It’s time to do something with those seed packets lying in your garden shed or kitchen cupboard.
Patience is a virtue, and combined with care, will reward you with an abundance of fresh food. Think of it as a practical way to reconnect with nature at home; you learn how to work with soil, sun, air and water to nurture a living source of energy and nutrition. Food gardening reduces your grocery bill, provides a healthy, meditative escape from stress and offers a space to explore your creativity.
If you don’t have seed packets and new supplies to establish a thriving garden immediately, please don’t rush out in contravention of the lockdown regulations. You can use seeds from the vegetables currently in your fridge (think tomatoes or peppers) or use this time to plan your garden. Do some research about different vegetables and their growing requirements, prepare the soil, start a compost heap and take stock of what’s already in your shed or yard and think about what you could create with it.
Before sowing your first seeds, consider your available space and your fingers’ shade of green. If you have yard space and you’re feeling confident, plant a bed garden. It will require a bit more time and dedication but the variety and the yield of vegetables that can be cultivated are great.
Ideal for: broccoli, spinach, pumpkins, squashes, eggplants and potatoes
If you have limited space and you’re new to gardening, you may prefer the simplicity of a container/box garden. This is exactly what the name implies. Vegetables can be grown in a variety of homemade (our preference) or store-bought containers. You’ll find many instructional articles and videos online to help you build your own. Add wheels to move them around easily when you later feel like reorganising a smaller space like a balcony or verandah. Ensure your containers are deep and wide enough to accommodate the plant size and root length of the different vegetables you want to plant. Check that the container is in a spot that receives sufficient sunlight.
Ideal for: tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, green beans and lettuce.
Take your project one step further and reconnect with your roots by growing edible plants native to your country. Indigenous South African examples include: amaranth (aka pigweed), corchorus (aka jute or okra depending on the species), spider plant (aka cat’s whiskers or African cabbage), black nightshade (aka nastergal), bitter melon, cowpea and amadumbe. Please visit the following websites for more information about safe use, preparation and other edible species:
Savour the sweetness of your own produce and let the freshness sing on your palette!