Ewedu, botanically called Corchorus olitoris, is also called jute in English language. It is a major delicacy in Nigeria, usually served with indigenous dish like yam flour and melon soup.
This vegetable is very palatable and simple to cultivate. One can make it big from the cultivation of this vegetable.
Apart from being eaten as vegetable, it is also a source of fiber for textile industry; when fully matured with high lignin content. It is a very useful crop with high medicinal value and health benefits as it cures typhoid and supplies the body with necessary minerals and nutrient elements required to keep the body system fit always.
Planting Ewedu, as said, earlier is very easy but needs some technical approaches to increase yield and profit at the long run. Ewedu cultivation is a very lucrative business. With the below tips, you can plant Ewedu successful.
What are the environmental requirements for planting Ewedu
Ewedu needs a well-drained loamy soil that is rich in organic nutrients. It needs a moderate rainfall level, when planting is solely based on rain water. However, with irrigation facilities, Ewedu can be planted at any time of the season. Nutrients can be supplemented in form of organic manure like poultry droppings or inorganic fertilizer like NPK and Urea as the soil is worked on.
Land preparation and pre-planting activities of planting Ewedu
A conventional tillage practice is best for planting Ewedu successfully. A soil that is well pulverized aids root development and good growth. Also, poultry manure should be added fresh to the soil at about two weeks before planting. Before planting, it is imperative the seeds are treated with boiled water to aid fast germination and uniform growth. To do this, boil about 2 liters of water, suspend the seeds in the boiled with the aid of a cloth. Allow the seeds to stay in the boiled water for about one hour; you would notice the seeds become bigger. Dry the seeds and plant.
Planting method of Ewedu seeds
Ewedu is best planted on beds, like 1m by 5m. Organic fertilizers are incorporated in the beds at about two weeks before planting. There are various systems of planting seeds; we have broadcasting, dibbling, drilling etc.; for vegetable seeds, broadcasting and drilling is the best. In broadcasting the seeds are evenly dispersed on the bed. In drilling system, tiny channels are made across the bed with the finger; the seeds are poured on these channels and covered with soil slightly.
For commercial purpose, the broadcasting method is the best. Since the vegetables are to be sold per bed; more plants are gotten from a single bed, thus, making it more profitable. To do this, mix the seeds with dry sand before broadcasting on the beds. This will facilitate even distribution and the seeds are utilized evenly too.
Post planting activities of Ewedu cultivation
After about four days of planting, Ewedu seedlings emerge; they are very tender and fragile. Adequate supply of water has to be ensured to hasten germination and increase yield. Apply water daily till after 3 weeks when the vegetables are fully grown. Then, you can alternate your supply of water to about 3 times in a week.
Fertilization is also crucial to increase yield; this greatly depends on your system of cultivation. If you plan to plant organically; that is, total avoidance of chemical or synthetic materials, you just add manure at about two weeks after planting. But if you decide to plant inorganically; that is, using chemicals on your crops, you can apply urea at about two weeks after planting. However, the use of chemicals on vegetable crops or any crops is very harmful to humans’ health. There is a strong campaign against its use. Organic farming is the best form of planting.
Pest control is essential to enhance the quality and quantity of the crop produced. To control pests, use organic pesticides only.
Harvesting of Ewedu plants
Ewedu has a short gestation period; it is ready to harvest at about 4-5 weeks after planting. Harvesting can be done by cutting the plant’s stem with a knife or uprooting the plants completely from the bed. Uprooting the plants completely from the beds is the best because it helps to conserve soil nutrient and rejuvenate the soil.