Farmers’ Diaries: Karabo Rampete

Karabo Rampete, Rietvlei, Rustenburg, North West

We grow crops in open-field production, and in winter I focus on spinach and herbs. We’ve just started transplanting spinach seedlings that we bought from a nursery in Brits. We ordered the seedlings last month and started with the soil preparation two weeks ago.

I prefer to use fewer chemicals on my vegetables and rely mostly on kraal manure from cattle and goats, which form part of the farming operation.

However, because it’s winter and the plants really struggle, I’ll apply 2.3.2 nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (P), a balanced fertiliser that gives them a good boost. This I do as top dressing about five weeks after planting, because spinach needs a lot of nitrogen for broad, good-quality leaves.

I plant basil, parsley, rosemary, rose geranium, lavender, garlic, mint, lemon grass, lemon verbena and Artemisia afra (umhlonyane/lengana/African wormwood).

The herbs are grown organically using compost or kraal manure. We have an offtake agreement for the herbs with a woman who produces essential oils and skincare products.

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