Farming 101Instructional MaterialvaMudhumeni

PREPARING FOR THE NEXT GROWING SEASON IN THE WINTER

By Albert Makendenge

Farmers can fully take advantage of this winter downtime to prepare their soil and farm business goals for next year’s growing season. Below are some of the activities that they can do during the winter slowdown while still having time to relax.

  • Cleaning up debris – Clear out your existing annuals and compost them to improve next year’s soil fertility. Removing old growth can also help to eliminate overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Introducing cover crops – Farmers should consider sowing a cover crop to protect the soil and to improve its fertility. The root structure of these cover plants such as oats and field peas will help to keep the soil in place and provides a protective cover above the ground even when the top part dies off when frost hits.
  • Planning for the next year – This is the perfect time to brainstorm ideas about what the farmer intends to with their land. Farmers should look back to what worked and what did not work during the last growing season and make the necessary changes.
  • Ordering seeds – Winter is good time to plan seed orders and the list of orders should be informed by the successes and failures of the previous season. Take time to seek out a variety that is better suited to a particular soil type and climate and this will greatly improve the chances of success.
  • Cleaning and repairing tools – After a long season of digging, weeding and harvesting, tools will certainly be in need of reconditioning. This is also a great time to reflect on the new tools and infrastructure that would be needed in the coming year.
  • Growing the business – The slower winter season is a good time to plan for growth and to forge new relationships with various stakeholders rather than during the height of a busy growing season.
  • Relaxing – Winter may come with the opportunity to take some time away from farm activities and then come back fully rejuvenated for next year.

We hope you take all these points under consideration as you prepare for the next farming season. While the work of a farmer is never done, we do hope you take the time to take care of yourself as well this winter.

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