Report by Mike Shema

My name is Mike Shema. I am 30 years old and presently, I am in South Africa in Wolmaransstad, working with the Pinnie Foundation to teach people to farm God’s Way by growing vegetables in their own homes.

We will post a video of the training that I am doing with three of my students from the local community. Their names are Quavo, aged 28, Lebo aged 23 and James aged 30. We are using videos and hands on training to train students to farm using God’s Way. In farming in this way, an amazing solution is given to the people to harvest vegetable and other products in the community and thereby to train other people to farm using God’s Way.
Farming this way encourages other people to grow lots of vegetables. We train our students to do seed sowing, transplanting, mulching and natural way to control pests and diseases.

Here in Africa, the easiest way to sow seeds, is to sow them is recyclable containers, such as egg trays or plastic bottles that have been cut in half lengthways. This assists communities to recycle and use the containers that they have, thereby being more cost effective. You could also make raised sand beds in the garden.

If you are using a plastic bottle method, the bottle should be washed in water then sliced in half so that you can use both halves. Soil should be put into the bottle and the seeds can be planted at a depth of 2 cms or half inch, then covered lightly with compost soil.

Compost is very important for seed sowing as it increases capacity for water holding and improves the soil texture. It also contains all the nutrients for plant growth and keeps watering regular.

If you are using the raised beds method, you need to mix compost with loam soil on the bed and plant seeds in lines on drills in the nursery beds as the seeds growing create space for cleaning out the weeds, aeration reduces competence of sunlight.

In their training, my students are trained to do the mulching process. This is an agricultural process that involves spreading a layer of material on the soils surface surrounding the plants.
There are multiple benefits to mulching.

Organic mulching is very important in vegetable gardening to conserve the moisture as we cover the nursery bed and in vegetable gardening this helps to retain water in the soil. Weed suppression mulch covers the soil surface and prevents light from reaching weeds.

Mulch also helps to regulate the temperature by keeping the soil cool in summer and warm in winter.
Organic mulch breaks down over time and provides nutrients to the soil improving the soil fertility.

I also covered natural methods of pest and disease control with my students, using practical examples for them to use in their farming in nursery beds and vegetable gardens.
There are many natural pest control methods, for example, mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of sunlight liquid soap into 1 litre of water. This mixture is put into a hand spray bottle and the plants are sprayed with this to fight mildew and powdery fungus.
In order to repel ants, baking soda must be sprinkled around the seed beds.
As a natural protection against pests, a mixture is made and sprayed onto the plants every week to two weeks.

The mixture is made by mixing 1 clove of garlic with 1 teaspoon of soap, 2 teaspoons of oil and 1 cup of hot water. It is left to steam for an hour then sieved through a clean cloth and decanted into a spray bottle.

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