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.
Beneficial insects used in integrated pest management (IPM) can sometimes completely eliminate the need for crop chemicals, or at least reduce chemical spraying to a minimum.
One of the crucial factors in seedling production is achieving a high and uniform germination. A loss in germination of just a few percent translates into a similar reduction in profit.
Some farmers, especially at the end of winter, use seedlings for their cucurbit crops in an attempt to get an early-growth advantage and better prices.
As mentioned in one of my previous articles polystyrene seedling trays are made by heating small polystyrene beads in a mould; they expand to fill the mould and thereby form the tray.