By Prudence Minayo
Thyme is one herb that many Kenyans hardly think of planting. When Gabriel decided to venture into thyme farming, a decision that has brought him handsome returns. During a K24 interview, he said he uses the herb to spice his tea.
Thyme is a popular Mediterranean spice whose flowers, leaves and oils have been used to treat a number of ailments including flu, arthritis and diarrhea among others .
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Here is Gabriel’s story as told by WoK.
He told K24 that winter is labor and capital intensive, however, the returns are high. A farmer willing to venture into it, should first identify the market. Before he started, he first tested the soil to find out what nutrients it had and what it was lacking. He also learnt how to properly plant the seeds.
He believes a farmer should not get into this just because someone else is doing it. They need to be ready to work for it. Gabriel said that there is a huge export market for thyme but the challenge is supply and inconsistency.
Planting and harvesting
The planting hole measures 1/2 an inch to an inch deep. The drips are also 15cm and a farmer plants two to three seeds per hole. Depending on the area’s climate, the seeds take 7 to 14 days to germinate. For this particular farmer, it takes ten days
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Afterwards, they take about three months to mature. Drips have to be installed before planting commences. Weeding is done on a weekly basis. After the plants germinate, they are fed with organic manure and can begin getting harvested from as early as two months. At the germination stage, the manure needs to be rich in phosphorus.
A farmer can then expect to continue harvesting for up to three years, as long as it is done properly.
Apart from thyme, Gabriel’s farm also grows other herbs, like rosemary and sage.
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