For small-scale organic farming, use tithonia plant

Its flowers resemble those of sunflower, however, the seeds are smaller. In Kenya, this shrub which was introduced as an ornamental plant from Mexico is found in Western, Coast, Central and Rift Valley.

These compounds have been linked to the therapeutic properties of (T. diversifolia). For example: tagitinin, a compound from T. diversifolia leaves, inhibits the growth of E.coli, S. aureas. T. diversifolia has been used to lower the risks of gastrointestinal infections, skin diseases, urinary tract infection, diabetes, malaria, diarrhoea, constipation, sore throat, liver pain, stomachache and free radical scavenging.

This shrub can naturally exist as a weed on farms or planted using either cuttings or the seeds. When using seeds, they are scattered in narrow furrows and covered with a thin layer of sand. When using cuttings, 20cm stems with two nodes below the ground and three nodes above the ground are planted at an angle of 450.

This shows that green manure from tithonia plant has the potential to replace the inorganic mineral fertiliser because it can supply the essential minerals in excess of what the mineral fertiliser provides.

This is made by expressing the sap from tithonia leaves and twigs after crushing them. Mineral elements found in the plant (N and P) dissolve in water. To make the fertiliser, first:

Tithonia green manure can be applied to plants in different forms: cut tithonia leaves and twigs into small pieces and apply it in the planting holes or apply them on the surface and cover it with a thin layer of the soil.

For better results, you can apply the manure a week before planting. It can also be applied continuously to the crops during the crop growing season.

It has a high concentration of dissolved nutrients, which are readily available for the plant unlike in the mineral fertiliser where these nutrients are bound in fertiliser filler materials.

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