These are flowers used to fill and decorate bookie, making it more appealing based on customer demand. They include Limonium, Gypsophilus and Hard rascus among others.
Soils and PH: loamy, sandy loam and light soils are the best with PH ranging from 4.5-6.5
Rainfall: Mostly grown under irrigation, drain outs from hydroponics can be used to feed the filler crops, the drain outs contain traces of crop nutrients.
Plough the land deeply, remove all weeds and obstacles. Make beds 1.5m wide and raised about 20cm high. Spread FOF; fermented organic fertilizer essential primary nutrients necessary for plant growth such as phosphorus, nitrogen, magnesium, potassium and calcium. FOF has a burning effect on crops, ensure its well spread and mixed with the soil. Make shallow holes using drillers, spacing of 60cm by 6ocm.
Keep the field weed free. Weeds host filler crop pests such as aphids, weeding should be done regularly to avoid competition for growth resources which may retard the crop performance.Manual weeding should be done shallowly to avoid root destruction and wearing off the growing beds.
Scouting and crop monitoring
Done to monitor the pest population and disease severance, pest and disease scores are ranked as follows:
- 20-40%, pest population and disease severance quite low which calls for preventive measures
- 60, 80-100%, pest population and disease severance at economic injury level which calls for action
Monitoring is done to rate the crop performance per given period of time, majorly one monitors pest and disease incidences, nutritional deficiencies and growth parameters.
Leaf miners –Spray using Cyrogard, late in the evening or early in the morning.
Caterpillars – Spray using nimbecidin, Merrit or teppeki, done late in the evening when the pest invade the crop or early in the morning when the pest is inactive.
Snails– Mostly attack the hard rascus, spray using a suitable molluscide
White flies – Spray with applaud or poepol. Use entomopathogenic fungi eg Beauvitech (Beauveria bassiana) and Lecatech (Lecanicilium lecanii).
Aphids – Spray using karate, actara or engeo
Most fillers are grown on soil hence soil born diseases are common.
Pythium and bacterial wilt– Drench soil with Mytech, paelomyces linacinus which control various soil borne diseases.Destroy infected plants to avoid disease spread to other healthy plants.
Botrytis – Disinfect harvesting tools properly to avoid disease spread.
Harvesting stage is dependent on customer demands. Harvested stems should be dipped in post-harvest solution to keep the stems and leaves turgid, transfer the harvested stems to a charcoal cooler then to pack-house or cold store.
Once taken to pack-house, the filler crops are partially defoliated, bunched and sleeved before packing. Fillers can also be bunched together with roses as per customer demand.