Husbandry practices

Planting in a nursery

  • Make fine tilth seedbed
  • Drill seeds in rows 15 – 20cm apart, 7cm between seeds and 1 cm deep.
  • Keep soil moist but not water logged.
  • After germination thin to 7cm apart in a row to ensure strong seedlings.
  • Note that the seed rate in a nursery is 150 to 200 gm/ha.

Transplanting

  • Space holes1m by 0.5 m to get a population of 20,000 plants per Ha.
  • Apply manure at a rate of 2 handfuls per hole and mix thoroughly.
  • Apply 1 tea spoon per hole of DSP or DAP (this is equivalent to 200kg /Ha).
  • Transplant about 1 month after germination when the seedling has 4 – 6 true leaves

Direct sowing

  • Space holes 0.75-1m between rows and 0.5m between plants.
  • Apply manure at the rate of 2 handfuls per hole and mix thoroughly.
  • Apply 1 teaspoon per hole of DSP or DAP (this is equivalent to 200kg/ha)
  • Direct planting seed rate is 800 to 1000gms per hectare

Caring for the crop

Top Dressing

  • Top-dress at 4 weeks after transplanting with CAN at the rate of 100kg/ha
  • Four weeks later top dress again with a compound fertilizer or a recommended foliar feed.

Mulching

  • Maintain mulch especially for determinate varieties (It keeps the fruits clean, suppresses weeds, conserves moisture and keeps soil temperatures low)

Weeding

  • Weed regularly (Weeds compete for nutrients and also act as hosts for diseases and pests)

Irrigation

  • Irrigate the crop 2 – 3 times a week during dry weather

Staking

  • For tall growing indeterminate varieties
  • Push a 3m long stake firmly into the ground next to each plant.
  • Train the stem loosely to the stake as the plant grows
  • Use suitable training material e.gbanana twine.

Pruning

  • Pruning is necessary for indeterminate varieties.
  • Allow one or two main stems to grow per plant.
  • Pinch off all other lateral shoots once a week.
  • When the plant forms 6 to 8 trusses, pinch off its growing top.
  • Remove leaves close to the ground to prevent entry of blight.