a week he applies this as a foliar or pours out a cup at the base of every crop