Broccoli farmers’ thriving business on a 1,5ha Lowveld plot

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.

Soil: your most valuable asset

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.

How insect predators can help you

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.

Benefits of a germination room

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.

Tips on planting cucurbits

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.

How to improve seedling trays

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.

Don’t take shortcuts with seedlings

When I mention seedlings in my articles, you may take it for granted that I’m referring to professionally grown seedlings in cavity seedling trays. The reason is that it is extremely difficult for the average farmer, let alone a new farmer, to grow seedlings successfully.

Parasitoids vs chemicals

When the leaf miner first hit South Africa, the results were nothing short of devastating.

Choosing the right lettuce variety

Iceberg lettuce has a good number of outer leaves, which help protect the head during transport and handling.

Don’t be beaten by bollworm

The African bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) is normally a sporadic pest; it tends to arrive on lettuce plants in bursts, rather than gradually increasing in number.

Bean pests & soil diseases

One pest that every bean farmer knows is the African bollworm. This tends to appear sporadically, rather than building up its population gradually.

Make the most of the free market

Fresh produce growers often try to plan production to capitalise on high prices.

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