The tips below will help improve your soil quality and ensure it is fertile and less likely to be susceptible to disease and pests:
Make sure your soil nutrient balance is right
To see whether you have fertile soil, run a soil test to determine if the nutrient levels are correct. The test will show whether your soil is balanced and has the right amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. You can contact Oxfarm Organic Limited to test your soil. Most plants thrive only when the soil has the right balance of acidity and alkalinity. If the soil is too acidic, or below 5.5 on a soil pH scale, you’ll need to add ground limestone. If it’s too alkaline, more than 7.5 on the pH scale, you should add soil sulfur. Using a drop spreader can help ensure you distribute either soil supplement evenly.
If you don’t test your soil on a regular basis, an easy way to check its quality is through a visual inspection. Soil should be composed of crumbs of various sizes that hold their shape while under a little bit of pressure. If it’s difficult to break up these crumbs, it’s an indicator that the soil is too hard.
How and why to compost
Composting is a great way to give back to the environment and your garden. Instead of throwing your grass clippings, coffee grinds or vegetable peelings in the trash, collect them and all of your natural food waste for your plants. You can buy a composting system or make one at home using household items.
When you use compost in your garden it provides your plants with the microorganisms they need to be healthy. To ensure the compost will be effective, evenly spread a three-inch layer to the top of your soil. It will serve as a sort of protective insulation. Along with stimulating growth in your garden, composting can also help keep harmful insects away.
Add Manures for Nitrogen
All livestock manures can be valuable additions to soil — their nutrients are readily available to soil organisms and plants. In fact, manures make a greater contribution to soil aggregation than composts, which have already mostly decomposed.
You should apply manure with care. Although pathogens are less likely to be found in manures from homesteads and small farms than those from large confinement livestock operations, you should allow three months between application and harvest of root crops or leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach to guard against contamination. (Tall crops such as fruits and trellised tomatoes shouldn’t be prone to contamination.)
However, because some nutrients from manures are so readily available, they are more likely to leach out of the soil (where they’re needed) into groundwater and streams. Also, if manures are overused, they can provide excess amounts of some nutrients, especially phosphorus. Because of this, it may be best to restrict fresh manures to heavy feeding, fast-growing crops like maize, and process additional manure by composting.
Avoid harsh chemicals and Fertilizers
You want to keep bugs out of your vegetable garden, but some pesticides may damage your soil. Instead of spraying pesticides and chemicals, use your compost, mulch and bio-stimulants. Bio-stimulants include compounds and microorganisms. While you can’t avoid keeping out invaders all together, this combination will make your garden less vulnerable to insects.
Integrate rock phosphate
Crops that are grown in gardens with adequate phosphorous will be larger and healthier.
Rock phosphate contains nickel, iodine, zinc, boron and other properties that help your plants to grow. All you need is a bag of rock phosphate from your local gardening store to sprinkle over your garden. If you do that once every two years, you’ll notice a big difference in the quality of your plants, fruits and vegetables.
Now that you know some ways to help improve soil quality, you’re ready to start a farm. If you are thinking of growing fruits that you can sell, check out our seedlings.
Plums are excellent fresh but also make a wonderful jam or jelly. Plums require full sun and well-drained, sandy soil to thrive. They prefer a soil with a pH that ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested before planting any fruit tree to be sure that they pH is appropriate. You should also work the appropriate amendments into your soil before planting. Their overall size may also need to be considered. Most plum trees will reach 16 feet at maturity or 14 feet if they are a dwarf variety.
Plums have quite high moisture demands, so they are best planted on good clay or loamy soils. But sites also need to be well drained as plums, and gages in particular, hate waterlogged soils. Add bulky organic matter to sandy or shallow chalky soils prior to planting.
Plant plum trees in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Avoid planting in low areas where frost may settle, as the frost will damage your trees. If possible, find a sheltered position, such as a south- or west-facing spot out of the wind. This will help the plum tree set fruit. For grafted trees, keep the graft union 1 inch above the soil line when planting. Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Space dwarf trees 15 to 20 feet apart.
Plums develop their best flavor if left to ripen on the tree. If they feel soft when gently squeezed, they are ripe. Trees will generally need picking over several times. Harvest fruits carefully so as not to bruise them, then eat fresh, destone and freeze, or make the fruits into preserves.
Tamarillo best known by the name tree-tomatoes in Kenya is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 5 meters. Peak production is reached after 1-3 years, and the life expectancy is about 12 years. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. They produce 1 to 6 fruits per cluster. Plants can set fruit without cross-pollination, but the flowers are fragrant and attract insects. Cross-pollination seems to improve fruit set.
The Tree-Tomato prefers subtropical climate, they grow in many parts of kenya with rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters and annual temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. It is assumed that fruit set is affected by night temperatures. Areas where citrus are cultivated provide good conditions for Tree-Tomatos. Tree-Tomato plants grow best in light, deep, fertile soils, although they are not very demanding. However, soils must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging. They grow naturally on soils with a pH of 5 to 8.5. They are as well planted by irrigation as they also do well.
we graft our seedling with "muthakwa" to ensure our tees are resistant to nematodes, they are drought resistant, mature fast in 9 months compared to other that mature in more than a year. Due to good feeding our fruits are bigger than normal.
A tree is usually kept to 3-6 trunks for fruit production. They tend to sucker around the base. These need to be removed, though they can be used as cuttings for propagation if you chose not to discard them.
Pomegranate is especially well adapted to the environments with cool winters and hot summers, but can be grown in the humid tropics or subtropics, and the plant will survive very well in Kenya. Commercial production is concentrated in dry summer climates, and pomegranate is extremely drought tolerant once established, but crops much better with more generous moisture. Pomegranate thrives on a wide variety of soils and has a high resistance to salinity.
Mango is one of the most important fruit crops in the tropical and subtropical lowlands. The mango industry in Kenya has expanded considerably over recent years, not only in size but also in the geographical location of commercial and homestead plantings. No longer is commercial mango cultivation restricted to the Coast region, as significant plantings of improved cultivars now also exist in the Makueni county, Meru County, Murang’a County, Nairobi County, Nakuru County, Siaya County, Taita Taveta County, Tana River County, Tharaka Nithi County, Bungoma County, Kitui County, Embu County, Machakos County, Kiambu County among other regions. But the generally arid eastern region produces 61 per cent of all mangoes, followed by Rift Valley at 30 per cent and Coast, which produces 28 per cent.
Main characteristics that differentiate varieties are the fruit shape, size, aroma, sweetness, color, fiber
content, taste, seed size and resistance to diseases. Proper selection of a mango cultivar for production must consider the following criteria:
• good adaptation to the local conditions (e.g. rainfall and dry periods)
• alternation of flowering and fruiting
• tolerance to pest and disease infections
• designated use and market requirements
The mango is best adapted to a warm tropical monsoon climate with a pronounced dry season (>3 months) followed by rains. However, information from other countries indicates that crops cultivated for a long time over an extended area show a high degree of diversity due to varied environmental influences.
Varieties include; Apple mango, kent, Haden, Tommy atkins,Van dyke etc
Mangoes are the most popular and full of nutritional and unique taste. its rich in vitamin A,C,E,and K
Peach trees grow best in full sun, where they can bask for at least six hours in the natural light. They prefer slightly acidic soils ranging from 6.0 soil pH to 6.5. Anything slightly under or over and the tree will still grow, but its yield and health may be adversely affected. The trees love sandy loam soil and demand good drainage. If soil drainage is poor, tilling in compost, sand or peat moss helps increase drainage capabilities.
Peach trees require the most water when they're young -- their first year in the ground -- with watering once weekly or, twice weekly. Peach trees may produce fruit during drought-like conditions if not watered, but the tree will become stressed and the fruit will lack size. To maintain soil moisture, add mulch around the tree but not touching the trunk itself.
Peaches can survive in cold winters where temperatures regularly reach zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the next harvest will be small or nonexistent. They thrive in climates where temperatures during winter reach 150C -30 0C degrees.
Peach trees that are expected to grow to a mature height of about 25 feet grow best when they have 20 feet of space between them. Dwarf peach trees thrive when planted about 6 feet apart. Planting trees too close together reduces air circulation and may prohibit growth and result in root damage.