Growing your own vegetables in the Lowveld

Growing your own vegetables in the Lowveld

Many people dream of growing their own vegetables but very often just don’t know how to get started. Here are some tips that will help you get some fresh, home-grown vegetables on your table.

Vegetable Garden LowveldGet it off the ground

To get started the first thing to consider is the type of vegetable garden you would like. We suggest you consider either container or planter box growing. Having your vegetables off the ground immediately takes care of most of the ground dwelling pests and also makes weed control a breeze. It will have you feeling more in control and if you run out of space you can always add more planters or containers.

Cover up

Pests around these parts can be a big problem and entire crops can be lost to birds, bugs or other vegetable hungry critters. Covering your garden with something like dense shade cloth or greenhouse plastic can greatly reduce your losses. It will also assist in retaining moisture so you’ll need to water less often. But, do remember that your veggies will need about 4 hours of sun each day. Planting wild garlic between your vegetables is also a natural means of pest control.

Seedling success

Many vegetable gardens fail in the very first week when planted seeds fail to grow. Although drying out is the most common cause there could also be many other reasons. By starting with seedlings rather than seeds you save a lot of time and can expect yields a lot quicker. Seedlings are hardy and might be able to withstand a little more abuse than germinating seeds.

Careful calculations

There’s no use having 50 tomato plants when you only use 5 tomatoes a week. Make sure to draw up a list of what you use and how much thereof before you start planting. The idea is to supplement what you buy with what you grow, unless you get really good at it and can supply neighbours and friends also.

Water woes

Watering is one of the most frequent chores that needs taking care of when growing vegetables. This can turn into a problem if it requires you to stand around holding a hose pipe every second day. Installing a simple sprinkler system can be make your job a lot easier and if you really want to go high tech you can even automate it with a tap timer.

Food for thought

With time you will have to add compost or fertiliser to supplement the nutrition of your soil. One easy way to do this is to start a compost heap or worm farm which also offers an easy way to get rid of garden matter. By starting both your vegetable garden and compost heap at the same time you will be creating your own little circle of life where one benefits the other.

Succeed with successions

It doesn’t help to wait until a plant has stopped producing fruit to plant a new one. Most vegetable plants only live for a couple of months so be sure to plant new ones early enough to prevent not having a steady supply.

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