People have been growing crops throughout history as a way of obtaining most of their food. While there are some people who engage in growing crops for their own use on a small basis, they are few and far between today with the bulk of crop growing occurring on large farms, which are commercial enterprises.
Crop growing refers to a wide range of plants and vegetables suitable for human consumption or as feed for livestock. They include:
- Grains – wheat, barley, oats corn and rye
- Fruits – apples, pears, oranges, grapes, bananas, peaches, plums, olives, figs, berries, avocadoes, pineapple and more
- Nuts – coconuts, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and chestnuts
- Vegetables – potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, celery, radishes and more
- Cattle food – alfalfa, clover, hay and grasses
There are other crops that are not grown as food, such as cotton and flowers.
A typical farm grows several different kinds of crops to produce larger yields. If one crop fails in a particular year, the farmer still has another cash crop to rely on. Crop growing today involves a lot of knowledge of the science of agriculture in order for farms to be competitive. For example, farmers need to know the type of soil and what kinds of plants will grow in that soil. They need to know how to prepare the soil for planting, the proper planting techniques to use, how to take care of the crop by getting rid of weeds and other pests, how to prevent crop diseases and how to recognize them. They also need to know how to harvest the crop and bring it to market.
Water is an essential part of growing crops. Farmers need to be able to bring water to the crops on a daily basis, often through an irrigation process. They cannot depend on the weather to bring the rainfall needed to keep the soil moist and give the roots the water they need. The soil also needs to be fertilized to make sure the crops do get the nutrients they need to grow.