Garden egg farming is a very profitable farming business in Nigeria. Garden egg fruits in about 5 months after planting, and generates at times fifty percent (50%) returns on investment (RoI).
There is a high demand for garden eggs in Nigeria and this demand is seriously on the increase every day due to the number of benefits it has to mankind.
Interestingly, planting and managing garden eggs is not difficult as it takes a short period for the crop to be ready for harvest.
Benefits of Garden Egg
- Garden eggs are a natural source of vitamin B such as thiamine, niacin, B6 and pantothenic acid.
- It strengthens the bones
- Garden eggs regulate the blood sugar in the body
- The crop helps in controlling cholesterol.
- You can use Garden eggs to control aging, inflammations and other neurological diseases.
- Garden eggs boost the body’s immune system and help in bowel movement
- It also helps improve blood circulation.
- Garden egg has low calories which can be used to control weight
- Finally, but not least, Garden eggs are used to check constipation due to its high fiber content.
Business Prospects For Garden Egg Farming In Nigeria
Garden egg farming is very lucrative. The reason is that a retailer buying garden eggs makes almost the triple the cost price of the product in interest. The good thing is that the plant can be planted and harvested at least twice (2) within a planting season. It can also be planted alongside other crops in the farm. Hence, it is a favorite in mixed farming.
Garden egg does not spoil quickly. The consumption rate is so fast compared to other fruits that it hardly constitutes a loss to the farmer or businessman or businesswoman involve in this business. Garden egg farming will do well if every management practice is being adopted. This is handled in the remaining part of this article.
A well-drained soil with high organic matter content is most suitable for garden egg planting. The site should be sited close to a reliable source of water supply followed by a good irrigation/farm watering system.
The next thing after the above has been settled is to clear the land and rid it off weeds. This is to ensure and enhance early crop growth and development. Adequate weed control should be a continuous task and not a one-off endeavor.
Garden egg responds positively to organic matter. Therefore, it is preferred that you mix 30 tons/ha of decompose or farmyard manure with the soil before planting your garden egg seedlings.
Propagation of Garden Egg Seeds:
Nurse your Garden egg seeds in a tray or seedbed. Once they sprout and grow to say 2-leaves, pick them (using a trowel) from the seed trays and put them into larger boxes. Then, transplant your garden egg seedlings to the field when they have grown to say 5-leaves.
It is recommend that you apply a liquid manure (i.e., 20kg-25kg cattle/poultry manure in 200L water) or solution of 6-10g per liters of compound fertilizer high in phosphorus (15-15-15/20-20-0 NPK), at 75ml (1tin milk) per plant to the base of leaves of seedlings.
Alternatively, the already prepared seedling nutrient such as MAP may be applied to help in boosting root growth. All these are aimed at nourishing the plant and keeping pests and diseases at bay.
The Garden Egg seedlings should be planted around the evening period with a square spacing of 90cmx90cm during the major wet season and 90cmx60cm in the minor season at a Seed rate of 350g to 500g per ha. The Nutrient requirements of Garden egg are 207kg/ha of N, 46kg/ha of P2O5 and 340 kg/ha of K20.
Two seeds should be put per hole for direct planting or you simply broadcast them throughout the farm. During the nursery planting, it is also recommended that you plant 2 seeds per hole in the nursery tray and transfer them to your already prepared farm which should not be very far from the nursery after the seedling most have shown 2-3 leaves in growth.
Give a spacing of about 90cm apart for those that are planted on a plain ground while spacing for ridges should be 60cm apart.
In six to eight weeks (6-8 weeks) after transplanting, you should start seeing the crop flower and begin bearing fruits. There will be a continuous development in growth until about 2-3 months. Within this period, they should be ready for harvesting although variety is also a factor.
A few good Garden Egg varieties for commercial usage are:
- Long purple, black beauty,
- Florida market,
- Baby aubergines etc.
Warm temperature is needed for complete growth and development.
We recommend that you see a good agricultural analyst or specialist to direct you on fertilizer application. A general direction and recommendation is 2-3 split application of 250kg to 400kg /ha (a total of 23g/plant) of 15-15-15 NPK compound fertilizer.
Side dress at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks after planting and apply 5g/plant of Potassium Nitrate (400g/ha). Weed your farm to avoid weed feeding on the manure or fertilizer every day.
Pest And Their Control
Pests that attack garden eggs include:
- Fruit borer (Leucinodes orbonalis),
- Pyralid Moth larva (Euzophra villora),
- Thrips sp. Eggplant Skeletonizer (Selepa docile),
- And spider mites
The above are the major pests of garden egg and these pests can only be controlled through routine spraying of recommended pesticides.
The Garden egg fruits should be harvested twice weekly (i.e. two times per week) while they are relatively young. Before harvesting ensure it has a shiny skin and an attractive color. During harvesting, please make sure that you cut the fruit from the branches with about 5cm stalk and calyx attached.
Transporting depends on the variety of garden eggs you planted and harvesting starts 65-70 days after planting.
Points To Note:
- While transplanting, do not use your hand to pull the garden egg seedlings to avoid damaging their stem.
- While storing the harvested fruits, prevent damaging either through abrasions, compression. This is because some varieties of garden eggs have skins which are likely to be damaged if care is not taken while storing them.
- Lastly, wash the garden eggs with water to prepare them for the market.
Site your farm close to the local market for easy sales after harvesting. Take into cognizance the importance of the fruit and vegetable market and include them as your major prospects for sales.
Consult Garden eggs merchants and sub-sellers directly and negotiate with them. It is expected that you make the first move by contacting all the necessary places and meeting people informing them about your business and selling to them. After you might have sold to them, they will come back for more if you keep your business in good light always.