Crop farming is essential to every nation in our universe, simply because food is one of the basic needs of survival for both animals and humans. It is an all year round process which is dependant on the seasons, weather condition, environment and other factors.
In Nigeria, there are two distinct seasons namely; rainy and dry season. While the rainy season starts in April and ends in October with generally lower temperatures, the dry season starts off in November and ends in March with a midday temperature that surpasses 38°c (100°f). However, these seasons slightly differ from one region to another.
Amongst the factors to be considered before cultivating a new crop, is the climatic condition at the time of planting. This is very crucial as not all crops can survive in every climatic condition, for example when it’s very sunny or there is heavy rainfall.
In this post, we have carefully selected the common crops and vegetables that can be grown during this rainy season.
Crops and Vegetables That Can Be Grown During The Rainy Season
- Maize: This is one of the leading food crops in the world. It is highly consumed by everyone notwithstanding the age group as it is high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals needed for human growth. It matures very fast and takes an average of 2- 4 months before harvest. The land for planting should be prepared before the rainy season begins. It requires at least 50 to 90 cm of rainfall. It is however not recommended to grow this crop in areas where rainfall is more than 100mm as it might destroy the crops. For better productivity, soils with good organic matter content with high water holding capacity are best preferred.
- Cassava: This is majorly planted within the first rains. It is consumed as food which can be made into Tapioca, Cassava Cake, Abacha (African salad), Garri amongst others. It is rich in starch which is one of the most important products for industrial purposes. This crop is very sensitive to soil water deficit especially during the first 3 months after planting which explains why it is best advised to plant just when it begins to rain. When planting of cassava is done early enough, it would produce highest yields because the plants have adequate soil moisture during the critical part of the crop cycle. Once established, it can grow in areas that receive 400mm of average annual rainfall.
- Wheat: This is a type of grass grown only during the cold season for maximum yield. It depends a lot on water to grow effectively. Bread wheat, for example, requires at least 250 mm during the growing season for good productivity. It is highly nutritious and milled into flour which is used to make food products such as bread, biscuits, noodles, pasta, cakes. etc.
- Groundnut: For good growth, this crop requires 500 to 600 mm of rainfall well-distributed throughout the growing season. It is an early season crop and matures from 90-130 days depending on the variety. The land for planting groundnut needs to be prepared and worked on early enough so planting of the seeds can begin at the sight of a rainfall. Avoid planting when the soil is already soggy or waterlogged.
- Rice: This is one of most consumed staple food in Nigeria. It is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber. It takes an average of 3-4 months from its time of planting to harvest. To grow rice, lands with moderately high water holding-capacity or waterlogged soils are best fit for better yield. The field is harrowed and crop seeded just before the first rain for direct seeded rice and for transplanted rice, the field is flooded with the first rains before planting begins.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables very common during the rainy season can easily be planted within your immediate environment or vegetable garden. They thrive when there is moderate rainfall as opposed to a heavy downpour that could destroy the taste and quality. Examples of Nigeria vegetables that can be cultivated during this season include such as African Spinach (Efo Tete), Lagos Spinach (Efo Shoko), Water Leaves, Ebolo e.t.c
Other food crops and vegetables that can be planted in the rainy season includes:
- Water Melon
As you go ahead to cultivate any of these crops, pay a special attention to the following:
- Pests and earthworms thrive during the rainy season so you might need to monitor the vegetables as often as you can. Get the necessary fertilizers needed to control them.
- Just like the crops mentioned above, weeds grow rapidly during the rainy season. The presence of weeds limit the growth of crops, attracts pests and limits the nutritional value of crops. Endeavor to clear out these weeds regularly.
- Just for your safety, always ensure you are well protected or covered when working on the farm during this season. Avoid working with light clothes and underpants. You’re more likely to catch a cold. Instead, wear your rain boots and raincoat when working.
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