Spring is finally here! We have had a really cold winter, and at the very best of times, I do not like cold dark mornings, so I am well and truly thankful that it is finally over. This year I have decided to turn a part of our garden into an organic vegetable plot and to plant fruit trees throughout the garden. I am no green fingered garden elf, and when I got this idea , my first thought was that I can hardly keep a pot plant alive, never mind throw myself into a fully fledged organic, companion planted cornucopia of nutrition….but I armed myself with loads of books and online reading, and the so the die was cast…
I decided to plant the vegetables in raised wooden boxes, because I wanted to use organic soil/compost products, and be sure that there aren’t nightmares of weeding ahead of me. Our garden soil is very rich and wonderful, so grass manages to grow everywhere (even where it is distinctly not wanted!), but over the years I couldn’t be sure that there weren’t yucky chemicals in the soil…we have had a lot of renovating and construction done over the year, so between chemicals, and the ever growing grass, the boxes seemed the best way to go.
The boxes have slowly but surely started to see the light of growing, and I have managed to sow most of my seeds. I used a wonderful garden planner called ” Growveg”, which is a very easy to use online vegetable plot planning software programme. If you are into growing your own produce, you really have to check it out…www.growveg.com it is fantastic!
I used quite a few pots to prevent certain prolific growers from taking over the garden completely….the raspberries, loganberries, passionfruits, grapes, gooseberries and blackberries are all in big pots, as well as the naartjie trees and the Meyer lemon trees. Meyer lemon trees actually like to grow in a pot, so they are a good choice for smaller gardens. The citrus trees are putting out hundreds of blossoms and I expect to have a bumper crop soon 🙂 Good companion plants for all citrus trees are Lavender and Comfrey.
My almond trees, although small have already produced these tiny green, furry almond babies, 🙂
My youngest daughter has planted her own box, with carrots (4 different colors including yellow, orange, purple and white ) as well as strawberry popcorn, which is a small variety corn that has reddish pink seeds. She put her little pig “Pea” to keep watch over her precious plantings…
When I started this gardening idea, I of course went completely mad and bought waaaayyyyy too much seed…I reckon I never need to buy a vegetable again!
I was very fortunate to find some wonderful sweet cherry trees, which are self pollinating. I got two varieties, ” Santina”, and “Skeena”, and although they are only about 1-1.5m tall, they are all in bloom. Cherry trees are usually not self pollinating , and when you buy a tree, you need to make sure if it requires a pollinator, or you won’t get any fruit! There are now more varieties that are self pollinating, so if you can find those, your problems are solved 🙂 By the way, many pear trees also need to have pollinators as do almond trees, so check before you buy!
I have sown only open pollinated/heirloom seeds, which in South Africa are available from a variety of online stores. These seed varieties are usually well known, old varieties, which over generations have been passed from family to family. They are not genetically modified.
The strawberries are doing very well! I have planted them near Borage, which is a wonderful herb that is probably the best companion plant for strawberries you can find! Apparently, it increases both yield and flavour, so I’ll have to see how it goes when they start to bear fruit 🙂
Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has bought a Lollo Bear Pattern, and who have left kind comments and emailed me! I am currently working a new African Flower Pattern…it’s a surprise…here’s a clue…it’s an African animal…
Have a great evening folks,