Vegetables are crops whose edible parts contains more than 80% water.
Importance of vegetable
- Vegetables are rich in mineral salts e.g. iron, iodine, magnesium, chlorine e.t.c
- Vegetables provide vitamins for body protection e.g. vitamin A (carroting) D, K and all these help to protect the body.
- Vegetables are a rich source of proteins and oils especially the legumes. This will help to supplement of staple foods that are mainly starch.
- Vegetables increase appetite especially the dark green vegetables (nakati, greens, dodo e.t.c)
- Vegetables provide rough-ages that assist in digestion.
- Vegetables can be used as fodder e.g. cabbage, dodo, e.t.c.
- Many of the vegetables are cover crops therefore will help to control soil erosion.
- Leguminous vegetables help to fix nitrogen in the soil and are usually used as green manure crops.
- Vegetables can be grown in a small place still remain economical.
- Vegetables have short production cycles or are early fast maturing.
- Vegetables provide income to the farmers throughout the year.
- They create employment to the farmers, transporters and traders.
- Vegetables help to diversify the farmers income.
- They allow efficient utilization of labour throughout the year.
- Some vegetables have a medicinal value e.g. gallic, small bitter tomatoes (ntula) in the central of high blood pressure Red pepper can be mixed with ash and make the poultry drink.
However, vegetables are not as widely grown in Uganda as cereals and root crops this may be due to the following, (limitations of growing vegetables)
- Vegetables are very perishable therefore they need a ready market.
- The market is restricted to urban areas.
- Vegetables have to be of good quality in order to be sold.
- They need skilled labour to produce.
- Vegetables are easily attacked by pests and diseases so this increase the cost of production.
- Vegetables are expensive to produce since they have to be protected Against extremes of weather e.g. you have to irrigate provision of shade, sometimes have to be grown in a green house.
SOME LOCAL / NATIVE VEGETABLES
|VERNACULAR NAME||BOTANICAL NAME||PART(S) EATEN||OTHER USES|
|BugaDodo (big leaves)Dodo (small leaves)||Family: AmaranthaceaeAmaranthus lividesAmaranthus hybridus|
|Leaves, stemLeaves, stemLeaves, stem||Infusion of leaves and rootsAlleviate kidney ailments and menstrual discomfort.|
|EggobeAlaju (Luo)||Family: LeguminaceaeVigna anguiculateCrotaloria achroleaus||Leaves, seeds, flowerLeaves , seeds||Nitrogen fixationLivestock feeds|
|Family: SolanaceaeSolanum a shiopicumSolamum higrum|
|Control high blood pressureIncrease appetiteCough in poultry, pesticide|
|Nsujju /sunsa||Family: HibiscusaceaeHibiscus diversifolius||Leaves, fruits, flowers||Washing utensilsBoiled leaves destroy hangoverSeeds good prostrate gland|
|Mlakwang (Luo)||Family: DibiscusaceaeHibiscus diversifolius||Leaves, seeds||Restores appetiteIncrease milk yield in lactating mothers|
|Binda (Okra)Jjobyo||HibiscusEsculentusGynandropougyndra||Fruits, leavesLeavesStems flowers||Used as eye drops increase appetite|
|Ssukuma wiki||Family cruciferBrassica carinata||leaves||Poultry feeds|
SOME EXOTIC VEGETABLES
|FAMILY||COMMON NAME||BOTANICAL||PART(S0 EATERN||OTHER USES|
|Brassica aleraceaRahpha nus sativusBrassica oleracea|
|Solanacease(tomatoes family)||TomatoEgg plants irishsweet paper|
|Pest sidesTreat cough of poultry|
|Cucurb tocease(the gard family)||PumpkinFluted pumpkin|
|Cucubita maxinaTelfaria pendata|
|Legumimasea(pulse family)||Fresh beansLimabeanSoya bean|
|Phasealus vulgarisPhosealus lunatusGlycine max|
|Fruits / padsSeedsSeeds|
|Making animals seedsNitrogen fixationCover crops|
|Amaryllidaceae||OnionLeekGarlic||AllumcepaAllium porrumAllium sativum||BulbBulb||MediMedicinalValue|
TOOLS USED IN VEGETABLE GROWING
There are many tools used in vegetable growing.
Importance of these garden tools
- They help the farmer do the work easily and quickly e.g. pick exe which helps to break hard ground.
- They relive the farmer of the fatigue of doing the working wheel barrow.
- They help the farmer to increase production.
- They enable the farmer to produce better quality crops e.g. watering can and knop sack sprayer.
- They increase efficiency e.g. the use of garden folk in incoperation of organic matter.
Factors that will determine the farmer’s choice of the tools and equipment to use.
- The cost of tools or equipment.
- The level of income of the farmer.
- The type of crop to be grown.
- Soil conditions or soil type.
- Type of power used on the farm.
- Availability of skilled labour.
- Durability of the tool.
- Availability of spare parts.
- The ease of maintenance or cost.
- The size of the in enterprise or farm. The tools and equipment that have been bought should be well handled or looked after (maintenance)e.g. incase there is something that has gone out of order should be repaired and they should be stored well.
Advantages of giving garden tools and equipment proper maintenance:
- It will increase the work efficiency of that equipment so that the farmer can also use the equipment with comfort and finish the work on time.
- To reduce rapid rusting of the tool and increase its durability.
- To reduce maintenance costs and need to buy or replace the equipment.
- To avoid accidents.
Hand hoe / jembe
- Seed bed preparation
- Harvesting root crops
- The handle should be firmly fixed.
- The cutting blade should be kept in a flat shape without dents.
- To replace broken handles.
Forked hoed jembe
- It is used to remove rhizomatus weeds such as coach grass.
- Good for weeding in pyrethrum plantations.
- If prongs are bend, they should be hammered straight after each days work.
- Handle should always be firmly fixed
- Replace broken handle immediately.
- Digging deep pits farms.
- Good for uprooting stones and trees stumped during land clearing.
- Prior important in ploughing.
- Give it short handle
- Keep its handle firmly fixe.
- Keep cutting edge sharp
- Collecting together uprooted stalons or rhrzones of weeds in gardens.
- Use to remove small / big stones, big soil lumps and rubbish from nursery bed, thus leveling them.
- Do not force a rake through heavy materials such as big stones and branches of trees.
- Keep handle firm where it is nailed into the metal.
- Always clean it after work keep it dry.
- Weeding in the close space between rows of crops whose roots and stems are delicate.
- Replace handle if broken.
- Keep the blade clean, dry and oiled especially if it going to stay for log in store.
Garden fork / hand fork
- Softening the soil
- Weeding nursery beds
- Transplanting seedlings
- Never use it for anything else.
- Removes soil from its prongs and store it in a dry place.
- Good for handling manure on the farm.
- Do not throw it about during work.
- Keep the wooden part firm into the metal.
Spade and shove
- Use for easy remove of soil from compost pits and pit latrine.
- Used in construction work such as mixing contents and sand.
Used for making holes into which seedlings can be transplanted.
Clean it after work and keep it dry.
Transporting small loads on the farm.
Keep the wheel axle oiled.
Do not load anything on it while in store
- Watering seed – boxes, potted plants, nursery beds and transplanted seedlings.
- Supplies water to plants in light droplets.
- Holes of the perforated rose covering the spout should be kept open.
- Any leakage should be welded immediately.
- Always keep the can empty.
Feeling tree needed for building purposes.
Cutting grass to that farm houses or even fodder for livestock.
- Sharpen panga after use so as to make them ready for a next day’s work.
- Repairs any broken handle or if necessary replace it completely.
- Worker should be warned against the temptation of using the handle for hammering pegs, into ground as usually happens in the field situation.
Used for slashing short grass on lawns and light vegetation in the field.
Keep them sharp and protect the handle from damages.
Broken handles should be replaced.
- Cutting grass but when fixed in along hander slash small thickets and bushes on a large scales harvesting small grain crops such as rice and wheat.
- The cutting edges may be serrated or smooth.
- Keep handle firm.
- Felling big trees, cutting down tree stumps at root level splitting fire wood.
- Avoid hitting the sharp edge on stones because they damage it a make if blunt.
- Sharpen it regularly
- Protect it form dampness.
- Replace any broken handle.
- Making accurate cuts during vegetative propagation procedures.
- Cutting small unwanted branches of fruit trees (pruning)
- Cut desired lengths of crops.
- Used for skinning animals in food preparation.
- Are very hardy tools in harvesting some crops such as finger millet and sorghum.
Pruning purposes, for instance coffee citrus trees and tea.
Cutting hard old stems and branches and shrves with big stems.
- Should never be used to cut metallic objects like wires or nails.
- Should be oiled while not in use.
- Pruning in coffee, cocoa and rubber plantations, vine yards and orchards and horticultural purposes.
- Make sure the cutting blade is sharp before use.
- After use , it should be cleaned thoroughly and oiled or greased.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF VEGETABLE PRODUCTION
- The are to be used as the permanent garden (seed bed) should be well prepared before seedlings are ready for transplanting and this area should deeply cultivate.
- The crops that are selected should be suited to the soils and weather conditions of the area.
- Seeds or any other planting material should be chosen with care and these are some guidelines in selecting seeds for planting.
- The seeds should have passed the dormancy period.
- These seeds must be mature.
- These seeds must be disease free.
- The seeds must be free of pest infestation or attack.
- Should be of a full and uniform size.
- Should have any physical deformities.
- Should select seeds from a variety i.e. fast or early maturing.
- Should select seeds from mother plant that is vigorously growing and healthy.
- Buy your seeds from a reliable company and make sure they are not expired.
- Do not plant mouldy seeds.
- Some seeds require special treatment before planting e.g. chiiting in Irish potatoes (cutting it into pieces and keep them covered in a dark well ventilated place until the develop buds) inoculation of legumes seeds (smearing seeds with powdered nitrogen fixing bacteria so the legume grows it develops a lot of nodules).
- Cultivation of the seed beds should be done in the dry season so as to allow timely planting.
Importance of timely planting.
- This will allow the crops to get tall the seasons rain, grow fast and produce high yields.
- The crops will get a rich of nitrates due to the nitrogen flush.
- It reduces incidence of post and diseases attack.
- It allows the framer to put the produce on market when it is most needed by the consumers so they will get a high price for it.
- It makes it easy for the farmer to carry out other farm operations without congestion.
- It allows good utilization of labour throughout season.
- Proper spacing is very important in vegetable growing and I refers to the distance from one plant to the next. 90cm x 60cm Rows plants in the same row
Factors to consider before spacing crops:
- Soil conditions. In a fertile soil spacing will be closer because there will be no competition for nutrients on less fertile soils use further spacing.
- Availability of rainfall. In places or high rainfall, closer spacing may be used because there will no completion for water.
- The sue for which to mature crop is intended e.g. beans that are grown to be used as green manure are put at closer spacing than those where the mature pod is to be harvested.
- Space occupied by the mature plant e.g. the egg plant grow into shrub so it needs a wide spacing.
- The necessity to use plant machinery.
- It is faster and will need less labour.
- The plants that are obtained are bigger.
- It will be easier for the farmer to move through the garden without stepping on the crops.
- It encourages erosion in absence of mulches.
- It leaves a large surface area un covered and this will encourage weed growth.
- It results in a low plant population therefore a lower yield per hectare.
- It results in a high plant population therefore higher yield per hectare.
- In some crops it may discourage some diseases e.g. the ground nut Rossette.
- You need many seeds so it may be wasteful.
- It is slow and requires a lot of labour.
- The high plant population may result in power quality crops.
- Seeds should be planted at a recommended depth which is x4 seed diameter.
When you plant too deep small seeds may never push through the ground or the soil and this result in a low germination percentage. This is because there food reserves may get exhausted before the rich the ground however, big seeds should be planted deep enough because they need to draw in a lot of water before they can germinate.
The plant gets deeply or properly anchored into the soil.
It is recommended for small seeds to obtain a high germination percentage. However, it may lead the seed being uncovered, washed away by rain water or the seeds may be up rooted and eaten by birds or rodents.
- Farm yard manure / compost manure should be applied when it is well rotten during the final stages of seed bed preparation.
- Seed bed should be thoroughly wetted before sawing the seeds to encourage germination and root development.
Watering should be done with a watering can of appropriate use size small seedlings need a fine rose so that they are not destroyed. Frequent watering should not be done as this encourages the roots only to remain in the top few centimeters of soil.
Heavy watering should be done once in 3 days so that roots are encouraged to grow down wards. It should be done in the evening so that the plant can take in water during the nigh before it is lost due evaporation.
- Sowing / planting
There are two ways in which planting can be done i.e. broad casting and planting in rows.
- Broad casting
Random placements seeds without following any pattern. It is commonly used where vegetables have very small seeds especially dodo.
- It is faster i.e. it saves time.
- It is ideal for vegetables with very small seeds.
- It provides a good ground cover quickly this controls soil erosion and growth of weeds.
- A high plant population will be obtained and this is an advantage where vegetable where vegetables are grown to be used as fodder or use a green manure.
- It is a wasteful method because a lot of seeds will be used.
- It won’t be possible to use machinery in field operations that follow.
- It won’t be easy to move through the garden without stepping the crops.
- It wont be easy to regulate plant populations and may result in competition for sunlight, water, nutrients and space resulting in lower yield.
- Row planting
- It economizes seeds
- It is easy to regulate plant population so the plants won’t compete with each other.
- It will be easy to use machinery.
- The farmer can easily move through the field to carry out agronomic practices.
- It will be easy to regulate planting depth.
- It takes more time and labour.
- Larger spaces are left between crops which will encourage erosion weed growth.
- It requires skilled labour e.g. about spacing 40 how wide we should space.
- Mulching it should be carried out when ever necessary although there are some vegetables that are never mulched. Advantages and disadvantages already discussed.
- Harvesting mature or “ripe” vegetables should be harvested. Care should be taken not to bruise them should be sorted out, according to size or quality and should be parked appropriately not to be damaged during transportation.
- Some vegetable need particular treatment to reduce on loses after harvesting for example drying e.g. beans, peas, g-nut.
Importance of drying
- To reduce on moisture so that the seeds can remain in storage for along time without becoming mouldy.
- So that the seeds remain viable for a long time.
- To make the seed coat hard and reduce on damage by pests.
- To reduce the chances of the seeds germinating during storage.
- To avoid the risk of wet heating.
Other methods of treating harvested crops
- Smoking for example podded legumes when still in pookoke will reduce the incidence of pest attach.
- Using ash as ash is mixed with dry seeds and this reduces pest attack.
- Smearing with cow dung because it contains a mineral.
- Using urine e.g. cow urine mixed with little mud are smear on the seed .
- Mixing with hot pepper.
- Crop residues; all crop residues should be collected from the garden and either burnt or buried to from manure when left scattered in the garden they encourage multiplication of pests and diseases.
- Record keeping; the vegetable famers should keep records so that he can easily identify the weak areas and find ways of improving on them and he can identify the most profitable vegetables to product vegetable records should include things like the variety of crop being grown.
- Date of planting
- Spacing used
- Any pest and disease attack and data.
- Type and amount of fertilizers used.
- Data of harvesting.
- Yield per hectare.
- Whether the farm is making any profit or loss.
- Crop rotation: the sequency to be followed should be planned well in advance.
Advantages already discussed.
- Weed Control; all unwanted plants should be removed form the vegetable garden.
Importance of weeding.
- It reduces completion for nutrients, water, space and light between weeds and the vegetables.
- It reduces incidence of pests and diseases since some weeds are hosts of pests and diseases.
- With weeding, there is increased yield. If the vegetable garden had been well prepared, weeding with a hoe is not recommended as it leads to destruction of vegetable roots, hand pulling should be practiced.
Where vegetables are grown on s small scale, chemical weed control is not recommended because it will be too expensive for the farmer and it needs skilled labour.