Irrigation method for dragon fruit farming in Kenya
Dragon fruit is a fruit that is increasingly becoming popular among the farmers because of its value and the simple management practices as compared to other known fruit plants thus need for appropriate irrigation method for dragon fruit farming in Kenya. The plant is a native of Mexico and Central America but current it is grown worldwide.
Many people may refer to this fruit as pitaya, pitahaya and strawberry bear but its scientific name is Hylocereus Cactus or Honolulu queen which is believed to be nocturnal plant because it opens its flowers at night but during the day, they remained close.
There are various types of the dragon fruit but the mostly recognized have got bright red skin with green scales that looks like a dragon and the white pulp with black seeds.
The fruit is widely known for its mild flavor sweetness
How to prepare land for drip irrigation for dragon fruit farming in Kenya
Land preparation for drip irrigation for dragon fruit farming in Kenya is a process that involves several activities which may include, plowing and breaking of soil particles or the clods and addition of important soil nutrients. The purpose of these activities is to improve crop/plant growth and development.
Land preparation ensures that there is sufficient water, heat, oxygen, and other important soil nutrients. This process will allow the soil to be more compressible to allow the penetration of the roots. These involves the use of disc harrows, ploughs and drillers.
When preparing land for irrigation for dragon fruit farming in Kenya, there is no use of raised beds since they are less important. Beds are only recommended when using the drip line or the drip tape because this piping require generally level area in order to discharge water accordingly and to allow ease movement of the farm operators unlike the irrigation method for dragon fruit which levelling off the ground is unnecessary. Moreover, raised beds also play a major role in drainage and aeration
Factors to consider when selecting proper land for irrigation of dragon fruit farming in Kenya
- Generally sloping land to minimize clogging in case of heavy rainfall
- This includes ease of access to relevant infrastructure which may include electricity, good road network to allow ease of moving farm inputs and produce
- Labor and expertise: Expertise and labor are very critical when doing preparation for drip irrigation for dragon fruit farming in Kenya and may include skilled or non-skilled.
Labor and expertise go along with the culture of a specific community in and around the farm.
Labour is a major component of production and its cost determine the success or failure of your enterprise
The farm should be well secured from thieves, stray animals, rodents and other disease-causing organisms. This can be done by erecting fence around the farm or employing the watch guard to care for the farm.
When doing land preparation for drip irrigation in Kenya, the area should be free from rodents because rodents are the major drip tape/ drip line destroyers. To keep these rodents away, the nearby bushes should be cleared and pesticides sprayed.
5. Soil characteristics and crop climatic conditions.
Different crops do well in different soil and climatic conditions. Some crops do well in acidic soil.
While others do well in a basic or alkaline environment. On the same note, high land crops cannot do well in lowland areas unless special conditions are provided and if these conditions have to be reversed proper and special conditions should be provided.
These special conditions may include soil treatments and irrigation or using specialized equipment when installing your drip system e.g. venture injector
The procedure of obtaining a good bed for the drip irrigation for dragon fruit farming system
As stated earlier, dragon fruits are rowed and column fruits however, they can be grown in an irregular form since watering of these plants depends on water pump horse power and the piping systems. Since majority of the pipes are flexible, the arrangement of the plants does not matter.
The plowing should be done along with the land/garden during the first plowing and across during the second plowing.
This will ensure microorganisms and weed seeds are brought above the soil and exposed to the sunlight.
On exposing these it ensures faster growth of weed seeds due to warmth. After germination of the weed seeds due to favorable conditions brought by sunlight, use the recommended herbicides to kill the weed. Get recommendations from a qualified agronomist.
Do final plowing to bury the dead plants into the soil. The weed will later decompose/rot to add nutrients to the soil.
Considering the spacing of the dragon fruits, use the drillers to make holes to specific depths. The holes depend with the number of plants one is willing to plant and the management pattern to be applied.
steps of obtaining the best depth for drip irrigation for dragon fruit farming in Kenya
In hole depth preparation, the standard and most recommended bed sizes range from 0.3 meters (0.3m) for short season crops and sometimes to 0.5 meters (0.5) meters
The most convenient path width should be between 4m to 5m. This will ensure major parts of the land are put under cultivation.
After the selection of the convenient bed width and the paths, the holes are made to a spacing between 4m to 5m.
While digging the hoes depths, breakdown soil clods (big soil particles brought about during plowing) into fine particles to allow free movement of air and water through the soil.
Remove weeds and mix manure into the soil to expose microorganisms the soil to the sunlight to be killed.
After all these practices prepare and organize for the drip installation process. Collect drip irrigation equipment like drip tape, drip fittings (takeoffs, end caps and starters) and drip irrigation pipes as the main lines
Benefits of best drip irrigation for dragon fruit system
- The drip irrigation system is the most efficient method of irrigation. Through emitters, water is directly delivered to the plant root zone hence economical on water usage.
- In the best drip irrigation system, there is a constant benefit of water supply in small quantities to the plants. This creates an ideal moist condition for proper growth of most plants.
- The best drip irrigation system minimizes weed growth since water is only supplied to a particular crop root.
- The best drip irrigation system helps in the control of fungal diseases which grow very fast under moist conditions.
- Timeliness and labor-saving. In the best drip irrigation system, the control valves can be managed by one personnel. One person operates the whole system thus minimizing the labor costs. This minimizes production cost.
- Ease in fertilizer application. method of liquid fertilizer application (fertigation) is very easy and fast. Since water emitters are used to directly distribute fertilizers to particular crop/plants.
The materials needed for the installation are just basic piping equipment. These materials include HDPE pipes, none return valves water filters, ball valves air release valves, elbows, ninety degrees tees forty-five degrees tees, Drip tapes, drip fittings, button drippers and any other relevant types of equipment