Nakati grows in a variety of soils and can be harvested for a long time, making it readily available and sustainable.
According to Drake Kizito, a gardening expert, Nakati does not require much labour and is easy to grow because it does not involve a lot of technical agronomic practices.
It has nutrients and minerals, as well as vitamins A and C.
Nursery bed preparation:
- Seeds are sown in very smooth soil to enable higher germination before transplanting to the main garden.
- The bed should be located near a water source to ease the process of watering.
- Soil sterilisation should be done in the nursery bed to kill pests and other disease-causing agents which can be harmful to the seeds or seedlings.
- Sowing should be done in a line at a spacing of 10x15cm or 20x20cm depending on the variety or soil fertility. Spacing reduces pest infestation, leading to high yields because plants need the sun rays for photosynthesis to take place. Spacing also facilitates easy transplanting and prevents overcrowding that could lead to competition for water and nutrients in addition to proper seed rate per bed.
- After sowing, watering should be done immediately to provide the seed with enough moisture. Regular watering and monitoring of the bed should be done.
- The bed should be covered with grass to reduce the loss of soil moisture through evaporation.
- After seed germination, a shade should be constructed to avoid direct sunlight which can lead to the plants drying.
- As the seedlings grow, hardening off should be done gradually.
- Transplanting to the main garden should be done after two weeks.
- Weed thoroughly to prevent competition for sunlight, water, space and nutrients. This also reduces the chances of pest and disease infestation as some weeds may harbour them.
- A fertilizer (leaf booster) can be added to enable high yields.
- Spray with a recommended pesticide in case leaf eaters show up.
- First harvesting can be done within two months. This can continue five more times.
Robinah Naggayi Gafabusa, a vegetable breeder explains that Nakati suffers from leaf minor diseases, which destroy them.
There are also pests such as caterpillars, snails and ants, which eat up the leaves. But this challenge can be overcome if farmers follow the right agronomy practices.