General growing tips.

Top tips for starting a food garden

The best time to start a food garden is when you are ready to do so. Why not start right now? There’s a good reason in every season: now that it’s cooler, it’s the perfect time to plan the garden design and then prepare the beds so they’re ready for a spring sowing, once the manure you’ve added has had a chance to break down. And there are some heavy feeders, like the brassicas, that will appreciate your newly prepared beds and just love growing in the cooler months!

Start small

That’s the advice from all seasoned food gardeners. Rather grow into your garden – as your confidence and ability increases you can tackle more crops, expand the space and aim for sustainability.

Find the right space

Veggies and herbs like at least six hours of sun. In order of preference, a north-facing space is best, followed by west- and then east-facing. South-facing is the least ideal. But even if the available space is not ideal, look for creative ways to make it work.

Keep it simple

The layout of the beds should be designed for ease of working. Whatever the shape of your beds, they should be accessible from all sides – ideally they should be 1m wide or less. An east-west configuration allows for the best sun exposure on all of the beds. Pathways should be 30cm wide, otherwise space is wasted.

Build up the soil

Vegetables like fertile, well-drained soil. The more effort you put into the preparation, the more success you will have. Dig compost, well-rotted kraal manure, bonemeal and 2:3:2 fertiliser (Vita-Grow is organic) into the soil to a depth of 30cm. Other soil preparation methods include the no-till method, trenching and building raised beds.

Start with easy, seasonal vegetables

Choose vegetables the family likes to eat. Start with 3-5 easy-to-grow vegetables according to the season and climate of your area. Easy summer crops are beans, beetroot, Swiss chard, sweetcorn, herbs, sweet peppers, summer squash and tomatoes.

Spread the harvest

Plant a few seeds of each variety every 2-4 weeks to ensure an on-going harvest throughout the season. Sow leafy vegetables at two-weekly intervals, legumes about three weeks apart, root vegetables about four weeks apart and fruiting vegetables 6-12 weeks apart.

Water and feed regularly

Water your vegetables more frequently in hot, dry weather. Fertilise vegetables according to variety. Root and bulb vegetables need phosphates (2:3:2 or Vita Grow), leafy vegetables need nitrogen and potassium (6:3:4 or Vita Veg), and fruiting vegetables need nitrogen (2:3:2 or Vita Grow) when planting and potassium (3:1:5 or Vita Fruit and Flower) before flowering.

Keep a record

Record as much as possible – especially the lessons learnt. This makes next year’s planning easier and prevents you from making the same mistakes.

 

General growing tips.

Top tips for starting a food garden

The best time to start a food garden is when you are ready to do so. Why not start right now? There’s a good reason in every season: now that it’s cooler, it’s the perfect time to plan the garden design and then prepare the beds so they’re ready for a spring sowing, once the manure you’ve added has had a chance to break down. And there are some heavy feeders, like the brassicas, that will appreciate your newly prepared beds and just love growing in the cooler months!

Start small

That’s the advice from all seasoned food gardeners. Rather grow into your garden – as your confidence and ability increases you can tackle more crops, expand the space and aim for sustainability.

Find the right space

Veggies and herbs like at least six hours of sun. In order of preference, a north-facing space is best, followed by west- and then east-facing. South-facing is the least ideal. But even if the available space is not ideal, look for creative ways to make it work.

Keep it simple

The layout of the beds should be designed for ease of working. Whatever the shape of your beds, they should be accessible from all sides – ideally they should be 1m wide or less. An east-west configuration allows for the best sun exposure on all of the beds. Pathways should be 30cm wide, otherwise space is wasted.

Build up the soil

Vegetables like fertile, well-drained soil. The more effort you put into the preparation, the more success you will have. Dig compost, well-rotted kraal manure, bonemeal and 2:3:2 fertiliser (Vita-Grow is organic) into the soil to a depth of 30cm. Other soil preparation methods include the no-till method, trenching and building raised beds.

Start with easy, seasonal vegetables

Choose vegetables the family likes to eat. Start with 3-5 easy-to-grow vegetables according to the season and climate of your area. Easy summer crops are beans, beetroot, Swiss chard, sweetcorn, herbs, sweet peppers, summer squash and tomatoes.

Spread the harvest

Plant a few seeds of each variety every 2-4 weeks to ensure an on-going harvest throughout the season. Sow leafy vegetables at two-weekly intervals, legumes about three weeks apart, root vegetables about four weeks apart and fruiting vegetables 6-12 weeks apart.

Water and feed regularly

Water your vegetables more frequently in hot, dry weather. Fertilise vegetables according to variety. Root and bulb vegetables need phosphates (2:3:2 or Vita Grow), leafy vegetables need nitrogen and potassium (6:3:4 or Vita Veg), and fruiting vegetables need nitrogen (2:3:2 or Vita Grow) when planting and potassium (3:1:5 or Vita Fruit and Flower) before flowering.

Keep a record

Record as much as possible – especially the lessons learnt. This makes next year’s planning easier and prevents you from making the same mistakes.

 

Grow it

There’s nothing like the taste of herbs picked fresh from your own garden! They’re so easy to grow, whether in beds, borders, containers or on windowsills and with our full range plants, growing your own herbs has never been easier. Simply pot them up or plant them in a bed. Herbs be grown all the year round and will save you buying expensive supermarket produce.

Recipies

Mussel Soup with Basil and Chilli

Ingredients:

 

400g/14oz fresh mussels
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 small red chillies, sliced
½ cup fish stock
½ cup dry white wine
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup tightly packed basil leaves, shredded

Method:

Scrub the mussels clean and remove the beards. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add onions, garlic and chilli and cook gently until soft and slightly browned. Add tomatoes, wine, stock and paste, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add the basil and mussels and simmer for a further 3 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Serve with lots of crusty bread.