Small-scale farmers usually cultivate their entire land (typically 1-2 Ha) but they are often not able to produce enough to sustain themselves. To alleviate this many people believe that the answer is to either farm more land or to mechanize. Unfortunately, neither of these options work as larger land means even poorer standards and no increase in production. Mechanization is generally out of the budget range of most families, and comes with many hidden costs.
Pfumvudza was developed to answer the following question. “How much land is required to feed a family”? Using all the Foundations for Farming principles and assuming that a family would require a bucket of maize per week to provide their staple diet, the following model was developed. To fill a bucket with shelled maize you would require 56 cobs weighing 300 grams each. If each maize plant produced at least one of these we would require 56 plants.
The FfF spacing of planting stations within a row is 60cm and each station would have 2 plants, thus we would require a row of only 16m to produce a bucket of maize. If we were to produce a bucket for each week of the year this would mean we would need 52 of these rows. At a row spacing of 75cm this would mean our block would be 39m long. 16m by 39m is only ¹⁄₁₆ of a Hectare.
Step by step instructions
- Ensure your fields are weed free and mulched after harvest and throughout winter.
- Each pack will be sufficient for a plot of 39m x 16m. Do not do more than 1 plot to start with (39m x 16m).
- Mark out your field in winter with permanent pegs. Weed and mulch your field.
- Dig planting stations for each plot ( rows must run across the slope),52 rows, which are 75cm apart. The in row spacing is 60cm and the row length of 16m will have 28 planting stations. You will thus be digging 1456 stations per plot.
- Ensure field is weed free by 25th October.
- Place lime (5 cup from Pack 1 by 1st November) and 1 x 350ml tin of compost if available.
- Place basal Fertilizer (8 cup from Pack 2 by 1st November).
- Cover lime and fertilizer leaving planting depth of 5cm by 1st November).
- Plant 3 seeds per hole (from pack 3) , with 2 litres of water per station or first effective planting rain, by 25th November.
- Three weeks after emergence thin to 2 plants per planting station.
- Top dress (5 cup from Pack 4), immediately after thinning, 10cm from plant upside of plant and cover.
- After topdressing do first weeding. Continue weeding!
- Apply stalk borer treatment (28 days after first rain).
- Second topdressing (5 cup from pack 5) when first tassles appear, 10cm from plant upside of plant and cover.
- Continue weeding.
- Harvest with joy and feed your family.
- Do final weeding and lay stalks down for next seasons mulch.
- Keep field weed free through winter.