Managu is known in English as Common nightshade/Narrow leafed nightshade and is also known by many other local names.
It’s a common African indigenous vegetable consumed in a variety of ways.
Packed with impressive dietary fiber, carbohydrates, Vitamins A B and C, phosphorus, Calcium , proteins and Iron this is a super vegetable.
Benefits of managu
- · Helps in good body cell formations
- · Improve digestion
- · Helps in formation of strong bones
- · Helps in maintaining and improving good eyesight
- · Helps with skin maintenance
With that lets explore about how you can go about cultivating managu on your kitchen garden or better yet For commercial purpose. Since it is widely consumed it possesses a ready market and fetches good prices regardless of the seasons.
Ecological requirements of managu
Soil- deep, fertile and well drained- too much water retention will lead to decrease in yield. It does well under soils with pH between 5 and 7.
Temperature– 17- 30 degrees Celsius will be okay for the survival of common night shade plants.
Light – The do well in high light intensity but can also survive in partial shades.
Methods of planting.
Depending on variety, purpose and the quantity to be grown there are two methods of planting managu.
Direct sowing and growing from seedlings
1. Direct sowing
In this method, managu seeds are mixed with well decomposed manure. Care should be taken to obtain clean uncontaminated seeds. Usually common nightshade will grow well from the seeds from its berries but research has recently helped in development of more vigorous highly leafy hardy and tasty varieties.
The mixture of compost and manure can be then spread over rows that are 30cm apart. Why 30cm apart? This is to make sure that the rows are close enough to hold many rows but not too close to prevent cultivation practices like weeding and spraying that will involve the farmer walking in the plantation.
Thinning can be done later while weeding to avoid over population .
2. Planting from seedlings
In this method,the Farmer needs to know how to prepare a good seedbed ready for seeds.
The seeds are then sown lightly in and covered with light mulch .For mulch cover you can use sun dried grass free of insect pests since these might start eating your vegetables as they sprout.
Managu germinates after an average of 1 to 2 weeks depending on temperature, moisture conditions , quality of seeds and depth sown.
After germination the mulch is removed to allow the new sprouts to access sunlight.
If the mulch is removed too late , the process of its removal may destroy the delicate seedlings and also may lead to seedlings with long weak and coiled stems. These are undesirable.
The shade should gradually be reduced after two weeks. Gradual exposure to more and more sunlight increases the chlorophyl formation which leads to healthy overall development of the seedlings. This is called Hardening.
Weeding and watering should be thoroughly done in the seedbed to ensure healthy seedlings
After an average of one month after sowing the seeds, they will be ready ready for transplanting .
How to know when managu seedlings are ready for transplant?
You know you seedlings are ready for harvest when they are atleast 15 cm tall and with about 5 true leaves.
Managu is a heavy feeder with well developed roots, it can thrive well with both manure and foliar fertilizers. Cost effective and organic foliar fertilizers can also be used since technology is moving forward with good farm yields in great consideration.
If you are using manure , 10 to 12 tonnes per acre is considerable for good yields.
The manure should be applied at planting.
Weeding – Weeding in managu is best done manually and thorough to avoid nutrient , space and sunlight competition
Managu common pests , signs and control.
|Aphids||Dark spots (aphids) at the back of the leaf ,wrinkled leaves, stunted growth||Monitor regularly &spray only affected plants parts (spot spraying).|
|Spider mites||twisted growth and small leaves||· Avoid use of broad-spectrum pesticides-pyrethroids; this may lead to spider mite outbreaks.· Use overhead irrigation· wash plants with a strong jet of water to knock off mites and destroy their webs.|
Methods of harvesting managu
- · Uprooting
- · Branch trimming
|This involved uprooting the whole plant, washing of the roots and packaging as desired.||This involves the use of a clean and sharp cutting tool to cut off the branches. This method ensures clean harvests.Care should be taken as the branches and stems need to be cut above the nodes where buds grow .This is to make sure that the next branches grow up. This method is very goo for commercial farmers as the can harvest even more than three times depending on maintenance . After harvest, the remaining plant sections can be weeded and fertilized for the faster reemergence of healthy leaves.|
How to maximize profits in your managu farm
· Do proper market analysis
· Produce good quality and be consistent with it.
· Find the most fitting customers in terms of price in relation to quality.
How to make sure you have maximum production per area of land.
- · Use good quality manure
- · Use good quality seeds.
- · Control weeds thoroughly
- · Do not let the soil go dry and do not overwater
- · Apply Foliar sprays (Organic foliar sprays are the safest and have good efficiency)
- · Use branch trimming harvesting methods and direct sowing as explained in this article to ensure maximum plant population and maximum harvesting
- · Control pests
Farming is a really good endeavor.If you read this article it means you have a farmers mindset. Agriculture has many Important Life skills to offer that’s why it is encouraged among the youth.