There are many benefits of growing your own food besides bringing colour to your yard.
Growing your own food has many health plusses: it helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and lets you control when you harvest your food.
Nyakallo Lephoto, a Qwa-Qwa based entrepreneur, has great interest in leading a healthy lifestyle and knows all about the advantages of growing your own food at this time of the year.
“The day I decided on a vegan lifestyle I was shocked by the price of vegetables and realised the only way I could afford it was if I grew my own food,” he said.
“That’s when I got down to it. The advantage of growing your own food at this time of the year is that you do not have to water your crops, because of the rain – unless, of course, you are a drought-hit area, like the Western Cape.”
Lephoto said vegetables you grow in your backyard would most likely be far healthier, tastier, more flavoursome and more nutrient-rich than the ones bought from the shop because they were grown under natural conditions and allowed to mature “seamlessly as nature intended”.
Lephoto's Three Tips for Growing Your Own Food
● “Seeds germinate quicker in warm weather, so if you plant now, as opposed to in winter, you will not have to wait too long before your crops emerge from the ground. Food prices are astronomical in this country so growing your own, either to supplement monthly groceries or to
live exclusively off the garden, helps a lot in bringing down household expenses.”
● “Agricultural produce we buy from retail stores are mostly a product of rapid farming practices that use potentially toxic fertilisers. Vegetables you buy from the shop have been made to grow quicker and become bigger than the ones you grown at home. Equally, the quick growing,
and enormous vegetables from the shops carry the same toxins they may have been raised in, and transfer them to our bodies.”
● “January is the last of the warm weather planting months and since most crops take 90 to 120 days before harvest, if you plant crops today, you will be able to reap the rewards as soon as April.
Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, peas and sweet potatoes are some of the vegetables still suitable for planting in January. If you are planting for subsistence, it is better to space out the planting by three weeks, to avoid having one great harvest and not having enough time to eat all the crops before they go bad. Vegetables are highly volatile and normally do not stay fresh for long in storage. And since we are trying to avoid spraying poisonous and sometimes cancer-causing preservatives to give vegetables a longer shelf life, it is always advisable to plant in small batches to allow you to consume your crops straight from the garden.”