Kiserian,Kenya
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GARLIC FARMING IN KENYA

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Garlic farming in Kenya may be successful if done right. Garlic famously known as “kitungu saumu” in Kenya is a valuable horticulture plant due to its excellent yields and great demands in the Kenyan market.

Despite of its odor, its applicable in the production of specific cuisines, not just in Kenya but also in a wide range, therefore giving It high demand both locally and internationally. It’s also medicinal.

Importance of Garlic in Kenya.

Boosts immune system, assist the body in fighting various bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Considered as a significant anti-oxidant. It is mostly used as a spice while making dishes such as Pilau, beef stew, dawa etc.

Garlic Varieties grown in Kenya.

  • Soft-neck garlic
  • Hard-neck garlic
  • Elephant garlic.

Soft-neck garlic

Mostly grown in Kenya, it’s a paper like skin and its white, fairly strong taste. We supply seedlings for soft-neck varieties such as Rhino, Arusha and Moyale.

Hard-neck garlic

Characterizes with tan and purple markings, produces bigger and fewer cloves on each head. Does not store well long durations like soft-neck garlic. We supply seedlings for hard-neck varieties such as Rwandan Giant variety.

How to grow garlic

The farmer needs to know local seeds kind, soil appropriateness, and suitable climate conditions for the crop.

Seeds

A farmer should purchase quality sprouted garlic cloves from a certified propagator. An acre of garlic requires 250-300 kgs of seed depending on variety and irrigation method, which in turn yields 3-6 tonnes. We supply these cloves at competitive prices.

Climatic conditions

Garlic farming performs well in medium to high attitudes of 500- 2000 Meters above sea level. Additionally, garlic requires high temperatures of 30ºC to aid in proper bulb development. However, during the preliminary stages, cooler temperatures are preferred as they assist in vegetative growth needed for plant establishment. For this reason, ideal temperatures for growing garlic range between 12- 24ºC. thus, it can be grown in most areas in Kenya.
It is worth noting that excess rains and humidity is bad for garlic’s vegetative growth as well as bulb formation and as such the crop will perform well in areas with low rainfall possibly substituted with irrigation during the initial phase when water requirement is utmost.

Soils


Garlic planting needs a ground with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.8. For this reason, garlic growing is suitable in most Kenyan soils provided that they are well drained this is because the crop performs poorly in water-logged soils. Furthermore, you need to ensure that the soil is well prepared with loose and airy depths of up to 6 – 8 inches and needs to be dry and without any rocks and plants debris. To ensure optimum yield, mix the soil with organic manure before plowing as this will facilitate improved bulb formation.

Actual planting and spacing


Ideal spacing for growing garlic is 8cm between plants and 30cm between rows. When using drip irrigation, the drips should be 30cm apart with a15cm emitter spacing, while using basin irrigation, the cloves should be planted inside the basin with a spacing of 8cm between plants and 30cm between rows. Ensure that you have planted the roots facing inside the soil and the shot should be slightly above the ground.

Watering


When irrigating, 1 inch of water is adequate

Common pest and diseases

  • 1: Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci): These tiny insects feed on the leaves and bulbs of garlic plants, causing silvering or browning of leaves and distortion of bulbs. Thrips can also transmit viral diseases.
  • 2: Onion Maggot (Delia antiqua): The larvae of this fly species attack the roots and bulbs of garlic, leading to stunted growth and wilting. Affected bulbs may develop decay and become unmarketable.
  • 3: Stem and Bulb Nematodes (Ditylenchus dipsaci): These microscopic worms infest garlic plants, causing swelling, deformities, and discoloration of stems and bulbs. Affected bulbs may rot during storage.
  • 4: Purple Blotch (Alternaria porri): This fungal disease appears as purple or dark brown lesions on the leaves, stems, and bulbs of garlic. It can result in significant yield loss if left uncontrolled.
  • 5: White Rot (Sclerotium cepivorum): A severe fungal disease that affects garlic bulbs. It causes white, fluffy mycelium to grow on the bulbs, eventually leading to their decay. Infected plants should be removed immediately to prevent further spread.
  • 6: Downy Mildew (Peronospora destructor): This disease causes yellowing and wilting of garlic leaves, with a grayish-white downy growth on the undersides. It can weaken the plant and reduce bulb size.
  • 7: Botrytis Rot (Botrytis allii): This fungal disease attacks garlic bulbs during storage, causing them to become soft, discolored, and covered in a grayish mold. Good ventilation and proper curing can help prevent its occurrence.

Harvesting and storing


Garlic should never be harvested too early or late as it will interfere with the quality of the produce. To know the right time to harvest, one must monitor the growing months for roughly around 4 to 6 months.


Knowing the exact harvesting time is somewhat tricky since the heads of the garlic submerge in the soil, and also different varieties have varying maturity period. As such, you should inspect the foliage and observe whether it has turned brown and died back as a guide for harvesting.


After digging out the crops, bundle them in tens or fifteens and leave them to dry in a well-ventilated room. Keep them there for three to four weeks after which its shoots and roots will have dried down. Cut down the tops about one inch above the main bulb and roots followed by removal of outer skin without removing exposing the cloves. Clean off any remaining soil, and your bulbs are ready for sale.


Onion Doctor supports small holder farmers across Africa with quality and affordable Onion and Garlic seedlings, Onion seedlings, Farm planning services, Soil testing, Drip irrigation installation and maintenance, Agronomic support, Onion and Garlic value pack, Farm management, E-extension and on-farm training for farmers to optimize on yields and get maximum profits.