Growing vegetables in your garden for the first time can be a daunting prospect, so it’s best to start small. You can always get bigger as your experience and confidence, along with your veggies, grows!
Vegetable Garden Preparation
Vegetables need a sunny spot, with 5 to 8 hours of full sun daily, so avoid a shady area.
An area 5x6m is ideal for a family of 4, but you can go smaller if you like. Decide whether you want to grow the veg in raised beds, containers or traditional rows. You will also need to be able to access your veg from all sides.
Improve the quality of soil by adding a layer of compost and bonemeal, or ideally, make your own compost pile using leaves, manure and untreated grass clippings.
Vegetable garden choices
Once the soil is prepared decide which vegetables you and your family enjoy eating regularly. Good, easy to grow veggies include beetroot, carrots, pumpkins, onions, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, peas, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and green beans. Save vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and celery for another season. Seed packets will tell you how deep to plant the seeds, when to plant and when you’ll be able to harvest the vegetables. Try to keep things simple by not planting too many vegetables, just enough for you to feel able to maintain, also, overcrowding can reduce the yields.
Vegetable Garden Maintenance
Your vegetable will need water, so make sure the soil is kept moist, but not soaked. A good covering of mulch will help lock in the moisture, keep the soil cool and help keep weeds at bay. Add fertiliser to the soil during the growing period.
Check regularly for pesky pests like snails daily. Calendulas planted around growing veggies, and basil planted by tomatoes and lettuce will help deter aphids as will chives and rosemary. Never use pesticides!
The satisfaction of eating home-grown veggies from your garden is well worth the effort!
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We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.
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