There’s never been a better time to grow your own food. A home-grown veggie patch is a great way to get outdoors and pass the time (especially with bored kiddos). Plus, it puts fresh food on the table. What’s not to love?
Here’s what you need to know before putting those green thumbs to use:
How to tell? Fertile soil is dark in colour, slightly moist to the touch and breaks apart easily. If your soil is sandy, dry, or too compact then it’s a good idea to get growing conditions just right with good quality topsoil and fertiliser.
Pick a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of sunshine each day – this is especially important in winter. In summer, morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal. Some veggies, including leafy greens like spinach and kale, thrive in the shade. So if your space allows for you to have two growing plots, get one in more direct sunlight and one partially shaded.
Now for the fun part… Think about what you want to eat because that’s what you need to grow! September is the perfect time to grow spring veggies like Bush beans, beetroot, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, garden peas and Swiss chard. Summer veggies like tomato, baby marrow, sweet pepper, chillies and pumpkin are best planted from the end of September to November.
Every farmer (and veggie gardener) knows how important it is to rotate your crops. You should plant a different vegetable in each section of your patch after every harvest. This will ensure the quality of your soil and helps you include some variety in your garden too.
You can also get those green thumbs to work with a little help from Checkers and the Checkers Little Garden seedling kits. All you have to do to get a free seedling kit is spend R200 at Checkers and swipe your Xtra Savings card. There are 24 seedling kits to be collected including 6 herbs, 8 flowers and 10 vegetables. Each kit is made right here in South Africa and each seedling pot is compostable and bee-friendly too!
- Use well-sized containers with decent drainage holes so your veggies’ roots have plenty of space to grow.
- Opt for top quality potting soil and top up with mulch for best results.
- Ensure your plants are sheltered from the wind and too much mid-afternoon sun.
- Because container plants can’t draw nutrients from the earth, use a liquid fertiliser once or twice a month.
- Replace the soil every two years.
- Water pots two to three times a week in winter and every day in summer.
We hope you feel inspired to get your garden looking beautiful and ready for spring! Whether you need a spade or two, gardening gloves, or a how-to book to get you started, we’ve got you covered at Mall of the North.
Happy spring gardening!