Get down and dirty in your garden
* This article appears in the latest edition of our Home Improver digital magazine
The garden – whether planted with veggies or flowers – became many a family’s safe space when the pandemic hit.
The garden served to supplement the menu, provide an escape for children and those working from home after long hours on the screen and, as anyone who has got their hands dirty in the soil will know, function as a way to help people mentally exhale.
Trend analysts foresee gardening activities growing this year – even if it is just a container on a window sill.
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But the biggest trend by far – and one set to continue – is kitchen gardens, with many households planning and growing their own vegetables. Life is a garden gives beginners this advice:
Don’t shy away from humble beginnings:
For your first growing quest, start small. Think about whether you want to use containers, plant straight into the ground or use raised beds. Consider your space and available time to guide your growing style. Sowing a couple of seeds in a space in your flower beds is as good a beginning as any. Be careful not to overpopulate your space. Your veggies will increase in size and need room to grow and climb. Planting too close together will also cause veggies to shade one another. Refer to the seed packet or the handy garden centre guy for advice.
Veggies love the sun and will flourish in open areas that receive a lot of sunlight. Avoid areas with big trees throwing shade. Examine your space through eco-eyes – take note of the sun’s movement, the surrounding foliage, and the expansion space needed as your greens grow. Location is also important in terms of watering. Make sure your veggies are within reach of the hose pipe or irrigation system and can receive as much rainfall as possible. If you’re planning to grow veggies on the stoep, make sure your containers have good drainage and expect to have some water flowing from under the pots, which is something to consider when placing them.
Choosing the best veg:
Seasonal veggies (meaning the ones to plant for that season) are your best bets for success as these greens are naturally adapted to the climate of the given time. Also, consider how the particular plant grows – some grow like ground covers (pumpkin) and need plenty of space, while others like to climb (beans) requiring support, and some veggies need deep soil (potatoes) and appear bush-like on the top.