Edible plants that can be grown in the Western Cape during a drought
South Africa has a vast variety of plants we can grow in our landscapes that are indigenous, edible and can tolerate drought conditions. In the drought conditions that we are experiencing now of course we are worried of how our garden/ garden landscapes will survive. BUT we should not forget that nature has a way of balancing itself; we have plants that can adapt to these conditions. These plants I have listed are edible, indigenous and perfect for any garden.
Drought tolerant edible plants to consider planting:
- Tulbaghia voilacea (wild garlic): Much as like the common name suggests, Tulbaghia is a completely edible substitute for your common garlic and is also a replacement for chives to. For garlic this is done by using the roots, the flowers make excellent salad garnish.
- Coleonema pulchellum (confetti bush): Part of our indigenous fynbos, the confetti bush not only makes for a great shrub but makes a delicious addition to savory foods and sweet dishes.
- Carissa macrocarpa (Num num): A shrub that produces red fruits that are used for jams and syrups and can be eaten as is. This thorny coastal plant amongst all provides a perfect hedge. It is really a great deterrent for those dodgy people that may try jump over your wall J
- Carpobrotus edulis (sour fig): This commonly used ground cover offers sweet fruit once flowers have turned pink from their initial yellow colour and while the leaves medicinally help soothe sour throats from colds and flu’s.
- Brasica carnata (kale): This sometimes short lived perennial, produces leaves and stems that can be cooked and leaves that can be chopped into salads while still considerably young.
- Pelargonium culallatum: Leaves of this plant can be used from bath tubs to help relax muscles to being used for their fragrances while its flowers can be added to baked foods and salads.
- Cucurbuta spp.: Under this genus, commonly known vegetables such as squash, pumpkin and gourds can be found. These vegetable are commonly used in preparing vegetable roasts and a large variety of meals.
Helpful edible landscape tips:
- Do not hesitate to do a little pruning for consumption in fact, it helps plants grow denser foliage.
- Follow planting charts to keep up to date with what actually grows in which season. Trying to follow the markets seasonal produce can have one confused as artificial additives ensure longer shelf lives and GMO’s alter natural patterns of plants.
- Not forgetting that the above mentioned plants do not necessarily grow in every region in South Africa, consult a professional to find the accurate plants for your region.
- Try not to fertilize edibles that often, some say you should do it every month or 2 months, well from my experience I feed them perhaps every 4 to 5 months and that’s if I remember. Look to be honest you don’t see mother nature sprinkling some 3.5.6 spray on her plants right… J
Having an edible landscape during a drought is achievable, really it is.
“I think we are bound to, and by, nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there is a flood or a drought, we know our fate is tied to the world around us”. – Alice Hoffman
Village gardens lead you on your way.
More related articles: http://www.villagegardens.co.za/yes-can-grow-edibles-drought/