Crop management

Crop management 2

How will you water your crop?

Plenty of water is vital for healthy growth and cropping. When a vegetable is short of water it stops growing and often starts to produce seeds prematurely (bolting) - or just dies.

For healthy, strong growth and the highest yields, your butternut will need a constant supply of water at the roots. The aim should be to keep the soil or compost evenly moist.

Seeds and seedlings are the most critical stages for many plants, so make sure seedbeds and seeds sown are kept moist while plants are establishing.

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation can help you use water efficiently.

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation systems:

  • Uses less water as the water from the pipe goes directly to the plant roots. Water is not wasted on weeds.
  • Plants do not get wet.
  • Once the drip lines are laid, you just have to turn on the tap when you want to water.

To get a drip irrigation system of your own, call SunCulture on +254 700 327 002. You can also go to their website to get a quote.

Topdressing

Topdress with CAN when the vines are about 30 cm long. Use 1-2 tablespoonfuls per plant. You will need about 100 kg of CAN per acre.

Weeds

  • Weeds take water and nutrients from your crop. They can badly affect your crop between when the shoots emerge to when the vines grow.
  • Weeds also hide pests and diseases.
  • Start weeding when the butternut plants are 2 weeks old. Pull out weeds when you see them. As the butternut vines and leaves grow, you will find you have less weeds.

Pollination

Butternut pollination

Butternuts have male and female flowers. The flowers need to be ‘pollinated’ for a fruit to grow well. This means that a bee has to visit a male flower, then a female flower.

Attract bees with flower patches in your shamba. You could also keep bees and sell the honey.

Topdress again 1 month later when they start to flower. You will need about 100 kg CAN per acre.