Differences Between Grafted and Conventional Seedlings
With both grafted and ungrafted seedlings now for sale, South African farmers have more options. Where they need to plant the same crop year after year in soil without leaving the land barren for a while, it is best to opt for grafted plugs, especially if they wish to use fewer chemicals. Where they practice crop rotation and have land available to clear fields for new crops, or can leave the land barren for a year or two before planting again, the conventional ungrafted plugs work well. Both types of plugs can be used for special greenhouse facility growing.
Conventional Seedlings for SaleThese are plugs grown from seeds to a specified height and age before being delivered to the farmer. Each plug is chemically treated before delivery to protect the plant the first couple of days from transplant to the first chemical treatment application by the farmer. Plugs are delivered in trays and should be kept in the shade until transplant. It is best to transplant them immediately after receiving them. The plugs for sale through Hishtil SA are grown in special greenhouse facilities, where these are protected against pests and diseases, giving the farmer quality stock to start their crop propagation. The farmer should prepare the soil in advance. This includes loosening the soil, removing weeds, and irrigating it, as it is essential to transplant the plugs to wet soil. The soil must be kept wet throughout the establishment period. Part of soil preparation includes testing the pH level and adding the correct nutrients. Each type of vegetable prefers a particular pH level. By ensuring this, the farmer gives the plugs a better growth environment, thereby improving the potential for a successful crop. Close attention should be given to the soil type preferred by the particular vegetable. Where the farmer intends to grow a vegetable in less-than-ideal soil conditions, they should adjust irrigation and nutrients to make provision for the type of drainage and nutrient composition required to create ideal growth conditions. Conventional ungrafted seedlings for sale include:
- Processing tomato
- Seedless watermelon
Grafted SeedlingsThese plugs are also grown in the special greenhouse facilities of Hishtil SA and are for sale to farmers across South Africa. Grafting is a technique used to create one plant from two or more plants. The aim is to grow a plant with desired characteristics. It has been used for centuries but has only gained track for commercial vegetable farming over the past few decades. With grafting, the upper part of one plant, which includes the stem and foliage, is united with the lower part of the stem connected to the roots of another plant. The upper part is called the scion while the lower part is the rootstock. The scion of one plant is thus united with the rootstock of another. The two plants grow as one but retain their separate unique characteristics. Through the method, it is possible to grow vegetable plants with high fruit-bearing capacity and strong roots, giving them more vigour. The grafted plugs have also shown improved tolerance to certain soil-borne pathogens and better tolerance for conditions, such as frost. The same soil preparation methods used for ungrafted plugs must be followed before transplanting grafted plugs. Grafted seedlings available from Hishtil SA include: