Springtime is the best time of year to create your own Vegetable Garden. September and October are traditionally the best months in the cape to sow seeds and transplant seedlings from trays into the vegetable garden, but with the seasons a little late this year, there is no time like the present. In this helpful DIY blog post we have dug up some helpful gardening ideas for your home vegetable garden to keep you busy and healthy.
create your own vegetable garden – our top tips
- Recycle where you can and do your bit for our environment.
- Use old CDs on string or fishing line to scare away birds.
- Use old sponges to line pots for growing flowers and vegetables. Jane Griffiths in her book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, suggests using old washing-up sponges to line the bottom of your pots where you plan to grow container veggies such as leeks, onions, potatoes, artichokes etc. The sponges help keep the water in the soil near the roots, encouraging the plants to grow deep into the base of the container and also work to suck up water when the plants need them from the drip tray or ground below.
- Do you know those little plastic mesh pockets that hold squash and onions from the supermarket? Well, they can also be recycled and used to hold hand soap near your garden tap for washing off the dirt from your veggie garden.
- Have you thought about growing edible flowers in your vegetable garden to add to meals like your summer salads and desserts? Growing flowering plants of any kind encourage diversity in your vegetable garden, keeping pests at bay and the good guys around, and attracting bees for pollination. Edible flowers such as Tulbaghia (wild garlic), Nasturtiums, Lavender, Rose Geranium, Fuschia and Hibiscus add colour and new flavours. Be sure you have identified them accurately and beware if you suffer from allergies of any kind.
- Keep a vegetable garden journal.
- Keep old nursery seedling trays for growing seeds. Nursery seedling and 6-pack trays work really well for transplanting seedlings from your seed trays. Direct sowing seeds into seed trays work well too for bigger seeds like squashes and cucumber where you can easily divide them when they grow big enough for transplanting into the vegetable garden.
- Share seeds with friends
- Keep hens for fertiliser and bug control.
- Old steel wool twined around seedlings will help keep slugs and snails away as they cannot slither over the sharp steel edges.
- Plant for bees. The Tatler recently ran a story about the declining worldwide population of honey bees. Luckily in South Africa, we are not yet seeing the large decline in colonies that are being seen in the USA, China and Europe mainly due to intense crop farming and monoculture and the use of insecticides. However, home gardeners are being encouraged to plant flowering plants to encourage habitat and food for bees to ensure our food crops do not come under threat. Fynbos is especially great for attracting bees such as Proteas and Ericas, and there are always bees buzzing around Lavender, Rosemary, Echinacea and Yarrow flowers.
- Try container vegetable gardening if you don’t have space.
- Try patchwork planting. According to Jane Griffiths, patchwork planting maximises your planting area in your veggie garden beds by combining the methods of interplanting, companion planting and vertical gardening (using climbing frames) in one bed. One can mix fast and slow-growing vegetables, early and late harvest crops, long and shallow-rooted, sun and shade-loving and heavy and light feeder vegetables successfully, which increases your biodiversity, improves your soil and confuses pests.
- Utilise your space to maximum advantage – go vertical with gum Latta tripods for climbing squash, eggplants, tomatoes and beans which can be purchased ready-made from most nurseries.
- No digging is needed. Yippee, it’s official, digging is not encouraged in vegetable gardens once you have established your beds. Try also not to step into the beds and rather design them so that they are of a suitable width (1m) to reach easily across from a pathway.
- Raised beds contain your soil more easily when adding in compost, and mulch, and green manures.
For any vegetable gardening information, please give us a call or contact us at Cape Contours, we are happy to assist.