South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

veg­gie gar­den­ing


In a com­pact gar­den, it’s not about how many veg­gies can be squeezed in. This one, at the Life­style Gar­den De­sign Show demon­strated how to make ev­ery cen­time­tre count with prac­ti­cal fea­tures that in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and use less water


Make a fea­ture of the rain­wa­ter tank in­stead of hid­ing it away. Adorn it with gar­den art or wrap it in plastic mesh as a sup­port for vin­ing climbers like granadil­las, peas, run­ner beans, cu­cum­ber and squash. This 800ℓ rain­wa­ter tank (around R2 800) takes up sur­pris­ingly lit­tle space. Po­si­tion­ing ul­ti­mately de­pends on the prox­im­ity of gut­ters for di­rect­ing rain­wa­ter into the tank. Fit a tap to the base for a hosepipe or sprin­kler. For bet­ter pres­sure, in­stall a small .37Kw pump.


This mini four-tier grow house (around R1 000) with heavy duty zipup cover is ideal for prop­a­gat­ing seeds sown in trays and pots. In win­ter, it pro­tects ten­der veg­gies from frost and birds. Use it to ger­mi­nate seeds early when soil tem­per­a­tures out­side are still too cold. In win­ter, leave it open dur­ing warm sunny days for good air cir­cu­la­tion and zip it closed at night to keep in the heat. It’s light, por­ta­ble and easy to as­sem­ble, with four shelves and a roll-up door.


Wooden planters are very ver­sa­tile. Use them for grow­ing herbs and veg­gies on paved ar­eas, within a bed to add height, to con­tain plants with in­va­sive growth habits or grouped to­gether in an at­trac­tive ar­range­ment. Por­ta­ble, they’re eas­ily moved into bet­ter light, or out of a draught, or to change the look.


Gar­den­ing is sim­pler and less messy with a pot­ting bench that acts as a work ta­ble, tool shed (with hooks/pegs for gar­den tools), and stor­age for pots with space un­der­neath for a wormery and bokashi bucket waste re­cy­cling sys­tem. It looks good, keeps gar­den equip­ment in one place and makes a com­fort­able work­ing space for gar­den­ers with back prob­lems.


Syn­thetic grass may seem an un­usual fea­ture for a veg­gie gar­den, but it keeps the area mud, pes­ti­cide and main­te­nance-free. Hosed or swept clean, syn­thetic grass is easy to in­stall – like lay­ing a car­pet – and can be cut to fit the shape of the gar­den. Best of all, it doesn’t need wa­ter­ing.


This bucket-sized 25ℓ bokashi bin (around R200) re­cy­cles kitchen waste us­ing ef­fec­tive micro­organ­isms (EM) that re­lease vitamins, or­ganic acids, min­er­als and an­tiox­i­dants as they break down or­ganic mat­ter. All kitchen waste, in­clud­ing cooked left­overs, bones and dairy, can be used and it doesn’t smell, apart from a slight vine­gary odour. Most gar­den cen­tres stock bokashi buck­ets as well as the bran con­tain­ing the EM. Sprin­kle a 2cm layer of bokashi bran over each new layer of kitchen waste. Keep the bin sealed. When the bucket is full, let it stand for two weeks then bury the waste be­neath the soil in the gar­den to com­plete the com­post­ing process.


Light, por­ta­ble and easy to as­sem­ble, a grow tun­nel with PVC cover

(around R650) is ideal for grow­ing early veg­gies, sal­ads and mi­cro greens and for pro­tect­ing young and ten­der crops in win­ter. Open it dur­ing warm win­ter days, but close it in the af­ter­noon to con­serve the heat. It’s also use­ful through­out the year as a miniprop­a­gat­ing house for root­ing cut­tings.


Com­post worms con­vert kitchen waste into fer­tile worm com­post (ver­mi­com­post) and worm tea (leachate) that builds soil health and in­creases yields. This two-tiered sys­tem makes it easy to sep­a­rate the worms from the cast­ings when har­vest­ing the worm com­post/ver­mi­com­post. The bot­tom tier has a tap for drain­ing out the worm tea/leachate, which is di­luted 50:50 with water and used as a soil drench. Ef­fec­tive wormeries need to be durable, well in­su­lated, wa­ter­proof, light and easy to work with. Keep the wormery in the shade in sum­mer and shel­tered from cold draughts in win­ter. Feed the worms with veg­gie and fruit scraps, ground egg shells, cof­fee and tea grounds, pa­per and mouldy bread.

The ‘Scents and Sen­si­bil­ity’ gar­den at the Life­style Gar­den De­sign Show was de­signed by stu­dents of Life­style Col­lege of Land­scape De­sign and headlec­turer Mike Rick­hoff.

SOURCES Prod­ucts sup­plied by Life­style Home Gar­den life­­style Col­lege of Land­scape De­sign 011 792 8244 or lifestylec­ol­

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