Cabbage irrigation farming in Kenya is through drip irrigation, sprinkler systems irrigation, and rain hose kits irrigation. Cabbage farming through irrigation requires even moisture to produce good heads. Farmers’ cabbage water requirements are independent of the varieties grown. The best cabbage varieties to grow in Kenya are hybrids, which require consistent irrigation during growth. Successful cabbage farmers who supply the cabbage market in Kenya water 25 to 37 litres weekly.
Good cabbage head sizes weighing 5kgs make it easy for a grower to choose where to sell cabbages in Kenya. Below is a review of cabbage irrigation farming requirements by systems
1. Cabbage drip irrigation farming; how to install a drip irrigation system on cabbage
- Bed making
Your beds will be 1M wide to allow for 3 rows of drip lines, and 30cm high for good drainage. Drainage is key to prevent root rot for cabbage as a result of too much stagnant water.
- Drip irrigation tapes laying
2 rows of drip lines per bed. Each drip line row is 20cm apart and the line is 20cm from the edge of the bed. Without beds, each row is 30cm apart.
2. How to install a sprinkler irrigation system or rain hose irrigation kitIf you will not make beds, as shown above, then your cabbage spacing is 60 cm apart for rows. The inter-crop spacing is 30 cm to 45 cm. Place your sprinklers or rain hose pipes according to the radius of spray for each to cover the entire area.
Pros and Cons of Drip Irrigation Versus Overhead Irrigation
Overhead irrigation refers to the use of sprinkler and rain hose irrigation kits. Drip irrigation is watering through pre-perforated pipes that only irrigate at the base of the plant
- Water saving. Drip irrigation is more efficient in saving water. A grower will use over 30% less water with drip
- Operational costs. While watering with overhead irrigation, the water is spread to non-cropping areas such as paths, and the spaces between crops. This encourages weeds growth whose removal is an adeded expense
- Pest management. Overhead irrigation minimises the incidence of red spider mites, arphids and thrips attaack on the cagbbage crop. This is because they thrive best in low humidity
- Fertigation. Drip irrigation allows soluble fertiliser provision through the irrigation system
- Cost. Drip irrigation is more expensive to set up
Cabbage Irrigation Farming in Kenya FAQs
1. What is the cost of a cabbage drip irrigation kit?
- 1-acre drip irrigation kit; Kes 125,000
- 1/2 acre drip irrigation kit; Kes 70,000
- 1/4 acre drip irrigation kit; Kes 40,000
- 1/8 acre drip irrigation kit; Kes 25,000
2. What is the cost of overhead irrigation in cabbage?
- 1-acre sprinkler / rain hose irrigation kit; Kes 90,000
- 1/2 acre sprinkler / rain hose irrigation kit; Kes 50,000
- 1/4 sprinkler / rain hose irrigation kit; Kes 27,000
- 1/8 acre sprinkler / rain hose irrigation kit; Kes 15,000
Note that this does not include the cost of a water pump
3. How do you drip irrigate cabbage?
Use sparsely spaced drip emitters 30cm apart. This cabbage drip irrigation system will water every plant and they will be no irrigation dry shadows. Irrigate in the morning hours and avoid late evening irrigation
4. Do cabbage require a lot of water?
Yes. A cabbage plant will require up to 1inch or 25 litres per meter square weekly during the early stage. At maturity, this will be 2 inches/ 50 litres per meter square under dry conditions. Too much water causes root rot
5. When should you stop watering cabbage?
Stop watering cabbage 7 days before harvest. This improves the shelf life
6. What PSI should you use for drip irrigation?
Grekkon Limited’s drip irrigation systems operate at 10 to 35 PSI
7. Does cabbage need lots of sun?
Yes. 10 to 12 hours of sunlight for head formation in the tropics
8. Should I water cabbage?
Yes. Half an inch/ 12.5 litres per meter square of water 4 times a week is enough.
9. Can you grow cabbage in hot weather?
10. How far apart should cabbage drip be?
Row to row drip irrigation spacing is 50 cm apart