Maize Planting

Maize farming is a practice by many small and large scale farmers in Kenya. The farming is done across the world of which many use it as animal feeds but in Kenya this is a staple food. This is the food at least an average Kenyan can afford. Today I will be taking you on steps by steps of good maize practices that can help you improve your total maize crop yields. When yields are more you can either opt on selling some of this or decide on personal consumption.

In Kenya maize crops do well in high altitude areas, thus Kitale in Trans Nzoia County is an ideal place to invest your maize farming venture. Trans Nzoia County is referred to as Kenya’s grain bucket because the country depend a lot from there.

Land preparation

In preparation of the land to plant the maize, you should clear bushes are shrubs around the farm so as to protect the seeds from pests are rats and squirrels. You should also burn the bushes to avoid the infestation of other pests and diseases.

After this you can manually dig the land using a hoe for small scale farmers or use tractors for large scale farmers. You should plough your farm during dry seasons so as weeds can dry well before farming. Repeat the ploughing process once again to break hard rocks in the farm.

To levelize the farm use …. to also break hard rocks, hard rocks may interfere with the seed germination process.

Planting

Now use harrows to make narrow harrows in your farm as you preparation to plant. Make sure you plant at least 3 to 4 maize seeds per hole as excess so as when pets destroy some, some will remain to mature.

While planting you can manually use organic manure from your farm as cow, goat, sheep dung, chicken dung or even kitchen remains. These types of manure have no side effects to plants and human but one disadvantage they have is that they come with a lot of pests. I recommend using artificial fertilizers since they don’t encourage the infestation of pests.

DAP fertilizer is the ideal fertilizer used in planting. The fertilizer has the right amount of phosphorus for better germination of the seeds.

Different types of seeds and where they can be found;

  • Katumani
  • Spacing

Proper spacing should always be considered to avoid crops competing for the smallest nutrients and water around them. For maize crops consider a spacing between 50-75cm and 25-40cm depending on types of seeds and the farm.

Weeding

Between 2 to 4 weeks, the weeds must have started growing, consider now weeding you plants.

Types of weeding;

Manually hand uprooting of weeds from your farm, this is ideal for small farms.

You can use hoes and machetes to cut the weeds down.

Use of chemicals to kill weeds, the advantage of this method all the weeds are killed. The disadvantages of this is that some chemicals only kill monocotyledonous weeds and leave dicotyledonous ones and vice versa

Top dressing

After weeding you can apply CAN fertilizer which is reach in nitrogen to boost the growth of your crops from the stem and improving the root systems. You can also use … to spray on leaves of your plants to improve chlorophyll formation.

Control of pests and diseases

You can spray your crops to avoid infestation of stock borers which temper with maize crop stems.

Harvesting and storage

After five to seven months depending on the type seeds, you maize crops are ready for harvest. As for Katumani it takes only three months for them to grow. Harvest your crops and store them in a dry store with no moisture or water. When they are dry use a Sheller to shell your grains; separating your grains from maize combs.

Dry the grains for a period of two weeks to remove all the moisture. After they have dried well, treat them with … and package them in nylon bags and store them for consumption. The reason for treating before packaging is to avoid the infestation of weevils and other pests and to make the grains stay longer.

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