Spinach farming is one of the vegetables that Kenyans grow for consumption as well as to sell at the market. Spinach is a delicious vegetable with health benefits for human bodies, so it is in high demand. Is it, however, profitable for the farmers?

How To Make Money On Spinach Farming In Kenya

Varieties of spinach grown in Kenya

Fordhook Giant Spinach:

  • Fordhook Giant is a classic and well-known spinach variety, favored for its large, smooth, and dark green leaves.
  • It is a heat-resistant variety, making it suitable for growing in various climates, including warmer regions.
  • The leaves have a mild and slightly sweet flavor, making them versatile for different culinary uses.

Early Hybrid No.7 Spinach:

  • Early Hybrid No.7 is a variety known for its early maturity, meaning it reaches harvestable size faster than some other varieties.
  • It produces tender, glossy, and dark green leaves with a mild taste.
  • This variety is ideal for gardeners who want to enjoy spinach as quickly as possible after planting.

Giant Noble Spinach:

  • Giant Noble lives up to its name, as it produces large, broad, and robust leaves.
  • The leaves are dark green and have a savoyed or crinkled texture.
  • This variety is a favorite for its substantial leaf size, making it a great choice for harvesting large quantities.

King of Denmark Spinach:

  • King of Denmark spinach is an heirloom variety with a long history of cultivation.
  • It features dark green leaves with a savoyed appearance.
  • The leaves have a tender texture and a traditional spinach flavor.

Viroflay Spinach:

  • Viroflay spinach is widely grown in Kenya due to its high yield potential and disease resistance.
  • It produces large, thick, and smooth leaves with a bright green color.
  • The leaves are tender and have a mild, slightly sweet taste.
  • Viroflay spinach is a favorite among farmers because of its ease of cultivation and reliable performance.

Bloomsdale Spinach:

  • Bloomsdale spinach is known for its distinctive crinkled or savoyed leaves, which give it an attractive appearance.
  • The leaves are dark green and tender, offering a delicious, slightly nutty flavor.
  • This variety is a favorite among home gardeners and chefs alike due to its unique appearance and taste.
  • Bloomsdale spinach is a bit slower to bolt compared to some other varieties, making it a good choice for extended harvesting periods.

New Zealand Spinach:

  • While not a true spinach (it belongs to a different plant family), New Zealand spinach is grown as an alternative in Kenya due to its heat and drought tolerance.
  • It has thick, succulent leaves that can be used similarly to true spinach in cooking.
  • New Zealand spinach is well-suited for hot and dry climates where traditional spinach varieties may struggle.
  • It is a low-maintenance option for areas with limited water availability.

When selecting spinach varieties for your farm, consider factors such as their growth characteristics, disease resistance, flavor, and suitability for your area.

Spinach Planting

In most cases, spinach is sown directly into the field. Farmers can sow spinach seeds (mostly hybrids) directly to the ground in rows or by broadcasting them.

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Planting spinach from seeds is a straightforward process that can yield delicious and nutritious greens. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully grow spinach in your farm.

Step 1: Choose the Right Time to Plant

  • Spinach prefers cooler temperatures, so the best time to plant seeds is in early spring or late summer to early fall, depending on your climate zone.
  • If you live in a region with mild winters, you can also plant spinach in the fall for a winter harvest.

Step 2: Select a Suitable Location

  • Choose a location that receives partial shade to full sun. Spinach can tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates.
  • The soil should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Add compost to improve soil fertility if necessary.

Step 3: Prepare the Soil

  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches using a shovel or garden fork.
  • Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris that may hinder seedling growth.

Step 4: Sow the Seeds

  • Create furrows in the soil about ½ inch (1.3 cm) deep and spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.
  • Place the spinach seeds in the furrows, keeping them approximately 2 inches (5 cm) apart from each other.
  • Gently cover the seeds with soil and pat it down lightly.

Step 5: Watering

  • Water the seeded area thoroughly immediately after planting. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the germination process.
  • Be cautious not to wash away the seeds with a strong stream of water.

Step 6: Germination

  • Spinach seeds usually germinate within 7 to 14 days, depending on the temperature.
  • Continue to water regularly to ensure the soil stays moist during germination.

Step 7: Thinning

  • Once the spinach seedlings have grown to about 2 inches (5 cm) tall, thin them out to provide adequate space for each plant to grow.
  • Space the seedlings 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) apart to allow them enough room to reach their full size.

Step 8: Mulching

  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the seedlings to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Be careful not to let the mulch touch the young plants directly, as it may cause them to rot.

Step 9: Fertilization

  • Spinach is a leafy green, so it benefits from a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Apply a balanced fertilizer according to the package instructions after thinning the seedlings.

Step 10: Care and Maintenance

  • Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells.
  • Regularly remove any weeds that compete with the spinach for nutrients and water.
  • If temperatures rise, consider providing some shade to prevent the plants from bolting (producing flowers and seeds prematurely).
  • Pests such as aphids and slugs may be attracted to spinach. Monitor your plants regularly and address any pest problems promptly.
  • If the weather becomes too warm, spinach may start to bolt and become bitter. Harvest the leaves promptly in such conditions.

How Profitable is Spinach Farming in Kenya?

Spinach farming in Kenya allows farmers to make a lot of money in a short period of time. When the spinach has matured, it can be sold to the ready market for a profit.

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The following are five ways in which spinach farming is profitable in Kenya:

  • When planting spinach in a quarter of an acre, you will produce spinach that will generate up to Ksh. 200, 000 for three months, especially from December to March.
  • Under proper crop care, one acre of land can produce up to 10 to 30 tons of spinach. Because a 50kg bag costs Kshs 700 per bag, a farmer will make a lot of money after selling them.
  • From a half-acre plot of land, one can earn Ksh. 65,000 per year from spinach farming.
  • If you sell your spinach at a consistent price of Kshs 15 per kilo, you will earn Kshs 224000 from a single harvest.
  • A farmer who sells spinach to the market can earn Kshs 3,000 in one day and Kshs 100,000 after one month.

Spinach Farming Profit Per Acre

Depending on the variety grown and the climatic conditions, spinach farming in Kenya can yield significant profits in a single season. For example, three months after planting spinach, you can earn Kshs 500, 000 on an acre of land.

The profitability of spinach farming per acre will be determined by proper crop care practices such as proper spacing and the selection of a high-quality variety. As a result, if you sell Kshs 2000 to neighbors and Kshs 3000 to local markets in a day, you can make a profit of Kshs 100,000 per month.

Price of Spinach in Kenya

The price of spinach in Kenya is primarily influenced by weather patterns, production costs, and market delivery.

A 50kg sack of spinach, for example, costs between Kshs 1300 and Kshs 1500, depending on supply in the local market. In addition, a bunch of spinach can cost anywhere from Kshs 20 to Kshs 30.

In Kenya, one kilogram of spinach costs approximately Ksh. 800.

Crop Nutrition

As earlier outlined, spinach performs best in well-tilled and watered soils that are rich in nitrogen, phosphates and potassium nutrients. Use the soil test results to order the right fertilizer brands and amounts.

To boost crop nutrition for your spinach, apply manure and planting fertilizer like mavuno planting fertilizer and a top-dresser after a few days.

Best recommendations are using seven tons of well-decomposed manure. The cost is around KES 2,000 per ton. Each spinach hole requires a teaspoonful (20 gm) of DAP or TSP fertilizer while transplanting (50 kg/acre). After  3 weeks, add 20 gm (40 kg/Acre) of a top dresser fertilizer like CAN to each plant.

The second application is done 3 weeks later at a rate of 40 gm per plant (80 kg/acre). The prevailing costs of these fertilizers are KES.3000 for the planting and KEs. 3500 per bag for the topdressing fertilizer.

Apply foliar feed fertilizers and biostimulants. Its best to do it after three harvests to promote vegetative bloom

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Tips for improving profits in spinach farming.

Choose the Right Varieties: Select spinach varieties that are well-suited to your local climate and soil conditions. Opt for high-yielding varieties with good disease resistance to increase productivity.

Proper Land Preparation: Ensure proper land preparation by tilling the soil, removing weeds, and incorporating organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. Good soil preparation promotes healthy plant growth and higher yields.

Crop Rotation: Rotate spinach with different crops to prevent soil nutrient depletion and reduce the risk of diseases and pests specific to spinach.

Optimal Planting Density: Plant spinach at the recommended spacing to maximize the use of available space while allowing each plant to grow and produce optimally.

Timely Planting: Plant spinach at the right time to take advantage of the best growing conditions and avoid extreme weather that can adversely affect the crop.

Irrigation Management: Implement efficient irrigation practices to ensure the spinach plants receive the right amount of water when needed. Drip irrigation or other water-saving techniques can be beneficial.

Weed Management: Control weeds promptly and efficiently to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Mulching can also help suppress weeds.

Fertilizer Application: Apply fertilizers according to soil test results and plant needs. Avoid over-fertilization, as excessive nutrients can lead to imbalances and reduced profitability.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Implement an IPM approach to control pests and diseases. Use natural predators, biological agents, and targeted pesticides as needed to minimize crop damage.

Harvesting at the Right Time: Harvest spinach at the correct stage of maturity to obtain the best quality and yield. Regular and timely harvesting encourages continuous growth and production.

Post-Harvest Handling: Handle the harvested spinach carefully to prevent bruising and damage, which can reduce its market value.

Market Research: Conduct market research to understand the demand for spinach in your area and identify potential buyers or markets. Diversifying your sales channels can improve profitability.

Value Addition: Explore options for value addition, such as processing spinach into frozen products, packaged salads, or other value-added goods, which can increase profitability.

Record Keeping: Maintain detailed records of expenses, yields, sales, and other relevant data. Analyzing this information can help you identify areas where improvements can be made.

Cost Efficiency: Continuously look for ways to reduce production costs without compromising on quality. Negotiate better deals on inputs and explore cost-effective farming practices.

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