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Simple innovations to help you run your Organic Farm

~By Bernard Wainaina,Profarms Consultants®
Twitter handle;@PROFARMS
Cell;+254722659313{SMS & Whatsapp ONLY}

Innovation is crucial for the growth of any sector.

Agribusiness is a not an exception.

In these series, we unveil innovations to help you control ticks,make biogas from chicken droppings and prevent
soil diseases in tomato greenhouse

PART THREE

Organic Control of Soil Diseases in
Greenhouses

Farmers can now control soil-borne diseases and root-knot nematodes in their tomato greenhouses using an organic method that sustains the health of soil ecosystem, the people who work in greenhouses, consumers and leads to high crop
yields.

The method uses plants with bioactive compounds against root-knot nematode infestation.

The organic nematocide is made from Lippia or Ocimum plants at flowering stage.

They are chopped into approximately 0.5cm to enable proper mixing with
soil and to increase the surface area for decomposition activity.

“Lippia and Ocimum can be used separately. The other alternative is to use both mixed at equal rates. But mixing the two plants may not be
possible because in a locality you may find only one. So, one can use 13 to 27 tonnes per hectare,”
says Peter Caleb, a horticultural scientist at Egerton University, who is behind the innovation.

The plants will provide nematicidal properties as well as nutrients for tomato production on decomposition.

“Application of fresh biomass materials of the plants reduces the population of root-knot nematodes, the damage on greenhouse tomatoes, and improves growth, yields and post-harvest quality of tomatoes,” he says.

They further provide crops with potassium, calcium and magnesium essential for tomato sweetness
and extended shelf life due to stronger outer fruit covering.

The benefits of this organic method include affordability and eco-friendlier alternative to chemical nematicides, which farmers have relied on to control plant parasitic nematodes in greenhouses.

“Nematicides are costly, persistent in the soil and are blamed for contamination of groundwater
sources. Consequently, several of them have been withdrawn from the market on account of environmental concerns. It is, therefore, necessary
to find alternative nematode management options that are non-chemical and eco-friendly,” Caleb
says.

Tomato growing under greenhouse conditions is highly susceptible to soil-borne diseases.

In early infestations, root-knot nematodes do not produce any visible above-ground symptoms, but the infected plants will wilt and die, while flowering and fruit development is reduced.

“A farmer needs to be assisted for the first time to know the specific plants used and to get the rates
right,” he advises.

Lippia and Ocimum are locally available.

In vernacular, lippia is known Muthiethi (Kamba), Muthirithi (Kikuyu and Meru),Mwokiot (Kipsigis),
Mosonyon (Pokot) and Sinoni (Samburu).

Ocimum is known as Oluorochieng’ (Luo), Anchabbi
(Borana), Vumba manga (Digo), Vamba Manga (Giriama), Chesimia (Maragoli), Lemurran
(Samburu), Mrumbawassi (Taita) Loguru and Ichoke (Turkana).

The African Story as told by Africans.

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

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