With 2000 seedling trays, each holding 200 seedlings, a young farmer produces 400,000 plants monthly from a 100m x 100m piece of land and earns a gross monthly income of about Ksh400, 000, read full story of Carolyne Mukuhi Mwangi Here
A seedling tray has multiple holes from 60, 100, 160, 200, 204 and 288 used to hold seeds from germination time until the transplanting stage. The trays may be plastic or made of high-quality polymer, high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and PVC, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and can be placed on stands made of metal or wood.
• A 160-hole seedling tray retails at between Ksh150 to Ksh200.
• The size of the tray is determined by the seeds you want to plant. Seedlings that require bigger germination space will grow better in trays with fewer holes and vice versa.
• Trays can have holes that are either round or square, though square ones hold more growing media
According to Ms Gloria Mbuthia, the assistant agronomist at Kimplanter Seedlings and Nurseries, the procedure is simple.
1. Put soil into the tray holes. Ideally, use soilless media such as coco peat as a growth medium, which is extracted from dry coconut husks. It is preferred because it has high water and nutrient retention capacity, prevents leaching and does not carry root diseases.
2. Use your index finger to push down the coco peat or soil. Each tray hole should be filled with soil midway.
3. Thereafter punch holes and plant one seed in each seedling tray hole and fill up the hole with the remaining coco peat. 4. Put them in a germination room or in a greenhouse.
5. Irrigate with knapsack sprayer to keep moist.
6. Feed with a starter fertilizer to keep healthy and strong.
7. Harden by reducing watering (after how many weeks should one start reducing water, does it vary with the plants or is there a standard period).
8. Transplant to open ground when ready