This article focuses on pumpkin farming in Kenya. Pumpkin farming is a common venture in Kenya, especially in rural areas. Most farmers practice it for domestic consumption. It is one of the most profitable vegetables to grow in Kenya.
Almost every part of a pumpkin is edible. From the fleshy fruit itself, its seeds to its leaves which can be consumed as vegetables.
Varieties Of Pumpkin Grown in Kenya
- Egyptian giant.
- Israel giant.
- White giant.
- Israel giant.
Ecological Requirements for Growing Pumpkins
- Temperature of 18-27°c.
- Well drained fertile soil with a neutral pH.
- Pumpkins are drought-tolerant and sensitive to water logging.
Land should be prepared early enough to a fine tilth. This is to allow proper roots penetration.
Propagation is by seeds. It is advisable to prepare mounds of soil during planting to improve drainage.
The recommended planting space is 3m by 3m due to the vegetative nature of pumpkins. The seeds should also be planted about 2 inches deep to prevent birds from feeding on them.
One acre of land can hold approximately 2000 seedlings.
Irrigation can be practiced so as to improve the uptake of nutrients and for the purpose of proper formation of fruits.
Pumpkins can be intercropped with other plants such as pawpaw, okra, moringa and sunflower.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack pumpkins include aphids, fruit flies, African melon ladybird. Common diseases include downey mildew, powdery mildew and bacterial wilt.
The pests and diseases can be eradicated using recommended sprays, regular weeding and practising proper field hygiene.
Pumpkins are ready for harvesting after about 90- 120 days. Hardening of the fruit and colour is an indication of maturity.
Harvesting is simply done by simply plucking off the fruit from the vine. An acre of land can yield 5 tons of pumpkins.
Market for Pumpkins in Kenya
Pumpkins have a ready market in Kenya. They can be sold in local air markets, groceries, supermarkets or supplied to institutions such as hotels and fresh produce export companies.
The average price per kg in the local market is between Kshs 50- 80.
- Most Profitable Vegetables to Grow in Kenya