Get your shovels and trowels handy; this chilly weather doesn’t have to mean the end of harvesting yourself fresh vegetables.
With that said, home grown winter vegetables are still healthier for your family, and will save you more money too.
We spoke to the experts at Life is a Garden, which is a marketing division of the South African Nursery Association to share with us ways to beat the frost and grow your own vegetables this winter.
They said if you love to make vegetable soup from home grown ingredients, here are five simple ways you can continue to reap the rewards of the garden, even in the chilliest months of the year.
Select the hardiest vegetables
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, and cauliflower will withstand light to medium frost, alongside celery, beets, and cabbage. Radishes, leeks, and sweet onions can withstand intense frost and snow.
Mulch helps to keep the soil temperature steady, locking in warmth and moisture, much like a blanket. Your mulch layer should be 5-8cm thick.
Use a frost cover
For a frost cover, all you need is plastic sheeting and stakes. Stake the plastic sheeting over the vegetable beds, ensuring the sheeting does not touch any of the plants. Secure it to the ground with rocks or logs. Remove the cover each morning.
Keeping your plants in containers allows you to move them as necessary. Chives, lettuce, radishes, basil and coriander, Asian greens, mint, thyme, garlic, onions and bush beans require only 15-17cm of soil.
Make a hotbed
A hotbed is a bed that stays warm for around 5-7 months after it’s made. It’s made within a wooden frame, with a layer of raw manure lining the bottom. The plants are grown in the next layer, which is growing medium or compost. The frame holds everything inside and a glass lid encloses the bed, retaining the warmth and moisture inside.