Monthly Archives: January 2019

Rasp Berry Cultivation

 

Raspberry is a deciduous perennial plant that ranks second after strawberry as one of the popular berries worldwide. The fruit has high nutritional value and have healing properties.  Raspberry has a long history of medicinal and food use. Raspberries are well adapted in Kenya and are found growing wildly, and were primarily used as medicine by our forefathers/mothers. Ironically, raspberry production in Kenya is still low and only a few farmers are doing it commercially.   So far we have spotted two varieties; red and black raspberries, that are doing well in Kenya and can be cultivated commercially or for personal consumption.  You must have a special or personal market if you are thinking of commercial raspberry production.

red raspberry

Red Raspberry Fruits

Different raspberry cultivars are adaptable to different climatic conditions but they prefer moderate temperature. Cold tempratures and excessive heat should be avoided for they affect growth.  Any soil type that is well drained with a sandy-loamy texture and has a PH of between 5.5-6.5 is suitable for raspberry cultivation. Raspberries are sensitive to wet soil and can develop root rot, avoid water-logged soils. A soil analysis will guide you in coming up with a nutritional/fertilization programme. Choose an area that receives sufficient sunlight for better results.  Raspberry is mostly propagated vegetatively using shoots from the parent plant root. A spacing of 6 feet apart is sufficient keeping in mind that a simple trellis system is needed to support the raspberry canes when they develop. During the initial stages the raspberry plants should be well irrigated to keep the soil moist. Mulch the plants to help maintain soil moisture and suppress weeds. With good care, raspberries take 8-12 months to start fruiting.

rasp plant

Raspberry Plantation

The raspberry plant has prickles and should be handled with care; wearing a pair of gloves while working on the plantation is recommended. Pruning is an important activity in fruit cultivation and much more so when growing raspberry. Prune off weak canes and old dark brown canes that have fruited. Raspberry canes fruit once and they are pruned off. Some varieties like the everbearing raspberry fruit twice before the cane is pruned off. Raspberry fruits are fragile and have a short shelf life hence the need to harvest continually as they start fruiting. Fruits should be handpicked and any diseased fruit should be removed.

hybrid raspberry

Raspberry Seedlings

Raspberries are susceptible to different pests and diseases. Important diseases include; gray mold fruit rot, root rot, cane blight, yellow rust, ring spot, crown gall among others. Ensure to get disease free seedlings and select disease resistant varieties. Notable pests include; fruit worm, cane borer, wasps, aphids, raspberry beetle, slugs etc. An integrated pest management system will help in identifying pests and diseases early, while they can be controlled effectively. For those who want to grow a few raspberries for own consumption can contact us for seedlings.

 

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PERSIMMON KAKI CULTIVATION

 

Persimmon is a rare fruit tree in Kenya only known to a few; ironically its popularity worldwide closely ranks next to avocadoes. Nutritionally the persimmon fruit is a good source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants important for optimum health. The trees can grow to a height of 20 feet and takes 3-5 years to start fruiting. Grafted varieties may take 2-3 years to fruit. Same as pomegranate, persimmon fruit trees are either single-stemmed or multi-trunked. Persimmons are classified into 2 major groups as either astringent or non-astringent. The astringent variety loses astringency as the fruit ripens.

The persimmon fruit tree is a hardy plant that is highly adaptable to different climatic conditions with minimal care and intervention. They grow and produce well in both subtropical and temperate areas but prefer slightly warmer areas. Most persimmon cultivars have no chilling requirement like most deciduous fruit trees do. Persimmons prefer deep, fertile and well drained soils with a PH of between 6.0-6.5. All in all they grow well in a wide range of soil and can tolerate heavy clay soil with good drainage. Therefore persimmon can grow well in most parts of the country and farmers should try it out by first planting a few seedlings to gauge how the plants will perform in different localities.

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2 Year Old Persimmon Tree

Seedlings used for propagation is grown from seed that can later be grafted. Trees are planted at a spacing of between 4m-6m depending on cultivar and land size. For better fruit production, Plant persimmons in areas with plenty of sunlight. Persimmons are fragile, therefore avoid windy areas or plant windbreakers.  Even though persimmons are hardy regular irrigation is recommended during initial stages and during fruit set. Persimmons are heavy producers therefore fruit thinning is essential to ensure good quality and size. Training and pruning maintains well-balanced plant vegetation that eventually leads to quality production. It is advisable to prune persimmons when they are dormant. Soil and leaf analysis will always give insights on the fertilization regime to be applied. Generally farm yard manure and foliar sprays are sufficient.

Persimmons are generally free from most pest and diseases but as a general rule prevention is better than cure. Plant and crop protection is important to guard against any pests or bacteria and fungi disease attacks. Some of the common pests include; fruit flies, mealy bugs and fruit spotting bug.  The few important diseases are leaf spot, mildew, wood decay, blights and crown gull. There is no much literature on control strategies for pests and diseases on persimmon kaki. Generally orchard hygiene is crucial and ensure to source disease free seedlings. Spray copper fungicide, horticultural oil or neem oil as a preventative measure before any attacks occur.

persimmon kaki

Persimmon kaki Seeedling

Our main objective is to promote fruit cultivation either for subsistence or commercial purposes our main target being small scale farmers. We collaborate with enlighten gardeners and farmers who have a passion for homegrown produce and can go an extra mile to try something new. There are several fruit trees like the persimmons that are grown in Kenya but there is no documentation on best practices and how the fruits perform in different parts of the country. We believe it’s up to us as farmers to try and experiment with the different varieties to gauge their performance in different parts of the Country. We have a catalogue of around 20 different fruit types that we do stock from time to time and have been planted in different parts of the country to monitor how they perform. Feel free to reach us on admin@plantafruit.org or call +254715963005. Fruitful 2019!

 

 

 

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