NA­TURE’S bounty

Filled with ed­i­bles and herbs, this tiny veg­etable gar­den is proof that good things come in small pack­ages

South African Garden and Home - - Veggie Garden -

In 2004, when An­ge­lika and Iain Ed­wards built their house north of Jo’burg, the gar­den was just veld. “But I was de­ter­mined to grow my own food,” says Iain who has been a keen veg­etable gar­dener since he was a child.

He set about turn­ing a 100m² space into a for­mal kitchen gar­den with path­ways and rec­tan­gu­lar beds. “In those days our friends and neigh­bours thought us strange. You could see them think­ing ‘Can’t you af­ford to buy your own veg­eta­bles?’” he re­calls.

Iain in­creased the small grow­ing area by mak­ing use of ver­ti­cal space with tripods and sup­ports. A trel­lis, which

hides the wash­ing line, is en­twined with a lemon tree, while run­ner beans and cu­cum­bers climb the sides. En­velop­ing a per­gola, a Catawba grapevine pro­vides shade for a bench un­der­neath.

All the veg­eta­bles are grown from heir­loom seeds. Salad greens, to­ma­toes, cu­cum­bers, beans, but­ter­nut, cit­rus, herbs, kale, chill­ies and more are grown in this small space pro­vid­ing fresh veg­gies all year round. Any ex­cess is turned into tomato-chilli jam, chut­ney, vine­gar and salt-free cap­sicum sauce or given away to neigh­bours and friends.

The gar­den is 100% or­ganic and fer­tilised with home-made com­post, and com­pan­ion plant­ing is used to min­imise pests. “At the mo­ment, nas­tur­tiums are at­tract­ing bugs and sav­ing the tomato plants along­side them,” ex­plains Iain.

The gar­den has pro­vided more than just food. “When An­ge­lika was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer, we had to make a com­plete life­style change,” he re­calls. “Part of this in­volves eat­ing fresh, or­ganic veg­eta­bles, par­tic­u­larly dark green cru­cif­er­ous va­ri­eties such as kale and broccoli, which con­tain can­cer­fight­ing com­pounds.”

Other plants like sting­ing net­tles and the can­cer bush ( Suther­lan­dia frutescens) are used to make health-boost­ing ton­ics. “An­ge­lika is a pre-op con­tin­u­ing breast can­cer survivor and I know this gar­den and its abun­dance plays a vi­tal role,” he says.

THIS SPREAD, CLOCK­WISE FROM BOT­TOM LEFT: This small pro­duc­tive court­yard gar­den is well de­signed with path­ways and edged beds. A Catawba grapevine pro­vides shade for the bench in front of a bed filled with herbs. A bird­bath con­tain­ing a sun­dial is a fo­cal point in the gar­den. Ver­ti­cal sup­ports max­imise the plant­ing area. Beans.

THIS PAGE, CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: Com­pan­ion plant­ing and home-made com­post are used to keep pests to a min­i­mum. Nas­tur­tiums are used as a trap crop to pro­tect to­ma­toes. Sting­ing net­tle is used daily to make a tonic. Beans and cu­cum­ber trained up a trel­lis hide the laun­dry line.

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