Sukuma Wiki Farming Guide for 2022

By Value Magazine Team on 6 March 2022 at 06:26 am
Sukuma Wiki


The english name for Sukuma Wiki is Collard Greens. It is a form of a cabbage where green leaves do not form a head. Closer to the wild cabbage, than he domesticated cabbage,  Collard Greens is common in Kenya by 90% of small scale farmers. 

Sukuma Wiki is rich in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, roughage, iron and calcium. It is mostly fried alone or with a mixture of other vegetables, especially onion and tomatoes, and served mostly with Ugali and Beef

Farming Collard Greens is profitable because it is consumed by nearly every household in Kenya, at least once a week. It takes a short time to mature and most varieties can be harvested several times before the need to plant again. 


Varieties of Sukuma Wiki

  • Mfalme F1 Sukuma Wiki

Mfalme F1, by east african seeds company, has a long harvesting period, and the leaves are not acidic when cooked, making it a preferred choice among people with ulcers. It has short spaces between the nodes, developing many leaves per internode. Mfalme F1 can tolerate some pests and diseases. It ready for harvest between 45 to 60 days and can be harvested throughout one year after the first harvest

  • Thousand Headed Sukuma Wiki

Compared to other varieties of Sukuma Wiki, the thousand headed variety has smaller leaves but is loved because of its long harvesting period. It produces many heads, making it yield more leaves. Thousand Headed Sukuma Wiki is usually ready for harvest 60 days after planting. It has very good heat tolerance. 

  • Sukuma Siku Hybrid

With good tolerance to the diamond black moth, the Sukuma Siku Hybrid Sukuma Wiki yields curled soft leaves, with good flavour and can be harvested for between 6 and 9 months after the first harvest. 

  • Marrow Stem Sukuma Wiki

The Marrow Stem Sukuma Wiki is good for cooler climate, with a good distribution of rainfall. It produces dark green leaves

  • Collards Southern Georgia  Sukuma Wiki

Collards Southern Georgia by Royal Seeds Kenya is a drought-tolerant Sukuma Wiki variety, with the yield potential of 6000kgs per acre. It has good heat tolerance. 


Ecological Requirements of growing Sukuma Wiki

Sukuma Wiki can grow nearly in any climatic condition, provided water is available. It best performs at altitudes of between 800m to 2200 above sea level. The optimum temperature range is between 17 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees celsius. Sukuma Wiki requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. 

For optimum yield, Sukuma Wiki requires enough water during its growing period. Well distributed Rainfall of 350-500mm is ideal. 

The best soils for growing Sukuma Wiki are those that are well-drained and rich in organic matter. The ideal pH should be between 5.5 and 7.0. Higher levels of pH make manganese unavailable to the plant, leading to yellowing of leaves. 


Sukuma Wiki Yield Per Acre

Sukuma wiki will yield about 8000kgs per acre,  under good management practices. 

Land Preparation for growing Sukuma Wiki

When preparing the land for growing Sukuma Wiki, make sure the ploughing is deep, allowing for faster and better root development. Remove any perennial weeds before planting. Prepare the land early enough so as to expose the soil to pests to sunlight and birds.  The birds will eat the pests. Sunlight will kill some of the pests. 

Nursery preparation for Sukuma Wiki

You can sow Sukuma Wiki seeds on open nursery or seedling trays. 

When sowing Sukuma Wiki seeds in open field nursery, establish the nursery where the plants from the same vegetable family have not been planted for 2 years. 

Make the nursery about 1 metre wide.  This will allow you to take care of the seedlings without having to step onto the nursery. The length of the nursery can be as long as desired. If you are sowing in an area with heavy rainfall or heavy soils, it is recommended that you raise the nursery bed in order to prevent waterlogging. 

Mix well-decomposed manure and DAP fertilizer with the soil in the nursery. Phosphorus helps in good root development while the manure improves soil structure and moisture retention.  

In the nursery, prepare drills across the beds at a spacing of 10 to 15 centimetres apart and 2 centimeters deep. Sow the seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil. Cover the bed with a thin layer of mulch, to avoid unearthing of the seeds.  The mulch can be removed after germination. If growing in hot areas, make a shed of 1 metre high. 

Once the seeds germinate, thin the seedlings to 2 to 3 centimeters apart to avoid competition for nutrients and space. Such competition will lead to weak seedlings. Crowding also creates a good environment for diseases. 

Topdressing with CAN, only of poor soils, should be done 2 weeks after germination. 

Water once or twice daily. Control pests in the nursery to ensure the seedlings are healthy. 



Transplanting Sukuma Wiki Seedlings

Transplant plant the seedlings when they have 4 to 5 true roots. The Collard Greens seedlings will be about 4 weeks old. Harden the seedlings by reducing the amount of water given, one week to the transplanting day. 

The best time to transplant Sukuma Wiki is in the morning or evenings when the sun is not hot. It is advisable only to transplant the strong healthy seedlings. 

Spacing for Sukuma Wiki

The spacing for Sukuma Wiki depends on the size of the leaves/head. The recommended spacing for sukuma wiki is:

  • 30 by 30 centimetres for small sukuma wiki with small leaves
  • 60 by 45 centimetres for sukuma wiki with medium-sized leaves
  • 60 by 60 centimetres for sukuma wiki with large leaves


Diseases affecting Sukuma Wiki

  • Downy Mildew
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Leaf Spots
  • Black Spots
  • Damping Off

Pests affecting Sukuma Wiki

  • Aphids
  • Diamond black moth
  • Cutworms
  • Sawfly
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Root knot nematodes

Fertilizer Application for Sukuma Wiki

A soil test is encouraged before planting sukuma wiki, because too much of some nutrients, especially CAN, can lead to loose heads or no head formed at all.  The Sukuma Wiki Fertilizer and Manure Application Schedule is:

  • Manure and DAP fertilizer in the nursery.  Mix well with the soil
  • Top dress with CAN in the nursery. This should be only done where soils are poor
  • Apply one teaspoon of DAP or TSP on the planting garden before transplanting in the ratio of one teaspoon per hole
  • Top dress with one teaspoon of CAN per hole, 2 weeks after transplanting
  • When the leaves start to fold, top-dress CAN, at the rate of one teaspoon per hole

Mulching for Sukuma Wiki

Mulching for sukuma wiki is encouraged in order to prevent loss of soil moisture, soil erosion, and growth of weeds. 

Weed Control when Growing Sukuma Wiki

Weeds will be detrimental to sukuma wiki and affect your yield, as they compete for nutrients and water with the sukuma wiki plants. Manual or semi-mechanical weeding can be done to remove the weeds. When weeding, do it in a shallow manner in order to avoid injuring the sukuma wiki leaves. 


Bunch of Sukuma Wiki

Harvesting Sukuma Wiki and Post Harvest Care

Within 4 weeks after transplanting, meaning about 8 weeks after planting the seeds, Sukuma Wiki will be ready for harvest. It is done when the leaves are the size of your hand. 

Sukuma Wiki Harvesting is done manually, by handpicking. Handle the leaves with care, to avoid bruises. Only harvest the outer leaves, so that you can continue harvesting as new leaves develop. 

Sukuma Wiki leaves can be stored 7-10 days under refrigeration and longer if cooked and frozen. Most farmers harvest and take to the market on the same day, to avoid the need for refrigeration. 

The Market for Sukuma Wiki

Sukuma Wiki is a Kenyan Staple food and has high market demand. The market for Sukuma Wiki include:-

  • Open-air market
  • Schools, hospitals and other institutions
  • Supermarkets
  • Direct to consumer


Am very much content with the information given but only asking the similarities of the two collard varieties

Thank you. I will from today become a better collards green farmer.
How does Mfalme F1 and Sukuma Siku Hybrid varieties compare in yield per harvest per acre?
Thank you

Which type of sukuma wiki from East African seed may be favourite in eastern Uganda especially in bugiri district

thank you for your good help

What are the costs associated with it an the estimate per acre to maturity? Thanks.

Greetings, you will need approximately 20,000sh to grow an acre sukuma wiki if you have already acquired land. Otherwise productions will be more higher if land you lease land,say 10,000_20,000 per year.

Thank you for being educative.

It's so important

Which is the best sukuma wiki variety in kibwezi?

Plant Mfalme F1 or the F1 breed from Continental seed company you'll harvest so much

Very resourceful,
Thanks for the information.

I would to know the best one between 1000 heads and hybrid?

Thousand headed is still a hybrid though I dislike it at a personal level because of leaf color inthe hot seasons, you can try the southern Georgia Collard, or if you have enough capital you can try out Mfalme F1 or continental seed Collards they are high yielding and respond quickly to irrigation incase of a dry season.

The information are very vital

Great guide.contented n ready to try implementing it

The article will be of great help so continue providing guides for other crops. Thank you so much.

Very informative. I'll be a better sukuma wiki farmer going forward.

personally informed.Thanks alot.

Thanks for this page. I'm looking forward to change my farm . this week I'm transplanting. Have learnt a lot.

thanks for the page i was about to do transplanting but i have stoped it after reading this

Great content.Big ups!

Thank you very informative.

we tried a thousand headed here in south sudan but didnt work well,what could be the reason

Simply try out Georgian Collard, Mfalme F1 or Spiner F1 you'll be sorted I have spoken about the problem of 1000 headed Kales and that's from experience

The post is too educative and i would like to ask hw many litres of water is needed per week

Very informative, I would to know the best kale variety to grow in a green house in Nyanza. Thanks

There is this sukuma called kogoro in Kikuyu language would you be knowing its English name it's not bitter and forms many branches .

very educative i would also like to know pest and diseases control measures

Which type of sukuma can I plant in siaya

Which type of sukuma seed is best for Ukwala in siaya.
Is application of foliar after two week done before first weeding?

Which seed would you suggest for uasingishu County?? Thanks for the good information as well am looking forward to being a good farmer very soon

What's the difference between mfalme f1 and tausi f1

What is the best sukuma wiki variety to grow in Kirinyaga

thanks for the vital educative piece. am feling ready to go.

Thanks so much for the info.

Nice article. Thank you

What is the total surface grown sukuma in Kenya in Acres or Ha?

Thanks am learning alot

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By Value Magazine Team

Value Magazine was founded in 2018 by Mutuku Ndeti, a farmer with interests in poultry, horticulture, and fruit farming. You can follow him on twitter here. The goal of Value Magazine is to offer beneficial content on agribusiness, value addition, manufacturing, and productivity.  We believe not only in producing but also adding value to the product. 

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