The art of farming is an old tradition that has been with man. Throughout the ages, agriculture has been a basic economic activity that has witnessed tremendous improvements. Hence its capacity to lift millions of Nigerians out of the shackles of poverty is not in doubt. The dominant type of farming practiced in Nigeria is subsistence. However there are calls, programs and policies formulated to encourage commercial farming. It is in light of this that we will focus on cabbage farming. Cabbage is a popular vegetable among Nigerians. Ignorance stands in the way despite people’s interest to cultivate this crop. However this article shows you how you can take advantage of agro-business to become a cabbage farmer in Nigeria.
Cabbage Seed Germination
There are simple procedures to follow when cultivating cabbage. To obtain best results, it is necessary that you adhere to these conditions. Cabbage grows best on well drained sandy loam soils. But they are not like other crops such as maize where you directly plant its seeds on the ridges. Cabbage seedlings come in packs and are quite tiny. Cultivating in a nursery should be the first thing to consider. All-year round cultivation of cabbage is possible. This means that you can plant them in the rainy season as well as dry season. Irrigation holds the key for dry season cultivation. To do this, you would need a body of water nearby. This can be either a pond, dam or river.
Growing cabbage in the nursery is necessary. Grooves are marked with a stick to hold the seed. The seedlings are sprinkled evenly along the grooves. You should use your hands to lightly spread the soil to cover the seeds. It is also important to apply water fertilizer. Water should be applied at morning and evening. To prevent beds from picking the seeds and the young shoots from direct sunlight, stalks or grasses are used to cover the top of the bed(s). Your cabbage seeds will begin to germinate four to five days later. You should use a watering can when applying water. This is to enable even spread of water and to prevent digging up the seeds. Stalks protect from water erosion and direct sunlight.
Transplanting Your Cabbage
Cabbage is due for transplanting after spending 3 to 4 weeks in the nursery. You will need to relocate them to a permanent location. To transplant, you need to have prepared your farmland ahead of time. You need to make a choice of where to transplant. What does this mean? You need to choose whether to use a bed or ridge. The choice of any of these methods is totally up to you. However space management influences the choice of the farming method. Space economy allows for a bountiful harvest especially for small farms. When transplanting, you should be generous with spacing. This is to allow for blossoming and to enable the cabbage heads attain maximum size.
After transplanting the cabbage, fertilizer should be applied at the base of the plants. Application of organic fertilizer can follow the same pattern. There are other ways of applying it. You can choose to do so when making the ridge or bed or after. It is advisable to use organice fertilizer more as it is safer to use and it improves the soil structure. Organic fertilizers are also known to enhance the water and nutrient holding capacity of a soil (water logged soils should be avoided). An added incentive of using organic fertilizers is its slow-release nature. This means that you can never over-fertilize your farm (this enhances crop safety). Organic fertilizers have a long term effect on the farmland. Its efficacy can last several years.
Caring for Your Crop
After planting your cabbage, continuous care should be carried out to ensure optimal conditions. This means weeding, and chemical application should be continually done. Chemicals are applied to the cabbage leaves/head/bulb to kill or ward-off destructive insects and pests. It is necessary to exercise caution in applying these chemicals. These chemicals are harmful for human consumption and should be applied only when your cabbage is not fully developed. It does not remain on the leaves for long as it wears off gradually. The cabbage is sprayed thoroughly with these insecticides/pesticides. The stem and the undersides of the plan are not left out either.
It normally takes up to 70 days for cabbage to reach maturity. The head should be firm before you consider harvesting. Harvesting can be done with a knife. The head should be cut at its base and collected for onward disposal. It is expected that you should have contacted your buyers before your crops are ready for harvesting. In most cases they may buy off everything from the farm and harvest it themselves.