In the beginning, is the white canvas and it all begins on the blank white canvas. In his hand, is a pencil, in hers, a paintbrush and right in front of them both is a tin of paint. With the precision of a neurosurgeon in theatre, they take turns to embed the beauty they would have envisioned in their hearts onto the canvas. Each brushstroke or pencil line is carefully placed where it should be and in the end, the breathtaking painting hangs on the wall of the highest bidder.
In recent years, it has become increasingly common to hear of our local students who take up more than eight, ten, twelve, fifteen subjects at Ordinary Level. Some even aim higher and go for as many as twenty and still excel in their final exams with straight As and Bs.
Urban farmers who are targeting export markets should consider investing in the production of peas, in rotation with other horticultural crops. Countries such as the Netherlands and France are importing snow peas mostly from Zimbabwe and Guatemala. The most common pea varieties grown in Zimbabwe are mangetout peas, sugar snap and shelling peas.
Peas grow well in cold conditions and in Zimbabwe, the crop can be grown between February and May. The optimum temperature for good growth is between 1℃ to 18 ℃. Extremely high temperatures will lead to poor productivity.
Pea can be grown on all types of soils but prefers well- drained sandy loam soils. Pea prefers soils that do not dry out. The soil should be rich in organic matter as it enhances better growth by supplying nutrients. Pea does not thrive in acidic, alkaline, or saline soils. It grows best at a pH of 6.5. If the pH is less than 6.0, then it should be amended using lime to improve the soil condition. It is highly recommended for farmers to consider soil analysis before planting. This will also inform nutritional requirements, fertilization depends on soil analysis.
Depending on the variety, the rows are spaced about 60cm apart and covered with 2cm of soil. About 70 to 75 kg/ha seed is required to plant out one hectare of crop. When planting, sow directly into the fields where it is grown to maturity or in pots in a greenhouse, for planting out. Germination occurs within 7 days of planting at most.
At planting, approximately 500 kg per hectare of basal compound C (5:15:12) fertilizer is needed. The crop should be top dressed at first pod set with potassium nitrate (13:0:46). However, soil analysis is essential to determine the actual fertilization requirements. Farmers can also apply manure instead.
Pre-sowing irrigation is essential for proper germination if the soil is dry. The frequency of irrigation depends on the type of soil and winter showers. Generally two to three irrigation intervals are required. Soil moisture deficit reduces growth and hampers nodulation. Furrow irrigation is used generally for irrigating pea but the sprinkler irrigation method is better. Moisture stress during flowering and pod filling severely limits yield and quality of pods.
Pest and disease control
Common pests affecting peas include pod borers, weevils, leaf miners, aphids, cutworms, slugs and snails. These can be controlled by chemical or cultural means. Cutworms for instance can be controlled by spraying with Lamda-cyhalothrin 5 EC soon after seedling emergence, while aphids can be controlled by spraying with Dimethoate 40 EC. Diseases such as powdery mild dew and wilt are among the most common. These can be controlled using fungicides and cultural methods such as early planting.
Harvesting and storage recommendations
Shell type and snap type: pick when pods are full, but not swollen. Large peas are tough and less sweet. Edible pod: pick before there is no seed inside the pod. Harvesting the peas every 3 to 5 days will prevent over maturity and stimulate the plants to continue to produce new pods. Harvested peas should be rapidly cooled to 0 ℃ to 1 ℃. Optimum storage conditions are between 0 ℃ to 2 ℃, and 90% to 98% relative humidity.
Having noticed the need for multiple revenue streams, the Marufu family in Bulawayo’s Sauerstown suburb decided to venture into urban agriculture to leverage the demand for horticultural products in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
Traversing the riverine landscape along Nyangambe River, and the thick indigenous forest largely dominated by mopane trees, which is also home to lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and diverse small game provides an amazingly rewarding experience to nature lovers who visit Nyangambe Community Wildlife Project (NCWP).
Music has often been an invaluable tool in promoting ethical practices in societies. It promotes spiritual harmony or order in the soul. Plato even said that “music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”.
The post colonial government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has set aside two days of the month of August; one for the nation to remember and celebrate the heroes and heroines who selflessly participated in the armed struggle for independence and the other day for the nation to celebrate the role played by the uniformed forces during and after the Chimurenga wars. Over the years, I have realised that there is no shortage of our people (including those in officialdom) who are ignorant of what it means to remember the selfless service to the Republic those who fought in the armed struggle gave.
Human to wildlife conflicts in areas surrounding wildlife parks and safari areas have remained a perennial challenge. Severe cases of hyena attack which have occurred in successive years in Zaka have raised concerns on the need to find lasting solutions to reduce the recurrence of similar extreme cases.
Smallholder farmers in Chiredzi district are cashing in big with green mealies, a product which is being produced at a relatively low cost and in rotation with chilli and sugar bean. The fresh cobs produced by smallholder irrigation farmers at Ruware, Nyangambe and Tokwane-Ngundu irrigation schemes have attracted buyers from as far as Bulawayo and […]
The Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme (SIRP) has seen the successful revitalisation of several irrigation schemes in Masvingo province, a development that is likely to spur a positive turnaround in rural agriculture in the province.