16 Apr Lettuce Begin
Wow our first blog, hooray! Finally, we begin to engage with you and share all our happy and not so happy moments and stories at the farm. So much activity happens at the farm on a daily basis and we are pleased to begin this blog and share with you our farming journey.
This week has been a week of planting, a week of thinking smart on our feet and using our trusted farmer’s network for advice. On Wednesday 11 April we began planting our lettuce, which is a new crop introduced to the farm for crop rotation purposes and also an attempt to get the last minute winter planting done leaving no land unplanted. The setting was just perfect as Johannesburg was experiencing a week of partly cloudy weather and if you know anything about farming, working in overcast conditions beat being out in the field on a hot summers day. The heat can become unbearable at times.
Apart from the excitement of bringing a new crop to the farm and looking forward to its growth, little did we know how much we would struggle to get the correct plant spacing for lettuce. Our manager made numerous calls to her farmer’s network and after what seemed like hours of telephonic discussions of back and forth calling and messaging, we finally decided on a 25cm x 25cm planting. In between rows and plants. You see, the spacing of crops is extremely important, getting the right spacing will ensure the optimum growth of your crops and will eliminate the seedlings/ crops fighting for space, air, sunlight, and water.
One thing we did enjoy about the planting, was the way in which the guys found lettuce challenging. We plant by hand and make no use of sophisticated planting machines, and it was funny to see the guys battle in getting straight lines and the exact spacing.
Besides the drop in temperatures, Dickson (one of the guys) was the star amongst the group. He planted 3 beds all by himself and we relied a lot upon him in leading us to effectively put our crop on the ground. It was great to see the team work under pressure with big smiles and making fun of those that could not plant in straight lines. Teamwork is what we value most at Green Terrace, we would be nothing without it and the guys did a stellar job considering that no one had previously worked with lettuce before.
But at the end of the day, despite the above obstacles, we completed our trial of 5000 lettuce seedlings, fertilised and irrigated and we only hope that the rewards can be much greater than what we expect and that our clients will be happy with our first attempt at growing lettuce.