Farmers of this crop testify to its economic buoyance and how simple and straightforward it is to plant. A single seed can produce up to a bundle of Ugu and 4 large pods if properly cultivated. As with all vegetables, fluted pumpkin is easily affected by a lot of diseases that can destroy your crops if timely action is not taken. Many of these diseases could be as a result of lack of care, maintenance and frequent checkup on your plants. This carelessness could prove costly in terms of sudden yellowing in leaves, stunted growth of pods, wilting of stems which leads to eventual death of the plant.
It is better to prevent occurrence of pests and diseases rather than try to deal with them if they occur. This is because once a pest or disease affects your crops, there is noting you can do effectively. This implies that protection begins before the crops are even sown in the soil. And as such we shall be focusing on good cultivation practices that help to protect crops against pests and diseases.
Best Farm Practices for Preventing Common Pests and Diseases in Ugu(Fluted Pumpkin)
We all know that maintaining good cultivation culture is key. Here are five cultivation tips to prevent infections, diseases and pest infiltration in your Ugu farm.
Improve on soil fertility
The fertility of soil can either aid in sickness and frailty of your plants which makes it prone to diseases. Or help your plants thrive to withstand the odds of an attack. Soils can be made more fertile by using appropriate soil, organic fertilizers, consistent watering, nematodes and beneficial worms. Optimal care for your soil is tandem to preventing attacks from pests and diseases to your plants.
Bio-diversity in this aspect refers to planting different types or different varieties together or subsequently. If effectively carried out, bio-diversity is a tried and tested way to reduce the frequency of pests and diseases. This is done by crop rotation which eliminates pests and diseases also by growing varieties of the same vegetable in the same plot. For example, spinach or greens.
Plant only good quality seeds
The surest way for plants to get infections from diseases is to be grown from low quality seeds. These seeds are genetically weak and do not have the capacity to withstand even the weakest of diseases. Also, always use new or fresh seeds which are more likely to be virile and less susceptible to diseases.
Carry out Adequate Spacing
Insufficient spacing helps to further increase the spread of diseases from one plant to the other. When Ugu plants are too closely spaced, they become even more susceptible to fungal diseases. Like mildew, grey mould or wilts etc. It not only increases the airflow through the crop but it enables them to grow and flourish with ease. It is advisable to space Ugu plants at about 1 meter apart for a large production of pods. For much leaves, the spacing should be about 40cm to 60cm.
Use resistant varieties
If you find your Ugu plants frequently susceptible to certain diseases, consider changing the specie of seeds you plant. Calabar/Basin ugu seeds are a better alternative. They mature in two months, are drought-resistant and are highly resistant to many diseases.