PACKING A PUNCH
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.co.zaLifestyle College of Landscape Design 011 792 8244 or lifestylecollege.co.za