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Pumpkin is widely known as yep. It is a native plant of West Africa and is mainly cultivated and consumed in southern Nigeria. It is increasingly becoming more and more popular among other Nigerians who know that the vegetable market is full of essential nutrients. Common names for plants include grooved pumpkins, grooved pumpkins, yep and ikong-ubong.

This is one of the most popular in the country. Consuming grooved pumpkin leaves brings many natural benefits. Ugu has a high content of iron and serves as an immune booster. The leaves also have the effect of lowering blood sugar and can be included in the diet of diabetics.

Land preparation

For planting any crops need to prepare the soil. Dried pumpkin farming works well on sandy soil. The farmer needs to clear the soil to the soil mechanically or manually, in order to penetrate the roots and properly germinate the seeds.

“Most people make beds for vegetables. It is very good. Some people do not bother to raise the beds, which is not bad, depending on the type of soil and the environment. In a place such as Aqua Ibom State, the beds may not be needed, ”said Adellow,“ but for correct management, lifting beds will be very useful. ” She advocated organic production using compost manure.

Planting materials

Vegetable seeds grow into seedlings in the nursery and transplanted into growing fields. A cop containing seeds is collected at the end of the cycle, the seeds are extracted and dried for a day or two. They should not be dried to maintain seed viability. Drying seeds helps them to be resistant to pests that could eat them in the soil. It also prevents rotting.

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“Do not dry the seeds that have already sprouted, the sun will dry them. Or you can simply buy pumpkin saplings from nursery owners. During the planting season, pumpkin seeds can be as cheap as the N100 or N200, but during the seasons without planting it reaches the N500, ”said the farmer. A farmer can also earn money by selling seedlings, buying a few seeds and creating a nursery. Households can also help create automated backyard irrigated gardens.

Planting pumpkin

Farmers will always sell vegetables no matter the season you plant. This requires little experience. The farmer will make good profits because he can plant three times a year. Confirming the profitability of growing pumpkins, a commercial farmer, Ms. Rachel Adelico revealed The Guardian that she had been farming and had sold the vegetable for 28 years in the Oshodi district of Lagos, because it is sustainable, income and less stressful.

“The ideal planting season for corrugated pumpkins is from April to May, because during this period the rains are minimal. After dressing up the soil, the next thing to do is plant. You must plant the seeds two to three feet apart. This should be done very early in the morning or late in the evening. You can also plant when the weather is cool and calm. Plant two or three seeds in one hole, ”advised one Mrs. Necca Huwasomb, an experienced vegetable farmer.

“Dig a hole 4-5 cm in the soil and plant the seeds with the tip down. Cover the seeds with a small amount of sand; Make sure the ugu is well closed to avoid exposure to the sun. After 10 days, place a wand of 1 m-2 m high next to the pumpkin seed. The plant will grow around the stick during growth. It is better to use a stick, because the plant will grow better when it climbs something. Akra will require about 4,000 seeds, the farmer advised.

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Pumpkin plant irrigation

After planting the seeds, start watering (watering) the farm and its surroundings every two days, morning and evening.
Irrigation or moistening with water may not be necessary during rainy periods, but intensive irrigation is required during dry seasons or droughts. This means that you need a water source, a well or a well, depending on the resources you have. Pumpkin plants require frequent watering to stay growing and green.

Weeding / Pest Control

To maintain a pumpkin farm, weed prevention techniques, mulching, herbicides, and manual weeding are required. Mulching means covering the farm with nylon, sawdust or other materials to increase moisture and suppress weed infestation. Early weeding is the best thing to do if herbicides and mulching are not applied. When weeding is delayed, the leaves become yellowish, because the weeds will always feed on nutrients in the soil.

“Using the manual method is preferable because of the scanning nature of the pumpkin. It always covers the ground where stacking is not used. In this case, the vegetables suppress weeds when they grow into maturity. Care should be taken not to trample the pumpkin plant during weeding. Most of the diseases that affect the pumpkin are carried in the air, and most insects are boring. An example is a caterpillar. Insecticides should be used in the recommended amount to control pests and insects, strictly following the instructions for use. You need to protect your pumpkin farm from goats and other herbivores with proper farm fencing.

Soil fertility increase

Compost or livestock nozzles are usually applied on the soil before planting after four weeks and after six weeks. For those who want to use inorganic fertilizer, they must be applied after planting and wait after adding fertilizer for eight days before harvesting to avoid food poisoning. However, organic fertilizer was more economical and safer than inorganic. Since the harvest is done daily or weekly, depending on the size of the farm, it is necessary to give the soil enough nutrients so that the pumpkin can grow well.

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Maturity and Harvesting

With enough water, pumpkins germinate 10 days after planting. Farmers can begin harvesting two to four weeks after planting or when the stalks are long. Farmers should use hands or knives to cut the stem at a short distance from the bottom of the stem. Place your hands where you have knots, and cut. The crate is ripe for harvesting when the antennae are dried; sometimes they fall by themselves. With plenty of water and manure, the vegetable will be good, and a lot can be done during the dry seasons.

The economy of growing pumpkins

Pumpkin is one of the most consumed vegetables in Nigeria. The acreage of a vegetable farm can turn into about £ 500,000 over four months, and you will need less N100,000 for cultivation. However, strategic marketing in hotels, restaurants and hostels can make agriculture more profitable than selling through average women.

Source: Agro Business