Working With Your Senses 

People in every walk of life will tell you that you can’t hope to be successful at anything you do without first doing some research that will save you time and money. Identifying and managing the risks to your project upfront, also gives you the chance to identify opportunities up front that you may not have thought about before you started. A little effort before a journey can lead to success or failure. Onsite research before an agricultural project doesn’t have to be expensive because in farming there is no substitute for being hands-on. Farming projects can very often be based on use of the senses for observation plus applied common sense and knowledge.

Let’s think about an agricultural project that can raise you quick cash, like growing red chillies. You can do the quick and easy route of planting some seeds but if you want to make as much money as possible from the cash you invest in those seeds, you need to do a little bit of hands-on research first.

Seeds grow in soil to become plants, so logically we should start our research by digging an exploration hole to see what quality of soil we are working with under the surface.

The first sense we can use while digging is hearing. If we listen for the sound of insects or the grating of soil against the pick or shovel, it will give us the first clues about the soil we are exposing.  

Once the soil has been loosened and we can see what we are dealing with, we can use the sense of sight to look for sources of nutrients for plants as well as any challenges in the soil. These include –

We will be able to expose these things better by using our hands and sense of touch to identify – 

Lift that soil closer to your face and use the sense of smell to identify –

It might turn your stomach to think about it, but the nutrients that feed plants have their own flavours that affect the taste of the crop. If you taste the soil you can identify –

Once you have done this simple exercise with your senses, you can apply your mind and common sense to identify –

With this knowledge in mind, we can look at the root system of red chillies in terms of the needs of its root system regarding –

In the same way that we use our senses to ensure the success of our projects, we can use our common sense to manage our risks across all spheres of our lives to be successful.

Thank you to Harmony Gold Mponeng wastewater treatment site managed by the Institute For Technology and Society. The research and development project donated the plants used during the training at Bekker High School. 

These plants were grown on 100% recycled sewage water from Mponeng mine. These research and development project plants were for use in economic development and skills development projects.

Special Thanks to our partners