It must be firm enough to hold the plants upright.
It must not let all the water move straight through it, but it must not hold so
much water that there is no air in the soil.
It must be free of weed seeds, pests and diseases.
It must contain plant nutrients.
Whatever type of soil you have, it will improve if you add compost. For filling containers, it is better to use compost rather than organic matter that has not broken down. If the organic matter in a container is not well rotted, it may burn the leaves as it breaks down.
To germinate seeds and root cuttings, a good propagating mixture has equal parts of washed river sand and sieved compost.
Planting material The plants that you raise will be as good as the planting material that you use. If you plant seeds or cuttings that come from weak or diseased plants, your new plants will also be weak or diseased.
Most important when choosing any type of planting material is the quality of the plant from which you take the planting material. If, for example, you take a cutting from a grape plant that produces small sour fruit, then the new grape plant will also produce small sour fruit. If you take a cutting from a grape plant that produces large sweet fruit, then, with proper care, the new plant will also produce large sweet fruit.
Controlling diseases, pests and weeds You may lose large numbers of your plants if they are attacked by pests and diseases. If you do not control weeds, your nursery plants will not grow well because they have to compete with the weeds for plant food, water and light. The control of pests, diseases and weeds is very important in a nursery. See Part 8 of the worksheets section for details of pest and disease control methods.
Record keeping and labelling Financial records Financial records show the money you spend and the money you earn. Use these records to work out whether you made a profit or a loss, how to reduce your costs, which type of plants gave you the most profit and so on.
Table 10.1 is a financial record. Write down anything that you buy for the nursery under Expenditure. Write down anything that you sell from the nursery under Income. You can write the Expenditure on the left-hand page and the Income on the right-hand page, as shown in the table, or you can write the Expenditure in the front of your money record book and the Income at the back of the book.
When you complete a page, total the amounts on that page and write the total at the top of the next page. In this way you can easily find the total of all the pages you complete.
Plants which you take from the nursery for planting on your own land, should be written down under Income because you do not pay for them.
Columns can be made on the Income and Expenditure pages so that you can easily get the totals for the different expenses and sources of income.
Keep the receipts of everything you buy in a file, and use them to complete the Expenditure page every week or every month. Give out a receipt from a receipt book every time you sell plants. You can buy special receipt books that have carbon paper for making a copy of each receipt you write. Use your copies to complete the Income page.
Profit or loss To find out whether you made a profit, subtract the total expenditure from the total income. If the income is greater than the expenditure, you made a profit. If the expenditure is greater than the income, you made a loss.