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10 Aug 2021
Leeko Makoene
Leeko Makoene

"Agriculture Needs Dresses" 

Leeko Makoene, CEO and Founder of 'Made with Rural'
wants more women to join farming

Agriculture entrepreneur Leeko Makoene is encouraging aspiring female farmers, not to be afraid to enter the agriculture sector, saying the industry needs “feminine” creativity and a woman’s touch to help address the challenges it faces.

Makoene said women are the key to resolving food security challenges as they bring unique solutions to the food issues affecting many communities.

Makoene, 41, is the founder and CEO of Made with Rural, a platform that helps “professionalise small-scale farmers and creates opportunities for them in the marketplace” while connecting them with much-needed suppliers and consumers.

She is also vice president of Farmers United of SA (Fusa), which is geared towards empowering farmers and helping them gain access to resources and opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Made with Rural operates in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape while Fusa has a nationwide network. 

Makoene shared her journey to success, the joys and challenges and her advice to aspiring female farmers.

WHERE IT STARTED ...
Makoene described herself as a village girl who grew up in Makapanstad, in the North West, among subsistence farmers.

“My mother’s side of the family has always been agriculturally inclined. My grandfather was a commercial farmer, mainly dealing with fruit trees and later crops. My grandmother is mainly into food preservation,” she said.

“That’s how I spent my school holidays, surrounded by homegrown food that was either preserved or for commercial use.”

Despite farming and food being in her DNA, Makoene recalled how she hated it as a child because of the manner in which it was pitched to her — as a chore that took her away from friends and play time rather than a passion to be nurtured. 

This resulted in her “running away” from it as an adult, opting instead to study towards a career in corporate and settle into married life.

Despite wedded bliss, Makoene found she couldn’t resist the urge to return to her roots, establishing an African food restaurant in Cape Town and then becoming a franchisee.
“You can already see the heart was in the food business.”

TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO FARMING ...
While Makoene’s restaurant marked her initial foray back into the sector, it was only after her divorce and “soul searching” that she focused exclusively on agriculture and food.

This began when her grandfather, from whom she inherited her passion, sent her the chillis he couldn’t sell back home and produce from other small-scale farmers. 

Unsure what to do with all the produce, an innovative Makoene decided to take a leaf out of her grandmother’s book and preserved the food, including the chillis that later gave rise to her popular chilli relish which she sold to notable restaurants including News Cafe. 

Later Makoene decided to meet the farmers behind the produce she was preserving to show them what she was doing with their products. 
“We had a cooking session with them to show ‘this is what we do with your produce’.
“When talking to them we heard about the challenges they faced to access markets and things like that, and you realise: I’ve seen this growing up. This is not a new movie. It is something that has played over and over.”

This led to the formation of Made with Rural in 2016 to help tackle the challenges. Since then, the company has grown in leaps and bounds, supplying fresh produce to major retailers and restaurants through their partnership with Dew Crisp Farms and Into2Food.

CHALLENGES ...
While the aim of Made with Rural was to directly connect farmers to suppliers and the general public, Makoene said there were far bigger challenges to tackle.

Among these were the logistics around transporting the produce, compliance and cold chain issues, funding and consumers’ mindsets.

Cold chain refers to storing produce at the correct cold temperature once its harvested and ensuring this matches the temperature of the trucks transporting the products.

Makoene said doing it this way presented challenges to rural farmers, who simply packed their harvest onto bakkies for delivery. 

“Accessing markets is full of barriers, including compliance and cold chain. Farmers get left out with these smallanyana things.”

Another major challenge Makoene highlighted was the impact Covid-19 has had on farmers, especially during the hard lockdown. 
“Buying patterns changed and that obviously lowered our supplies. There was a lot of waste generated during that hard lockdown.”
Despite all the challenges, Makoene and her team soon found creative ways to make the industry “work for us”. This included hosting farm tours and selling directly to the public. The company will soon launch an app which will allow consumers to buy directly from the farmers.

LESSONS LEARNT AND ADVICE TO FEMALE FARMERS ...
Makoene shared the lessons she learnt while working in agriculture, saying there were no “rosy lessons” she picked up along the way.
“Agriculture will show you flames. It is the most uncertain industry ever. If you don’t have the support, honestly it is not worth it. It is expensive to farm.”

While the businesswoman said she was encouraged by the fact that more people are entering the industry, she noted most did it for the wrong reasons. These include thinking it is an easy option, financial motivation and doing it to look “sexy” on social media.

“Don’t be a social media farmer because when people come to your farm, it’s a different story. Yes, tell your story, but please don’t be a social media farmer because you lose the essence of it,” she said.

Her advice to women determined to enter the industry was to go for it, adding the industry “needs more dresses” and “feminine creativity” to tackle the challenge.
“I always say the industry needs dresses. I farm in dresses, nothing else. The reason I say that is because mothers understand food. Food needs a different touch, a nurturing of sorts, and a female voice. 
“Women see challenges differently so we will be close to the ground, where the food security issue is found. That’s where farming needs to go, in that direction of addressing poverty and hungry stomachs. It has taken a different turn, of profit over its true essence, which is to feed communities.”

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners ...

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the ...
Agricultural and Allied Industries ...


Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
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https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

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We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

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9 Aug 2021
Know the Difference
Know the Difference

Prevent Japanese / Asian Beetle Damage with these Organic Pest Control Tips

Learn how to use Natural Organic Sprays and attract Natural Predators such as the Tiphia Wasp to control the Japanese / Asian Beetle population in your garden.

Know the important differences between Japanese / Asian Beetles and Ladybugs ...

Japanese / Asian Beetles (Popillia Japonica) ...
Since first being found in New Jersey in 1916, Japanese / Asian Beetles have become major garden pests. Appearing in early summer, the beetles feed on leaves of roses, grapes, beans, hops, and more than 300 other plants, including lindens and several other landscape trees. Larvae feed in lawns and weaken the grass by destroying roots. 

Organic Japanese / Asian Beetle controls include ... 
• Repeated Handpicking
• Poultry Predation
• Row Covers
• Beneficial Nematodes 
• Diatomaceous Earth 
• Spraying with GreenAgric's Organic Recipe

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the Agricultural and Allied Industries 

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

8 Aug 2021
GreenAgric's Micro Range of Tunnels
GreenAgric's Micro Range of Tunnels

GreenAgric Micro Range of Tunnels

GreenAgric offers a vast range of ...
Greenhouse Tunnels ... 
to best suite your specific requirements ...

GreenAgric's Micro Range of Tunnels
from only R10,990.00
are best suited to be installed in full sun areas
and are supplied with 40% white or light grey Shade Cloth
Support Poles are Internally Reinforced Polyethylene
Sizes range from 5m wide x 2m high
and any length from 6m up to 50m
Ask us for a quote now ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners ...

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the ...
Agricultural and Allied Industries ...


Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

7 Aug 2021
GreenAgric's Budget Range of Tunnels
GreenAgric's Budget Range of Tunnels

GreenAgric's Budget Range of Tunnels

GreenAgric offers a vast range of ...
Greenhouse Tunnels ... 
to best suite your specific requirements ...

GreenAgric's Budget Range of Tunnels ...
from only R9,990.00 ...
are best suited to be installed in partially shady areas
and are supplied with 20% white or light grey Shade Cloth
Support Poles are Internally Reinforced Polyethylene
Sizes range from 5m wide x 2m high
and any length from 6m up to 50m
Ask us for a quote now ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners ...

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the ...
Agricultural and Allied Industries ...


Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

7 Aug 2021
Organic Farming
Organic Farming

Basic Steps of Organic Farming, Methods, and Benefits

Organic Farming, a system using ecologically oriented pest controls and biological fertilisers mainly obtained from animal and plant waste and nitrogen-fixing plants. 


Modern Organic Farming has been created as a reaction to the environmental damage caused by the use of TOXIC chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in conventional farming and has many ecological advantages.

Organic Farming utilises no pesticides compared to conventional farming, reduces soil erosion, reduces nitrate leaching into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal waste back into the farm. 

Organic Farming Methods ... Fertilisers ...
Since synthetic fertilisers are not used, it is a concern for Organic Farmers to build and maintain a healthy, living soil by adding organic matter.

Compost contributes to organic matter, supplying crops with a broad variety of nutrients, adding beneficial microbes to the soil. Because these nutrients are mostly unmineralised and can not be taken up by crops, soil microbes are required to break down organic matter and convert nutrients into a “mineralised” bioavailable state. 

Soil ...
Soil is maintained through planting and then planting cover crops that help protect the soil from off-season erosion and provide additional organic matter. 

Also adding nitrogen to the soil is achieved by discing in nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as clover or alfalfa. Cover crops are usually planted before or after the cash crop season or in combination with crop rotation and may also be planted between some crop rows, such as tree fruits. 

Pest Control ...
Organic pesticides are obtained from sources that occur naturally. These include living organisms such as the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria used to manage caterpillar pests, or plant derivatives such as pyrethrins (from Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium’s dried flower heads) or neem oil (from Azadirachta indica’s seeds). 

Organic pest control integrates biological, cultural and genetic controls to minimize pest damage. Biological control is used to attack insect pests by natural enemies such as predatory insects (e.g., ladybugs) or parasitoids (e.g., certain wasps). Cultural controls can disrupt the cycles of plague, the most commonly used of which is crop rotation. 

The Need for Organic Farming ...
With population growth, our obligation would be not only to stabilise agricultural output, but to further boost it in a sustainable way. 

The key characteristics of Organic Farming ...
• Protecting long-term soil fertility by keeping concentrations of organic matter, promoting soil biological activity.
• Providing indirect crop nutrients with comparatively insoluble nutrient sources made accessible to the plant through the action of soil microorganisms.
• Self-sufficiency of nitrogen through the use of legumes and biological fixation of nitrogen, as well as efficient recycling of organic products including crop residues and animal manures.
• Weed, disease and pest control are primarily based on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manure, resistant varieties and limited thermal, biological and ZERO chemical intervention.
• Extensive livestock management, paying full attention to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and issues of animal welfare in nutrition, housing, health, breeding, and rearing.
• Careful attention to the effect of the farming scheme on the wider setting and wildlife and habitat conservation ... sadly a much neglected area ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners ...

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the ...
Agricultural and Allied Industries ...


Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

6 Aug 2021
GreenAgric Greenhouse Eco Tunnels
GreenAgric Greenhouse Eco Tunnels

GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels from ... ONLY R4990

GreenAgric offers a vast range of ...
Greenhouse Tunnels ... 
to best suite your specific requirements ...

GreenAgric's Low Cost Eco Range of Tunnels
from ONLY R 4,990.00
Ideal for a Seedling or Starter Greenhouse
and best installed in a partially shady area
5m x 5m x 2m and covered with 20% white or light grey Shade Cloth
Support Poles are Internally Reinforced Polyethylene
Ask us for a quote now ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the Agricultural and Allied Industries ...


Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

6 Aug 2021
The Benefits of Mulching
The Benefits of Mulching

The Benefits of Mulching

The word mulch has been derived from the German word molsch and means “easy to decay” ...
Mulches have widely been used for vegetable production since ancient times.
Mulching is referred as spreading various covering materials on the surface of soil to minimize moisture losses, to surpress weed population and to enhance crop yields.

Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have resulted in elevated global temperature over the years ... consequently disturbing the balance of agro-ecological systems worldwide.
Therefore, new eco-friendly agricultural practices for sustainable food production are Urgently needed. 

Mulching serves the purpose by reducing soil evaporation, conserving moisture, controlling soil temperature, reducing weed growth, and improving microbial activities. 

Additionally, mulches could provide economical, aesthetic, and environmental advantages to agriculture and landscape. 
Moreover, in the restoration sites, mulches are widely used for the plantation of trees which need no significant care. 

Mulches conserve the soil moisture, enhance the nutrients status of soil, control the erosion losses, suppress the weeds in crop plants, and remove the residual effects of pesticides, fertilisers, and heavy metals. 

Mulches improve the aesthetic value of landscapes and economic value of crops.

The selection of mulching material is important with respect to crop type, management practices, and climatic conditions. 
The appropriate mulching technique can and will provide the needed benefits to the agro-ecological systems.

Therefore, the impacts of low-cost, eco-friendly, and biodegradable mulching materials on soil microbes, nutrient balance, plant growth, and soil erosion should be practiced in the future.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

GreenAgric Consulting provides 'Best Help and Advice' to both the farming community and home gardeners ...

GreenAgric Recruitment is a Specialist Management and Skilled Workers Recruitment Consultancy to the ...
Agricultural and Allied Industries ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...
5 Aug 2021
Many Benefits of No Till Farming and Gardening
Many Benefits of No Till Farming and Gardening

Benefits Of No Till Farming & Gardening

With every passing year, more and more farmers and home growers are switching from conventional tillage to no till methods and it is no wonder why ... 
* Less Work
* Higher Crop Yields
* increased Soil Preservation
* More Profitability 
* Protection of the Eco System
are just a few of the reasons to consider making the switch to no till farming.

Benefits Of No Till Farming ...
* Less Loss of Planted Seed due to Erosion ... by wind, water and UV exposure.
* Less Soil Compaction ... multiple passes over a field with heavy equipment compacts the soil more than no till planting. In addition, bare soil can easily become compacted by rainfall. Tillage also breaks up the soil structure (soil aggregates), which makes it more susceptible to compaction. 
On the other hand, ground that is not tilled is less compacted – before, during, and after the planting process.
* Less Soil Erosion ... in no till farming, because the soil isn’t being turned over, less soil blows away and less soil washes away. The vegetative cover that’s left behind in no till planting helps control the loss of topsoil on steep slopes from runoff, and also helps prevent wind erosion.
* Less Evaporation ... those same plant residues that are left behind in no tillage also capture water, help keep the soil moist, and minimize the evaporative effects of the wind and sun. Whether dryland (rain-fed) or irrigation, this “water-saving” effect of no till farming has considerable importance.
* More Fertile Soils ... because the soil isn’t constantly being stirred with tillage, nutrients in the soil remain effective for many years longer. 
* Lower Costs ... with no till farming, you only have to go over the field once to establish your crop, not three to five times, which drastically reduces fuel and labour costs. There’s also less equipment needed, and less wear and tear on machinery.
* Good Crop Yields ... crop yields with no till farming will exceed those of conventional tillage, particularly if you use the right equipment.
* Maybe the most important saving is Protecting the Eco System ... as without birds, bees and other polinators crop fail to realise their full potential ...
and without beneficial microbes in the soil, the soil is on a down hill trend towards being sterile and useless ...

Makes You Think Doesn't It ? ...


'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...
4 Aug 2021
Ways to increase the yield of your garden
Ways to increase the yield of your garden

21 Ways To Increase Yield From Your Fruit & Veg Garden - Part 1

There are plenty of ways to increase yield from your edible garden. Often, the measures you can take are simple. They don’t need to cost the earth, either literally or metaphorically. 

Increasing the yield you can achieve for a given area, and for a given length of time, can make a big difference. But how exactly should you go about it? What steps can you take to increase the size and quality of your harvest?

I understand that maximising yield can be a complex business. On any site, and in any garden, there are a range of complex factors at play. In gardening, as in life, not everything will go according to plan.

There will be times when your hard work simply doesn’t pay off, even when you do not do anything wrong. When we are growing our own, we need to learn to roll with the punches. We need to accept that there are certain things which are simply out of our control.

There are, however, a number of things you can do to increase the chances of a higher yield from your edible garden.

Here are 21 recommendations and things to consider when you are trying to improve your growing systems:

1. Choose the Right Growing Methods For Your Needs and Location ...
When it comes to working out which solutions are best for your particular garden, your needs and your location will be key considerations.

Your Needs ...
First of all, one of the main questions to ask yourself is how much time you have to devote to your edible garden. A low maintenance forest garden can be ideal and offer optimal yields for those who are short on time. On the other hand, an intensively managed annual vegetable garden may provide higher yields for those who have the time to devote to it.

In order to maximise yield, it is important to be honest with yourself about the reality of your situation. Sometimes, ambition can overreach ability and time.

Yield can sometimes be higher overall if you use slow and small solutions, building up your food production over time. Don’t try to do everything all at once, or you could end up with lots of half-finished and poorly maintained areas that don’t offer the yields they could do. Take things one step at a time to ensure that you can steadily increase yield over time and don’t overstretch yourself.

Your Location ...
Another important things to think about are the environmental factors and climate in your particular location. The growing methods that work well in one area may deliver only half the yield in another.

For example, it may be important, in cooler climates, to consider under-cover gardening options to extend the growing season. While in warmer climates, providing shade and sufficient moisture for crops in the summer will be a more pressing concern. When choosing a growing method, it is important to take such factors into account.

You might choose ...
Low maintenance perennial planting schemes.
Intensive annual vegetable gardens (either in the ground or in raised beds or containers).
Hydroponics or aquaponics gardening methods. 
Each of the above can offer high yields, but it is important to refer to your own needs and your location when working out which one might offer the highest yields for you.

2. Select the Right Spot For Your New Edible Garden ...
Once you have determined what sort of edible garden will offer the best yields for you, it is also very important to think about where on your land to locate it. You will need to think about:

Levels of sunlight and shade ...
Whether the site is sheltered or exposed in terms of prevailing winds. 
Soil type and characteristics on the site (if growing in the ground). 
Whether the site will be easy to access from your home. (The closer it is, the more frequently you are likely to visit and tend it. And the more you tend and keep an eye on your garden, the more successful and productive it is likely to be.)
Where the garden will sit in relation to other elements in your garden (such as water supply, and composting systems, for example). Thinking about how the different elements in your garden interact and how you will move between them can help you come up with an optimal garden design. 
Thinking holistically about your garden design will help you optimize yield, and increase it over time. There are plenty of permaculture resources online that will help you with garden design if you want to take a DIY approach and are time rich but cash poor.

However, to truly help you make sure that you can make the most of your space, you could consider employing a permaculture garden designer, who will definitely help you increase the yield from your edible garden by creating a design perfectly suited to your needs and where you live.

3. Protect Your Garden From Wind and Water/ Extreme Weather Events ...
Garden design to increase yield should not only take the present conditions into account. In order to increase yield long term, you need to take a future-proof approach. Think about making a garden that can adapt more resiliently to climate change and extreme weather events.

There are a number of different things that can be done when it comes to landscaping and planting that can make your garden more resilient and increase the overall yield over the long term. Remember, extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent. And just one extreme weather event could be all it takes to reduce your yield for a season to nil.

So what can be done to protect and future-proof your garden? Some things you might consider include:

Managing water more effectively on your property. For example, through planting rain gardens and vegetated swales to contain storm water, you could avoid a flooding event. Collecting and storing water can also help you cope better in the face of drought. Creating a pond or reservoir on your property could also help protect your home and garden from wildfires. 
Terracing slopes, making on-contour swales and undertaking other earthworks. Manipulating the landscape in these ways cannot only help you manage water flow, but can also help to protect the soil and keep your garden productive. 
Planting trees. Planting trees is good in so many ways. Not only can they absorb carbon dioxide and help manage water, they can also be used to create shelter belts, or alongside shrubs in a mixed windbreak or hedge row. Shelter belts, wind breaks and hedges can all also be effective ways to mitigate against certain environmental risks. 

4. Use Space Saving Techniques To Grow as Much Food as Possible ...
Wherever you live (and whichever type of edible garden you choose), increasing yield often involves thinking about how you can make the most of the space you have available.

Layered Planting ...
In forest gardens and polycultures, layering plants in space can be an effective way to cram in as many food producing plants and other beneficial plants as possible.

Shorter plants and ground cover specimens are grown underneath and around trees or other taller plants. A well designed layered system can often deliver a much higher and more varied yield than a mono-crop plantation or single-variety orchard. 

Vertical Gardening ...
In annual fruit and vegetable production, vertical gardening techniques will allow you to maximise your yield over a given area in your edible garden. Vertical gardening is all about thinking about the vertical space available as well as the horizontal space.

Vertical gardening might be as simple as growing climbing or vining plants up a trellis or other support structure, such as squashes or pumpkins for example.

Another technique is to simply place pots on shelves, or in another vertical structure against a wall or fence. You might also make a range of different vertical gardens, with planting pockets in which additional plants can be grown.

Container Gardening ...
 In smaller growing areas, container gardening can also help you grow more food in the space you have available.

Containers can even be placed on pathways and moved around as the year progresses. So even if you have the space for in-ground growing, adding a few containers could help you increase your yield. You might even stack containers to create planting towers.

Hydroponics or Aquaponics ...
Where land space is limited, hydroponics, and even-better, aquaponics, can be a great way to maximise yield in the space available. In aquaponics, you will not only gain an abundant yield from edible plants, but can also get a yield of fish to add to your diet too.

5. Choose the Right Plants for the Right Places ...
Wherever you grow, and whichever systems you choose, you should always make sure that you choose the right plants for the right places. Many gardeners are tempted to plan their gardens based on what they enjoy eating.

But while this can be a consideration, your main thoughts should be related to which plants are right for inclusion in your edible garden. And where exactly they should go within that garden scheme.

It doesn’t matter how perfect a location you have chosen for your new edible garden. Certain plants will always grow better there than others. Choosing plants (and cultivars) suited to growing in the conditions you can provide will offer higher yields than simply choosing plants you want to grow and eat.

Choosing seeds and plants from suppliers who are as local as possible can help make sure they will be suited to your area. Better yet, work to create a garden even better suited to the exact conditions in your garden. Save your own seeds and create more and more appropriate plants for place over time.

6. Create Polycultures or Guilds of Plants Which Aid One Another ...
It can also be helpful to think about where plants are placed in relation to one another. Companion planting is an inexact science. But it does seem clear that certain plants are good companions, while others don’t do so well when placed close to one another. 

By observing your garden, and learning more about companion planting, you can create beneficial groups of plants. You can increase the yield of key plants or crops by creating ‘guilds’ of plants around them which aid that central plant in a range of different ways.

In forest gardens, perennial polycultures and annual kitchen gardens, carefully choosing harmonious and beneficial plant combinations can help you increase yield in a number of different ways. For example, marigolds grown in the vegetable garden can benefit your edibles in many different ways.

7. Get It Right When it Comes To Plant Spacing ...
Layered planting schemes and companion planting can definitely help to increase the yield in an edible garden. If you are used to growing in traditional rows, you may find that switching to an intensive square foot gardening technique or into less traditional polyculture planting approach can increase yield.

But whether you grow in rows, in square feet, or take a less orderly approach, plant spacing is still very important.

The right spacing can help to ensure that plants are not competing too much for water or nutrients. It can avoid bare soil which can increase moisture loss, erosion and weed growth. And it can help to reduce the incidence of overcrowding and poor air flow, which can lead to pest and disease problems.

8. Improve Soil Fertility and Protect the Soil To Increase Yield ...
 When looking after your garden organically, soil health is one of the most important factors. When looking to increase yield, caring for and enhancing the soil should be a top priority.

The topsoil on our planet takes a long time to form. Poor gardening and farming practices mean that, in many areas, it is being lost or degraded faster than it can be replenished.

Caring for and improving the soil in your garden will boost fertility, and allow your plants to grow well and give a good yield. But not just in this year – for many years to come. We can take care of the soil in our gardens by:

Implementing a ‘no dig’ gardening approach. And disturbing the fragile and precious soil ecosystem as little as possible.
Adding plenty of organic material to the soil as top dressing and mulches, e.g. wood chip and seaweed.
Avoiding areas of bare soil whenever possible in our gardens.
Planting specific plants to retain soil on slopes, to improve its drainage ability, fix atmospheric nitrogen etc..

9. Boost Biodiversity Whenever and However You Can ...
Biodiversity is another crucial factor in the longevity and yield of food producing systems. When it comes to our planting, we should try to choose as wide a range of different plants as possible – perhaps even consider a wildflower meadow or bed on your property. And we should also take a wide range of steps to encourage wildlife onto our properties.

The more diverse a system, the more beneficial interactions it contains. And the more beneficial interactions there are, the more resilient and productive the system can be.

For an edible garden, it is especially important to boost biodiversity in order to:

Ensure that there are plenty of pollinators around to pollinate your crops.
Make sure there are plenty of predatory insects and other wildlife to keep the ecosystem in balance and pest numbers down.
Make sure there is a healthy and productive community of soil life below your growing areas, to help move water and nutrients around. 
Boosting biodiversity makes your job as an organic grower much easier. An army of other creatures will be helping you in your gardening endeavors. These varied creatures will each play their role to boost yield from your edible garden.

10. Make Sure You Optimally Meet Water Needslo ...
In a low-maintenance garden such as a forest garden, most of the water needs of your plants may be met by natural rainfall once the garden is established. But in most areas, most gardens will require watering during dry spells, especially in the summer months.

Where you are watering through irrigation or watering by hand, it is vitally important to get the water needs right. Over time, as a gardener, you can learn more about the water needs of different plants. Some obviously need a lot more water than others.

Take great care over when you water, how much water you provide, and how often. These things can make a big difference to the health of your plants and the eventual size of your harvest. Water is crucial from seed germination, right through to harvest.

11. Use The Right Mulches Around Your Plants ...
I already mentioned the importance of caring for the soil. And that using mulches is one important way of doing so. But another thing to consider is that you need to match the mulch you use to the plants you are surrounding.

Different mulches will deliver different things. Some are high in nitrogen, some in potassium, some in trace elements required for plant growth. There are a wide range of different plants that can be chopped and dropped to make mulches for your garden. There are also a number of other natural materials that you could use.

It is important not to use the wrong mulches with the wrong plants. For example, it is not a good idea to use a high-nitrogen mulch around flowering or fruiting plants, as high nitrogen levels can encourage leafy growth at the expense of blooms and fruits.

As your experience grows, and your gardening knowledge expands, you should be able to improve your yield by choosing the right mulch to provide the right nutrients for the right plants at the right time.

Obviously, choosing the perfect mulches is not something you can really learn overnight. But by honing your skills and experimenting, over time you should find you can increase yield from your edible garden.

12. Use The Right Organic Liquid Plant Feeds ...
 You may already be aware. But if you are not – note that you can make your own liquid fertilizers using weeds and other plants from your garden.

There are a range of different ‘recipes’ you could try, from comfrey liquid feed, to compost tea, to name but two examples. 

But as with mulches, increasing yield means taking care about when, how and where exactly you use these liquid fertilizers.

Be careful, again, not to add too much nitrogen to flowering or fruiting plants, especially when they are coming into those periods of their growth.

13. Prune Perennial Fruit Trees and Other Plants Correctly ...
 Certain plants have specific requirements that should be correctly carried out at the right times to maximise production of fruits etc..

Just as flowers should be deadheaded to encourage new growth, plenty of edible plants will also do better when you nip off the growing tips at the right time, or harvest top growth regularly. (This latter example is true for many herbs that you might grow in your edible garden.

One of the most important examples of this, however, is pruning fruit trees, fruiting bushes and fruit canes.

In many cases, you can leave trees and shrubs to their own devices and they will continue to grow just fine. But prune fruiting trees, shrubs and canes correctly and they will provide a higher yield.

More importantly, the right interventions at the right times can also help make sure that they produce more consistently and well over the coming years.

14. Give Nature a Helping Hand With Pollination ...
The best way to improve yield by improving fruit set is to make sure you attract pollinators to your area. But sometimes, sadly, pollinators are not there when we need them. This may increasingly be true if the shocking decline in the numbers of many bees and other vital insects continues.

One other thing that you can do is become a pollinator yourself. Crops such as tomatoes and squash, for example, can be pollinated by hand.

15. Be Vigilant for Pests and Disease ...
Pests and plant disease are of course something that all gardeners are likely to encounter at some point. These things may not always pose a threat to the lives of your plants. But they can significantly reduce yield, even when the problems are relatively minor.

Of course, making sure you take care of the environmental conditions can help. Boosting biodiversity is also crucial. But one other thing you can do to reduce losses due to pests and disease is simply to remain vigilant.

The more often you check over your edible garden, the more likely you will be able stay on top of any problems. And get to grips with them before those problems get out of control. Pick off pests where you can, and remove any diseased plant materials carefully as soon as possible.

16. Extend the Growing Season in Your Edible Garden ...
You may think primarily about improving yield in a given physical area. But is is also important to think about the amount of time over which you can obtain a yield. Obviously, if you can extend your growing season, your yearly yield will be increased. 

There are a number of measures short-season gardeners can take to extend the growing season. You can sow seeds indoors long before you can sow them outdoors. So think about germinating seeds on your windowsills indoors early in the year.

You can also begin sowing earlier outdoors when you have structures such as greenhouses, hoophouses or polytunnels, cloches, cold frames, hot beds etc.. Such undercover growing areas can help you warm soil for planting earlier in spring, allow plants to remain in the garden for longer in fall.

They can even, in certain circumstances, make it easier for you to grow food all year round. You may even be able to continue growing a range of produce even during the coldest winter months. 

See Part 2 in the Blog Posting below ...

4 Aug 2021
Ways to increase the yield of your garden
Ways to increase the yield of your garden

21 Ways To Increase Yield From Your Fruit & Veg Garden - Part 2 ...

17. Make a Good Plan For Year Round Growing ...

No matter where you live, there are ways to grow food all year round. Restricting yourself only to summer growing can reduce potential yield. So to boost yield, it is a good idea to make a good plan for year round growing. (And to make a longer term plan so you have a better idea of how your garden will evolve over time.)

Crop rotation is key to reducing pests and disease, and maintaining fertile soil. Organisation in terms of crop rotation and what to plant when throughout each year can help you maximise the amount of food which your garden can provide.

Make a planting calendar and make a note of what you have sown when. And determine when you expect to harvest each crop. You should also make sure you are filling gaps as soon as they appear to make the most of your growing areas.

18. Companion Plant Slow Growing Crops With Faster Growing Edible Plants ...
Speaking of filling gaps, research has shown that intercropping of certain plants can often be used to increase overall yield. Think about time as well as space. Cabbages, for example, will grow more slowly than other plants.

The gaps between them when they are small can be filled with lettuce or other fast-growing crops. These fast-growing crops will be harvested before the cabbages grow to need the space and nutrients. So you can get an additional yield from the same garden space. 

19. Plant Successionally For Longer Harvesting Periods ...
In your fruit and vegetable gardens, another thing to think about is how you can extend the period over which you will be able to harvest each crop. To increase yield you should be:

Planting different species of fruit tree which can be harvested at different times. (For example, consider planting early, mid-season and late varieties of apple tree.)
Establish a garden with plenty of soft fruit canes, fruiting bushes and other perennial plants to harvest from early summer right through to fall. 
Sow annual vegetables successionally. Have several planting sessions through spring/ early summer for a staggered harvest and higher overall yield. 
Sow cut-and-come-again leafy crops and herbs that can be harvested little and often over a long harvesting period. 
20. Don’t Forget to Make the Most of Secondary Harvests
When calculating your yield, don’t forget all the secondary harvests that your garden might provide.

First of all, remember that food is not the only thing that you can get from an edible garden. For example, it should also provide weeds for liquid feeds and vegetative matter for composting etc.. Some gardens could also provide herbal medicine, dyes, and perhaps even natural materials for crafting and fuel.

It is also important to make the most of secondary edible yields. For example, don’t throw away the leaves from turnips and beets. These are useful leafy greens. Allow one or two radishes to go to seed and you can have an abundant secondary yield of radish seed pods.

21. Collect Your Own Seeds To Grow Next Year ...
Finally, in order to increase yield, it is definitely worthwhile letting some of your plants go to seed.
Collect your own seeds and you could see an increase in yield year-on-year, as you breed plants that are better and better suited to your particular garden. Remember to choose heritage or heirloom crops, so the seeds will come true. And take cross-pollination into account when selecting plants to breed from.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
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We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
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Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
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3 Aug 2021
Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard

Best Vegetables to Grow in the Shade

Even in shaded conditions, you can bask in great garden harvests if you choose the right crops and make a few easy adjustments.

For many gardeners, the optimum conditions most vegetables prefer — eight to 10 hours of full sun — just aren’t possible. 
Whether it’s from trees or shadows from nearby buildings, shade is commonly a fact of gardening life.
 Luckily, shade doesn’t have to prohibit gardeners from growing their own food. 
If you start with the most shade-tolerant crops, take extra care to provide fertile soil and ample water, you can establish a productive shade garden and harvest a respectable variety of veggies.

How Much Shade Is Too Much ? ...
All shade is not equal. Some shady conditions will yield much more produce than others will, while some areas are better left for hostas and moss. 

Gardeners should be familiar with the different types of shade, but should also keep in mind that measuring how much shade your garden gets isn’t always easy.
For instance, nearby trees may cast dappled shade on your garden for some or all of the day. If the tree canopy is high enough and the branches aren’t too dense, the conditions nearby can be shady but still fairly bright. Trimming any low-hanging branches can help let in more sunlight.

More challenging than dappled shade is partial shade, which can be quite variable, ranging from only a couple of sunny hours and many hours of shade to the opposite. 

Shade from buildings is more difficult to deal with than shade from trees, as it often plunges the garden into total shade for large parts of the day. 

As a general rule, if you have a few hours of full sun but dark shade for the rest of the day, you can grow some crops, but the yields won’t be as high as if you had bright or dappled shade during the rest of the day.

Maybe your garden has a little of everything: some areas that get a couple of hours of sun, some that get dappled shade and some areas that are in complete shade. In addition, the amounts of shade will change seasonally! It can be difficult to add up the exact amount of sun your crops get in such a scenario. 

Keep an open mind about what you may be able to grow in your conditions, and use our chart of the best shade-tolerant vegetables as a guide for where to start.

Certain vegetables such as bok choy, lettuce and celery grow well with only a few hours of sun a day.

Swiss Chard ...
Among vegetables, leafy greens are the most tolerant of shade, including kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula and chard. Related to both beets and spinach, Swiss chard tastes a little like both and is fairly easy to grow. Look for varieties in beautiful shades of red, yellow and pink, and pair this veggie with cool-season blooms like pansies in both beds and containers.

Kale ...
A tried-and-true favorite that's experienced recent popularity, kale is prolific in cool seasons and in shadier areas of the garden. Varieties run the gamut from green to purple, curly to smooth. Harvest leaves when young for the best flavor and often for an extended harvest.

Broccoli ...
Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. All Brassicas can take a little shade. Plant broccoli in spring and fall and harvest the heads when the buds are still tight. Sunlight and time will cause the buds to open up as the plant tries to flower.

Cauliflower ...
Like other Brassicas, cauliflower doesn't mind some shade, and in fact, the heads need shade to stay white. The process is called blanching, and while some varieties are self-blanching, most require help from the gardener. Blanching involves tying the outer leaves over the developing head—when it’s roughly 2 to 3 inches across—to block sunlight.

Cabbage ...
King of the Brassicas, cabbage grows well in a little shade, particularly in warmer regions. This Chinese cabbage variety has an elongated shape and succulent leaves. Looser-headed varieties like Chinese cabbage may grow better in shade, as lack of light can cause solid-headed cabbage varieties to grow too loosely, not forming proper heads.

Many people are surprised to learn how Brussels sprouts grow like tiny cabbages along a central stalk. This purple variety offers additional surprise with vibrant color. Brussels sprouts grow best in cooler climates and don't do well in warm weather. To grow them successfully in warmer areas, it's best to plant early in an area that will receive some shade.

Beets ...
In addition to leafy greens and Brassicas, most root crops grow well in shadier spots, including beets, carrots, turnips and radishes. Beets are ready to harvest when half or more of the root pops out of the soil. In addition to the beet root, beet greens are also edible and taste much like their cousin, chard.

Radishes ...
Similarly, radishes grow well in shady areas and are really a wonder crop: easy to plant, fast to germinate and nearly foolproof as long as soil and moisture conditions are adequate. Experiment with different varieties beyond the classic red radish, as radishes come in many shapes, sizes and colors.

Carrots
Carrots, too, tolerate shade. Harvest this easy-to-grow root veggie when the tops pop out of the soil. Like beets, carrot greens are edible.

Turnips
Turnips are part of the Brassica family like cabbage, and they're grown both for their root and their greens, depending on the variety. Whether grown for turnip greens or turnip roots, this plant tolerates some shade.

Leeks ...
This member of the onion plant family grows best in cooler weather with some shade. In addition to being a wonderful culinary crop, leeks are known to be good companions for carrots because they can repel pests that feed on carrots.

Fava Beans ...
Also known as "broad beans," fava beans grow well early in the spring season and like a little shade, especially in warmer climates. They can also be planted in fall and grown through the winter for an early spring harvest. The beans are labor intensive after harvest, as they must first be removed from the outer pod, and then each bean removed from its own shell or skin.

Rhubarb ...
A perennial vegetable, rhubarb is best known in colder climates where it thrives; rhubarb doesn't grow well in warmer areas. Grown only for its edible stalks, the leaves of rhubarb are actually toxic. Though it will grow with shade, this plant will develop more of its pretty red color in full sun.

Celery ...
Celery takes a long time to grow, up to 180 days from seed to harvest, and it prefers cooler weather, so it's not ideal for all climates. But it does grow well in a little shade. To get celery to be a lighter green and sweeter, growers blanch stalks by shielding them from sunlight, similar to how they blanch cauliflower.

Berries ...
In addition to vegetables, many berry plants will grow fairly well in partial shade, including blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry and currant. This dwarf blackberry variety is well-suited to growing in containers alongside ornamentals.

Alpine Strawberry ...
Alpine strawberry varieties tolerate shade better than most strawberry plants, which prefer full sun. Also known as woodland strawberries, these next-to-wild varieties are prized for their small fruit and concentrated, sweet flavor.

Herbs
In addition to fruits and vegetables, many well-known herbs will grow well in partial shade, including thyme, parsley, cilantro, chives, tarragon, oregano and more.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
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2 Aug 2021
Self Seeding Plants
Self Seeding Plants

Self-Seeding Crops You’ll Never Need to Replant

Some crop plants are self-seeding. With a bit of light management each generation can be coaxed into providing seeds season after season.

One of the characteristics of a truly sustainable garden is that it produces at least some of its own seed. This is most often done when gardeners select, harvest and store seeds until the proper time for planting the following year. 

But some self-seeding crops produce seeds so readily that as long as you give them time to flower and mature, and set seed, you will always have free plants growing in your garden. You can simply let the seeds fall where they are, or toss pieces of the seed heads into the corners of your garden, or whichever area you want them in — no harvesting, storing or replanting required. 

With most self-seeding vegetables, herbs and annual flowers, you’ll just need to learn to recognize the seedlings so you don’t hoe them down. Should seedlings require relocation, you can simply lift and move them — after all, they are sturdy field-grown seedlings.

In addition to getting all the free garden plants you need (and some to share with family and friends), nurturing self-seeders is also a great way to provide a diversity of flowers that supply pollen and nectar for beneficial insects. 

Self-seeding flowers, herbs and vegetables that show up in early spring include arugula, calendula, chamomile, cilantro, dill, breadseed poppies and brilliant red orach (mountain spinach). Nasturtiums, amaranth, New Zealand spinach, and even basil or zinnias appear later, after the soil has warmed.

Starting a new colony of any of these annuals is usually a simple matter of lopping off armloads of brittle, seedbearing stems in the fall, and dumping them where you want the plants to appear the next season. It’s that easy. Most of the seedlings will appear in the first year after you let seed-bearing plants drop their seeds, with lower numbers popping up in subsequent seasons.

Working with reseeding, or self-sowing, crops saves time and trouble and often gives excellent results, but a few special techniques and precautions are in order. Some plants that self-sow too freely — especially perennials such as garlic chives or horseradish — will cross the line into weediness if not handled with care.

Letting crops flower and go to seed also supports beneficial insects ...

Spring Seeds for Autumn Crops ...
The first group of plants to try as self-sown crops — both because they’re the easiest and they’ll be ready the same year — are those that tend to bolt in late spring. 
If allowed to bloom and set seed, dill, radishes, arugula, cilantro, broccoli raab, turnips and any kind of mustard will produce ripe seeds in time for autumn reseeding in most climates. Lettuce will take a little longer, but often gives good results.

One way to encourage self-seeders is to select vigorous plants from a larger planting, and let these plants grow unharvested until they bloom and produce seeds. This will work well enough, but it’s often bothersome to have one lone turnip holding up the renovation of a planting bed. 
To get around this problem, use a :Noah’s Ark' approach ...
Det aside a bed or row and transplant pairs of plants being grown for seed into the ark bed. As the weeks pass, weed, water and stake up seed-bearing branches to keep them clean, but don’t pick from the “seed ark” bed.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
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https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

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Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
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1 Aug 2021
Farming is a Profession of Hope
30 Jul 2021
What is Organic Food ? ...
What is Organic Food ? ...

What Is Organic Food ? ...

Today, as more people choose to live healthier lifestyles and awareness of environmental issues increases, the demand for Organic food and drink is growing. But do these foods really offer benefits over conventional chemically grown foods ? ...

The scientific definition of ‘organic compound’ is a chemical compound containing carbon combined with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. This is not, however, the common understanding of organic food, which is synonymous with terms like ‘biological’, ‘natural’ and ‘ecological’.

Organic food is produced without the use of artificial fertilisers, chemicals, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Organic food, for this reason, is likely to contain lower residues of agricultural chemicals than conventionally farmed food, but due to general environmental pollution these products cannot be completely free of residues. 

Organic farming makes use of traditional methods, such as crop rotation, composting, recycling of farm produced material such as animal manure, hand weeding, environmentally friendly biological pest control, homeopathic remedies and free range animal rearing. 

The primary goal of organic farming is to ensure the optimal interdependent functioning of the soil, plants, animals and people in the ecosystem.

It is important to realise that the production of organic foods requires the same good manufacturing practices, production practices, compositional standards, labelling and regard for food safety as the rest of the food industry, including conventional farming.

Is Organic Food Better For You ? ...
While fresh fruit and vegetables boast the biggest market share, many consumers are starting to buy organic food and drinks as they are seen to be healthier and more natural than their non-organic counterparts. 

Stats confirm that organic food has enjoyed a three-fold increase in demand. This was largely due to health and environmental concerns.

In answering this question it is important to consider 3 main areas, including the safety of the food, its nutritional contribution and whether there are any health benefits in using organic foods to replace conventionally farmed foods.

Food Safety ...
Because synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming, consumer perceptions dictate that these should be lower in organic produce, However, biopesticides are still present as well as some environmental pollutants. The use of animal waste as fertiliser is a major source of disease-causing pathogenic micro-organism contamination in organic foods and possible contamination of ground and surface water. Thorough cooking and washing prior to eating food is essential, as is the management of composting and manure application. Best practice for compost and manure management is now practiced in many countries producing organic foods. More extensive insect damage of organic plants may result in mould growth and toxin production. Scientific evidence shows that these can cause food poisoning. However, reviews concludes that the risk is no greater in organically produced foods than in their conventional counterparts.

Nutritional Health Benefits ...
Minimizing residues should be the focus of good agricultural practice, whatever the method of cultivation used. Consumers should not be fooled by clever marketing, into believing that if it says organic on the label, that it is Organic.

By virtue of the definition, the term ‘organic’ describes the method of cultivation, rather than specific characteristics possessed by the food. It then follows that flavour, nutritional content and health aspects of organic foods are superior to conventionally chemically grown foods.

There is no legislation available at present governing the production of organic food in South Africa. The Department of Agriculture has been trying to set separate regulations for production systems under section 15 of the Agricultural Products Standards Act (Act No 119 of 1990). However this requires changes to the Act and legal processes are slow and challenging.

 The South African organic produce industry thus makes use of international regulations governed by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements and all farmers have to be certified by international bodies such as Ecocert. 
These authorities inspect these farmers on a regular basis to ensure that they conform to the strict international regulations governing organic farming. In addition, if organic products carries an official organic certification number on the back of the product’s packaging, which means that you can have complete confidence that the product is indeed organic.

The US law allows the classification of products according to the proportion of organic ingredients a food contains. There are 4 categories:
* 100% organic, can carry the organic seal.
* At least 95% organic, can also carry the organic seal.
* Foods made with 70 – 95% organic ingredients can be labeled as “made with organic…” naming the specific ingredients that comply. This claim can be made on the front of the packaging.
* Food containing less than 70% organic ingredients may list specific organically produced ingredients on the side of the packaging, but not on the front panel.
* 'Organic in conversion’ means that the production system of the food has adhered to organic standards for at least one year but which does not qualify as fully organic yet. The process of converting to fully certified organic production could take up to three years.

In the EU a similar situation exists, but using only 2 of these categories:
* At least 95% organic, can carry the label ‘organic’.
* Foods made with 70 – 95% organic ingredients by weight can be labeled as “made with organic ingredients.

What Is The Difference Between Organic And Free Range?
Free-range is a term given to animals that are free to roam in wide, open space. Their living conditions are similar to the standards required for organic farming, but the animals may be treated with veterinary medicines and the food provided may contain additives. Organic farmers use 100% plant food and sick animals are treated with homeopathic remedies only. Should the animals require veterinary medicines or plants be found to contain traces of chemicals, pesticides or genetically modified material, they lose their organic status.

Consumer Issues ...
The growing interest in organic food is likely to be a reaction to consumer unease over pesticide and veterinary drug use, food scares, lack of trust in the food industry and a growing need to consume healthier, safer food. Some of these issues have been touched on, while others are listed below:

* Cost ...
Food Crops farmed through Organic methods are LESS EXPENSIVE to grow !!! ... so don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise !!! ...

Consumer choice ... 
Organic foods provide an alternate to foods which may be produced by conventional methods and making use of modern biotechnology. Although organic food is a growing part of the worlds total food production, it plays an important role in providing something for everyone.

Environmental protection ... 
The management practices used in organic farming, which aim to minimize damage to the environment and animal life, are appealing to those with a strong sense of responsibility toward these issues. However, it must be emphasized that farming is inherently bad for the environment and is a land space competitor to industries like forestry that are good for the environment. All sectors of the food industry are obligated to conform to food safety standards and good manufacturing practices aimed to minimize pollution of water, soil and air. If measured by hectare organic food production is more environmentally friendly, but this effect is smaller when expressed per production unit.
Animal welfare ...
Animal health management is based on disease prevention. While organic meat production focusses on the assumption that if housing, care and feeding of animals is conducted in a certain manner, this will ensure optimal natural resistance to disease. Some practices include larger housing areas (including outdoor access), obligatory straw bedding, organic feed, restricted use of antibiotics, longer waiting times before delivery of products after medical treatments, longer weaning periods (pigs), the prohibition of tail, teeth and beak clipping and the selection of appropriate breeds. Conventional meat production makes use of all of the latest technology to ensure disease prevention and many government policies are focusing on a reduction in the routine use of antibiotics as well as increasing the size of cages and stock pens. At present disease prevention remains the main focus in meat production whether from organic or conventional farming production.

Food security ...
The question remains as to how we will sustainably continue to feed our growing population. While organic farming may be more environmentally sustainable, it makes no use of biotechnologies that can increase yields and reduce pre- and post-harvest losses. The answer is not simple and at present there is a place for both production methods in our food supply.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in a GreenAgric Greenhouse ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

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