Here’s how you can grow your own organic veggies this winter
Rocketing food prices and the widespread focus on organic produce means now is the best time to start a basic winter veggie garden.
Alright, so you are determined to take your green fingers to the next level! Well, now that you have the determination, let us guide you through the process, step by step. This week we will focus on optimising the layout of your green patch.
Step 1: Assess
First you will need to find a space in your garden that receives at least six hours of sun each day. I have successfully grown vegetables in areas with less sunlight, but it’s only possible if the area remains warm or if there is some reflecting light.
Step 2: Demarcate
Mark out your chosen area. For our basic winter veggie garden design we will use a space of 6m x 4m.
Tools you’ll need are a fork, rake, spade, hand shovel and pick.
Step 4: Look the part
Hat, gloves and comfy shoes are the order of the day. If you don’t trust yourself with a spade and fork, take a leaf out of my book and get yourself a pair of steel-capped boots as an added precaution! Remember to apply sunscreen, too.
Step 5: Clear it up
Now clear the area of all existing plants and debris. After clearing, add some compost and turn it into the soil using a fork. Then water it to moisten the ground a bit.
This is where you can get creative! Plan where your pathways will be, where you’ll plant which veggies and herbs, and what vertical structures you can use to help stabilise your plants. I recommend railway sleepers or flagstones between rows of veggies for easy access!
In your basic winter veggie garden put up a trellis around the edge to support your broad beans and tomatoes. It also looks great! Then, starting on the far left and planting inwards, plant your first row. This will include parsley, celery and basil. Alternating your plants is a great natural way to repel bugs – it’s called “companion planting”. We’ll’ tell you more about this over the next few weeks.
In your second row, alternate between spinach, parsley and spring onion. For your third row throw in some lettuce (or rocket) between your parsley. This herb is an excellent natural bug-deterrent! Plus it’s tasty and versatile, too. In the fourth row, go back to the combination of spinach, parsley and spring onion. Finally, pack in your last row of parsley, celery and basil. Apart from parsley, chives and onions are also excellent for deterring pests from eating your lettuce, spinach and basil.
Step 8: TLC
Once planted, make sure to water your basic winter veggie garden three times per week. As we head into winter and the nights get cooler, I would recommend watering in the mornings only. Because of water restrictions, this means you’ll be watering just before 6am.
Have a look at the stylish layout of your basic winter veggie garden! Symmetry and functionality will see you really enjoying your green patch this winter – both from its looks and the awesome taste in your meals!
Stay tuned for more organic winter gardening tips as we take you through building a sustainable and nutrient-rich garden of which you can literally enjoy the fruits.
If you have any gardening questions, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Nicholas Spargo?
Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants, has been in the landscape trade for 12 years as well as being a lecturer at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre for the past year. He was awarded a Gold for a design at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre Design Show in 2008, is an Invasive Species Consultant and is affiliated with the South African Green Industries Council.
Landscaping and education are very close to his heart.