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20 Oct 2021
FREE Community Project
FREE Community Project

Are you a Sustainable Organic Food Crops Grower ?

Big or Small ...
Do you have excess crops that you would like to sell ?

If so, let GreenAgric Help ...
* We will advertise on your behalf for FREE ...
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This is part of our service to bring ... 
Growers of Sustainable Organic Food 
and Potential Buyers together ... 
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*** Crops Must Be ***
100% FREE OF ALL TOXIC CHEMICALS ... 
100% ORGANICALLY GROWN ...
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you will be 'named & shamed' ...
random toxicity testing will be done ...

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20 Oct 2021
Cattle Feedlots are Unacceptable
Cattle Feedlots are Unacceptable

To Fight the Climate Crisis ... 
Banks Must Stop Financing Factory Farming

Banks are directly undermining UN and Paris Climate Goals by channeling billions into multinational meat factory farms - Cattle Feedlots.

As the climate crisis boils over, new research shows that reducing methane emissions is our best hope to rapidly stem the crisis. It’s time to turn up the heat on the industrial meat industry and dramatically curtail its climate harm, which includes 32% of global methane emissions. 
Yet instead banks are using public funds to expand this sector that generates 16.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Banks on every continent are directly undermining the UN SDGs and Paris goals by channeling billions into multinational meat corporations. While undermining the livelihoods of small-scale producers, this heavily polluting industrial meat system is fueling the climate crisis, destroying precious ecosystems, promoting animal cruelty and increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance and future pandemics.

With vast documented evidence of factory farming’s destructive effects, a new global campaign, Divest Factory Farming, is calling on PDBs to immediately stop financing industrial livestock operations and shift their investments towards a more equitable and sustainable food system. 

If cattle were a nation, they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Ultimately, these bank investments entrench a destructive industrial food system that worsens our climate crisis. These investments mirror the misguided spending of governments worldwide.

In Latin America, cattle production is responsible for 70% of deforestation across Amazon countries. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, more than 800,000 sq km of Amazonian jungle – equivalent to 90% of Venezuela’s landmass – has been deforested to make way for industrial livestock and animal feed production.

Unless we dramatically scale back meat and dairy and move swiftly to sustainable methods, experts project that livestock production alone could account for a whopping 80% of the world’s budget for greenhouse gas emissions (in a 1.5C temperature increase scenario) by 2050. If cattle were a nation, they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. With less than 10 years to prevent irreversible climate catastrophe, every investment and policy must help greatly reduce emissions while bolstering food security and resiliency to weather upheavals.

By ending investments in factory farms, bank leaders will send a clear signal to other public finance institutions, the private sector, markets and governments that it’s time for meaningful emissions reductions from livestock, and time to shift subsidies and investments toward highly productive, lower-carbon ecological farming. 

There is no time to waste.

'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
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19 Oct 2021
Skills Training in the Agricultural Industry
Skills Training in the Agricultural Industry

Finding a Solution to Agriculture’s Skills Gaps

Skills development is vital to the growth and productivity of any business. 

Training and development ...
The capabilities and skills of individuals and populations, known as human capital, is a key driver of economic prosperity and productivity.

South Africa is one of several countries to have seen a downward trend in the adequacy of graduates’ skill sets in recent years.
As a result, investing in human resource development is critical for the long-term sustainability and profitability of the agriculture industry.

A dearth of skills ...
South Africa’s agriculture sector faces a variety of skills shortages. In the wool industry, the most crucial skills include sheep shearing, wool handling, and predation management.

More recently, there has also been a growing demand for suitably qualified people who can audit farms to determine whether they meet sustainable production standards.

The wine industry, too, suffers from skills shortages, the industry has found that there is a particular shortage of basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as a lack of communication, technical and leadership skills at a higher level.
The number of pupils enrolling for subjects such as mathematics, physical science, agricultural science, agricultural management practice and agricultural technology has been on the decline for the past few years.
These subjects are all critical for young people wanting to pursue a career in agriculture. This decline has had a domino effect on the shortage of skills in areas such as agricultural engineering, agricultural sciences, and environmental and climate change research sciences. This affects the availability of researchers in disaster management, plant pathologists, entomologists, plant breeders and biotechnicians.

Training programmes can provide people with the skills to become hand and machine shearers, as well as welders, fitters and turners, boilermakers, and petrol and diesel mechanics.

Surveys have shown that middle and upper production management positions on citrus farms and packhouses are the most difficult to fill.
With these occupations, workplace learning and experience are more important than a qualification. Most workplaces are not particularly geared to being learning spaces, which is understandable when you take into account the pressure that businesses are under to be profitable
There has been a growing demand in fields such as engineering, in particular industrial engineering, over the past few years due to production becoming more process-oriented, both on farms and in packhouses.

Upskilling the labour force ...
Skills development is no less important in South Africa’s wool industry, particularly as more than 90% of the national wool clip is exported annually.
Training is imperative to maintain the high standard of the quality of the South African clip that’s already well recognised on the international market.

Training and development have long been a priority for the wine industry. But in 2017, the industry sought to formalise this by launching a learning and development strategy.
The aim was and still is to create systems that promote continual growth opportunities and align training with industry needs and prioritise and allocate funding.

Investing in the youth ...
It’s important that South Africa invests in training and development of the youth in order to ensure that the farming sector has access to the best-qualified individuals. 

Internship covers the practical skills needed to get the physical work done, while mentorship focuses on empowering the youth with skills to handle life better, as well as developing their job potential.

Challenges ...
Skills development is no easy task and the shortage of quality formal education at all levels is a major difficulty in many workplaces.
While challenges around numeracy and literacy can be traced to poor-quality basic education, the shortage of quality post-school education means many graduates are not work-ready and don’t have the knowledge and skills they need to meet the demands of the occupations for which they’re supposed to be qualified.

Last year, as was the case with many government organisations, many rmployees started working from home some days of the week. Unfortunately due to poor resources and connectivity, it resulted in a significant drop in the productivity, with major delays in approval and funding processes. This has further hamstrung workplace learning.

A lack of sufficient funding and resources are the main challenges for the wool industry. Shearer training is limited to the availability of sheep for practical shearer training, and the availability of wool fleece is also a restriction on wool-classing training. There are also insufficient funds to employ enough qualified trainers and shearing instructors.

Some skills development facilitators fail to understand the benefits of submitting workplace skills plans and annual training reports to identify scarce skills and create funding and training opportunities. 

The foremost difficulty in skills development is making a career in agriculture attractive to the youth.
The challenge is attracting and retaining young people in rural areas. This extends to the location of our agricultural colleges and their affordability. This is where the agricultural industry can take responsibility in supporting skills development.

Article Credits : Jeandré van der Walt & Farmers Weekly

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...

13 Oct 2021
Sustainable Organic Food
Sustainable Organic Food

A Sustainable Lifestyle on a Small Off-the-Grid Farm

After spending seven years in Zithulele and three in Cebe in rural Eastern Cape, Karen and Roger Galloway bought Heartwood Homestead, a small farm close to East London. Here, they practise regenerative agriculture and use their resources to benefit others through an internship programme.

Heartwood Homestead‘s solar-power system produces more electricity than the farm can use, and Roger says the system will pay for itself within three years. 

When Roger and I lived in Zithulele and Cebe, I worked as a physiotherapist in the public health sector, and Roger, a graphic designer, worked in the NGO sector doing development work,” recalls Karen Galloway.

It was while working in Zithulele and Cebe that the couple witnessed the challenges faced by rural people, many of whom work on 2ha allotments to supplement their income.

“In that sense, Heartwood Homestead is our experiment in self-sustained and off-grid living,” explains Karen.

Heartwood is a 20ha property, with 4ha of arable land, which overlooks the Gonubie River. When the Galloways bought it in 2019, there was no infrastructure, and Roger managed the construction of their house, the guest house and the workshop.
Roger manages the farm‘s no-till organic market garden.
“I enjoy carpentry. It’s one of those things that started as an interest, then it became a hobby, and now it’s a business,” says Roger.

Off-Grid Living ...
The farm is completely off-grid for water, electricity, and sewerage. The Galloways store up to 80 000m³ of rainwater and use solar power.
When it came to deciding on a power source, the couple carried out a cost comparison.
“On the one hand, there was Eskom, which charges an exorbitant connection fee and monthly line rentals, with the possibility of load-shedding. On the other hand, a family member installs solar-power systems, and they offered us a good deal, so we opted for that,” says Roger.
They installed a 5kW inverter with 15 solar panels. Electricity is stored in lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 20kWh.
“We currently use only about 30% of what we generate, and that includes electricity for all the power tools in the workshop, the guest house and the main house,” says Roger.

He constructed dry compost toilets in all the buildings, and the system works well and with minimal maintenance. They use sawdust from the carpentry workshop and occasionally the ash from wood fires.
“We’re reliant on stored rainwater for all our needs, so flush toilets don’t make sense in our situation. But it goes further than that; we really believe it’s a better option for everyone, no matter their access to water.
We’re compost toilet system evangelists. It closes the nutrient cycle, you don’t use any water, you never need a plumber, and there’s no splashing or unpleasant odours,” says Roger.

Ultra-High-Density Grazing
Karen manages the farm’s livestock component. 
"My physiotherapy training has given me a good understanding of anatomy and basic health issues affecting the animals,” she says.
“We have two Jersey/Beefmaster cows that provide enough milk for our family of five, the two interns, and a full-time employee. The cows also add value as an attraction to the guest house, as we offer an Airbnb experience teaching people to hand-milk them,” says Karen.
The Galloways manage their pastures through ultra-high-density strip grazing in 8m x 45m camps, which are moved daily. This allows the pastures a 90-day recovery period. Karen says this grazing strategy should allow them to keep up to three times more animals on the hectarage at their disposal, but the system is not yet optimised.
“With only two cows, the vegetation isn’t grazed intensively enough, so we need more animals,” she says, adding that last year was particularly dry.
“We were on the verge of having to feed the animals, so we’re taking baby steps as we move along.
“We’ve tried strip grazing with our pigs, but they were too destructive, so now we have a large area with one wallow for our sow and piglets.”
They sell their bull calves as veal at two-and-a-half months, when they are still easy to handle and transport. Karen plans to use a Nguni bull for future breeding to produce smaller-framed animals that are hardier and easier to manage.

“I’m part of a WhatsApp grazing group, where we exchange ideas and knowledge. However, most of it is geared towards large commercial operations, so the challenge is to take that information and adapt it to our micro-farming business. Things like artificial insemination and vaccinations are geared towards large herds, so it becomes very expensive to have service providers come out for two cows,” notes Karen.

Deep litter system ...
There are two chicken flocks on the farm that supply them with eggs and meat. One flock shelters in a mobile unit called a chickshaw, and these birds help control ticks, spread manure and feed on fly larvae as they move with the cows and sheep.
“We had to predator-proof the mobile unit with an additional layer of mesh wiring on the floor. We also created safe spaces for the chicks to hide and feed in when the flock is inside the unit in the mornings, before they exit for ‘work’,” says Karen.
Chicken manure drops from the chickshaw onto the fields as fertiliser, she says.

The other chicken flock consists of layer hens in a deep litter system. The chickens also have access to a trapdoor, so they can come and go at will. Commercially fertilised eggs are bought in to be hatched by the hens.
“We tried buying in point-of-lay hens, but their survival rate was very low. True free-ranging hens seem to need a mother to teach them how to keep safe from eagles and mongooses.

Roger heads up the fruit, vegetable and compost components of the farm. The hen system comprises a 20m² structure, and houses about 40 layer hens. The floor is covered with a 600mm layer of mixed organic matter that is turned once a week.
“We move the top layer to the side after eight weeks, and remove the compost at the bottom. The chicken manure, work very well for the compost. At the same time the chickens provide us with eggs, managed with a clean, roll-away system,” says Roger.

An integrated system ...
Roger is establishing a ‘food forest’ and two food gardens with plants ranging from ground cover to permanent fruit trees. The entire farm is loosely planned and laid out on permaculture principles.
“I love this system and exploring how things are connected. I’m always looking at ways to improve,” says Roger. As an example, he is currently planting plenty of pomegranates, pawpaws and granadillas: his family love to eat them, and they help to supplement animal feed.

The market garden, which Roger established in June 2020, uses Hügelkultur, which entails creating a base of wooden material such as logs and sticks, onto which topsoil is layered.
As the wood decomposes, carbon and beneficial microbes are released into the soil, feeding it over time. It is also no-till and chemical-free.

Roger says wind is a big problem, as it tends to blow soil cover away. “We’re managing the wind with edible windbreaks such as granadilla vines and sugar cane, and mulching with heavier organic matter, like maize stalks.”

Self-sufficiency ...
According to Roger, they are close to achieving their goal of being self-sufficient in food.
“The fruit still needs to come online, but meat, dairy and vegetables are almost all catered for.”

Karen adds that each component of the farm is a microbusiness, but overall, they are almost breaking even. 

“All the farming activities add to the experience we offer our guest house visitors,” Roger adds.

The Galloways are also hosting a student internship programme as a contribution to their community.
“Cebo Ndlazi and Bathandwa Sigudu are our first interns, and we’re learning a lot from one another as we go along,” says Karen.
The internship, which is faith-based, runs for nine months and focuses on practical farming skills.

“Our country has complex problems, but we want to be part of the solution. We want people to come to Heartwood, see what we’re doing here, and either share their ideas on how we could improve or use our efforts to inspire their own projects,” she says.

Roger’s advice to anyone interested in off-grid living is to start small. 

Article Credits : Wouter Kriel & Garmers Weekly

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...


12 Oct 2021
Feed the Soil ... Not the Plants
Feed the Soil ... Not the Plants

Supercharge Your Soil For the Coming Growing Season

Now’s the ideal time to enrich your soil for the coming growing season. The best way to do that is to add organic matter to improve soil structure, increase fertility, and feed the essential microbial life that lives in the soil.

A thick layer of organic matter — for instance, compost, animal manure or leafmold — can be spread on the soil surface then forked or tilled in to the top 10 cms of soil.

Alternatively, spread organic matter as a 10 cms thick mulch. Earthworms and other beneficial soil organisms will work the mulch into the soil for you. This is the best way to improve soil around perennial plants such as fruit trees and bushes, or around overwintering vegetable crops. Mulching with organic matter also helps to lock in soil moisture by reducing evaporation, which means less watering is needed.

Regular mulching is a key part of the no-dig growing method. Avoiding tilling the soil encourages a healthy soil ecosystem, which can enhance growth. No-dig beds should be narrow enough that all cultivation can be carried out from the sides, as this avoids the risk of compaction. Soil that’s not compacted shouldn’t need to be dug.

Many overwintering annual weeds and self-sown salads (such as mache, or corn salad) will form mats of foliage and, just like a cover crop, help to protect the soil from erosion and nutrient leaching. Leave these annual weeds in place until early summer, and then hoe them off before they set seed. They can be left on the soil surface, dug into the soil, or composted.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...
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11 Oct 2021
Go Organic ......... The Only Way
Go Organic ......... The Only Way

Organic Fertilisers

Keep your soil rich and your plants healthy by avoiding chemical fertilisers. 
We recommend four ingredients of homemade organic fertiliser you can use for your garden instead.

You’re growing your own fruit and vegetables. 
You’re eating free-range meat and eggs, and you’re investing in non-disposable products. 
You’re recycling, reusing, and thrifting. 
You’re making eco-conscious lifestyle choices to feel better - mentally and physically - but why stop there? 
If you want to go green all the way, especially if you're growing your food, consider your plants’ health and garden soil too.

Organic fertilisers, are 100% natural, inexpensive, and significantly improve soil structure. 

Organic fertilisers are naturally produced by animals or come from plants, and they improve your soil structure.
 In contrast, chemical fertilisers are composed of synthetic substances, and their purpose is to feed the plant. 
Chemical fertilisers don’t do anything for soil health.  

Organic fertilisers are generally easy to come by.
If you choose to DIY, it’s just a matter of throwing kitchen scraps together in a compost heap, leaving them for a few weeks, and then applying them to your garden soil. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it as you feed valuable nutrients back to the soil. 

They can be liquid or dry, and you can buy organic fertilisers or make your own. While raw ingredients can be applied directly to your garden, the most effective organic fertiliser is a mixture of multiple raw ingredients, which form compost. 

One important thing to remember: these ingredients need to decompose completely, otherwise their nutrients, ndiluted and acidic, will overload the soil. 

1: Banana Peels ...
Bananas are 42% potassium, one of the primary nutrients required by plants and soil. They also contain nitrogen, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are three other essential nutrients for soil health. 
Throw your banana peels into a compost heap and let them break down before applying the compost to your soil. This allows the peels to mix with other nutrients from the other compost components, and the result will be less likely to overload the soil. 

2: Vegetable Peels ...
Potato peels, onion peels, cabbage, lettuce, and other vegetable scraps are critical components of a rich compost heap. For example, potato skins are loaded with potassium, while cabbage contains magnesium and potassium. Your soil needs these nutrients. 
Vegetable peels can take a long time to decompose. Yet, to be effective, they need to decompose completely. Toss them in your compost heap to form a rich mixture with other ingredients, and if you want to speed up the composting process: turn your compost regularly, make sure the mixture isn’t too moist, and ensure a good balance of nitrogen and carbon. 

3: Coffee Grounds ...
Even your garden loves coffee! While some plants are more sensitive to caffeine (coffee grounds can inhibit the growth of certain plants) coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Your soil will lap it up. 
As you would with banana peels, add your leftover coffee grounds to the compost heap.
You can also apply them directly to the surface of the soil as mulch, where they’ll retain the moisture of the soil and strengthen its structure, but make sure to rinse them first so as to weaken their acidity. 

4: Eggshells ...
Eggs are rich in protein and a staple in most meals. But once you’ve cracked, scrambled, and eaten them, don’t get rid of the shells! Eggshells are full of calcium (and also contain potassium) - this mineral can lower the acidity of your soil and prompt plant growth by strengthening plant cell walls.  
Avoid adding your eggshells directly to your soil. They take a long time to decompose, so will need some help. Rinse and dry your eggshells, then use a coffee grinder to grind them into a powder before tossing them into your compost heap to mix with other ingredients.
You can also sprinkle this eggshell powder on the surface of the soil.

Get Inspired And Grow Your Garden ...

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...


9 Oct 2021
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels

Expert Advice on GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel Growing

Learn about the many uses of a GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel with expert advice on a variety of growing techniques and strategies and you’ll be amazed at its many uses.

A GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel is one of the most valuable additions you can make to your property. 
If you want to be more self-reliant by raising more of your own food, a GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel + large or small — can help you meet many of your needs and goals. 
With a GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel, you can plant winter crops to extend the growing season and enjoy fresh food year-round. 

The Greenhouse Structure ...
Start With Simple Components. Most Greenhouses are made from sheets of shade cloth or plastic stretched over a polyethylene or metal frame. 
You can buy a DIY Kit from GreenAgric with all the essential components.

A GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnel can be small enough to fit in a corner of your garden, or large enough for a market gardener.

Provide Adequate Ventilation ... 
If you plan to grow vegetable crops in the Greenhouse during the summer, your Greenhouse will need to be installed to take full advantage of the daily sun, and also the prevailing winds.

Care for the Greenhouse Soil ...
Each winter, grow plots of tightly spaced forage crops, usually grain grasses and mixed crucifers, then rotate over the Hreenhouse beds. 
As the spent root systems decompose, they increase tilth, fertility and humus. 
Of course, using compost in the greenhouse is also a good idea — it will help boost the microbial populations in the soil. 
Mulches have benefits, too. They will moderate the temperature in the soil, conserve moisture and decompose over time to increase fertility.
There are advantages to leaving the Greenhouse soil fallow over the summer: The soil “solarises” in the intense heat, which burns off soil pathogens and will desiccate even the most die-hard slug. 

Use plant-based rather than manure-based (higher in nitrogen) composts.

Out-of-Sight Earthworms ...
The Greenhouse is the perfect place to step up to more serious vermicomposting. 
Kitchen throw-offs feed to the worms. 
The worms convert the manure into vermicastings (earthworm poop), the best of all natural fertilisers.

Winter Gardening Strategy ...
Choose naturally frost-resistant plants and count on the structure of the Greenhouse itself to protect them from winter’s extremes. 
The Greenhouse protects plants from winter extremes not only by slowing temperature changes but also by keeping wind and cold rains at bay.

Plants such as lettuce are not bothered much by freezing air temperatures. They have learned a neat little trick to survive, which is unsettling the first time you see it: As air temperature drops, the plants move water out of their cells into the intercellular spaces, so that freezing doesn’t disrupt the cell walls. The leaves go limp (and the frantic gardener assumes the crop is lost) — but then they perk back up as the sunlight warms the Greenhouse and the cells rehydrate.

The more critical factor is to prevent freezing deep into the root zone — this is the key to successful winter gardening. You could think of the soil inside the Greenhouse as a rechargeable battery. During the day, it charges from the heat energy of the incoming sunlight. At night, it quickly loses that stored energy, but it has a huge amount of heat to lose before the soil starts to freeze. 

Greenhouses: The Mirror Season ...
Experienced gardeners might have some difficulty adjusting to the paradoxes of winter gardening. We have to relearn many of our assumptions, particularly about scheduling our crops. Unlike in spring, when the season is opening out into greater warmth and longer days, in the autumn it is shutting down into increasing darkness and deeper cold. The biggest challenge will likely be the shorter day length, rather than the lower temperatures.

The bad news ...
During the darkest time of winter, there is insufficient solar energy to support vigorous growth. If you start your plants too late to accomplish most of their growth before the short days, they will survive the cold temperatures, but instead of growing actively, they will sit and sulk, awaiting sunnier days.

The good news ...
On the other hand, if you get the timing right, you can produce, say, a mature head of lettuce before the darkest days and it will stay fresh much longer than in the summer. That perfect head of lettuce that would spoil within a matter of days in June will stay in prime condition for two or even three months in the middle of winter.

When you start your crops in the late summer or early autumn, start far more than you think you will need. As you harvest, you will not be able to start new crops, but if you have plenty “in the bank” at that point, you can continue making generous harvests until longer days make possible some late-winter crops.

Greenhouse Crops ...
Start almost all Greenhouse crops from seeds, then move them into the Greenhouse when they get too big for the Seedling Tunnel. 
The Greenhouse is simply too hot for direct sowing in late summer and early autumn, when most winter crops need to be started. 

Salads ...
Lettuces are quite resistant to frost, though not as cold hardy as some other winter garden plants.
Chicories are a favorite winter salad. 
If you’ve been turned off to stringy, bitter endives and escaroles from the supermarket, be assured that — in the chill and reduced light of the winter Greenhouse — chicory’s bitterness is tinged with sweet, and the stringy toughness is replaced by a delightful juicy crunch. 

Lesser-known salads include mâche and edible chrysanthemum. Some are astoundingly cold hardy, such as claytonia (or miner’s lettuce) and minutina (Herba stella). And don’t forget scallions as an easily grown addition to winter salads.

Cooking Greens ...
Spinach is extremely cold hardy. Make several sowings during the winter growing season. also plant crucifers — including mustards, raab, 
Oriental greens such as pak choi and tatsoi — all are tasty and nutritious “potherbs,” or cooking greens.
Chard (or Swiss chard) is a type of beet bred for its large tender leaves and rapid re-growth, rather than its roots. It is cold hardy and productive.

Green Onion and Garlic Tops also make great cooking greens. 
Set aside the smaller cloves for growing “garlic scallions” in the Greenhouse. 
Sort out the smaller stored onions, or the ones that have begun sprouting, and plant them in the Greenhouse for their beautiful and nutritious green tops.

Brassicas that head (such as cabbages and broccoli) are more likely to develop large, tight heads if grown in the late-winter Greenhouse rather than in the autumn. 
Loose leafed kale, however, is an excellent crop for the fall-winter Greenhouse if you start your transplants early enough.

Get an Early Start ...
Root crops such as beets or carrots are not suitable for planting in the autumn greenhouse — they will grow, but do not receive sufficient energy in the shortening days to “make root.” 
However, you will get excellent results growing carrots, beets, potatoes and daikon (as well as the smaller radishes) in late winter, and harvesting these crops up to two months earlier than their siblings in the garden.

I also use the Greenhouse to give an early start to tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. 

More Greenhouse Gardening Techniques ...
Know When to Water ...
It’s best to water deeply from time to time in lieu of frequent shallow waterings. Water in the morning, as soon as the frost is off the leaves, to give the plants plenty of time to dry before temperatures fall at night. 
Avoid overwatering, which makes plants “sappy,” less able to withstand cold and other stresses, and less flavorful and nutritious as well. Test the soil with your finger: As long as you feel good moisture half an inch deep or so, it’s better not to water.

Encourage Natural Ventilation ...
A closed Greenhouse gets surprisingly hot on a sunny day, even if the temperature outside is quite cold. 
Don’t stress your plants by leaving the doors to the Greenhouse closed when it’s sunny. 
Good ventilation is important for disease prevention as well.

Balance Your Insects ...
The general approach to leaf-eating insects is not so much about control, as it is about balance.
Flowers provide pollen and nectar that attract lacewings, ladybugs and other beneficial insects. 
Encouraged the lady beetle population, so you will have far less trouble with aphids this spring. 
Beneficial insects seem to migrate out of the Greenhouse into the garden as it starts to bloom, boosting insect diversity there.

Enjoy the Heat ...
Last but not least, a Greenhouse is the perfect cure for the wintertime blahs. It may be 10 degrees with a rude wind blowing outside — but as long as the sun is shining, you can step into the Greenhouse and it’s Summer !!! ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
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for Food Security

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* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

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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 ...
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Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
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We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
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7 Oct 2021
Growing Potatoes Sustainably in South Africa
Growing Potatoes Sustainably in South Africa

Sustainable Potato Farming

Good agricultural management is the key to successful and Sustainable Potato Farming in South Africa. Farmers need to understand the crop’s requirements and constraints to ensure cost-effective production of the highest quality under specific conditions. 

Adopting Sustainable Farming Practices can help farmers achieve profitability and longevity.

The humble potato is a staple food for cultures across the globe. It is a nutritional giant enjoyed by the poor and wealthy alike. The potato was domesticated in the South American Andes around 8,000 years ago but was only brought to Europe in the mid-1500s. From there, it spread west and northwards, back to the Americas, and beyond. Farming potatoes in South Africa likely started when Dutch seafarers heading for East Asia brought the potato to South Africa in the 1600s.

In South Africa, maize meal and bread are the most commonly consumed sources of carbohydrates. However, South Africans have eaten twice as many potatoes over the past decade compared to the decade before it, buoyed by a growing middle class.

This increase in consumption has occurred despite the rising input costs, unstable weather conditions and, more recently, the overall uncertainty brought about by COVID-19.

Fresh potatoes have remained one of the world’s favourite foods for thousands of years. 

Potatoes contain almost all important vitamins and nutrients, except vitamins A and D. This makes them unrivalled by any other single crop. Keeping the skin on and adding some dairy (which contains the missing vitamins) creates a healthy human diet staple.

The South African potato industry competes with the best in the world in terms of both yield and quality. At an average of 47 tonnes per hectare, South Africa’s production capacity is comparable to the USA, Germany and the Netherlands.

Under the country’s Seed Potato Certification Scheme—one of the best in the world— the quality of South African seed potatoes is attracting international attention. 

Former CEO of Potatoes South Africa, Dr André Jooste, once said: “Everything starts with seed; you could say it’s a seed value chain. Within that chain, we have exceptional cooperation and dialogue between Government and the industry, comprising not only seed potato producers but also table potato producers and processing potato producers. It’s all about the integrity in carrying out the stipulations, the level of our laboratories, the rigorous training of seed certification officers employed by the Seed Potato Certification Service.”

He continued: “South African potato producers obtain the best possible seed for production and, as a result, our potatoes are of a very high quality. When you ask potato producers in other African countries what the single most limiting factor is to higher yields, the answer is always: inferior seed.”

What are seed potatoes ? ...
Seed potatoes are used to “seed” the soil and grow new potatoes. Rather than planting from seeds produced by the flowers of the plant, potatoes are generally grown by planting portions of the root structure—seed potatoes. Just like any other seed, seed potatoes are replanted and to produce more potatoes.

Seed potatoes aren’t actually seeds; they are tubers that can be used to grow new potatoes that will be genetically identical to the parent potato. A seed potato is a potato that has grown a young sprouting stem called an “eye”.

Since potatoes are quite susceptible to soil-borne rots, viruses and pests, seed potato growers ensure that their crop has been subjected to agricultural testing to ensure they are disease-free. Seed potatoes are produced from new plants every few years to ensure vigour.

Where to buy seed potatoes in South Africa ? ...
Make sure that your seed potatoes are sourced from certified dealers. The seeds themselves should be well-graded and uniform in size.

What type of potatoes can I grow ? ...
Choice of cultivar choice depends on disease resistance, climate, adaptability as well as the use of the crop. For example, will it be used for table, crisps, french fries?

The factors that affect your choice of which cultivar to use include:
Yield
Seed availability
Disease resistance
Maturity
Market

When to plant seed potatoes in South Africa ? ...
The best time to plant potatoes is dependent on the region and requirements. 
In frost-free areas, potatoes can be planted from August to early June the following year. 
In areas where frost is prevalent, planting is best contained from August to December into early January

How long do potatoes take to grow in South Africa ? ...
Young shoots start to appear anywhere from one week to three weeks after planting. The total growth period ranges from about 110 to 150 days from planting. 
If you are harvesting new potatoes, they may be ready by day 60.

Potatoes in South Africa ...
Start with a soil test to understand how best to manage the land. 
Prepare your field well in advance – this includes improving soil health and composting.
Space your furrows evenly, and fertilise them well.
Make sure that seeds are adequately covered after planting.
Scout for pests and diseases regularly.

Challenges of Potato Farming ...
Farming potatoes in South Africa can be profitable, but is by no means an easy endeavour. There are a number of factors limiting potato production and profitability in South Africa. These include:

Management 
Climate
Pests and diseases 
Harvesting
Production costs
Agricultural dumping


Management ...
There are numerous considerations to bear in mind when managing a potato farm in South Africa. Along with selecting a potato cultivar, you need to consider the season in which you are going to carry out your potato farming as well as your target market.
Importantly, the size of the crop should match the capabilities of the farm’s pest and weed control, crop nutrition, and irrigation capabilities. Under South Africa’s load-shedding schedule, potato farmers in South Africa also have to plan their crops around a future of interrupted power supply.
Fresh produce stocks need to be strategically managed to match the size of favourable markets. Avoiding an oversupply reduces the risk of leftover stock that goes for a lower price. Excess product could even become unmarketable and discarded, leaving the farmer with no income and a bill to foot for disposal costs.
Potatoes are a cool-weather crop. The highest yields and best quality typically resulted in regions with mild temperatures, long days and ample rainfall. Most of the commercial potato varieties available in the world today were developed in the traditional potato-producing countries of the Northern Hemisphere. 

In South Africa, the high temperatures, short day lengths, low humidity and erratic rainfall of many areas of the country meant that potato production was originally limited to specific areas where the climate suited the potato cultivars introduced from European countries; namely, the highlands of Mpumalanga and the Free State Provinces, with limited production in other scattered areas. As a result, potato production was very seasonal.
Production of potatoes in South Africa increased dramatically once the first locally developed varieties were released. These varieties were adapted to shorter day conditions and more tolerant to the prevailing pests and diseases. South African farmers also adapted by implementing different planting dates and seasons according to the climate of their region. 

Now, potatoes are available year-round in South Africa in multiple provinces. 

Pests & Diseases ...
Potatoes are sensitive to a range of pests and diseases, requiring intensive pest control.
Diseases affecting potatoes include:
Late blight
Early blight
Leaf roll virus
Scab
Mosaic virus
Nematodes

When to harvest potatoes in South Africa ? ...
South Africa is one of only a few countries in the world where the climate and soils are sufficiently diverse to enable year-round potato production. Of course, each part of the country has its own optimal window for planting and harvesting potatoes.
Farmers can take advantage of supply-and-demand pricing dynamics by selling their harvests at times when potato supplies from other areas of South Africa are dwindling or not yet availabl

If harvesting runs behind schedule, potatoes ready for harvesting will end up sitting unnecessarily long in the soil, increasing the risk of soil-borne pests and diseases. They could even start rotting. These subgrade potatoes then sell at lower prices. 

As you can see, there is a lot to consider in timing the potato planning and harvesting process!

Potato Production Costs ...
Input costs for potatoes are higher than most crops. Therefore it is essential that growers use “best practice”; by testing the soil, planting virus-free material, controlling pests and diseases, applying sufficient fertiliser and irrigation (where available).

South African farmers receive zero government subsidies and are under immense cost pressures. Taking input costs, transport, marketing and production into account, potato product costs come to between R160,000 and R240,000 per hectare.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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* ...
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Sustainable Potato Farming ...

Good agricultural management is the key to successful and Sustainable Potato Farming in South Africa. Farmers need to understand the crop’s requirements and constraints to ensure cost-effective production of the highest quality under specific conditions. 

Adopting Sustainable Farming Practices can help farmers achieve profitability and longevity.

The humble potato is a staple food for cultures across the globe. It is a nutritional giant enjoyed by the poor and wealthy alike. The potato was domesticated in the South American Andes around 8,000 years ago but was only brought to Europe in the mid-1500s. From there, it spread west and northwards, back to the Americas, and beyond. Farming potatoes in South Africa likely started when Dutch seafarers heading for East Asia brought the potato to South Africa in the 1600s.

In South Africa, maize meal and bread are the most commonly consumed sources of carbohydrates. However, South Africans have eaten twice as many potatoes over the past decade compared to the decade before it, buoyed by a growing middle class.

This increase in consumption has occurred despite the rising input costs, unstable weather conditions and, more recently, the overall uncertainty brought about by COVID-19.

Fresh potatoes have remained one of the world’s favourite foods for thousands of years. 

Potatoes contain almost all important vitamins and nutrients, except vitamins A and D. This makes them unrivalled by any other single crop. Keeping the skin on and adding some dairy (which contains the missing vitamins) creates a healthy human diet staple.

The South African potato industry competes with the best in the world in terms of both yield and quality. At an average of 47 tonnes per hectare, South Africa’s production capacity is comparable to the USA, Germany and the Netherlands.

Under the country’s Seed Potato Certification Scheme—one of the best in the world— the quality of South African seed potatoes is attracting international attention. 

Former CEO of Potatoes South Africa, Dr André Jooste, once said: “Everything starts with seed; you could say it’s a seed value chain. Within that chain, we have exceptional cooperation and dialogue between Government and the industry, comprising not only seed potato producers but also table potato producers and processing potato producers. It’s all about the integrity in carrying out the stipulations, the level of our laboratories, the rigorous training of seed certification officers employed by the Seed Potato Certification Service.”

He continued: “South African potato producers obtain the best possible seed for production and, as a result, our potatoes are of a very high quality. When you ask potato producers in other African countries what the single most limiting factor is to higher yields, the answer is always: inferior seed.”

What are seed potatoes ? ...
Seed potatoes are used to “seed” the soil and grow new potatoes. Rather than planting from seeds produced by the flowers of the plant, potatoes are generally grown by planting portions of the root structure—seed potatoes. Just like any other seed, seed potatoes are replanted and to produce more potatoes.

Seed potatoes aren’t actually seeds; they are tubers that can be used to grow new potatoes that will be genetically identical to the parent potato. A seed potato is a potato that has grown a young sprouting stem called an “eye”.

Since potatoes are quite susceptible to soil-borne rots, viruses and pests, seed potato growers ensure that their crop has been subjected to agricultural testing to ensure they are disease-free. Seed potatoes are produced from new plants every few years to ensure vigour.

Where to buy seed potatoes in South Africa ? ...
Make sure that your seed potatoes are sourced from certified dealers. The seeds themselves should be well-graded and uniform in size.

What type of potatoes can I grow ? ...
Choice of cultivar choice depends on disease resistance, climate, adaptability as well as the use of the crop. For example, will it be used for table, crisps, french fries?

The factors that affect your choice of which cultivar to use include:
Yield
Seed availability
Disease resistance
Maturity
Market

When to plant seed potatoes in South Africa ? ...
The best time to plant potatoes is dependent on the region and requirements. 
In frost-free areas, potatoes can be planted from August to early June the following year. 
In areas where frost is prevalent, planting is best contained from August to December into early January

How long do potatoes take to grow in South Africa ? ...
Young shoots start to appear anywhere from one week to three weeks after planting. The total growth period ranges from about 110 to 150 days from planting. 
If you are harvesting new potatoes, they may be ready by day 60.

Potatoes in South Africa ...
Start with a soil test to understand how best to manage the land. 
Prepare your field well in advance – this includes improving soil health and composting.
Space your furrows evenly, and fertilise them well.
Make sure that seeds are adequately covered after planting.
Scout for pests and diseases regularly.

Challenges of Potato Farming ...
Farming potatoes in South Africa can be profitable, but is by no means an easy endeavour. There are a number of factors limiting potato production and profitability in South Africa. These include:

Management 
Climate
Pests and diseases 
Harvesting
Production costs
Agricultural dumping


Management ...
There are numerous considerations to bear in mind when managing a potato farm in South Africa. Along with selecting a potato cultivar, you need to consider the season in which you are going to carry out your potato farming as well as your target market.
Importantly, the size of the crop should match the capabilities of the farm’s pest and weed control, crop nutrition, and irrigation capabilities. Under South Africa’s load-shedding schedule, potato farmers in South Africa also have to plan their crops around a future of interrupted power supply.
Fresh produce stocks need to be strategically managed to match the size of favourable markets. Avoiding an oversupply reduces the risk of leftover stock that goes for a lower price. Excess product could even become unmarketable and discarded, leaving the farmer with no income and a bill to foot for disposal costs.
Potatoes are a cool-weather crop. The highest yields and best quality typically resulted in regions with mild temperatures, long days and ample rainfall. Most of the commercial potato varieties available in the world today were developed in the traditional potato-producing countries of the Northern Hemisphere. 

In South Africa, the high temperatures, short day lengths, low humidity and erratic rainfall of many areas of the country meant that potato production was originally limited to specific areas where the climate suited the potato cultivars introduced from European countries; namely, the highlands of Mpumalanga and the Free State Provinces, with limited production in other scattered areas. As a result, potato production was very seasonal.
Production of potatoes in South Africa increased dramatically once the first locally developed varieties were released. These varieties were adapted to shorter day conditions and more tolerant to the prevailing pests and diseases. South African farmers also adapted by implementing different planting dates and seasons according to the climate of their region. 

Now, potatoes are available year-round in South Africa in multiple provinces. 

Pests & Diseases ...
Potatoes are sensitive to a range of pests and diseases, requiring intensive pest control.
Diseases affecting potatoes include:
Late blight
Early blight
Leaf roll virus
Scab
Mosaic virus
Nematodes

When to harvest potatoes in South Africa ? ...
South Africa is one of only a few countries in the world where the climate and soils are sufficiently diverse to enable year-round potato production. Of course, each part of the country has its own optimal window for planting and harvesting potatoes.
Farmers can take advantage of supply-and-demand pricing dynamics by selling their harvests at times when potato supplies from other areas of South Africa are dwindling or not yet availabl

If harvesting runs behind schedule, potatoes ready for harvesting will end up sitting unnecessarily long in the soil, increasing the risk of soil-borne pests and diseases. They could even start rotting. These subgrade potatoes then sell at lower prices. 
6 Oct 2021
'Grow Your Own' Sustainable Organic Food Crops for Improved Health and for Food Security
'Grow Your Own' Sustainable Organic Food Crops for Improved Health and for Food Security

Pumpkin farmer 'started with one pack of seeds'

A farmer who is getting ready to harvest more than 30,000 pumpkins said it all began with a packet of seeds sown for his children one Halloween.

Chris Hoggard, started growing pumpkins some 25 years ago when his son Thomas was a baby.

He said: "I bought a few seeds from the supermarket and planted them and we had no idea if they would grow or not, but of course they grew on a vine and all over the place.

"We had about 10 pumpkins so we put the other eight that we didn't want out on a stand with an honesty box. That was on a Saturday morning, and by the afternoon they had all gone.

"The year after we planted about 200 plants and then we sold them all within a week. Then we increased that number to 500 or so.

"We just kept doubling up until we got the number we are at today."

Mr Hoggard's farm is family-run, but they employ about seven staff in the farm shop and have just taken on an apprentice, Mia Scholefield, to help with the harvest.

"People come from all over to the farm," he said. "The pumpkins can be seen from the road and sometimes people have passed us on their way to a holiday cottage, and come back to buy a pumpkin."

"It's just got bigger and bigger."

He now raises about 15,000 plants.

He said Brexit had made no difference to business, nor had the national Covid-19 lockdowns.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 Oct 2021
Fast Growing Veggies
Fast Growing Veggies

18 Of The Fastest Growing Veggies You Can Harvest In No Time 

Just because vegetable gardening is usually an exercise in patience doesn’t mean you can’t grow fast food.

For all the keen and restless gardeners out there who can’t stand the long wait for fresh produce, we’ve gathered up some of the fastest growing foods for you to enjoy on the quick.
 
1. SUNFLOWER SHOOTS – 12 DAYS
 The product of extremely immature sunflowers, sunflower shoots (or sunflower greens or sunflower sprouts) may be tiny but they sure pack a wallop in terms of nutrition!

Harvest by cutting the stems once they have two leaves, but before they show their “true leaves” because sunflower shoots become bitter as they age.
 
2. GARDEN CRESS – 14 DAYS
Ready to harvest in as little as two weeks, garden cress can be planted in early spring – as soon as the soil can be worked. Also a garden space-saver, a small (1 or 2 feet square) patch of cress will supply you will an abundance of this tangy herb.

3. RADISHES – 21 DAYS
 A cool season crop, spring radishes grow best in 50?F to 65?F weather. Once sown, you’ll see leafy green shoots above the soil in just three or four days. Keep planting seeds every week or two for a constant harvest through spring and autumn.

4. GREEN ONIONS – 21 DAYS
Also called scallions, green onions are quick-growing plants that can be cut back to their base again and again throughout the season. Once their green shoots reach a height of 6 inches, they are ready for the first round of harvesting.

5. TATSOI – 25 DAYS
 A low-growing mustard green, tatsoi (pronounced “taht-SOY”) is a wonderful addition to salads and soups.
Baby tatsoi leaves can be harvested when they reach 4 inches in length, or you can wait the full 40 days for tatsoi to mature to full size.

6. LETTUCE – 30 DAYS
Another cool-weather vegetable that prefers temperatures between 60?F and 70?F, lettuce seeds should be sown in early spring and late summer.
Of the five types of lettuce – loose-leaf, cos, crisphead, butterhead, and stem – leaf lettuce varieties like green leaf and red leaf are among the easiest to cultivate and are more tolerant of hot weather.
Planting new seeds every 14 days will provide a continuous harvest.

7. SPINACH – 30 DAYS
 Able to survive in temperatures below 15°C, spinach is a cold hardy vegetable that can be planted as soon as the ground thaws. Pluck outer spinach leaves from the plant as it grows or re-sow seeds every two weeks for successive harvests.
Don’t wait too long to gather spinach because its leaves will become bitter once the plant reaches maturity.

8. ARUGULA – 30 DAYS
Since arugula seeds germinate well in cooler soil, they can be planted as soon as the garden bed can be worked after the spring thaw. Sow seeds every two to three weeks for continuous harvesting.

9. KALE – 30 DAYS
 A “cut-and-come-again” plant, kale’s young and tender leaves can be culled continually throughout the growing season once the plant is about 2 inches tall.
Avoid picking the central bud, since this keeps kale growing and productive.

10. BOK CHOY – 30 TO 45 DAYS
Bok choy – also known as pak choy and Chinese cabbage – is a cool weather vegetable that is best planted in spring and fall.
Baby leaves can be harvested in a month, or you may wait a couple more weeks for full-sized bok choy heads.

11. TURNIPS – 30 TO 55 DAYS
Ready to harvest in less than two months when grown for its large bulbs, gardeners can also choose to pluck turnips from the soil early for a sampling of tender, sweet, mild-tasting roots.
When turnip greens reach a diameter of about 2 inches, they can be topped as well and added to fresh salads.

12. BEETS – 35 TO 60 DAYS
With edible bits above and below the soil, red beet cultivars produce nutritious greens that are ready to be picked about a month after sowing.
Beet leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but only snip off a leaf or two from each plant so as not to impede root production.
When beet shoulders begin to protrude from the soil, after another month, it’s time to pull the plant from the ground.

13. ZUCCHINI – 40 TO 50 DAYS
 A true bumper crop, a single zucchini plant will produce between 6 to 10 pounds of fruit each season.
Once zucchini begins to flower, fruits will be ready to harvest in about 4 to 8 days.

14. BUSH BEANS – 40 TO 55 DAYS
A good choice for the beginner gardener, bush beans are low maintenance and easy to grow.
Unlike pole bean varieties, they do not require the support of a stake or trellis, and will spread up to two feet. Plant new seeds every two weeks for staggered harvests.

15. BROCCOLI RABE – 40 TO 60 DAYS
A distant cousin to broccoli proper, rapini – or broccoli rabe – is actually closer to the turnip and mustard families.
With leafy shoots surrounding a cluster of green buds on thick stems, all parts of broccoli rabe are edible and can be eaten raw in salads, sautéed with garlic and oil, or boiled in soups.

16. SWISS CHARD – 45 DAYS
A member of the beet family, Swiss chard can be harvested throughout the season by cutting off the outer leaves when they are about 3 inches long and are still young and tender.
In addition to using the fresh leaves in salads, you can cut Swiss chard stems from the leaf and cook them like you would asparagus.

17. BABY CARROTS – 50 DAYS
Pint-sized varieties like “Little Finger” and “Thumbelina” are faster growing than other carrot cultivars, and because of their short stature, they can be easily grown in a container garden.

18. CUCUMBER – 50 DAYS
 Since cucumbers become bitter with age, it’s best to pick them while they are immature, and well before they begin to yellow.
Be sure to harvest cucumbers frequently as leaving the fruit on the vine (or bush) will exhaust the plant and slow the production of new cukes.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 Oct 2021
Another common greenhouse system and the most simple, is the compost-pile heater, which relies on the magic of aerobic bacteria to break down organic material and give off waste heat.
Another common greenhouse system and the most simple, is the compost-pile heater, which relies on the magic of aerobic bacteria to break down organic material and give off waste heat.

3 Methods for Heating Greenhouses for Free

Greenhouses are interesting environments to grow in. This is because standard greenhouse materials like shade cloth and plastic are extremely good at letting in light and heat in, and extremely good at letting heat out. 
With so much surface area, greenhouses usually overheat during the day if uncontrolled. And because shade cloth and plastic provide no insulation, at night they lose all that heat, causing them to often get too cold for a lot of plants.

The primary challenge with greenhouse growing is stabilising these temperature swings. Conventionally, people do this by blasting energy via heating or cooling systems into the greenhouse. But the smarter, more sustainable way of creating a stable greenhouse environment is to harness the excess solar energy coming in during the day, store it and use it at night. Or, if working with an existing greenhouse, to add an efficient heater that uses cheap and renewable fuels. These strategies all take understanding and research, and have some upfront cost, but the pay-back in terms of added growing and long-term savings is well worth it.

Reducing your energy requirements to a minimum is always the first step, then incorporate the strategies below.

1) Store solar energy in thermal mass ...
The easiest and most common way to even out the temperature of your greenhouse is utilise thermal mass, also called a heat sink. Thermal mass is any material that stores thermal energy. Most materials do this to some extent, but some do it much better than others. Water for instance, holds about 2 times as much heat as concrete, and about 4 times as much as soil.

Incorporating mass does two things. First, it absorbs excess energy during the day, creating a cooling effect. When the temperature drops at night, it starts releasing that energy, thereby ‘heating’ the greenhouse. 
Note: though I say ‘cooling and heating’, the thermal mass is not actually providing the energy, it’s simply storing it and releasing it later, like a battery. The size of the battery (or how much energy you can store) depends on the heat capacity of the material and how much mass you have. 

'How-to' ...
The most common way to use thermal mass is water barrels, because it has such a high heat capacity. By stacking several drums of water in a greenhouse, the grower can incorporate a lot of thermal mass. 
Barrels should be stacked where they are in direct sunlight, often on a North wall. Since plants will be warmer around the water barrels, put more tender plants — like seeding trays or warm weather crops — on or near the barrels. 

Growing with an aquaponics system — growing fish and plants symbiotically — has the nice benefit of the fish tanks doubling as thermal mass. Other variations include building concrete or stone into the greenhouse — such as using a concrete North wall or flagstone floor. 
Even the soil in raised beds will add thermal mass.

While the easiest to install, thermal mass can be slow to react. It takes longer to disseminate the heat throughout the greenhouse, limiting its effectiveness. But, given the low upfront cost, adding thermal mass to a greenhouse is a popular method for extending the growing season. It may not get you year-round growth of all things, but it can certainly take your greenhouse to the next level.

2) Incorporate a heat exchanger ..
To go one step beyond standard thermal mass, you can incorporate a heat exchanger to circulate air through the source of mass. 
This idea goes by many names. It’s often called a Climate Battery or a Subterranean Heating and Cooling System ...

There are many configurations, but the mechanism of energy transfer and storage is always the same. When the greenhouse heats up during the day, a fan pumps warm humid air from the interior of the greenhouse through a network of pipes buried up to 10cms underground. The drop in temperature forces the water vapor to condense, and in that process (called a phase change) energy is released. That energy is stored in the soil, causing the soil to heat up. Thus, the process creates a large mass of warm soil underneath the greenhouse year-round. At night, when the greenhouse drops in temperature, the fan kicks on again and extracts that heat from the soil. It’s a relatively simple, time-tested system; ground to air heat exchangers have been used in homes for decades.

Ground to air heat exchanger works very well for two reasons: 
First, the amount of available mass (the size of the battery as we mentioned before) is huge. 
Because a ground to air heat exchanger connects to the deep earth and thus theoretically has an infinite capacity.

Secondly, because air is actively being pushed through the ‘battery’ it increases the rate of heat exchange. The hotter / cooler air is distributed around the greenhouse more evenly, preventing cold pockets. Additionally, using fans allows you to use the mass when you want: a thermostat kicks the fan on and off at certain set temperatures. i.e., the fan will start pumping warm air down into the soil when the greenhouse reaches a set temperature (say 15°C) Thus, an underground heat exchanger gives you some control over thermal mass; it’s kind of like taking thermal mass and making it smarter.

Variations ...
The material of the battery can vary. Some people backfill the area underneath the greenhouse with gravel or stones instead of soil. If you already have a greenhouse, or can’t excavate on your site to do much ground work, you can create an alternative battery above ground. You can build an insulated mass of soil or other material, such as a box of river rocks in front of the greenhouse. The system works the same way, only the location of the thermal mass is different.

3) Use an efficient renewable-powered heater ..
The above systems show you how to harness the sun and store solar energy, which is a good first step to natural heating. If additional heating is needed, consider a highly efficient heating system that runs off of cheap and renewable fuel.

Rocket mass heater ...
One of the common systems used in greenhouses is the rocket mass heater, a super efficient variation of a wood stove. Instead of just exhausting hot air straight out of a chimney like a standard wood stove does, the rocket mass heater first circulates the hot air through a mass of cob, brick or stone before it’s exhausted out. The air warms the mass which holds the heat and slowly radiates it back into the greenhouse over a long period of time, even after the stove is stopped burning. The rocket mass heater also uses a double combustion chamber, making it much more efficient than a standard wood stove — a couple hours of a burn with a small amount of wood can heat a greenhouse overnight. Most rocket mass heaters are DIY systems; you will have to investigate and design a system that fits for your greenhouse using the plethora of plans and explanations online.

Another common greenhouse system and the most simple, is the compost-pile heater, which relies on the magic of aerobic bacteria to break down organic material and give off waste heat. 
Like the underground heat-exchanger, a compost heater also relies on a heat exchanger: water is circulated through tubes running through a large compost pile. Because of the aerobic decomposition, a compost pile can maintain temperatures of 40°C to 70°C 
The heated water is then is circulated through the greenhouse where it dispenses heat. 
You must first build your compost pile with the right material and consistency to get it to a high temperature, and keep adding to it or re-building the pile as it decomposes. 
However, a large, properly constructed pile can keep a 90 to 180 square meter greenhouse heated for a winter. For these reasons, compost pile heaters are often best suited for Greenhouses.

Summary ...
Which way to go? Several factors play in ...
What are your goals ...
How much space are you trying to heat, and to what degree ...
Each system has a different capacity for heating. 
How much control do you want to have? 
Some systems are active and some are passive. 
i.e., You can crank up a rocket mass heater but there’s not much you can do to change water barrels ...

What constraints are you already working with? 
i.e., difficult/rocky soils will rule out an underground heat-exchanger.
Think about how much floor space in the greenhouse you have for things like water barrels. And most importantly think about the time and labour involved in installing each system, as well as the on-going time/labour that it can take to run each system 
i.e., an underground heat exchanger can be automated, whereas a rocket mass heater cannot be. 
Again, while you need to do some homework upfront, having a warm greenhouse churning out fresh food throughout the winter and for Free is the best payoff you can get.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...


1 Oct 2021
https://completefarmer.com
https://completefarmer.com

How Complete Farmer is Revolutionising Access to Global Markets for Smallholder Farmers in Africa

In recent years, Ghana’s agricultural sector has attracted a growing amount of investment and interest due to its potential for sustainable growth and the fact it could employ much of the country’s population, particularly those in rural areas.

USAID launched a $19 million dollar project in the country earlier this year, which is aimed at catalysing $261 million in private sector financing to boost the agribusiness sector in Ghana over the next five years. Such investment has created opportunities for a new generation of agritech entrepreneurs who are seizing the moment to create innovative solutions to bolster farming value chains in Ghana.

The Org spoke to Desmond Koney, Co-founder of Complete Farmer, about the journey to creating a scalable agritech solution that is helping farmers in Ghana and Togo access global value chains using the company’s technology.

Desmond Koney, who is a mechanical engineer by profession, got into agriculture after his dad, a smallholder farmer, passed away and he had to take over the responsibilities of looking after their farm. In the first two years under his helm the farm failed, and the engineer in him wanted to understand what the attributing factors to the failure were.

The answer to this problem was to build Complete Farmer in 2017, which is a digital marketplace that links FMCGs/commodity traders needing high volumes of agricultural commodities with farmers that are linked to the digital platform. Commodity buyers get matched with farmers that can supply the commodities based on the buyer’s specifications, using data collected through the platform.

“We are like the Amazon for the commodity traders and Uber or Shopify for the local farmers,” Koney said. The company has proprietary protocols which allow the farmers to follow a systemic approach on how to grow crops, and it then ships the products on behalf of the farmers to the buyer. 

Complete Farmer´s revenue is derived from taking a commission of the farmer’s net profit for the produce sold on its platform. Koney acknowledged that success for the company lies in linking up as many farmers as possible onto the platform. To do so, the team has introduced a service offering where ordinary people can buy a farm in a local country and Complete Farmer gives them the ability to manage it remotely using satellite imagery.

“The remote farmer can decide which buyers they want to sell to and make the money on the production and most of the data collected is put on the blockchain so there is full transparency,” Koney said. The platform supplies commodities to buyers in Singapore, Japan, China, India, the UAE, Germany, Netherlands and the U.K. It currently operates in Ghana and Togo and it is planning to expand into East Africa and Southern Africa by Q2 2022.

To fund this expansion Complete Farmer raised a seed round of $1.5 million during 2020 from Ingressive Capital and the team is planning to raise a series A round of $ 7 million dollars later this year. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of buyers were looking to secure their food supply and export demand grew. This has not been without any challenges, which were magnified during the heavy lockdowns when the global supply chains were disrupted.

Complete Farmer is looking proactively at how climate change might affect its business model and is looking at ways to help farmers invest in climate resistant technology and irrigation systems. The team is also looking at how it can leverage the data gathered to help the farmers get access to financing, by building a credit record through the information they gather on the platform.

Currently, Complete Farmer has a youthful team of 30 who have brought diverse skill sets and approaches to getting problems solved. “What we've gotten in return is a lot of creativity and innovation, but at the expense of experience,” Koney said. “We are investing in a lot of training to counter this and are building capacity for the company. Domain specific roles like agronomists have been given to highly skilled individuals with technical experience.”

He said the long-term objective was to do farming in Africa what Alibaba did for manufacturing in Asia. “We want to build a platform that revolutionizes the agricultural industry in Africa and want to be the go-to marketplace where industries and farmers connect and suppliers can have a credible platform to source from, '' Koney said.

The team has started doing lots of research to make sure they are pioneers in finding innovative ways to keep feeding growing populations, and they are currently building protocols that use regenerative agriculture and localizing the approach. Koney added they were just scratching the surface of what they could do to revolutionize agriculture in Africa using a data-driven approach.

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...

30 Sep 2021
Health Benefits of Garlic ... 1. Help Lower Blood Pressure 2. Help Quell Inflammation 3. Help Lower Cholesterol 4. Support Immune Function 5. Reduce Blood Clotting 6. Garlic Provides a Host of Antioxidants 7. Garlic Makes Other Healthy Foods Taste Great
Health Benefits of Garlic ... 1. Help Lower Blood Pressure 2. Help Quell Inflammation 3. Help Lower Cholesterol 4. Support Immune Function 5. Reduce Blood Clotting 6. Garlic Provides a Host of Antioxidants 7. Garlic Makes Other Healthy Foods Taste Great

Sound advice on how and when to plant garlic for optimal returns.

Tips for growing bigger garlic bulbs ...
Egyptian white, Egyptian pink and giant garlic have been planted for many generations in South Africa and these cultivars have adapted well to local climates. 

There are a few varieties of garlic to choose from in South Africa. The most common is the ever-popular Egyptian pink and white variety. This type of garlic is adapted to local conditions, and is a strong grower with a pungent taste.

The Egyptian variety has an exceptionally long shelf life and can be kept in storage for long periods of time. The giant variety is more suitable for areas with higher humidity.

Giant garlic also takes two months longer to grow than traditional garlic. The Spanish variety has fewer but bigger cloves. It is appealing to the eye and its creamy taste makes it popular with consumers.

Start with good-quality seed ...
Good-quality seed forms the foundation of a good harvest, and it is impossible to harvest a great crop from poor-quality seed. A common mistake that people make is that they buy cheap, fresh garlic off the shelves and plant those seeds.

Seeds bought off the shelf are often sterile and will not produce sizeable bulbs. It is important to buy seed from a reputable repeatable seed supplier.

Plant at the right time ...
Garlic is a winter crop not only because it prefers lower temperatures, but also because it prefers shorter days, when less photosynthesis takes place. During winter, the plant thus puts its energy towards bulb growth and produces bigger bulbs.

There will also be less vegetative growth of its leaves. Garlic thrives at temperatures of between 13°C to 24°C. This means that garlic is suitable for just about any climatic region in South Africa.

If you are in the warmer parts of the country, applying mulch on top of your garlic will help to bring temperatures down. Mulch also helps in combatting weeds. The right time to plant in the central and eastern parts of South Africa is February to March.

You can plant up to the middle of May in the western parts of the country. It is important to stay within the right time frame when planting garlic.

Do a proper soil analysis before planting ...
The importance of a proper soil analysis cannot be overestimated. The pH of the soil for garlic has to be around 6,5 for optimal results. Garlic is a heavy feeder and requires high fertility to do its best.

When nutrients are at their optimum level, plants are healthy and bulb size is maximised. Poor soil fertility is one of the most overlooked factors affecting bulb size at harvest and may very well be prevented by having a proper soil analysis done, as well as adding the correct fertiliser at the correct stage of growth.

Many inexperienced growers wrongly believe that a thin layer of compost will meet the nutritional needs of their garlic plants. They also believe that a good dose of manure should be adequate for their garlic crop to produce its maximum potential yield.

It is true that soil may benefit from adding organic matter, but it does not mean that the nutrient levels will be high enough for producing good-quality garlic.

Each farmer’s soil is unique and one simply cannot copy and paste the fertilising programme that works for someone else. It is essential to get your soil analysed. It is quick and cheap to do and there are laboratories all around the country who will happily assist and advise you.

Often organic or natural growers feel that they need no soil test. This is a guessing game and may lead to nutritional deficiencies or over-fertilisation without the grower being aware of it. Proper fertilisation affects the taste, shelf life, and size of the garlic bulb. By using the right fertiliser, you will be rewarded when taking your product to the market.

While it depends on location, soil is generally low in nitrogen. However, it is important that you don’t over-fertilise with nitrogen. This can cause excessive growth of the leaves of the plants and result in underdeveloped bulbs. The aim of fertilising is to apply just enough nutrients to grow healthy plants and not to cause excessive leaf development.

Be careful when applying fertiliser. Over-fertilisation can cause your plants to burn, especially when they’re young. This can happen with synthetic or organic fertilisers, such as urea or fresh chicken manure.

Irrigation ...
It is advisable to irrigate plants after fertilising so that the nutrients can move to the roots to feed them. Drip, irrigation is good for garlic.

Drip irrigation is ideal because it saves a lot of water. It is a good idea to get a humidity meter to test how wet the soil is at root depth as it can be deceiving when one looks at the surface of the soil to judge how wet it is. Garlic needs 25mm of water per week.

Harvest at the right time ...
Garlic goes through a stage of dormancy during the coldest months of winter. Bulb formation is initiated in response to the longer days and warmer temperatures of late spring around September and the garlic bulb grows exponentially during this time.

It is important to decrease irrigation during this time. When 30% of the garlic leaves start to turn brown or fall over it is ready to be harvested.

Health Benefits of Garlic ...
1. Help Lower Blood Pressure
2. Help Quell Inflammation
3. Help Lower Cholesterol
4. Support Immune Function
5. Reduce Blood Clotting
6. Garlic Provides a Host of Antioxidants
7. Garlic Makes Other Healthy Foods Taste Great

'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
Tik Tok : @GreenAgric
GreenAgric has an online chat facility via our website
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 ...


29 Sep 2021
Growing 'Superfood' Turmeric
Growing 'Superfood' Turmeric

How To Grow Turmeric No Matter Where You Live

Turmeric is deliciously beautiful and bright yellow spice that is native to Southern Asia and is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine.

You’ll most likely recognise it from all those times you devoured flavorful curries, stews, even cake, influenced by Indian dishes. It should come as no surprise that India just happens to be the world’s leading producer and exporter of turmeric.

If you have a good thing, you should share it, so today we are going to talk you through the why and how of bringing this amazing tropical plant to where you are. Possibly somewhere outside of the tropics…

Have you ever given thought to how you could grow turmeric at home?

Turmeric, being a tropical plant, likes both the heat and the rain. Or rather, warm and humid conditions. Yet, it doesn’t like full sun when the temperatures are soaring every day. In fact, turmeric can even tolerate partial shade.

One thing that turmeric cannot handle, is frost. This makes it more ideal for those who are gardening in mild to warm climates.

So, what is a curious gardener with colder winters and the intent to grow turmeric to do?

Well, turmeric can be grown in large pots, provided that you can accommodate them in an indoor space when those unreliably cold temperatures come along.

It is one thing to grow and tend to an exotic plant.

But can you truly harvest anything after all the hard work that goes into caring for a non-native plant?

In online forums, and in their own heads, wondering if it is really worth all the trouble to source, plant, tend and eventually harvest something that is as good as store-bought – if not better.

As for growing turmeric in a pot, while your harvests may be small, they will be intensely flavorful. After all, a little bit goes a long way. Just like with saffron, where you use just a few tiny threads of the crocus flower to make the meal mouthwateringly delicious.

Did you know that ginger can also be grown in pots indoors or in your very own backyard?

What is turmeric? ...
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herbaceous perennial plant that also happens to be a rhizome. A rhizome being a creeping root that stores an abundance of starches and proteins necessary for its survival underground.

 A turmeric rhizome ...
Turmeric belongs to the same plant family as ginger – Zingiberaceae – another fantastic rhizome with roots in Southern Asia.

Most people would only be able to recognize turmeric by its powdered appearance only.

Powdered turmeric is responsible for the bright orange color of many curry dishes.

If and when you have the chance to grow it yourself, you will find out firsthand what the turmeric tubers look like. As well as having the chance to admire the 3 ft. green hosta-like leaves which spring up from the ground.
Turmeric leaves bare a striking resemblance to hosta leaves.

Benefits of using Turmeric ...
Turmeric has reached a certain “superfood” status in recent years.
As a pain reliever, turmeric works well.
That being said, here are a few more good reasons why you should be consuming turmeric on a need-to-eat basis:
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects ...
it may prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer, due to its generous antioxidants.
Turmeric as a pain reliever eases arthritis symptoms.
Turmeric lowers cholesterol.
and it can improve your immune system.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the turmeric rhizome which not only gives it the yellow color, but also what makes it so beneficial for the entire body.

Why grow turmeric ? ...
Turmeric is not only food, it is a fantastic source of antioxidants as well as color. Sometimes adding a pop of intense color to your food is enough to lift your spirits and allow you to move on happily with your day.

When you grow turmeric at home, you also have the added benefit of eating the tubers in raw, fresh form. The tubers can be grated, ground into a paste or chopped.

If you use too much in a dish, it tends towards the bitter side. Newcomers to using fresh turmeric should start with less, then add more, to taste.

Where to find fresh turmeric for eating ? ...
If you truly want to experience the flavor of turmeric, it is suggested to eat it fresh. In this way, you can also decide whether or not it is worth the work/struggle/joy of tending to it for several months before harvest.

You can usually find raw turmeric rhizomes at specialist grocery stores, including Indian grocers. Other times at natural/whole food stores or Asian markets. But be prepared to pay a price! This depends on your location of course, though when the nearest source is more than a 4-hour drive away (8 hours round trip!), it makes perfect sense to try your hand of growing it at home. Particularly if you wish to bring a turmeric root, or two, into your diet.

Did you know you can eat turmeric leaves ? ...
An unexpected side benefit of growing your own turmeric, is that you can also eat the leaves.
This is something that definitely won’t happen when you are buying fresh turmeric from the store. Because just like other uncommon greens to eat, such as beet and carrot tops, they will wilt long before they are consumed.
The leaves, an understatement compared to the rhizomes, are also very special in cooking.
Turmeric leaves can be used whole (like banana leaves) for wrapping fish and other items placed over the grill. They can also be dried and ground into a green powder for flavoring other Indian-inspired dishes.

Once your homegrown turmeric starts producing, give it a try. Just remember to harvest one or two leaves from each plant, so as not to stress it. Unless you are harvesting your rhizomes all at once, in which case you will have all the leaves you would ever care to eat from.

Sourcing turmeric for planting ...
Because store-bought organic turmeric rhizomes can be successfully planted and harvested. The focus here being organic.
You can also source your turmeric rhizomes and plants online.

Once your turmeric gets growing ...
You will be able to replant your own turmeric rhizomes – just as you would Jerusalem artichokes. From then on, you will have a free source of propagation material.

Where to grow turmeric ...
Turmeric can be grown outside or indoors ...
Turmeric can easily be grown in pots, no matter where you live.
Keep in mind that your plants will need access to full sun ranging to partial shade. The soil it is potted in should be rich in organic matter, so feel free to add compost liberally.

While turmeric loves both heat and moisture, the soil must be well-draining. Otherwise, the roots may rot – and you will have to start over from the beginning.

Soil pH can range from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, leaving you with lots of room to experiment.

You don’t need to grow turmeric in a greenhouse per se, though it wouldn’t hurt the plant one bit. You can also leave it out on the balcony, or the patio for a tropical look, bringing it in when temperatures dip at night.

Planting turmeric – choosing a pot ...
Choose a pot that is at least 30 cms deep, with the same width (or larger). The tubers will need plenty of space to grow freely beneath the soil surface.

Plant them as you would potatoes, or ginger, about 5cms underneath the soil surface. 2 rhizomes per pot should be sufficient.

The planting process of turmeric rhizomes ...
break, or cut, larger turmeric rhizomes into smaller pieces, leaving a minimum of two buds on each segment.
fill your pot with well-draining soil
plant your turmeric rhizomes 5cms below the soil with buds facing upwards – not downwards.
water the soil deeply, keeping it moist throughout the season, being sure not to waterlog the roots.
and then, as with most gardening related tasks, comes the waiting.
Perhaps even more waiting than you would expect for a few tubers to emerge.
So, don’t forget where you have planted them.

Even in pots, they will take their time. Just be sure that the soil is warmer than 15°C before planting. Then begin the waiting process, for not all plants shoot up so quickly as sunflowers and sunchokes.

How long does it take to grow turmeric ? ...
Turmeric will mature in 200 to 360 days. Yes, even up to a year.
Trust me, it is one of those harvests that is well worth the wait.
In the meantime, your turmeric will grow to great heights of 1 meter, expanding 10cms in width. Make sure to leave plenty of room when growing it in the garden. And be sure to plant in a large enough pot, so as not to restrict growth.

Growing turmeric in a warmer climate ...
The ideal temperature range for growing turmeric is 15°C - 30°C. If you have that climate, your turmeric is as good as gold. But, if the temperature drops below 15°C the plant may suffer.

Just be sure that the soil is rich and well-draining. You might want to incorporate compost into the soil before planting, then cover with a thin layer of mulch to retain enough moisture.

Your turmeric will need to be watered periodically throughout the growing season. Keep it wet, but not too wet.

Overwintering turmeric in the ground ...
In tropical climates, turmeric can be planted year round. But it is still best to plant at the beginning of summer as soon as soil temperatures have warmed up.

As the growing season progresses and turns into winter, in order to overwinter your turmeric rhizomes in the ground, you will have to do two things ...
reduce watering once the leaves begin to turn yellow and wilt.
finally, cut the stalks all the way back to the ground.
Also add a thick insulating mulch layer of 15cms to help the rhizomes overwinter.

If you are the cautious type, you can always harvest the tubers by digging them up, drying them out and gently removing excess soil. Store them in a cool, dry place until they can be replanted next growing season.

Caring for your growing turmeric ...
Growing turmeric is almost too easy.
Once planted, you won’t have a lot to do, other than sit back and watch your turmeric grow.

If leaves become dry, you can remove them with a pair of pruners. Other than that, you shouldn’t need to clip back any leaves. Unless you are eating the occasional one.

Turmeric is also very hardy when it comes to dealing with pests and diseases. The biggest threat being overwatering, which can cause rhizome rot. From time to time, your turmeric may face the challenges of spider mites and leaf spot.

If slugs or snails are approaching your turmeric leaves in hopes of a feast, your first line of defense should be diatomaceous earth, or dried eggshells.

Let it grow and get ready to harvest the freshest turmeric rhizomes you have ever eaten.

Harvesting turmeric ...
Turmeric rhizomes are to be harvested in autumn.
You know it is almost time when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die back. As you dig them up, be sure to dig in a wide enough circle not to cut into the rhizomes. Gently pull on the remaining stems to ease them out of the ground.

If you have grown the turmeric rhizomes in a pot, harvesting is even easier. Set the pot on its side, preferably outside, and pull on the remaining greens. Your tubers should come out in one big bundle.

Once the rhizomes are out of the soil, let the soil on them dry. Then gently brush off the excess soil, breaking the harvest apart only as needed.

You could also give them a quick rinse under running water, being sure to dry them out sufficiently afterwards. They must be cured before storing for winter.

How long can you make your turmeric harvest last ? ...
Fresh turmeric will last in the fridge for just a couple of weeks. Three weeks, if it is unpeeled.
Or up to 6 months in the freezer. When you grow your own turmeric organically, it is easy enough to just pop one out of the freezer and grate it fresh, skin and all. No need to bother with peeling – but if you still decide to do so, it is best done with a spoon.

However, if you want to enjoy your turmeric harvest for an extended period of time, drying it will be your best bet for having that delicious and nutritious yellow spice throughout the year.

Drying and grinding turmeric ...
You don’t need anything fancy to get the job done right. People have been grinding and powdering turmeric for thousands of years. Yes, it takes some muscle to get it done, but as a gardener, you’ve probably done at least a thousand more difficult things.

If you are appliance-oriented, you can still use that equipment too. Although it takes away, just a little bit, from the ancient thrill of lovingly preparing food by hand.

All good things are worth the wait.

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