How to farm the most ideal crop, Garden peas (Minji)

Garden peas are a major source of income and food for most small scale farmers in Kenya. It stands out as the most ideal enterprise where scarcity is a problem. That is, where farmers can only afford to do less than an acre of land. These are farmers mostly from Kiambu, Nyandarua and even Meru counties. But this doesn’t mean they can’t do well for large scale farmers, no, they can actually do very well too.

Why farm garden peas?

Garden peas require little management skills, they are not heavy feeders and therefore have a low cost of production. Regardless of where you farm them, garden peas have a ready market with a good stable price, unlike other crops.

How to prepare land for garden peas

Garden peas do well in deep fertile sandy-loam soils with relative rainfall. If done in clay soils, they tend to stunt producing extremely small peas. The land should be well-drained and free of weeds before planting.

Rows planting is the most ideal one. The rows are drilled at a spacing of 45cm apart and well-decomposed manure is added at a rate of 12tonnes per acre.

How to select garden peas varieties to plant

Even though there are many varieties of garden peas, the most common are summerwood and green feasts. Both varieties do well but each has very distinctive characteristics. They have a slight variance in taste making the consumers have different tastes and preferences.

Green feast is most preferred by most consumers even though there are others who love summerwood. Based on companies and breeding; the green feast or summerwood variety may vary in quality in different seed companies in terms of plant and pond size.

Short varieties are preferred for ease of management and to avoid breakages at bearing stages.

How to plant garden peas
How to grow garden peas

Seeds are sown at a spacing interval of 7cm from each other and 45cm apart at a seed rate of 8-10kgs per acre. Top-dress with Di-ammonium phosphate DAP on the seventh day.

Garden peas require a lot of water for high yields. It’s therefore either you plant at the onset of rains or use irrigation during dry seasons.

How to manage common pests and diseases in garden peas farming

Caterpillars and Aphids

Regular scouting and surveying are necessary for the early identification of pests. Spraying and drenching with 10ml of thunder or 4ml of belt in 20l of water once per fortnight can help in controlling and prevention. Drenching is often done on the day of planting after sowing.

Black spots and Blight

Frequent spraying of 50gms of Redomil gold and 10ml of score combined once per week in high-risk seasons (high rainfall) and once per fortnight in low-risk seasons (low rainfall).

The farm should always be maintained free of weeds to prevent the spread of pests and diseases as well avoid competition between crops and weeds.

At the onset of flowering, top dress with Calcium Ammonium Nitrate CAN at a rate of 100kg per Acre.

Harvesting and marketing

Harvesting is based on market demand. Some consumers prefer when green and fresh while others like dry cereals. But either way, the prices will still be good.

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