Cucurbita moschata, or butternut, is a summer crop in South Africa. It is part of a group of winter squashes and is fast becoming an important commercial farming crop in the country. It produces a hardy fruit with a long shelf life. Its sweet taste and bright orange flesh make it a popular vegetable for a wide range of dishes. Farmers can now grow butternut from seedlings obtained from commercial vegetable nurseries.
Commercial farming of cauliflower from seedlings can be profitable, provided the farmer does so with due consideration of factors such as soil conditions, irrigation requirements, the distance from the market, and more. A brief introduction to growing of cauliflower from seedlings is provided below, in addition to a short discussion about factors that affect crop success.
Commercial crop farming from nursery-supplied grafted tomato seedlings is relatively new in South Africa, though the practice is quickly catching on because of the many benefits associated with grafting. Using this technique, it is possible to obtain the desired characteristics of two plants in one plant. The rootstock of one plant is combined with the leafy top part of another, resulting in a new plant with the best characteristics of both.
Grafting is a well-established technique used in agriculture, specifically to develop the desired characteristics in plants. The first use of the technique for agricultural purposes dates back to 200 BC. Though it was originally only used in China, it spread to other parts of Asia and later to Greece. Grafted seedlings are now available to farmers in South Africa for the commercial propagation of vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, tomato, pepper, and melon. Farmers around the world grow vegetable crops from grafted seedlings; in fact, in countries such as Spain and Greece, 100% of the watermelon crops are grown from grafted seedlings. Commercial grafting is still a relatively new practice when it comes to commercial vegetable farming but, as more and more farmers experience the benefits, one can expect an increase in the use of grafted seedlings as available from trusted commercial nurseries.
Herbs are widely used in the making of essential, aromatic, and culinary oils and extracts, as well as sauces. Though the plants are normally sold fresh and in small batches, the dried-herb market is well established. For farmers wishing to enter the market for commercial growth, experts recommend propagation from seedlings for uniform plants, improved crop yield, lower risk, a shorter period from planting to harvesting, and better stand. Reputable nurseries provide a range of herb seedlings for commercial farmers. These plants are grown in greenhouses where the plants are protected against pests and the elements. They are chemically treated before delivery to the farmer, ensuring optimal protection against diseases and pests until the farmer starts with their chemical treatment programme.