Part-time farmer Tsakani Mhlongo is the founder and owner of SwaTsakani Farming in Tzaneen, Limpopo, which produces vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and spinach, as well as broilers. She is determined, however, to turn her part-time operation into a full-time career.
Chillies are a difficult crop to market; demand is limited and retailers’ requirements can be tough to meet. Mpumalanga farmer Chris Roux overcomes these challenges by planting a wide and colourful range of chillies and using biological farming techniques. Lindi Botha spoke to him about going the extra mile in production.
In many regions, there is a limited choice of crops that can be grown in a particular season. This provides an ideal opportunity to plant a cover crop to keep the soil organisms active and provide material for humus formation.
Find something wrong with your crop? Go through the planting and fertilising processes step by step on your own to see whether you can determine the cause. There’s a good chance you can, says Bill Kerr.
It’s always a good idea to get soil fertility in balance by providing enough fertiliser and, perhaps, organic matter, but treating the soil well is also very important.
When we walk across a land, we are unaware that the soil beneath our feet is teeming with life. It is difficult to quantify the tonnage of organisms present but it can run into 6t/ha or more.
Under the free market system, entrepreneurs engage in their activities within the boundaries of the law and make as much money as possible.
One sure way of reducing soil degradation is to cut down on tillage. Numerous crops can be grown using the no-till approach, and many farmers who have done so will testify that it cuts costs and improves rain penetration in the soil.
The volume of organisms in any body of soil is dependent on the soil environment and supply of food for them; it is not a static amount.
First, the bad news: if you are starting a small vegetable farm, you will have to wait several years before nutrient recycling takes place in the soil.
What started as a lockdown project to provide fresh vegetables for the family quickly turned into a flourishing business after Teresa Theron started sending excess broccoli to local supermarkets.
I have become more and more conscious of how many farmers fail to appreciate the importance of soil quality. More is made of land preparation and fertilisation than improving the soil’s organic content and structure to increase water penetration and retention, reduce disease and save on fertiliser.