Originating in Africa, okra is a popular vegetable cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm, temperate regions.
The return on investment for conventional farms has declined by an average of 1,4% per year in real terms since 1986. But every farmer has a microbe army that can fight back against this trend. Susan Marais found out more at a recent regenerative conservation agriculture farmers’ day in Mpumalanga.
Erosion and climate change have created a food insecurity time bomb for Africa. Palesa Motaung, a soil scientist working for Asset Research, and Themakholo Mathebula, a field officer with the Mahlatini Development Foundation, explained at a recent research symposium how conservation agriculture is helping smallholder farmers face these daunting challenges.
The commercial vermicasts sold to farmers and gardeners are an excellent fertiliser, but very expensive. Earthworms give us this for free exactly where it is needed. They also provide many other services to farmers, says vegetable expert Bill Kerr.
There are a number of farming systems available to producers that involve the growing of plants in water. Magda du Toit looks at the fundamentals of these methods, as well as their advantages and drawbacks.
By manipulating environmental conditions, and paying equal attention to temperature and humidity, greenhouse growers can improve the quality of their crops and maximise yields.
A poorly managed compost pile will take a long time to decompose. Here are the signs of trouble to look out for.
In a study to provide a global estimate of the importance of pollinators for plants in natural ecosystems, researchers from Stellenbosch University, led by Dr James Rodger, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematical sciences, found that, without pollinators, one-third of flowering plant species wouldn’t produce seeds at all.
Diseases and viruses of papayas include damping off, powdery mildew, black spot and root rot. All can be treated or prevented.
Many South African gardens contain exotic species that originate from regions with far higher rainfall than occurs here. As a result, gardeners have to water them frequently. The answer? Beautiful indigenous plants.
If you record your production and general farming notes in a diary, you’ll have ready access to a wealth of information in a few years, says Bill Kerr.
It takes time and effort to know how to control pests and fertilise crops. There is no simple one-size-fits-all solution, says Bill Kerr.