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Reap the fruit - or veg - of your labours

Eating foods grown in your own vegetable garden means you won't be contributing to the carbon footprint left behind by the "food miles" it takes to bring imported produce to your local grocers - so you're helping the environment, too.

 

Who would have thought getting dirt under your fingernails would ever be considered one of the hottest trends going? According to Doug Jimerson, garden core director for Better Homes and Gardens, "growing your own fruits, veggies and herbs is something gardeners around the world are doing in record numbers this season."

"It's cheaper to grow your own produce than buy it - one R20 tomato plant will yield kilos of produce all season long," Jimerson says. "Plus, the produce you grow just tastes better than even your grocer's best. And while it's healthy to eat and grow your own, gardening is rapidly gaining popularity as a great way to get some exercise, relieve stress and spend healthful family bonding time."

Eating foods grown in your own vegetable garden means you won't be contributing to the carbon footprint left behind by the "food miles" it takes to bring imported produce to your local grocers - so you're helping the environment, too.

Growing vegetables is easier than you think. Plan it properly, and you can enjoy a healthy, homegrown harvest from the fruits of your labour - without having to spend hours tending it.

Gardening 101

Sunshine is sustenance - Vegetables need at least six hours of full sun per day. The easiest thing to do is to place your garden in full sunlight. Make sure it's easily accessible for watering; if the garden is too far from your house it could get neglected. Check the last frost date in your region and wait until threat of frost is past before you begin planting.

No garden necessary - Gardening doesn't require a lot of room - although if you have the space and time to go large, go for it!. Many popular vegetables and herbs grow just fine in containers, making them a great option for those with limited space. For smaller gardens, raised beds are an easy, low-maintenance option. If your garden is going right into the ground, just turn the earth with a shovel, toss out roots and rocks, mix in a soil amendment for healthy soil, and plant.

Water relief - Water regularly, but avoid doing so during the heat of the day when evaporation will diminish the effectiveness of irrigation. Water to wet the soil about 20cm deep, but don't over-water.

Feed your food - All edible plants draw nutrients from the ground, and can quickly exhaust the soil without the help of a fertilizer. Always follow label directions.

Growing for it
Here are some favorites to consider for your garden:

August is the perfect time for planting a variety of vegetables, so now is the time to get into the garden and start preparing beds or pots. Pop into your local garden centre or nursery and stock up on your favourite veggies to grown your own at home.

What to plant in August: Beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggfruit, green pepper, leeks, lettuce, onion, parsley, peas, parsnip, pumpkin, rhubarb, spinach, radish, spinach, squash, tomato, turnip, and watermelon.