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27 Apr 2022
The Greta Effect
The Greta Effect

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26 Apr 2022
The Greta Effect
The Greta Effect

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Looking for South Africa's version ...
of the Greta Effect ...
Is that You or someone you know ?

Must have a Passion for Sustainable Farming and the Growing of No-Till Organic Food Crops

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30 Mar 2022
Stop the War in Ukraine
Stop the War in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin and Russia are Solely Responsible for the Latest Increases in Food Prices ...

All around the world, prices for food are soaring and reaching levels we have not seen in over a decade ...

Covid, droughts, storms and the high cost of energy and fuel, have already led to drastic price increases over the past two plus years ...

But when it comes to the current record-level food prices, responsibility lies with one man alone ...
Vladimir Putin !!! ...

It is in our common interest to ensure that President Putin's war of aggression does not cause more suffering, hunger and crises than it has so far ...

The Russian president is waging an arbitrary war of aggression against Ukraine. 

His military is bombing residential buildings and maternity hospitals - killing men, women and children. 

Putin's War of Aggression is also making people around the world go hungry, because Ukraine is one of the world's most important breadbaskets.

° The Russian army is purposefully targeting grain silos, tractors and fields. 

° Ukrainian farmers are unable to plant their crops due to the war. 

° Russia is blocking the export of grain crops from Ukraine harbours.

Worldwide Hunger is being used as an instrument of war !!! ...

As a result, the war in Ukraine will destroy livelihoods on the African continent, in the Arab world and in other regions that import a large share of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia - through ports in which ships can now no longer dock nor depart.

Since the beginning of the war, the global price of wheat has doubled, the price of food oil has also risen sharply, and the already high cost of fertiliser has added to the cost of food production.

Russia claims that European sanctions on Moscow have caused the increase in the price of wheat. BullShit !!! ...

The reality is that not a single sanction is directed at food shipments. 

Europe and the West have reacted to President Putin's war of aggression by imposing targeted sanctions against those in Moscow who have drawn up the plans for this destruction.

We do not want war - neither this one, nor any other war !!! ...

Because we believe in the vow that the international community made in the Charter of the United Nations: Reaffirming the "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small".

Many people in Russia, as well, do not want this war. And President Putin knows this. That is exactly why he decreed that this war may not be called a war in his country.

What happens in one part of the world has a direct impact on other parts. Consequently, we must assume responsibility for each other, as a global community. This holds true for the climate crisis, which we can only overcome by acting in concert, and it holds just as true for this war.

Putin's War of Aggression is not a purely European or Western affair. It affects us ALL OF US - by undermining international law, which makes our world a less safe place, and by driving up prices for food, which creates more hunger, suffering and instability across the globe.

Remaining 'neutral' is not an answer - but rather a luxury that causes hunger !!! ...

GreenAgric has been advising the way forward for the past two years and more ...

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22 Mar 2022
Food that can help prevent climate disasters
Food that can help prevent climate disasters

Food that could Prevent Climate Disasters ...

Farmers are showing that what you grow, and where you grow it, could help prevent future disasters ...

Climate change has increased the number of large wildfires occurring each year and increased the length of the fire season in which wildfires are more likely. 

Since the Chilean blaze in 2017, major wildfires have also raged in the Amazon, California and Australia, with farmers paying the cost through lost livestock and crops. 

And it's not just fires – major weather disasters caused by climate change, including floods, droughts and storms, have increased five-fold in the past five decades.

If the trend for more disasters continues, it will take a combination of innovation and smarter farming to mitigate those losses. 

The solutions for farming in a changing climate can be both impressively scientific and surprisingly simple.

The term "regenerative agriculture" includes a spectrum of farming practices, from the no-till movement to companion planting, but at its heart are techniques that have been used by farmers for centuries, and are now considered as important for reversing the climate impact of agriculture. 

The interest in regenerative agriculture has received a boost recently, as environmental scientists estimate it could help to avoid carbon emissions, improve soil health, conserve water, as well as protect against future climate disasters.

Regenerative agriculture practices, like using green manure and organic farming, could help to sequester a further 14-22 gigatonnes of CO2e.

The drive to reduced-carbon farming and disaster resilience needs to be both traditional and modern.

People can help share the stories about the food and that's facilitated by tech. But you don't trust the tech, you trust the farmer. There is a very strong temptation to look at science and big-tech solutions to solve our problems but we don't pay enough attention to small solutions that already work, especially if they come from cultures and communities. Sometimes indigenous tribes and smaller communities have the answers.

It is not just the weather that farmers need to predict. With climate change, there will also be an increase in the number of extreme natural disasters. The total number of disaster events worldwide has been increasing in recent decades, with floods, storms and extreme temperature among the most common types of event.

'Grow Your Own' ...
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for Improved Health ✓
for Food Security ✓

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GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ✓ are the Very Best Value for Money 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 via ...
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15 Mar 2022
Noisy Soil
Noisy Soil

Why soil is a surprisingly noisy place ...

Worms, grubs and roots rummaging unseen beneath our feet produce a cacophony of sounds that we are only just starting to listen to in an attempt to understand more about life underground.

The first time that Marcus Maeder stuck a noise sensor into the ground, it was on a whim. A sound artist and acoustic ecologist, he was sitting in a mountain meadow and pushed a special microphone he'd built into the soil. "I was just curious," says Maeder, who is working on a dissertation on the sounds of biodiversity at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.

He certainly wasn't prepared for the clamour of sounds that flooded his headset. "They were very strange," he says. "There was thrumming and chirring and scraping. You need a whole new vocabulary to describe it."

Maeder was eavesdropping, he realised, on creatures that live in the soil.

Ecologists have long known that the ground beneath our feet is home to more life, and more diverse life, than almost any other place on Earth. To a layperson, soil seems little more than a compact layer of dirt. But in fact, the ground is a labyrinthine landscape of tunnels, cavities, roots and decaying litter.

In just a cup of dirt, researchers have counted up to 100 million life forms, from more than 5,000 taxa. Underground denizens range from microscopic bacteria and fungi, pencil-dot-sized springtails and mites, to centipedes, slugs and earthworms that can reach several metres in length. They are joined by moles, mice and rabbits that live at least some of their lives in underground tunnels and dens.

It's a staggering amount of biodiversity," says Uffe Nielsen, a soil biologist at Western Sydney University in Australia. It's also a vital one – collectively, these subterranean communities form much of the basis for life on our planet, from the food we eat to the air we breathe.

Today, in a relatively new field known as soil bioacoustics – others prefer terms such as biotremology or soil ecoacoustics – a growing number of biologists are capturing underground noises to open a window into this complex and cryptic world. They've found that something as simple as a metal nail pushed into the dirt can become a sort of upside-down antenna if equipped with the right sensors. And the more researchers listen, the more it becomes apparent how much the ground below us is thrumming with life.

Eavesdropping on this cacophony of underground sounds promises to reveal not only what life forms reside below our feet but also how they go about their existence – how they eat or hunt, how they slither past each other unnoticed, or drum, tap and sing to get one another's attention. Life underground "is a black box", says Nielsen. "As we open it, we realise how little we know."

Understanding this underground life is important because soil ecology is crucial. "Soil helps to transform the nutrient elements like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that feed plants – for food, for forests, or to fill the air with oxygen, so we can all breathe," says Steven Banwart, a soil, agriculture and water researcher at the University of Leeds in the UK, who co-wrote an overview of the functions of soil in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Worms, grubs, fungi, bacteria and other decomposers are involved in every step.

And every soil organism produces its own soundtrack. Root-munching larvae emit short clicks as they break the fibres of their meal. Worms rustle as they crawl through tunnels. So do plant roots as they push past grains of soils, as Swiss researchers reported in 2018. But the roots move slower than the worms do, and at a steadier pace. By distinguishing these sounds, soil acoustics stands to shed light on some hitherto unanswerable questions. Like, when do plant roots grow? At night? During the day? Only when it rains ?

We humans might be among the last to discover this underground soundtrack. Birds can often be seen hopping across lawns with their heads cocked. Researchers believe that they do this because they're listening for worms or larvae below. Often, they peck at the soil at just the right moment to pull up their unsuspecting quarry.

The North American wood turtle, for its part, capitalises on the attention that worms pay to vibrations from the patter of rain. The turtle stomps its feet on the ground to mimic that patter so the worms come to the surface, providing a juicy snack.

Subterranean vibrations can also be key for what appear to be intended signals. Mole rats, living in underground burrows, are thought to communicate with other mole rats in the vicinity by banging their heads or feet against the walls of their tunnels. Leafcutter ants have been observed to create noises when they get buried during nest cave-ins. Other worker ants rush to the spot and start to dig to rescue their nestmate.

Some of these underground sounds are audible to the human ear, but many are too high or too low in frequency (as well as in volume). To capture these, researchers use tools like piezoelectric sensors, which work like the contact microphones you might clip onto a guitar. Attached to a nail, sometimes up to 30cm (11.8 inches) long, that has been pushed into the ground, these sensors detect vibrations that researchers then convert into electronic signals and amplify until humans can hear them.

Carolyn-Monika Görres, a landscape ecologist at Geisenheim University in Germany, was among those shocked to discover how much underground noise can reveal. Görres studies root-feeding beetle larvae known as white grubs – she's specifically interested in the gases, such as methane, that they emit. Biologists suspect that these small insects, of varying species, contribute substantial amounts of climate emissions, due to their sheer numbers. (Termites, for example, are estimated to produce about 1.5% of global methane emissions. For comparison, the amount from coal mining is 5-6%.)

Early on, Görres was stumped. How would she know how many of these inch-long larvae were living in a patch of soil? "Traditionally, you dig up the ground to see what's there," she says. "But then, everything is disturbed."

So Görres biked to meadows and forests around her town and buried two dozen acoustic sensors in the soil and recorded the larvae going about their business. When she plays the recordings to other people, "some say it sounds like the creaking of a tree", she says. "Others hear pieces of sandpaper being rubbed together."

Görres has learned that she can distinguish between the larvae of the two white grub species she studies – the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) and the forest cockchafer (M. hippocastani) by virtue of a buzzing that's similar to the aboveground singing, or stridulation, of cicadas and grasshoppers.

The larvae do this by rubbing their mandibles together. "One could say they grind their teeth to talk to each other underground," Görres says. "The beauty about stridulations is that they seem to be species-specific, just like bird songs."

Once the larvae pupate, they switch to another noisemaking mechanism, rotating their abdomen within their shell and banging it against the shell wall.

What are they doing it for? That isn't clear. Above ground, insect stridulation attracts mates. But for larvae, "reproduction doesn't matter yet", Görres says. To learn more, the ecologist (who has dubbed her soil acoustic project "Underground Twitter") filled containers with sandy soil from the insects' natural habitat, added slices of carrots to keep the grubs happy, and took them to her lab.

She noticed that a larva kept on its own rarely stridulated. But if more than one shared a container, they sang – a lot. A trio of cockchafer larvae stridulated a total of 682 times during their first two-and-a-half hours together.

Görres suspects that the grubs sing to warn each other away. Larvae are consummate feeders – "their one purpose in life is to gain biomass," she says – and if too many share the same bit of soil, they start cannibalising each other. In support of this, she notes that scientists have spotted larvae changing course to avoid abdomen-banging pupae.

When we talk about sound, we mostly refer to pressure waves that travel through the air. As they hit our ears, they vibrate the eardrums, and our brains ultimately translate these oscillations into sounds.

But these waves can also travel through other media, like water or soil. Elephants know this well – they vocalise a low-frequency rumble that propagates through the ground, enabling them to keep in touch with far-flung brethren who pick up the signals with the soles of their feet.

Acoustic emissions can also travel through different media simultaneously. Male mole crickets (Gryllotalpa major) dig horn-like burrows into sandy soil, from which they stridulate by rubbing their wings together. The chirping aims to court females that are flying in the air. But it also travels as vibrations through the soil where it may warn off other male crickets in their own subterranean burrows.

Some animals have adapted their ears to better catch such substrate-borne vibrations. In the Namib Desert lives a golden mole, a small, furry mammal that is nocturnal and mostly blind. At night, the mole hunts for termites in the dunes by "swimming" through the sand with its head and shoulders submerged. Biologists think that it does so to listen for prey. One of the ossicles, or bones, in the mole's middle ear is massively enlarged. Researchers believe that this helps the animal to pick up ground-borne vibrations in a process that's similar to what happens with air-borne sound waves in human ears.

Snakes, on the other hand, receive vibrational signals through sensors in their jaws. The star-nosed mole sports a strange, tentacled nose that can pick up vibrations. And many insects have mechanosensors in their legs that register pulsing in the ground.

It makes perfect sense that underground animals incorporate sound into their lives, says Matthias Rillig, a soil ecologist at the Free University of Berlin. "Sound is a high-speed signal that comes at little extra cost," he says – certainly less than producing chemicals like pheromones for communication. Sound also tends to travel faster and farther than chemical signals. The rumble of an elephant can propagate for miles. Vibrations initiated by a small underground insect may only reach a few dozen centimetres, but in a world where much is measured in micrometres, that's still a long distance.

Do life forms other than animals sense these underground vibrations and make use of them? Rillig has begun a project in which he and Maeder bring tiny soil critters like springtails and soil mites into the lab and record them for hours to test how much noise they make, either alone or grouped with other species. The ecologist wonders if fungi might be able to register sounds coming from these micropredators and stay away from areas where they congregate, since some of them like to eat fungal filaments.

"Or a fungus could respond to sound cues of danger by increasing sporulation," says Rillig. This would help ensure that its genes get dispersed before it gets eaten.

There is already some evidence that plants, at least, make use of sound to help their survival. In tests, evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano offered garden pea plants (Pisum sativum) the option to grow their roots down different plastic tubes. All the tubes were filled with soil, but some were exposed to the vibrations of flowing water (running through a tube on the outside of the pipe). Gagliano, of the Biological Intelligence Lab at Southern Cross University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Sydney, reported that the pea plants favoured growing roots toward the sound of water, even though the water itself was not accessible to the plants and no moisture could seep into the tubes.

Besides informing ecologists, underground acoustics could help us take better care of the environment and detect pests that cause billions of dollars in damage every year. As far back as 1478, "pasture scarabs were causing significant damage to Swiss Alpine meadows to such an extent that the Bishop of Lausanne excommunicated the offending herbivores", scientists wrote in a 2015 review paper on root-feeding insects. (To name one current example, infestations of the grape root borer Vitacea polistiformis can decrease a grapevine's yield as much as 47%.)

Without a way to pinpoint infestations, ground managers commonly have to resort to fighting pests like these with blanket pesticide applications, says Louise Roberts, a bioacoustician at Cornell University. "But that kills all sorts of things underground." Often, it would be enough to treat just parts of a field or golf course, since soil insects tend to cluster. "But for that to work, you need to know where the pests are," she says.

And so Roberts and her colleagues have been conducting a study to see if ground managers can push sensors into turf grass and use the frequencies of collected sounds to pinpoint subterranean pest infestations and to identify the species. The work isn't done, but early results suggest it is possible, she says.

To their dismay, researchers are discovering that not everything they detect underground is exotic and new. Some noises are disturbingly familiar. When Maeder listens underground in his home country of Switzerland, "I can hear construction sites and highways that are far away. Even airplanes."

It's still unclear what impact human sound pollution has on subterranean life. "It's hard to believe it wouldn't have any," says Rillig.

Scientists are also finding that the underground orchestra of animal activity has started to fall silent in large tracts of land, particularly in intensely farmed fields, where "things go quiet", says Maeder.

A lessening of noises hints at diminished biodiversity and thus a less healthy soil. That dovetails with a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization finding that a third of the world's land has been at least moderately degraded, often through agriculture.

Maybe soil acoustics will help more people realize what we're in danger of losing, Maeder says. He has started a citizen science project that lends people in Switzerland acoustic sensors to listen for underground activity themselves. The recordings are being assembled into a national library of soil sounds with the hope of raising awareness.

Demand so far is high, Maeder says. "The sensors are always booked."

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13 Mar 2022

UN: War in Ukraine could raise food prices by at least 20% !!! ...

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), disruption to agricultural activity could “raise international food and feed prices by 8-22%.” If the war affects the harvest, the FAO predicts that 8-13 million more people could suffer from malnutrition in 2022-2023 


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7 Mar 2022

Ukraine War 'Catastrophic for Global Food'

The war in Ukraine will deliver a shock to the global supply and cost of food ...
and the situation could get even tougher.
"Things are changing by the hour"
"We were already in a difficult situation before the war and now the war has added additional disruption to the supply chains ...

Russia and Ukraine are some of the biggest producers in agriculture and food globally.
Russia also produces enormous amounts of nutrients, key ingredients which enable plants & crops to grow.

"For me, it's not whether we are moving into a global food crisis - it's how large the crisis will be !!! ...

Analysts have also warned that the war would mean higher costs for farmers and lower crop yields. That could feed through into even higher costs for food.

The World must, in the long-term, reduce its dependency on Russia for global food production.
Climate change and growing populations had already been adding to the challenges the global food production system faces - all before the pandemic started.

The war will increase food insecurity in poorer countries ...
"We have to keep in mind that in the last two years, there's been an increase of 100 million more people that go to bed hungry... so for this to come on top of it is really worrying."

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18 Feb 2022

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16 Feb 2022
Ground Nuts
Ground Nuts

The Basics of Growing Groundnuts on a Small Scale

Groundnuts are high in protein, tasty, and a convenient and popular food. All of this makes them a potentially valuable source of nutrition in rural communities. Growing and selling them can also earn much-needed income. Loureine Muller, a groundnut agronomist at commodity trading company Triotrade, explains how to produce this crop.
Once lifted, groundnut plants should be stacked and left to dry for four to six weeks.

Groundnut production can hold many benefits for smallholder farmers, especially when included in a crop rotation programme. These benefits include enhancing the nitrogen content of the soil.

Groundnuts do best in warm regions, where the minimum air temperature does not fall below 15°C during the growing season. The optimal air temperature for production of the crop is between 24°C and 32°C. Dryland production requires an annual rainfall of between 450mm and 600mm for a good yield. Any type of irrigation will benefit the crop.

Groundnuts grow best in sandy soil with less than 15% clay. The best time to plant is from early November to no later than 25 November. Planting after this will result in a significant drop in yield, as the growing season will be too short for the plants to mature properly.

Soil Preparation ...
Prepare the land, and particularly the seedbed, thoroughly, ploughing or digging the soil and removing weeds. No plant residue should be left on the ground, as this can harbour diseases that may cause the crop to fail. The seedbed should be fine and level to ensure even germination as well as even maturing of the crop.

Planting ...
Use certified groundnut seed; its germination has been evaluated and its quality can be relied on.
Plant the seed in damp soil, as this will speed up germination. When planting by hand, use the point of a rake to make a furrow no deeper than a matchbox placed on its side (between 3cm and 5cm).
The rows should be 90cm apart; this will ensure that the groundnuts can absorb water easily from the soil and make it easier to control weeds.
Once the seed has been placed in the furrow, use a rake to close the furrow gently, keeping the seedbed even. Avoid making ridges on top of the row; this will bury the seed too deeply in the soil (‘earthing-up’), and may result in a yield loss of up to 50%.

Hoe the weeds that emerge between the planted rows as often as possible. Be careful not to hoe too close to the groundnut plants, as this may injure them and cause yield loss.
Another good alternative is to use mulch to surpress grass and weeds ...

Groundnuts take one to two weeks to germinate, and the plant will form a well-developed root system in the first few weeks.
Between 38 and 45 days after planting, the plant will start to flower.
The flowers bloom for only a day. After approximately a week, a small ‘peg’ appears where each flower was attached to the plant; at the tip of this peg is the embryo.
The peg grows downwards and buries the embryo in the soil; this becomes the groundnut pod filled with seed (the kernels).

Diseases ...
Scout the land regularly, and look for any signs of disease on the leaves. The leaves are the ‘factory’ of the plant and you therefore need to keep the leaf canopy healthy.
Early and late leaf spot can result in leaves dying and dropping off. This causes the pods to stop forming and leads to yield loss. Leaf diseases such as web blotch and botrytis cause a decrease in the quality of the crop as well as a drastic fall in yield.

Harvesting ...
Groundnut plants mature as the season draws to a close around the end of March or the beginning of April. To assess the maturity of the crop, choose between five and 10 plants at random and lift them from the soil. Leave them in the shade for a day to enable the kernels within the pods to shrink a little and make them easier to shell.
Remove all the kernels, gather the shells together, and look inside them. As a groundnut pod matures, the inner surface of the shell begins to show a brownish/blackish discolouration. If 75% of the inner shells of your sample show these darker colours, you can start lifting the crop.
Lifting groundnuts can be done by simply using a garden fork. Once lifted, the groundnut plants should be stacked and left to dry for four to six weeks.
Once the pods have dried, pick them from the plant by hand or rub the pods against a grid of some sort (wire mesh with fairly large openings, for example) to remove them from the plants. The harvested pods can now be bagged and transported to a processor or sold on the informal market.

Producing groundnuts requires considerable labour, but can earn a reasonable profit. To ensure a high yield and good quality, do your best to gain as much knowledge as you can about groundnut production well before planting!

Article Credits : Loureine Muller & Farmers Weekly

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

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14 Feb 2022
Growing Baby Carrots
Growing Baby Carrots

A Guide to Growing Baby Carrots ...

There’s always a market for baby vegetables, and carrots are no exception. In the past, top-shaped baby carrots were the most popular in the frozen range.
Frozen food producers would harvest the carrots, trim the leaves, remove the skin with a steam peeler and then freeze the vegetables.

The variety commonly used was Chantenay Red Core, which is slightly shorter than the regular Chantenay.
This variety is also used for the production of normal-sized carrots, so producing mature baby carrots of about 5cm in length requires special procedure.

Fertilisation ...
The first step to producing these carrots is to ensure correct fertilisation. Too much nitrogen will stimulate leaf growth, causing the more advanced plants to overshadow the weaker ones. 
The advanced plants will then form normal-sized roots, while completely suppressing the adjacent carrots, rendering them useless.

Planting and Spacing ...
The next step is to select the correct location for planting. 
You need 10 to 12 times more seeds per hectare in order to produce a plant density where competition for light restricts growth. 
Depending on the seed size, use 10kg to 12kg of seed per hectare.
Although some farmers choose to broadcast the seed and work it lightly into the soil with a spike-toothed harrow, the best method is to use a regular carrot planter, preferably one that plants three rows per planter bin.
This planter is slightly off-set to one side. When it reaches the end of the row, return on the same tracks so that the planter plants between the rows already planted. The more even the spacing, the better.
Spacing is important; you need a population in which every plant produces a marketable root. Too high a population will result in unusable plants, often at the expense of the plants alongside them.

Irrigation ...
Step three is to ensure correct irrigation. While normal-sized carrots need to be progressively stressed, and heavier irrigation applied in stages, baby carrots need frequent, light irrigation, as root growth must be restricted.

Other Varieties ...
You could also plant baby carrot varieties, which produce cylindrical carrots that are about 10cm to 12cm long. 
These are known as Amsterdam Forcing types. They’re usually early maturing, sweet and juicy, and very attractive.

Article Credits : Bill Kerr & Farmers Weekly

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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 .
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or via Signal or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
Telegram : @GreenAgric
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10 Feb 2022
Food Forests
Food Forests

Food Forests for First Timers

Food Forests for First Timers is an easy-how-to-guide introducing permaculture principles with each layer of the food forest. 
Simple best ways to design Organic home gardens and landscapes are invaluable for anyone seeking ways to become more self-reliant and resilient while re-envisioning living spaces to provide year-round crop harvests. 

Plants, like people, thrive in community ...
Appreciate how nature evolves its plant communities so each member benefits from its associations with the others. 
That’s valuable knowledge to bring into the garden.
A way that our living spaces can be designed to provide yearly tree crop harvests. 
When our earth is remembered as a living and responsive plant campus, we activate along with this planet’s inherent abundance.
Permaculture is a way of design that links resources, use, and harvest into a connected whole. 
Although it is a complex system of design, permaculture is perfectly suited to community-scale production. 
By taking into account the local microclimate conditions, permaculture asks how many harvests and functions can be simultaneously realised from one plot of land. 
It challenges you to shift your focus from machine-centric gardening to plant-and-home-centric gardening.

Like anything worthwhile in life, managing your food forest requires preparation and sustained effort all year long. 
As you get into the rhythm of seasons, always thinking ahead, you will be rewarded with a bounty that will sustain you.
More on this subject to follow ...

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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 ...

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8 Feb 2022
Soil Health
Soil Health

Soil Health: Farming with Nature, Guided by Science ...

Changing to a healthier production system may pose new challenges, but is worthwhile in the long run. The use of compost improves soil structure and boosts soil health. 

Two decades ago, ZZ2 embarked on a journey that steered away from conventional agriculture towards a system more in tune with nature.
They called this farming approach Natuurboerdery.
It is based on a set of principles aimed at economic, social and environmental sustainable agriculture, inspired by insights gained from living ecosystems.
The approach is much broader and encompassing than ‘conservation farming’, which makes use of minimum- to no-till, stubble retention and crop rotation to conserve soil health, and includes most of the components of regenerative agriculture, such as the use of mulching, compost teas and compost to build soil health.
Natuurboerdery seeks not only to regenerate, but to improve and actively build productive and functional novel ecosystems.

Retief du Toit, a member of ZZ2 who has been using Natuurboerdery since 2001, talks about his experiences with this farming approach on the farms Lorraine in the Warm Bokkeveld and Bokveldskloof in the Koue Bokkeveld.
• What were some of your fears when you switched to Natuurboerdery in 2001?
° We were afraid the switch might negatively affect fruit yields and quality, but our yield curve has been consistently upward and the overall quality of our product has remained excellent.
The switch resulted in higher potassium levels in the soil, which we feared might exacerbate problems with bitter pit, a common apple disorder that causes dark spots. But it didn’t, revealing once again nature’s incredible ability to balance and maintain itself.

• What were some of your observations during those first few years?
° The soil carbon levels and structure improved, creating a more favourable environment for soil organisms. A change also occurred in the weed spectrum, with overall problems with weeds decreasing.
The water-holding capacity of the soil improved, resulting in better water infiltration, less run-off and better wetting of the subsoil during irrigation.
We saw changes to the root systems of the trees, enabling the trees to seek nutrition and water over a wider area.
The healthier production environment allowed us to reduce our dependence on harsh pesticides and also our use of inorganic fertilisers.

• What are some of the biggest mistakes farmers make when taking this route?
° To give up. One of the problems with Natuurboerdery is that it is difficult to quantify or translate the benefits into a monetary value, and the start-up costs are high, as you need special equipment and plenty of compost. Also, you need to use good-quality compost or you’ll only create more problems for yourself.
Another problem is that people are afraid of change, so instead of abandoning their old ways, they continue using their old plant nutrition practices, which then double production costs as they now have to pay for the old inputs and the new more environmentally friendly ones.

• What kept you going when you experienced problems?
° With the introduction of compost, our focus shifted to caring for the plants, which helped us rediscover old truths. The fact that we managed to sustain really high production with above-average fruit sizes was also a great motivator. We saw the benefits from day one and never doubted what we were doing.

• To what do you attribute your success with Natuurboerdery?
° We use science as a guideline to calibrate decisions in line with the needs of the soil and plant, and all the problems we experienced were approached with a will to solve them.
We measure everything. This helps us gain more insight and better understand what’s happening in and around the plants. This, in turn, allows us to make informed decisions.
In addition, we’ve had strong technical support.

• What does the future hold for Natuurboerdery?
° Like natural ecosystems, farming is dynamic and ever-evolving. You have to start working today on solutions for the problems of tomorrow. We’re trying to address this by sourcing and developing talented young people to build on our farming legacy.
We’re embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution by working on data-driven solutions to improve our ability to understand and manage the relationships between production factors, such as the soil, water, genetic varieties and so forth, and on-farm practices.
In addition, we’re researching plant protection strategies based on beneficial and predator insect populations and pheromone technologies to further improve our integrated pest management strategies. We’re constantly looking at nature for ways to improve our overall resilience.

Article Credits : Glenneis Kriel & 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 Signal or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
Telegram : @GreenAgric
We are also available on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
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Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Website ...

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

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

2 Feb 2022
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels

How to Plan a Bigger, Better Vegetable Garden ...

Spending time planning before you start sowing helps you to maximize your harvests. Taking time to observe where sun and shade fall in your garden will help you to pick the right plant for the right place ...

Tender crops such as tomatoes, peppers and squashes grow best in a sunny part of the garden, while leafy greens, salads, and some herbs such as parsley and chives prefer partial shade, particularly in hotter climates. If necessary, lower-growing plants can be grown behind taller ones (e.g. sunflowers or tomatoes) so that they benefit from the shade cast ...

Make sure you know which direction the wind comes from and where the more sheltered areas in your garden are so you can best choose what to grow where. For instance, high winds can damage pole beans so they are best suited to a sheltered spot, but corn needs light winds for pollination and is better in a more open position.

Crop Rotation ...
Rotating crops from the same family to a new bed each year makes it harder for soil-borne pests and diseases to thrive. It also helps to keep the soil in great condition, because different crops place different demands on the soil.

'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 Signal or WhatsApp ...
on the same number
Telegram : @GreenAgric
We are also available on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
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12 Jan 2022
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