Spinach Farming

Spinach Farming

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INTRODUCTION

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable whose leaves are eaten raw or cooked in salads and soups.

PRODUCTION

Varieties Early Hybrid No. 7, Giant Noble, New Zealand Spinach
Seed Rate 11 kgs per ha
Fertilizer Rate 50 kgs/ha of Phosphorus and 50kgs/ha of Nitrogen.
Planting Spacing 5-15cm in between plants and 30- 90cm row to row
Husbandry All commercial production is direct seeded with little or no thinning. The seed is either broadcast or sown in rows on wide beds. Spinach seeds need consistent soil moisture for proper germination. Spinach needs high doses of nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) as well as a regular water supply throughout the season for optimum yield and quality. Other crops may be intercropped with other vegetables to benefit from shade.
Pest & Diseases Pest / Diseases Symptoms Control
Downy mildew Leaf spotting Use resistant varieties (e.g. “Early Hybrid 7″Maintain 3 years crop rotation.
Maturity Duration 2-3 Months
Climatic Conditions Optimum growing temperatures are 15-20°C and altitudes above 2000 m above sea level. It is frost resistant. Soils should be light in texture, well-drained, rich in organic matter and with a pH 6-7.5.
Harvesting Whole plants with 8-10 leaves are harvested, the roots are cut one cm below the plant base and the product is sold in bundles of 10-15 plants.
Post Harvest and Storage Spinach are consumed fresh. Store in a cool aerated place.
Growing Regions Central, Western and Rift Valley region.
Expected yields 15-30 tons per hectare

PROCESSING

Processing Spinach can be dried and packed to extend their shelf life.

MARKETING

Place Sold locally
Price Kshs. 20 per bunch

CONSUMPTION

Products and uses Spinach is cooked as vegetable soups or eaten raw as salad.
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Energy: 23.0 / 1%; Carbohydrates: 3.6 / 1%; Calcium: 99.0 / 10%; Potassium: 588.0 / 16%; Vitamin A: 9376 IU / 188%; Vitamin C: 28.1 / 47%.

FACTS & FIGURES

During world war 1, wine fortified with spinanch juice was given to French soldiers to increase their blood count.

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 300,000 (15,000kgs * 20/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 120,000 (40% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 180,000 (60% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 6000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Twice per year. Thrice under irrigation.