Contributed by William Nkhunga.
We have experienced another bumper organic maize yield at Kusamala for the 2013-2014 growing season. The organic maize was planted on 17th December 2013 with the first soaking rains and before planting the following activities were accomplished: maintenance of permanent planting beds, compost manure application, and incorporation of biomass from Tephrosia vogelli. Tephrosia vogelli is an agroforestry species that is under sowed with maize; its leaves contain high amounts of nutrients including nitrogen that is important for good plant development.
Twenty-one days after planting, the organic corn was top-dressed with liquid manure made from cattle dung. From that point until the maize reached maturity, only light weeding by hand and small hoes followed. It has taken 130 days for the corn to fully mature and dry.
In order to protect the grain from post harvest pests such as rodents, large grain borer (Prostephanus truncatus), and maize weevil (Sitophilus zeamais), the shelled kernels will be stored in an improved silo that is currently under construction at the Centre. The silo will enable us to avoid using chemicals to protect the kernels from destructive pests. Please watch out for our next blogpost that will detail the silo design and construction process.