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Learning about cucurbiits

Learning about cucurbits

Cucurbits are a group of plants belonging to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). They include pumpkins and squashes (Cucurbita spp), melons (Cucumis melo), cucumbers (C. sativus) and watermelons (Citrullus lanatus).
Understanding genetic chimera in a crop

Understanding genetic chimera in a crop

Farmers often draw my attention to ‘weird signs’ on a plant, fearing them to be the start of a devastating virus. A closer examination often reveals the cause to be...
African Bollworm

Dealing with the African bollworm

The African bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) has many host crops. The caterpillar, which is spiny when young, has a light stripe on the sides and usually turns green to match the...
Producing onions out of season

Producing onions out of season

You can trick onions into providing an out-of-season crop ready for market when the price is just about at its peak by planting small bulbs called ‘sets’.
Realising a dream with urban aquaponic farming

Realising a dream with urban aquaponic farming

Louis and Nadine Kuys produce a range of colourful leaf vegetables in an urban aquaponics system in Vredenburg on the West Coast. Keri Harvey visited Forest Friends Aquaponics to learn...
Seedlings: Balancing fertility & hardening

Seedlings: Balancing fertility & hardening

To ensure successful fertilisation, you need to do more than simply carry out a soil analysis to determine the crop’s basic requirements. You also have to consider the needs of...
Do your homework before starting tomato production

Do your homework before starting tomato production

Producing tomatoes is expensive and can make or break a farmer. If you plan to grow this crop, first do your homework and investigate its economic viability.
Small land, big dreams for urban veggie farmer

Small land, big dreams for urban veggie farmer

Clement Tshuma believes his small-scale vegetable operation near Kempton Park in Gauteng, not only ensures the sustainability of his own future, but a similar model could be the answer to...
How to fertilise a crop correctly

How to fertilise a crop correctly

Readers frequently ask me for specific fertiliser programmes for their crops. I would happily oblige if all crops were the same!
Good fruit set depends on not over-stimulating vegetative growth.

Over-stimulating vegetative growth

The survival mechanisms that enabled the ancestors of modern crops to survive in the wild will influence the efficacy of the fertiliser we apply to these crops today.
Spacing, competition & yield

Spacing, competition & yield

We sometimes tend to make assumptions about how a crop will react without considering the survival mechanisms inherited from its wild ancestors.
Leafy crop vs fruiting crop the balancing act

Leafy crop vs fruiting crop the balancing act

When trying to predict how a crop will respond to various situations, remember that all cultivated crops originated from wild ancestors growing in competition with many other species.

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