Know your winter vegetables

05 May 2021 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

Crop producers who produce crops all year round know that it is time to plant seedlings of winter crops.

According to Agribank’s technical advisor for crops and poultry, Hanks Saisai, as with summer, winter has a variety of crops that do quite well in the cold months of the year.

“Vegetables get to thrive if planted in the right season at the right time that is most optimum for them. When vegetables are grown in the wrong season, a farmer may experience pests, diseases and poor germination rates which may all lead to crop failure.”

He says onions that are grown for their bulbs prefer to be grown during the winter months.

Onions normally prefer sandy loam soil, which allows easy root development and has good drainage and air circulation.

Onions require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) for optimum growth and a couple of trace elements such as magnesium, zinc, and iron, says Saisai.

Soup season

Cabbage, a vegetable normally grown for its folded leaves in the form of a round head, is a winter vegetable that grows well when there is a low level of insects as most of them hibernate during the cold months.

Saisai says cabbages prefer sandy loam to loam types of soil, which must be well prepared to ensure good drainage, air circulation and easy root growth. Such soil should also be able to supply cabbages with the needed NPK nutrient combination.

Root vegetables

Carrots are also grown in winter. Saisai says carrots need to be grown in raised seedbeds that are well loosened and prepared to ensure easy root penetration that is critical for maximum growth of the root, which is the part desired for harvesting.

“Sandy loam soils are ideal, and these soils should be able to supply NPK and some trace elements such as zinc, magnesium and boron.”

Beetroot, which is normally grown for its tubers, can also be grown during winter as it prefers cooler weather to thrive.

Beetroot also requires NPK and sufficient water.

“When growing beetroot, one needs to understand that well-prepared seedbeds are key to successful beetroot harvests. Beetroot prefers well-loosened soils that have good drainage, good air circulation and good water holding capacity.”

Other vegetables that can be grown during the winter are spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce.

“Always be advised that before undertaking any production, determine your soil status via a soil sample test, climatic or environmental requirements and water requirements of each vegetable. It is of great importance to also know the market demand in your constituency or region,” says Saisai.

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