With 20 years of experience in growing gypsophilas, Andrew Khaemba could not let the opportunity pass of buying a 35ha farm in Saboti Kitale, Kenya. He bought the farm the end of 2018, named it Yellow Grove Farms and now, 7 months later, 5 ha is filled with organically grown gypsophilas and limoniums. The first stems have just been sold at the Dutch auction and Khaemba is pleased with the results.
Andrew Khaemba at the IFTEX 2019 in Nairobi.
In December 2018, when the company was established they had to start from scratch; constructing new roads, drilling boreholes and constructing a reservoir, applying an irrigation system, connecting the power, creating the beds, planting the plants and establishing the packhouse. All, and even more have been done over the last months. And it was just in time to show their varieties at the IFTEX 2019, that took place earlier this month.
Some pictures of the construction of the farm
At the farm, 5 ha is currently planted with 2 types of gypsophila, namely XLence -with large flower size - and White Cosmic - with medium-large flowers, and Limonium Pina Colada, which are varieties of Isreali breeder Danziger. All flowers are grown organically. "This means that we grow them without use of fertilizers and chemicals, apart from the post-harvesting solutions", he continues. "Therefore 95% of the growing is with organic manure from zebu animals and concoctions of the animal's waste like urine, cow-dung (fresh), forest top soil molasses and bean flour to make slurry which is both fertilizer and pesticide. The concoction is applied/drenched to the crops weekly until harvesting time. This method conserves the environment and improves the soil structure and texture, hence there are more microbes in the soil, boosting the macroflora and the microflora in the soil."
The field at the end of May, 2019.
Year round, they are looking to produce 3 flushes. "It takes like 14 to 16 weeks for the gypsophila to mature." They recently sent their first flowers to the auction and Khaemba was pleased with the reactions. "The market response was so good because of the good quality and weight of our flowers." And he has good hopes for the future. "We already have good standing orders for our flowers."
How the field looks now:
Block 5, where the Yellow Grove plants are planted.