Carrot is believed to have originated in Afghanistan,
which remains the centre of diversity of D. carota.
They were known to the Greeks and the Romans.
The greatest development and improvement of the
original wild carrot that had thin, long roots took place
in France. Carrots are now a popular vegetable grown
all over the world.
The use of carrots was mainly medicinal, to cure
stomach problems and treat wounds, ulcers, and liver
and kidney ailments. Carrots are consumed fresh as a
salad crop or cooked. They are also processed either
alone or mixed with other vegetables. The juice is extracted
and used as a drink. Tender roots are pickled
or made into jam and sweetmeats in some countries.
Carrot cake and carrot pudding can also be made.
The aromatic seeds are used as a stimulant and torelieve flatulence. The entire plant can also be used
as fodder for cattle and horses.
Maize is only known in the cultivated state, and is believed
to have originated in Mexico in prehistoric times.
It has currently worldwide distributed and is grown
wherever summers are reasonably warm. Africa, Asia,
and America are mentioned as the most likely countries
of origin of maize
Tomato is indigenous to the Peru and Equador region
in South America and it probably evolved from
Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme, the cherry
form. However, it was domesticated and first cultivated
in Central America by the early Indian civilisations
of Mexico. The Spanish explorers introduced
tomato into Spain and it was later taken to Morocco,
Turkey and Italy.
Cabbage is believed to have evolved from a wild
form native to Europe, growing along the coast of
the North Sea, the English Channel and the northern
Mediterranean. Saxons and Romans probably cultivated
and introduced it to the British Isles. Cabbage is
now grown throughout the world.
Lettuce probably originated from Asia, where it was
grown for centuries. Its early forms were used in
Egypt around 4500 B.C. The Romans grew types
of lettuce resembling the present romaine cultivars
as early as the beginning of the Christian era.
The crop was also used in China by the 7th century
A.D. Lettuce is now one of the most important
salad crops and is grown worldwide.
SABC Interview with Tunnel Farmers in Lesotho
In Lesotho most of the population is involved in subsistence farming, so the ability to control conditions in an enclosure becomes a huge advantage. In the fight against poverty in this country, tunnel farming could well be a giant step in the right direction.