A guide on how to organise a farm and crops to grow
Careful planning of layout and production of crops are very important in farming. In planning a vegetable farm, the following have to be considered:
(a) Crops: Decide on which vegetable crops to grow. This will depend on the demands of the available market and climate. Study the market carefully and adjust production accordingly.
(b) System: Decide on which system you are going to use, that is, open field or greenhouse
(c) Layout: After deciding on the range of crops to be grown and the systems, the layout of the land must be planned.
Care is needed since if a bad layout is carried out initially, it will be costly to change. Remember roads, irrigation pipelines or buildings are involved, thus if sited wrongly, such items will be difficult and expensive to re-site.
(d) Cropping plan: Work out the rotation plan to be followed and details of the cropping plan. This should be done early enough.
(e) Land preparation: The cost of clearing and preparing land must be considered.
(f) Labour needs: It is important to plan, especially when manual labour is needed.
(g) Fencing and windbreaks: If fencing or wind breaking is needed, decide on the type and material to be used as well as the placement.
(h) Compost area: Decide on the location of the compost area and whether you will need a compost heap or pit. A compost heap/pit is necessary to provide a place for the disposal of organic debris and also it serves as a source of organic matter for use on the farm. It is generally located close to the nursery, in an area which is unsuitable for crop production.
(i) Nursery siting: Lightly shaded areas are preferred or you may construct a lath house. Preferably, nursery area should be at most 2 per cent of total area. You will also need to decide on the type of nursery to use: seedbed or containerised. If seedbed, decide if raised, flat or sunken.
(j) Irrigation and distribution method: Decide whether irrigation will be needed. If yes, decide on the system to be used and the water source.