The country has enjoyed great summer rains after almost a decade of dry summers. But while it is a blessing, much rain also presents farmers with unique challenges. African Farming went to find out what our farmers were up to during the month of February.
Tshidi Masebe, Vereeniging, Gauteng
The tunnels and shade-net areas have been cleared of old crops by now to prepare for the next season. Our main crops are spinach, cherry and Roma tomatoes, baby marrows, lettuce and herbs. We’ve prepared our soils and are tending to seedlings.
In the third week of February, we planted Roma and cherry tomatoes in the tunnels. Spinach, baby marrows, leafy lettuce and various herbs are planted under shade. We use the shade net to protect the plants and to improve crop quality.
Soil preparation includes applying our farm-manufactured compost. We use only organic fertilisers from our earthworm farm. It produces compost and worm tea (vermitea) that is applied through our drip-irrigation system.
We grow our own seedlings rather than to buy them in, as it is cheaper. Seedling preparation starts at least five weeks before we transplant the seedlings. The tomatoes will be ready for harvest by end-April, whereas our spinach is harvested one month after planting. The herbs are normally ready four to six weeks after planting. At the moment the construction of our packhouse is also keeping us busy.