Though it can be commercially grown from seed, most commercial farmers in South Africa propagate cauliflower from nursery-grown seedlings. Growing directly from seed often causes inconsistencies in the crop, especially because weather conditions can delay the plants’ proper establishment. Cauliflower seedlings from well-known and reputable nurseries are cultivated in controlled greenhouse environments, ensuring good establishment when transplanted to the prepared fields. Such plants are protected against pests and the weather, which could otherwise lead to early damage. The plants are delivered in trays directly to farms across South Africa when they are ready for transplanting and have strong roots and properly established foliage.
Grafted cucumber seedlings have been shown to provide rootstock with improved stress and pathogen tolerance. The plants grown from grafted seedlings are also highly tolerant to Fusarium. With such characteristics, it is possible to farm the crop commercially in areas with substandard water quality.
Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo and maxima from the Cucurbitaceae family) is commercially propagated across South Africa. Though the vegetable is often grown directly from seed, there are several advantages to growing it from seedlings received in bulk from reputable vegetable nurseries:
• Improved plant uniformity and stand.
• Better yield.
• Improved disease and pest resistance.
Cabbage is commercially propagated seedlings throughout South Africa, with the highest concentration in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. This highly adaptable vegetable can be grown in many soil types and various climates. The plant has a single, short stem that forms a head of leaves. This head is harvested for use in stews, salads, and more. The outer leaves are green, with the inner leaves being whitish. The leaves increase in number as the plant matures; cabbage seedlings only have a few leaves.
The scientific name for lettuce is Lactuca sativa L. It is one of the most important salad crops in South Africa. Though most people refer to it as a vegetable, lettuce is, in fact, a type of herb. The leaves are edible and used mainly in salads.