She began the natural challenge in 2018 after quitting part-time lecturing at Moi University. But before that, she had been farming conventionally on the side since 2014.
She uses natural manure from sheep, chickens and cows, which she sources from the household farm, and also intercrops the flowers with others like marigold that attract bees and curb pests.
During the dry months, like from January to March, she uses overhead sprinkler irrigation, sourcing water from an adjacent swamp.
Traditional plants such as kunde and sagaa are tolerant towards drought and pests and diseases but do now not thrive well beneath wet and chilly conditions
Nigeria, located off Eldoret-Nakuru Road, is a sprawling township in Uasin Gishu County.
The location hosts expansive farms blanketed in maize and wheat. It is here that Julie Barmasai farms on about two acres of her family’s 200 acres, now not the cereals, however horticultural crops.
Seeds of Gold team finds her supervising her workers as they harvest the vegetables and herbs.
“Get me 3kg of night time shade, 2kg of broccoli and a kilo of curly kale,” Julie instructs one of her workers.
On the farm christened Garden Picks Produce, she grows over 30 assorted greens and herbs that encompass cucumber, sugarloaf cabbage, night time coloration (managu), amaranth (terere), broccoli, lettuce, thyme and basil.
Other vegetation are garlic, celery, parsley, cauliflower, courgette, beetroot, curly kale, cauliflower, pepper mint, normal mint and, Indian spinach (paala), lemon grass and fenugreek (methi plant), all which she farms organically.
She started out the natural project in 2018 after quitting part-time lecturing at Moi University. But before that, she had been farming conventionally on the aspect seeing that 2014.
“I was struggling to get instructions to teach,” says Julie, who holds a Masters in Development Studies and a Bachelor of Communication and Public Relations from Daystar University.
“I would be given three to four classes in a week which left me with lots of time on my hands. Again, I was once making little cash given that part-time lecturers are paid as per type taught,” says Julie, who adds low charge of conventionally grown produce caused her to flip organic when she give up her job.
She makes use of organic manure from sheep, chickens and cows, which she sources from the family farm, and additionally intercrops the plant life with others like marigold that appeal to bees and curb pests.
To control pests and diseases, the farmer makes a concoction of dried chillies or garlic and water, which she sprays on the crop as pesticides.
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“But in most cases, organically grown crops improve their own defense device against pests and diseases, thus requiring fewer interventions.”
Demand of natural produce
The organic farmer also practices crop rotation, what helps in preventing diseases. After harvesting, she replaces a crop with one from a unique family to assist enhance soil fertility and manipulate soil-borne diseases.
She further engages in what she calls “companion farming” whereby those vegetation that aid every different are planted subsequent to each different whilst these that harm each different are planted far apart. For instance, cabbage and white collards, given that they are susceptible to the same pests, are planted far apart.
During the dry months, like from January to March, she makes use of overhead sprinkler irrigation, sourcing water from an adjacent swamp.
“There is a massive demand of organic produce in Eldoret. I sell mine to households, retail shops and groceries in the city and its environs.”
Julie sells to customers or retailers without delay for more income.
“I serve up to 15 households which consistently purchase my a variety of produce each month,” says the farmer who has employed three workers.
Together with other farmers, they have come up with an open air organic market that they maintain every weekend at a house alongside the Eldoret-Kapsebet Road to tap into the developing demand for organically grown food.
But it is not all rosy, some vegetation such as French beans warfare to thrive beneath organic farming. Thus, she opts for controlled chemical use.
“For now, I desire to concentrate on farming due to the fact that it is a rewarding venture. My aim is to train more people to grow organic foods,” presents Julie.
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Patrick Kalama, a research scientist (entomologist) at the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation Kitale station, says onions, garlic and chilly comprise allicin, an active chemical ingredient that provides herbal pungent odor that helps repel pests.
“Besides spraying with natural concoctions, a farmer going into organic farming intercrop crops. For instance, planting a perimeter or a few lines of onions, garlic or any crop in the onion family in a row to address pests,” explains the expert.
Traditional plants such as kunde and sagaa are tolerant towards drought and pests and diseases however do now not thrive well underneath wet and chilly conditions, he says.