Monday, 29 February 2016

The dangers of using chicken manure, Botswana farming

Todays post is about the dangers of using chicken manure when vegetable farming,
As farmers we know the high value of chicken manure in soil preparation so i am not going to tell you things that you already know.

However here is a little warning that we often over look, and that is that chicken's are famous for being carriers of mites, and some of these mites can attack plants, and of course this is not a good thing, in particular red spider mites, in fact often when you open a sack of chicken manure you can see these little mites crawling all over the place!

What can you do to avoid these mites?

Well first you could just stop using chicken manure or some farmers process there chicken manure by soaking it in huge drums of water, thus drowning all the mites and then mixing the soaked manure into there compost heap.

Well that was the Botswana farming tip for today, i hope you found it helpful!  If you did please subscribe of follow
More tips will be up next Monday
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

How to grow tomatoes in Botswana, part 2 soil preparation

How to grow tomatoes in Botswana, part 2 soil preparation.

When it comes to growing tomatoes successfully in Botswana a lot of planning and work is needed, especially if one is planning on growing tomatoes out in an open field.

Because it is so very hot here in Botswana one has to really prepare the ground before hand so that it holds moisture yet at the same time remains well drained. How does one do this ?

Well here is how,

1. First make sure each line where you plan on planting out your tomatoes is well dug or worked, you want the plants roots to be able to reach deep into the earth, this will help the plant not to dry out quickly and also to grow up firmly.

2. Tomatos like more sandy types of soil, so if your soil is on the clayey side you should try dig in more sand. Rember you don't want just clay and you don't just want sand you want a nice balance of the two at best.

3. If your soil has to much clay the water won't sink down to the rrootsas it should, and then if it rains the ground will become water logged and this will cause the plants to rot

4. Just sand, and the water will evaporate too quickly causing the plants to dry out in the middle of the day when it gets to hot, when it rains heavily plants may also end up getting washed away or blown over.

5. Another thing one wants to do is add compost to the soil, this will allow water to travel down to the roots, and will help the soil hold moisture longer and provide food for the plants

And thats part 2 of growing tomatoes in Botswana, if you have enjoyed this and found it helpful please follow us here, and share with others, thank you.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Cabbage pests and disease's Botswana farming tips

Cabbage pests and disease's Botswana farming tips

Recently a reader of this blog asked the question: what are some of the diseases that cabbage farmers have to deal with in Botswana?

Well each farmer, often depending on location and weather, will find that his cabbages face different diseases and pests. Hence i will not here write out a list of all the diseases and pests that affect cabbages, rather we will just take a look at a few common cabbage diseases and pests that affect most Botswana farmer's.

1. Damping off
Seedlings will collapse with dark water-soaked stems soon after transplanting. Damping off is a fungus that lives in the soil, particularly where humidity is high.
So make sure the soil is well drained.
Don't plant out seedlings in the heat of the day, rather plant out seedlings in the late evenings.
Don't plant out in cold water soaked ground.

2. Cut worm's
Seedlings are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves.
Also the larvae of the dung beetle, can also be a very big problem if you use kraal manure, goat/cow dung.
Most agriculture shops sell sprays/powders/baits.
However just by keeping a clean farm one can often avoid having to much of a problem, keep compost heap away from main farming/growing areas. Dont use dung straight from the kraal, allow it to dry in the sun, and powder it.

3. Aphids
Spray regularly, ants also farm aphids, so destroy ant nests with baits or powders, keep up this practice only in the vicinity of your field and only if this problem appears.

Basically in conclusion, keep your farm clean, remove weeds don't allow piles of garden waste to build up, make sure the ground is well drained, don't plant cabbage s under tree's. Don't use pest control unnecessarily.

Birds can also be a big problem to cabbage farmers, to learn how to deal with them, you can check out this article: Birds and cabbages

Friday, 5 February 2016

Cabbage farming tips, Botswana part 2.

Botswana cabbage farming tips part two.

Once you have transplanted your young cabbage seedlings out into your field,you will sadly, probably discover that the wild bird population will start to decenend upon your crops and start biting the growing point or head off each cabbage plant!
So what is to be done?

Well i tried first a scare crow, then hanging old music cds off strings hanging about the field, nothing worked, so finally i put up walls of shade netting around the cabbage patch,this was the best method that i found that actually worked well kind of lets say it worked 65% since most birds felt uncomfortable in the field because

1.the shade netting was always moving from the wind

2.they could not see what was happening around them

So yes birds are cabbages number one problem in northern Botswana anyway, so please if you have found any solutions to prevent them pesky birds please leave a comment

And botswana-cabbage-growing-tips-part-1 for all of you who have not yet read it.
Of course birds are not the only pest to attack cabbages, so here is an article that discusses the common cabbage diseases and pests that affect cabbages in Botswana: The common cabbage pests and disease's for Botswana