Working from home, for many of us, could well be here to stay and the pros are numerous – increased productivity, less time wasted commuting, lower stress levels and a greater balance between office and family life. On the flipside, there’s the danger of the workday which never ends because your office is right there, in the heart of your home – always beckoning you to check for emails, complete one last document.
The solution: escape to your garden! But, don’t just sit there, get your hands dirty; sow seeds, plant seedlings, feed flowers, fruit trees and lawns and you’ll soon be taking regular healthy breaks from your desk to check on the progress – it’s addictive in the best possible way. Now that autumn has arrived, you’ve got an ideal opportunity to sow and plant in time to take advantage of the winter rains and bask in the glory of your garden’s springtime show.
Tips for Vegetable Growing
- Soil needs to be well-worked, raked through and free of debris, which could hamper the development of roots. Root crops enjoy a more sandy soil as this is best for their development, clay soils in your garden could hinder the development of bulbs and roots, as it is more compact.
- Use Superphosphate or Bonemeal which are the organic and chemical root stimulants in the soil mixture and a sprinkling of Bounce Back or Talborne on the surface 100g per square meter at planting to ensure success.
- Root crops enjoy sunny positions or areas which receive a lot of light. Plants should be kept moist during the germination period. Feed with Bounce Back or Talborne at 50g per square meter during the growing phase.
- When your veggies are ready and have been harvested, remember to place the onions in a cool, dark place to dry. The turnips, beetroot, radishes and carrots will last longer in the refrigerator.
Harvesting tip: Remove tops after harvesting to prolong shelf life.
Autumn is the ideal time to eliminate muddy areas. Sow Starke Ayres “Cool Season” lawn grass seed – it germinates easily, helped by winter rainfall, and provides a lush surface for those sunny winter days. Starke Ayres Garden Centre, Rosebank has a wide range to suit sunny or shady areas and staff will be happy to assist you.
Gardener’s tip: 1 x 30dm bag of lawn dressing usually covers 6 – 8m2.
Seeds to sow
Starke Ayres Namaqualand daisies and Bokbaai vygies are indigenous and ideal for water-wise gardens. Improve your germination rate by using Palm peat to help retain moisture in the sowing beds. April and May are the months in which to sow sweetpeas. You can also sow: Violas, poppies, Lobelias, snapdragons, pansies, Delphiniums, African daisies, Cinerarias, Salvias, Scabiosa and Nemesias. Alyssum and Dianthus are always good bets too.
This is the time to sow winter veggies such as broad beans, potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions, peas and cauliflower. If you’ve grown chive and garlic chives, divide them and replant in pots using freshly composted or potting soil – place these on your kitchen windowsill for easy access when cooking.