November-December 2017
Minimize external inputs
Maximise internal diversity
Focus on soil health and natural soil building techniques
Take care of the environment
Use available water as efficiently as possible.
Work together, learn together and plan together
General practices/ learning
Soils; structure, texture, types, crusting,
Contours; line levels
Local good practice; example Limpopo Memetje
Promoting and supporting local good practice in CCA is important. It is
possible to build on these practices to create synergies nad more efficient
Innovationstried; Example Limpopo, Memetje
Diversion ditches-to carry water to
Mulching -
Improved furrows and ridges-on
contour, mulching, mixed cropping
Greywater management and use;-ash,
tower gardens, keyhole gardens,
greywater bucket filter
RWH storage tanks
Small dams
Mixed cropping-incl intercropping
Pest control brews -Chilli -soap, onion-
paraffin etc
Planting of herbs -(mixed in veg beds eg
coriander, parsley,
Seed successions-planting a range of seed,
across seasons for continuity, Seed saving
Conservation Agriculture;minimal soil
disturbance, soil cover ,crop diversity
Planting to maximise shadein afternoons
Cut off drains ditches across a
contour at top of garden/slop
Contours-measured with line level
Stone lines/bunds-made on contour
Strip cropping-
Sand bags for erosion control-
Small nurseries-propagation of fruit and
indigenous crops and trees
Planting-windbreaks, hedges, multi
functional plants, inter cropping
Dedicated paths and beds
Soil fertility management-manure (incl
improved manure), compost, green manures,
legumes, liquid manure
Bed design -trench beds, shallow trenches,
eco-circles, banana circles/basins
Ditsela tše hlano tšeo dika dirago goretemo e be maleba / kaone
Principles Practices Assessments (traffic
light) % implementation in the group
Water Management
Cut off drains and swalesNot yet implemented by most
Diversion ditches~20% (10/52)
Greywater (filtration, use)~8%
Small dams~14%
Organic matter (incorporation in soil)-leaves, bones, woodchips
etc buried to increase water holding and fertility~60%
Drip irrigation~6%
Saving water; Rainwater harvesting in drums, management of leaks
of communal stand pipes, no longer letting irrigation water run
24/7 - Lepelle
All participants involved in some way in
saving water
Control soil movement and erosion
Stone bunds~24%
Banana basins and circles~22%
Strip cropping (aloes, sisal) and planting grass to reduce run-off ~8%
Contours-water flow for collectionNot yet implemented
Ridges and furrows-planting of crops on ridges; sweet potato,
sunflowers… ~30%
Sacks with sand for rehabilitation of gulleys~2%
Crop management
Planting in basins, mulching and direct watering of basins only~60%
Close spacing in field crops and vegetables~20% -Not everyone agreed with this
Planting to provide afternoon shade and planting windbreaks~22% -Not everyone agreed with this
Crop rotation and intercropping~52%
Natural pest control~18%
Conservation Agriculture~36% -more ideas still to be tried
Soil fertility
Trench beds~60%
Mulch ~60%
Liquid manure~20%
Compost ~46%
Application of manure (cattle, chickens)~70%
Legumes; planting for food and soil fertility~68%
Looking after indigenous plants
Stop burning veldNo one doing and not needed for all
Don’t chop whole trees-just cut branchesMost participants
Plant indigenous trees in the yards to protect and save them
Most participants
Water management
Manage available water
Increased access to water
Bucket Drip kits
-Medium cost, medium skills, including learning
and mentoring
-Medium maintenance drippers need to be
checked and cleaned regularly ; medium labour
intensive to set up, maintenance easy.
-Stones and sand are placed in a bucket
(20L) for filtration of greywater to be used
in dripping system
-The drip kit is assembled on site making
your own string drippers and choosing
width of lines and spacing of drippers.
-2 lines 30cm apart and 5 m long is good for
a trench bed and provides 4mm of
-Watering is done on a daily basis
A 210l drum drip irrigation system used in a
A well functioning string dripper that makes a
wetted circle around the dripper
Mulching the beds adds to efficient water
A bucket drip kit irrigating a 1mx 3m trench
bed with mixed crops
Attaching the dripper lines to the feeder pipe
from the bucket
Making the string drippers
Bucket with stones; a cloth bad of
sand is added on top to complete
the filter
-Medium cost, medium skills,
including learning and mentoring
-Low maintenance
-20%grey shade net tunnels of
4mx6m in size are constructed
using ‘kits’ and local materials
-The hoops are made of conduit
piping which is bent using a “jig”
a metal frame
-The hoops are placed directly into
the soil-avoiding any
construction and then the netting
is placed over the hoops and
sewn on.
-The tunnel is anchored on both
-Inside the tunnel are three trench
beds 1mx5m and each is supplied
with a 20l bucket drip kit
-Mixed cropping is practiced in the
tunnel and greywater can also be
Netting is sewn onto the two end hoops
before putting them up for the back and
front-where a door is included
The ends of the tunnel are anchored for
extra wind protection
A recently completed tunnel with a bucket
drip kit installed
A functioning mixed cropping
The hoops are fitted directly into holes in the
ground; netting is pulled over the hoops and
secured by covering it with soil
A metal jig is used to bend the hoops
The tunnel is measured out exactly using a rope
Furrows and ridges
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
-Furrows are dug on contour and soil placed
upslope in a mound
-Planting is done on the mounds and irrigation or
waterflows along the furrow
-It is possible to create cross ties to ensure good
irrigation-so water can accumulate in the furrow
and seed into the ground
-Mulching is a good idea
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 0,5%-5%
-Soil: all types
Mulched furrows in a garden planted to
tomatoes.. Flood irrigation is practices in the
Furrows and ridges used in field cropping; note the tied ridges to hold
water in the furrows
A vegetable garden laid out in furrows and ridges; planted to
tomatoes, carrots and spinach. Note the trench bed in the
front right of the picture
Fruit trees can be combined into the beds in this system
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 0-30%
-Soil: all types, and depths
-Soil covered by a variety of crop
residues and organic matter
-To save water, reduce soil
temperatures, and increase soil health
-Gardens, fields
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour
Leaf litter mulch of trench bed
Grass mulch of furrows and ridges
planting system
Napier fodder/ sugar cane, stover mulch of
vegetable beds
Lucerne or grass mulch of dryland. Conservation agriculture plot
Greywater management
-Water from batching and washing dishes
-Treat with ash to settle out soap and solids
-Ash remains can be poured into pit latrines to reduce smell
-Or use a stone and sand filtration system
-Pour water onto the ground, do not touch leaves of plants
-Flush system with clean water once a week to avoid build up of soaps
that can become poisonous
Bucket drip kits
Tower gardens
Keyhole beds
Tower Gardens
-Low -medium cost, low-medium skills,
including learning and mentoring,
local resources
-Low maintenance but bags will need
to be replaced after sometime (3-5
-Towergarden are built up form the ground by
using four poles and wrapping a tube of 80%
shade cloth around these poles.
-In the entre of the bed, a stone column is built
up using a bottomless bucket as a ring
-The bed is filled in with a pre-prepared mixture
(1/3 soil, 1/3 manure, 1/3 ash (It needs a lot of
ash to clean the greywater used)
-Small holes are made in the side of the bag and
seedlings are planted vertically into these small
holes-usually spinach or another leaf vegetable
-The top of the bed can be used for planting
other crops tomatoes are good as they can be
stake to the poles.
-The bed is watered by pouring the greywater
onto the stone column in the middle
Watering into the central stone column
Building up the tower-filling in the soil mix
around the the stone column and moving it up
Placement of the stone column in the small
bottomless bucket in the middle of the bed
Making the soil, manure ash mixture for
filling the tower garden
A ‘mature’ tower garden planted to spinach
and tomatoes
Making the small holes in the side of the bag
for planting seedlings
Keyhole beds
-Low cost, low-medium skills, including
learning and mentoring, local resources
(stone should be easily available as 500-
800kg is required)
-Low maintenance
These are intensive built-up beds with a
central compost basket/column for
watering and greywater application
They are easy to manage
The bed is circular (3m diameter, with a
keyhole in the upper slope side to provide
access to the compost basket which is
filled continually and for watering
The walls are built 60cm-80cm high and
the bed is filled with a pre-prepared mix of
soil, compos/manure (at least 20% by
volume) and ash. Lime and bonemeal can
also be added
The bed is planted to mixed crops or
divided into sections where crops are
A ‘mature’ keyhole bed planted to a mixture
of crops
A recently constructed keyhole bed. Here the central column is of gravel or
small stones inside the bed-rather than a compost basket
A drawing showing a keyhole bed form the top with the central
compost basket divided into four sections for crop rotation
Diversion ditches
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour
-Ditches 30cm deep and 30cm wide are dug
at a shallow gradient -1,5-3% to channel
water to beds in the garden or field
-Planting can be done in the ridge, adding
manure and compost
-And mulching of both ridges and ditches is
a good idea
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: any slope
-Soil: 5-35% clay, depth >15cm
Digging a diversion ditch (1,5-5%slope; 30cm
wide and 30cm deep with soil placed on upper
Diversion ditches leading to trench beds and
banana circles
Preparing the ridge of the diversion ditch for
planting-shaping and adding manure
Diversion ditch, mulched and sweet potato
planted on ridge
Infiltration pits/
banana circles
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour
-Basins dug in the soil along water flow lines
(to catch and slow water)
-basins filled with organic matter (large
amounts) mixed with soil and bananas planted
in these basins
-Or a pit is dug in a water flow line and slowly
filled with organic matter (green and manure)-
for slow composting. Here bananas are planted
on the edges
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5%-25%
-Soil: all types (5-30% clay), and
depths (>30cm)
Smaller, separate basins can be made -basins
are dug out and filled with organic matter
Step wise basins along a drainage line in a
homestead garden. Tied ridges are made
between the basins
A mulched banana circle, mixed with herbs
Rainwater harvesting storage
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, .2ha
-High cost and or high labour requirements for storage structures
-High levels of skill and knowledge (outside support and training
initially required
-Medium maintenance and effort. Water needs tobe taken out by
bucket, or pumped. Silt needs to removed from time to time
-Underground tanks collect
runoff water form
structures, roads and the
general area, to store large
amounts of water (25 000-
40 000 litres); enough water
for a 100-200msq garden for
-Large holes need to be dug
and then tanks are
constructed either
ferrocement, blocks and
plaster or geofabric and
-Rainfall: >450mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5%-25%
-Soil: all types (5-30% clay), and depths (>30cm)
Local RWH storage options in Limpopo; basins, 210l drums and
1000l containers. These hold little water
A ferrocement underground tank with brick wall for
placement of a roof structure under construction
The silt trap for a 25 000l underground tank to reduce
silt load of stored water
A treadle pump being used to pump water out of the
underground tanks behind it(40 000l)
A completed geofabric tank with brick
wall and roof for safety. The inlet
furrow for water is in the foreground
Rainwater harvesting
storage Jo-jo tanks
-Jo-Jo tanks can be used for harvesting water off
roofs (usually 2500l-5000l in size). It is important
to make sureproper gutters and pipes are
-It is also possible to use partially buried Jo-Jo
tanks as an option to harvest water off steep
slopes. Here the water can be gravity fed form
the tanks and no pumps or buckets re required
-And thereare options for using Jo-jo tanks
underground although in this case they need
to be strengthened. This is easier than
constructing tanks
Jo-Jo tanks buried for underground water storagePartially buried Jo-Jo tanks for harvesting water off slopes
Gutters and inlet pipes are important when using Jo-Jo
tanks to collect water from roofs
A home made suction pump can be used to get
water out of underground tanks
Roof area
Jan 115 43.60.9 4513
Feb 123 43.60.9 4827
Mar 109 43.60.9 4277
Apr 78 43.60.9 3061
May 61 43.60.9 2394
Jun 35 43.60.9 1373
Jul 30 43.60.9 1177
Aug 35 43.60.9 1373
Sep 55 43.60.9 2158
Oct 60 43.60.9 2354
Nov 80 43.60.9 3139
Dec 95 43.60.9 3728
TOTAL 876 34374
Tied ridges
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
-This method increases the water that is available to
plants by collecting rainfall from an unplanted sloping
basin and catching it with a furrow and ridge. Planting
takes place on either side of the furrow where the
water has infiltrated.
-Basins are created by digging out shallow furrows
along the contour lines of the slope and constructing
ridges on the downside of the furrows. These are
“tied” together by slightly lower ridges which are
constructed at regular intervals along the furrows
-Rainfall: 400-700mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 0,5%-7%
-Soil: Soils should be relatively stable. The best
soils are clay or soils with a relatively permeable
topsoil over a less permeable subsoil
A small field laid out with tied ridges planted
to sweet potatoes and maize
Crops are planted above and below the furrow
Water collecting in the furrows
Mulched furrows in a garden laid out with tied ridges
Small dams
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour
-Small dams can be dug in soils that can hold
waterthey tend to lose water and only stay
full for a short period but provide a lot of
water to the soil profile in the area. Usually
they are dug in places where small springs can
fill them up on a continuous basis.
-It is possible to line these small dams/ponds
with plastic but only if there is a reasonable
chance that they will stay full as the plastic
decays easily in the sun..
-Rainfall: >450mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5%-25%
-Soil: clay soil types (20%-45% clay),
and depths (>60cm)
A small pond in the process of being lined with plastic. The
sheets need to be quite a bit larger than the pond and should
be one piece to avoid leaking.
A smallpond dug in a community garden fed by
run-off water form the road and lined with plastic
Three examples of small dams/ponds dug in ground that will hold water ->25% clay to be sure. The one on the right is a
‘large’ dam fed by a spring slightly higher up the slope. The dam in the central picture is fed by a pipe gravity fed from a
Soil management
Soil movement and erosion control
Soil fertility
Soil health
Stone bunds
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
-Pack stone lines on contours to control water
-The stones are keyed into a shallow ditch and
larger stones are packed downslope from the
smaller stones to avoid stone lines form
breaking and allow slow movement of water
though the stone lines
-Planting can be done below the stone line as
more water accumulates there, or just above
the stone line in the accumulated silt and soil
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 0,5%-5%
-Soil: all types where stones and
rocks are easily available
A view showing the stones keyed into a ditch with
larger stones downslope of the smaller stones.
Bananas planted below a substantial stone
Brinjals planted in accumulated silt above a
garden level stone line
Small stone lines are used to control
run-off form a road and channel water
into the gardens
Stonelines are constructed on contour and can be done at any
Check dams
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
-A check dam is a small, sometimes
temporary, dam constructed across a
drainage ditch, or waterway to
counteract erosion by reducing water
flowvelocity and allowing sedimentation
of silt
-Different materials can be used including
soil, stones, wood and vegetation
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5%-25%
-Soil: all types where stones and
rocks are easily available
The same check dam 4-5 months later. It
has filled in with silt and grass has grownCompleted check dam
Starting to pack the check dam. Large rocks
go at the bottom
Digging the ditch for keying in the
stones for the check dam
Gulley forming in a field
Cut off drains/swales
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
-A swale is an earth bank constructed along
the contour with a furrow on the up-slope
-The top of the earth bank is levelled off to
allow planting.
-The swale intercepts runoff, spreads it out
and helps it infiltrate deep into the ground
-Typically, permanent crops (e.g. fruit trees)
are planted just below the ridge of the
swale, while seasonal crops (e.g. vegetables)
are planted between the swales.
-Rainfall: >150mm <1200mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 5%-25%
-Soil: all typesalthough soils that are
too sandy or too clayey are difficult to
Preparing trench beds below a swale
Digging the cut off drain/swale ditch. Soil
is placed on the downslope
Constructing a swale and a view of two swales
indicating the flow of water
Mulching can also be placed in the ditch and
crops planted both in the ditch and on the
Mulching the top of a recently dug swale
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources,
-Labour intensive
A terrace is a level strip of soil built along the contour of
a slope and supported by an earth or stone bund, or
rows of old tyres.
-Terraces create flat planting areas and stabilize slopes
which would otherwise be too steep for crop
-A series of terraces creates a step-like effect which slows
down runoff, increases the infiltration of water into the
soil, and helps control soil erosion.
-Terraces are built on steeper slopes,
-Rainfall: >350mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 10%-40%%
-Soil: all types where stones and rocks
are easily available
Stone terraces for field cropping
A view of garden level terraces on a steep
bank. (~40% slope)
A view of a slope where field
terraces have been made for
maize production (~20%
Terraces can also be built using old tyres in
areas where stones are scarce
Slope Distance between
terraces (meters)
Percent Ratio
10% 1:10 8.0
15% 1:6.7 5.3
20% 1:5 4.0
25% 1:4 3.2
30% 1:3.3 2.7
35% 1:2.8 2.3
40% 1:2.5 2.0
Targeted application of
fertilizer and Lime
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Medium cost,-reduction of external inputs
through efficient use
-Labour intensive
-Fertilizers are added according to soil fertility
recommendations, targeted next to growing
plants rather than spreading or banding.
-Lime can be added in basins or rows as
surface applications to reduce soil
acidification and maintain low acid
saturation; or lime can be ploughed into a
field/ plot prior to CA interventions
-Rainfall: >450mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5-10%
-Soil: all types depending on fertilizer
Measuring fertilizer with a
Using a planter to help dispense
seed and fertilizer at the same
Ploughing inlime prior to starting conservation tillage
Placement of fertilizer (LAN) below and about 2cm away from the
Applying surface lime in rows for bean production
Applying lime in basins using a bottle cap as measure
Liquid Manure
-Low cost, local resources, low labour
-Easy and quick to do.
-It boosts fertility for growing plants and
helps to balance small deficiencies
-Green liquid manures/ tea-use weed,
banana stems, comfrey etc and place in a
bucket of water to ferment. Dilute 1:4 and
-Liquid manure-use of manures, reasonably
fresh (cow, goat, poultry) and ferment in a
closed bucket for 7-10 days prior to diluting
1:4 for use.
Chopping weeds to add to a liquid manure brew
Liquid manure containers need to be covered to avoid
evaporation of some of the important nutrients
Animal manure used as liquid manure; chicken,
goat and cattle manure are good sources the
fresher the better
Chopping banana stems as the basis of a green
tea or plant based liquid manure
Conservation Agriculture
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Medium cost (Seed, fertilizer, agrochemicals), planters,
local resources
-Labour intensive
-Minimal soil disturbance-no ploughing
-Soil cover through stover, mulches and
cropping cycles
-Diversification; intercropping, relay cropping,
cover crops ( legume-brassicas and grain
-Rainfall: >350mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5&-15%
-Soil: all types
Different planters;
Haraka (Wheel),
Matracca (jab) and
animal drawn
planters, (Knapik-
A small mixed plot peanuts, pumpkins
and maize
Winter cover crops; saia/black oats, forage
sorghum and fodder radish
Summer cover crops; sunflower, millet and
sunn hemp
A maize and bean intercropped plot-using
tramlines (double rows) and close spacing
Planting furrows and basins by hand using hand hoes
and MBLI planterswithout ploughing
Minimal soil disturbance
Soil cover
Clockwise: Two row no till planter.
‘Weeding wheel’.Matracca jab
planter, MBLI planter
Below: Animal drawn planter
Conservation Agriculture:
All three principles
Soil cover
Below: A 3year old CA plot with developing cover Far right: A
ploughed plot with no soil cover
Left: Assessing soil cover, Mulching…..
Conservation Agriculture: All three principles
Runoff muddy (195mm)
Runoff clear (42mm)
Minimal soil disturbance
Soil cover
- Intercropping – close
spacing for canopy and
weed control
-Cover crops; summer
and winter – relay
cropping and single block
Right: Maize (PAN 6479)
and bean (Dolichos)
intercrop – Smephi
Hlatshwayo - Eqeleni
Conservation Agriculture: All three principles
Pre-spray with post emergent and contact herbicides
(Round Up and Gramoxone). Include pre-emergent
herbicide such as Dual Gold for grasses such asnutsedge
Close spacing of tramlines: 50x50 maize, 25x10 beans
One weeding is enough before canopy cover is reached.
Must be early weeding: 2-3 weeks.
Cover is reached from 4-5 weeks onwards.
Intercropping and close spacing
To ensure soil organic
matter build up
Improve soil fertility
Improved soil structure
and soil health
Reduce prevalence and
types of weeds
Management of pests
and disease
incidence and severity
Summer and winter
mixes used in relay and
Cover crop mixes; summer and winter
MrsPhumelele Hongwane, scc, Ezibomvini.
Mr Tsoloane Mapheele, Khutsong,
3-4 years:
Maize and sunflower intercrop
GM maize DARD and GrainSA FDP
Own mix of runner beans and different spacing in intercrop
Bergville ContinuedSmephi Nkosi- Eqeleni
Crop management
Planting systems; choice of crops, mixed cropping,
Crop health-natural pest and disease control
Fruit production
Mixed cropping
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost (Seed and plants), local resources,
-Easy to do
-Mixed cropping and companion planting; entails planting different
crop types together for pest and disease control
-Either multifunctional plants with vegetables , different families of
vegetables (leaf, roof, legume, fruit, or a general mixture
-Do not plant same family together-brassicas (cabbage, broccoli,
cauliflower, kale..) Solanaceae (tomatoes, potatoes, brinjal, peppers),
cucurbits (pumpkin, gourds, butternut, melons, cucumber)…
Cabbage and spinach intercrop with marigolds and spring onions planted around
the edges
Trench beds with lines of cabbage, spinach and
tomato Traditional maize pumpkin and bean intercrop
A trench bed with different leafy greens; spinach,
beetroot, Chenopodia, amaranthus and sweet
A mixture of many different types; maize, kale,
radish, marigolds, spinach and okra
Planting herbs/
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants),
local resources,
-Easy to do
-Mixed cropping with herbs
and multifunctional plants for
culinary and medicinal
purposes and also to control
pests and diseases in the
garden/ field
Trench bed with a mixture of herbs fennel,
coriander, parsley and chives
Lemon grass and lemon balm
Eco-circle with bulbine, garlic chives, borage,
comfrey and rosemary
Marigolds and spring onions, bordering a
bed of spinach
Growing tobacco-a good pest
control plant
Agroforestry options
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Medium cost (Seed/planting stock), planters, local
-Labour intensive
-Tree crops are mixed into the farming system either
as fallows, monocrops or between annual crops
(usually as strip cropping in rows)
-Mostly fodder species such as pigeon pea (udali),
acacia species (umhlalankwazi), Sesbani sesban
(umsokosoko), Moringa olifeara and Leauceanaspp
-Rainfall: >350mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 1,5&-15%
-Soil: all types
Sesbania plant growing in a field as a
Goats grazing on a stand of pigeon peas
Moringas planted in lines in a small field
Leaucena hedgerow in a field planted to beans (foreground) and maize
Trench beds
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour intensive
-A bed is dug out to 60-80cm depth,
around 1 m wide and 1-10m long.
-It is filled with a range of organic matter;
manure, dry material ,green material and
-Other layers could include tins at the
bottom for iron and water holding, or
-Bone meal and lime can be added to
increase fertility
-Bones, skins and feathers can be added
for P
-Ash can be added for K
-The bed is built up in a small basin,
planted and mulched
-Rainfall: >150mm/year
-Temperature: >5°C
-Topography: 0,5%-5%
-Soil: all types
The trench beds is built up with a shallow ditch around it and a basin inside
the bed and planted to seeds and seedlings
If available, a layer of green organic matter e.g. weeds, leaves,
vegetable peelings and remains is added after the layer of dry organic
Then layers of organic matter are added e.g
maize stover, leaves , weeds, grass
Then a layer of manure is added, followed
by some top soil. This is watered andthe
process is started again
Trenches are dug 60cm-1m deep . The bottom
layer is made up of old tins or branches
Trenches and shallow trenches
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour intensive
-Shallow trenches are an easier version of trench beds.
They are dug out to around 30cm and filled with a
mixture of organic matter; manure , dry and green plant
materials. They are then filled up with soil and planted.
-Shallow trenches are often used when making furrows
and ridges, which give long narrow lines of more fertile
soil most appropriate for larger gardens and fields.
-For trenches both deep and shallow mulching is
important, as is mixed cropping or crop rotation systems
- -These beds last 3-8 years before needing to be re-
Trench beds with a range of crops and mulchingA shallow trench being prepared
Trench beds planted to a mixture of vegetables the
bed in the background shows seeding carrotsA vegetable garden laid out to trench beds-A peach tree provides
some shade important ofr hot, dry areas
Eco circles
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour intensive
-These are small (1m diameter) circular,
double dug beds double digging entails
digging out a bed to 30cm, loosening the
soil in the 30cm belowthat and mixing in
manure and then replacing the first 30cm
of soil mixed with manure or compost
-A 2l empty bottle with holes in the sides is
buried in the middle of the bed and the
bed is watered by pouring water into the
-A tripod of stakes can be used for climbing
plants such as tomatoes and beans
A small eco-circle created around a tree with
the irrigation bottle and herbs plantedAnother example of an eco-circle
A recently completed eco-circle with tripod of
stakes for climbing plants
An eco-circle bed with the drip irrigation bottle in the
centre, mulched and planted to herbs
Natural pest and
disease control
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost; local resources,
-Easy to medium labour intensity,
knowledge intensive
-Integrated garden management; mixed
cropping, multi-funtional plants, good
soil fertility management, pest replant
plants, predator attractant plants
-Brews …
Integrated garden management; water and soil management, diversified crops,
perennial and annual mix
Sticky bands on trees control ants, beer traps control slugs and
snails, collars round seedlings control cutworms
Pest predators control pests by ingesting them and or laying
eggs Umbelliferae such as onions and
leeks attract pest predators-e.g.
Marigolds protect against root knot
Pest control brews; soap chilli garlic mixes, parrafin
and onions mixes for soft bodied insects
Brews area sprinkled ontoplants-both tops and bottoms of leaves to ensure
good coverage
Chop some cloves finely (one large bulb, or two
medium bulbs) and soak in 2 teaspoons of oil for
one day or in liquid paraffin for two days. Use a
glass jar, not a tin. Mix with half a liter of soapy
water and filter. Mix 1 part solution with 10
parts of water and use as a spray. Shake well
before applying
False codling moth larvae and moth
Insects in general: mosquitoes, cotton stainers,
aphids, flies, army worms, ticks, ants, beetles,
caterpillars, diamondback moths, false codling
moths, grubs, mites, peach borers and termites.
Fungi: scab, mildew, bean rust and tomato blight.
Alternaria -fruit rot, early blight, purple blotch, leaf
Cercospora -leaf mould, leaf spot, early blight, frog-
Colletotrichurn -leaf spot, anthracnose, fruit rot,
Sy mptoms of anthracnose (caused by Colletotrichum) on
capsicum fruit
Bacteria: Xanthomonas spp. Bacterial blight on strawberries caused
by Xanthomonas campestris
Natural P&D control;
garlic an example
Integrated weed
-Include a number of different
practices-such as soil health
(structure,fertility), landscape
management, cultivation, mechanical
and chemical control measures
-Examples are close spacing of crops
to shade out weeds, mulching and
control of late season seeding weeds
-Composting also kills weed seeds
-Gardens, fields
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha
-Low cost; local resources,
-Easy to medium labour intensity,
knowledge intensive
Composting kills weed seeds and is a good way to treat manures before use as it also
increases the nutrient value of the manure
Close spacing and intercropping protect against crops being overrun by weeds on
the left is a maize crop with little weeding on the right a close spaced intercrop
planted at the same time, under a similar weed control regime
Dock indicates acidic soils, amaranthusindicates
fertile soil with bas structure, and black jack can take
up nutrients unavailable to crops
Sedges andnutgrass indicate a lack of air in the soil
Nurseries and propagation
-Medium cost (Seedand plants), local resources,
-Labour intensive
-Mixed cropping with herbs and multifunctional
plants for culinary and medicinal purposes and also to
control pests and diseases in the garden/ field
Sugar cane and mangoes being propagated in the ground in small
Shade netting structures for propagation of vegetables and herbs
Small household nurseries under shade trees for propagation of fruit,
multipurpose trees and shrubs and herbs. Here mangoes and Moringa are
being grown
Propagate indigenous fruit trees from seed.
E.g Dikgogoma in Limpopo
Seedling production
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; labour intensive
-Seedling beds are made to be deep with
lots of organic matter, compost and
manure; they should be shaded-to keep
seed moist (but not too wet) and
shaded throughout
-Or seedlings can be produced in
containers and tubs
-Nurseries using speedling trays require
intensive management and are difficult
to do organically.
A small garden nursery under a shade tree for propagation and
seedling production.
Seedling beds, well composted, with basins for irrigation, as well as
mulching, bottle drip systems and shade cloth for protection
Seedling production in well composted dedicated beds, with shade and plastic structures to
protect the seedlings
Tubs and basins can be used-they are easy to
manage and moveif needs be
Shade netting structure for speedling production
Seed saving
-Gardens, fields,
-<0,1ha, -0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; somewhat
labour and knowledge intensive
-For traditional and farmer preferred
open pollinated varieties (not hybrids),
that are locally adapted to climate, pests
and diseases
-Important to promote pollinators; grow
numerous types of flowering plants and
keep diversity in and around gardens
and fields high
-Keep seed from strong healthy plants
only -never from plants that are bolting
-Choose between 6-24 plants to keep
seed from
-Never keep seed from diseased plants
-Seed must mature and dry on the plant
as long as possible.
-Separate those plants that easily cross
pollinate (e.g. brassicas, maize, peppers
and chillies, pumpkins, lettuce etc) in
space, or time or use caging
Pollinators love
different kinds!!
A aged chilli plant to ensure pure
seed that is true to type
Flowers and plants for promotion of pollination;
by bees, hornets, butterflies etc
Hand pollination of maize for seed
A garden for seed production, with structures for caging, and 6-24 of each variety planted
for seed saving different plant families are planted close together to reduce cross
Humidity-Seed will absorb moisture from
the air. Want to store them at <10%
moisture content in dry or airtight
environmentAvoid plastic
Light shortens seed life dark jars, dark
room... Even darkness is required
Temperature-Seeds last longer in cold but
not freezing conditions
Seeds such as tomatoes, cucumbers, can
be fermented with water and sugar for
seed health and germination
Further drying can be done with silica gel
Storage with ash, lime, and crush dried
leaves of certain plants e.g. aloeSeed life doubles
when storage
temperature is
lowered by 5ºC
Seed processing and
For every 1%
moisture in
the seed the
seed life
-Gardens, fields,
-<0,1ha, -0,1-1ha, >2ha
-Low cost, local resources
-Easy to do and maintain; somewhat labour
and knowledge intensive
Use silicon to draw water from
seed and ash for storage of dry
Layout of a small home based seed bank;
drying racks, paper packets and glass jars
Store seed in glass containers
Fermentation of tomato and gooseberry seed for storage and
good germination
Store seed and gourds in a cool, dry, dark place
Fruit production
-Gardens, orchards
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants),
local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
-Propagation from seed, cutting,
grafting to provide fruit throughout
the year (and for sale)
-Organic methods of pest control
-Care taken with planting; deep fertile
basins, with rainwater harvesting
-Some trees will need irrigation
especially when young
A home madefruitfly trap using oranges
and sugar water
Use bunds and basins to make full use of rainwater
for trees
Plant trees in deep holes filled with compost
and create a basin for irrigation with mulching
Use organic remedies such as pyrethrum, mineral oil
and lime sulfur. Use rooting powder for propagation
of cuttings
Propagate form seed; granadillas, avocados,
mangoes, gooseberries, and tree tomatoes
Tree tomatoes are propagated form seed are high in Vitamin C
and fruit in March-may when there is very little other fruit
Irrigation of organ trees, basins
and bunds hold more water
-Gardens, fields, livestock
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants),
local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
-Agroforestry (AF) is a system that includes both traditional and modern land use systems in
which trees are managed together with crops and/or animal production systems in agricultural
settings. Agroforestry is classified into three major systems:
-Agrisilvicultural -a combination of crops and tree species
-Silvopastoral -a combination of trees,pastures and animals
-Agrosilvopastoral -a combination of crops, trees, pastures and animals
-Gardens, fields, livestock
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants), local
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
-Agrisilvicultural system is a collection of AF
practices that involve combining crops and trees
with a purpose of maximising benefits per unit
area. Practices found within this system include:
-Alley cropping-planting of woody speciesin
hedges or crop species in alleys between
hedges. Woody component s essential for
improving soil fertility and crops for food
-Improved fallows woody species planted and
left to grow during fallow period. The woody
species improves the soil fertility and water
holding capacity
-Home gardens Intimate, multi-storey
combination of various trees and crops around
homesteads. Provides a variety of food products
produced from one garden.
-Multipurpose trees on croplandstrees
scattered or arranged in a systematic pattern on
bunds, terraces or field boundaries. These trees
fix nitrogen and may be fruit trees that could be
consumed orcut to feed livestock.
-Gardens, fields, livestock
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants), local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
-The Silvo-pastoral system is a set of AF practices that combine trees,
pastures and animals. The primary objectiveof this system is to
provide fodder for livestock especially during winter months while
maintaining soil fertility. The system involves practices such as:
-Trees on rangeland or pastures -Trees scattered irregularly or
arranged according to some systematic pattern.
-Protein banks -Production of protein-rich tree fodder on
farm/rangelands for cut-and-carry fodder production
-Plantation crops with pasture and animals Commercial timber
plantations with pastures and livestock. Maximise grazing on
plantations while waiting for trees to mature
-Gardens, fields, livestock
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost (Seed and plants), local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
This is an umbrella name for land use systems deliberately
combining components of woody species with
animals/pasture. It is also considered as a set of
silvicultural practices complementary to other activities
(agriculture or cattle) already established in a farm.
Practices found within the agrosilvopastoral system
Multipurpose woodlots -Woodlots can be integrated with
both small-scale (homegardens / farm-plots) and
commercial or large-scale farms.
Compound farming/home gardens involving animals
inclusion of domesticated livestock such as cattle, sheep,
goats, chickens and pigs in a home garden. The
homecgarden of multipurpose trees, vines, shrubs and
herbaceous plants around the homestead.
Silvofishery/aquafishery integrated production of fish,
shrimp and crab in mangrove forest areas.
Home garden consisting of a variety of vegetation around the homestead
-<0,1ha, 0,1-1ha >1ha
-Medium cost, local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
Supplementary feeding is a livestock
management practice used to provide
animals with those nutrients that the
pastures lack. Options for supplementary
feeding include:
Protein meals and seeds
Block licks
Roller drums
Grain and hay etc.
Supplementation can also be in a form of
alternative fodder species. This involves
growing of species with higher/better
nutritional value compared to present
fodder. Most of these species are planted to
provide high quality green fodder into late
winter. Examples of these species include:
Lucerne, alfafa, ryegrass, cocksfoot kikuyu
and many others.
Homemade block licks in Eastern Cape. This is done at Msinga, Fabeni village as
well and goats receive it very well. It is a cheaper option since it is home made.
Rotational grazing
-Medium cost (Seed and plants), local resources,
-Labour and knowledgeintensive
Constant grazing of palatable grass plants weakens them and allows unpalatable plants to
dominate. To retain the productivity of grasslands it is necessary to rest a portion of the
grazing area for a full growing season. This allows the grass plants to store nutrients in their
root systems and make the grasses more nutritious.
Ideally one quarter of the veld should be rested every four years.
It is important to work with livestock owners to work together to develop a rotational
resting system.