Grow To Eat Festival

Join us at Heckers Garden Centre for our highly anticipated annual Grow to Eat Festival!

This exciting event will take place from September 30th, 2023, to October 8th, 2023.

The festival offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the incredible world of edible gardening from various countries around the world.

We are located at 1 Kirschner road, Westwood, Boksburg.

Admission is absolutely FREE, so bring your friends, family and even pets on leashes along to discover the wonders of gardening and culinary delights.

Get ready to embark on a journey through vibrant displays and interactive workshops that will inspire and educate attendees on the versatility and deliciousness of herbs, vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers.

Throughout the festival, you can expect an array of special offers on herbs and veggies, ensuring that you have the opportunity to take home the very best produce. Learn from expert exhibitors, suppliers, and enthusiasts who will share their knowledge and provide valuable tips on growing, harvesting, and incorporating these international flavours into your cooking.

Immerse yourself in the captivating cultures and cuisines of each country with our captivating displays dedicated to Mexico, Italy, India, South Africa, France, Portugal, and Asia. Explore the unique herbs and veggies that define each culinary tradition and gain inspiration for your own garden and kitchen.

This year’s festival will also be in the same time as the Rugby World Cup so you will definitely see a rugby twist in our South Africa exhibit.

Mark your calendars for the Grow to Eat Festival at Heckers Garden Centre from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. We look forward to seeing you there! Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more announcements on exhibitors and workshops.

-Secure Parking
-FREE Entrance – No booking required
-Various exhibitors and displays
-Interactive workshops – Will be announced and booking is essential
-Restaurant onsite
-Loads of edible plants on special
-Sample beverages to quench your thirst
-Wheelchair accessible
-Pet friendly
-Kids planting corner (all year round

The Autumn Harvest

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It’s Autumn, and probably the last opportunity to soak up a lovely warm-ish day in South Africa before the winter chill sets in. Why not arrange some outdoor time on your patio with friends and family and surprise them by preparing some dishes, almost exclusively from your garden? Get your preserve recipes ready and let’s fill some bags with produce to share with those in need. 

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Pick me

A tasty host of herbs to be picked now include thyme, parsley, marjoram, and mint. Veggies like squash, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, chillies and, beetroot are also ready for the lunch buffet. Juicy fruit such as melon and tomato will be coming to an end now as well. 

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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery

Harvesting tips

  • Prolong your lettuce harvest by only picking the larger, outer leaves each time, allowing the inner leaves to keep growing.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Tomatoes are ready to be picked when they’re uniformly red – just before they soften. Spray preventatively against various fungal diseases.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Lemons, depending on variety and care should be available to harvest pretty much all year round. Keep your tree well-watered, prune when necessary and protect it from pests to keep your bounty flowing.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Peppers are a Catch-22 harvest. If you want volume you should pick them frequently and before they mature since they’ll keep trying to produce viable seed but if it is flavour you’re after you need to let them reach maturity before harvesting knowing you’ll have less but tastier fruit.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery

Preserve your bounty

Fresh produce has a limited shelf life but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your harvest for longer. Fill jars with homemade pasta sauces, relishes, and pickles that can be enjoyed for months after you’ve harvested your vegetables. There are some stunning preserve recopies out there, not to mention fire ciders and other health conics you can create.

Eat your heart out healthily Become a Botanical Boss this January

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New Year’s resolutions and gardening go hand in hand, especially considering the amount of healthy food we are able to grow in virtually any space. Whether you’re going for low-calorie, low-carb meals, or high fat intake and intermittent fasting, raw and purely organic or vegan – the harvest is on your side! Fuel your body for less with this mostly summer edible selection and grow guide from Life is a Garden. 

Top tip: If you missed last month’s article, click here for expert advice on how to set up a vertical hydroponic system for all-space produce growing: 

 

Calorie-conscious, nutrient-dense crops to grow

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Your farming responsibility 

As gardeners, we have a direct impact on our environment, which comes as a sweet blessing because this means we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Sustainable water practices are an essential part of gardening and we cannot ignore how precious and finite this resource is. We saw the huge impact of day 0 in the Western Cape, and the rest of the country is not immune to this possibility either. Here are some simple and effective practices from our industry expert, Charles Oosthuizen from Tuberflora Nursery.

  • “MULCH, MULCH, MULCH - why are South Africans so hesitant about this practice? We see this in so many gardens - barren, hard-baked soil raked neatly clean on a weekly basis. This is not the way forward in terms of sustainable watering practices at all.
  • Drip irrigation is the future as it is cost-effective, low maintenance and saves a lot of water.
  • Water only in the late afternoon or early in the morning.
  • Water very well only once or twice a week instead of a little bit every day.
  • Add water-retaining gel to your pots and containers.
  • The more compost and other organic material in and on top of the soil the more water retention the soil will have.

Delicious Produce Trees & vines for homegrown abundance

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January’s topic: Eat your heart out healthily
Theme: Delicious produce-producing trees and vines 
Industry expert: Charles Oosthuizen
Grower: Tuberflora Nursery based in Muldersdrift, Gauteng: https://www.tuberflora.co.za/  

Life is a Garden met with expert grower, Tuberflora, to find out about the latest edible hybrids and delicious fruit tree varieties available this summer at your GCA Garden Centre. With serious water restrictions experienced across the country recently, are you equally mulch-serious yet? Come get some professional growing advice and choose the perfect produce-producing tree for gardens and patios of all sizes. 

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1. Your website lists such a juicy, crunchy, and zesty variety of produce-producing trees. Please give us your top 5 summer must-have fruit trees that our gardeners can look out for at their GCA Garden Centre this season. 

  • Pomegranates (King of fruits)
  • Figs (Queen of fruits)
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Citrus
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fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

2. We love your selection of the more uncommon nut, berry, and fruit tree/plant varieties. For our gardeners looking to grow something special, which trees/plants would you recommend and are there any growing tips to be aware of? 

We are introducing wine grape varieties this year, and although they are small and seeded, they are edible. Grapes are water-wise and thrive in hot, dry weather conditions.

We also sell special heirloom varieties of figs and pomegranates. In fact, Giving Trees grow the biggest selection of figs and pomegranates in the country and their aim is to preserve the huge gene pool of varieties for future generations. Figs and pomegranates are special spiritual plants as they bring good energy to your garden. Figs and pomegranates are tolerant of hot, dry weather conditions as well once they are established. Persimmons are tough, easy to grow and very rewarding.

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fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

3. We recently experienced water restrictions across the country. Are there any water-wise growing/watering methods and practices you could recommend that allow consumers to sustainably grow food?

WOW your watermelon DIY

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The exciting thrill of a successful watermelon harvest doesn’t end at picking your prized fruit at just the right time. Have you ever wondered how to hero this bootylicious edible even further? These creative carving ideas and mouth-watering recipes from Life is a Garden are sure to help you get all the WOW’s from your watermelon this summer (with no added sugar and vegan friendliness)! 

Frozen coco-melon lollies 

Ingredients: Fresh watermelon and any other soft ripe fruit of your choice (try berries, kiwi or banana) and a can of coconut milk.

Equipment: A blender and ice lolly moulds for the freezer.

Method: First, blend your second fruit choice, such as blackberries, and fill a quarter of the lolly mould. Pop in the freezer to set. Then, blend your watermelon (remove as many seeds as possible) together with the coconut milk and pour the mix into the mould (on top of your frozen berries) and freeze immediately. Enjoy your double-coloured, homemade lollies! 

 

Try this: Add a handful of fresh garden herbs when blending your bottom fruit mix for a pop of surprise flavour at the end. 

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Wow your watermelon, recipe, fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

Fancy-pants punch bowl 

Ingredients: A whole fresh watermelon, a bottle of soda water, lemon/lime slices, crushed ice, and mint leaves.

Equipment: A sharp knife, large spoon, blender, and ladle for serving

Method: Cut your watermelon in half so that you have two halves that can stand on their own. Hollow out the inside flesh and pop all the goodness into the blender, give it a whizz. Then, pour your watermelon blend back into its shell, slowly add the soda water followed by the lemon/lime slices, and then the crushed ice. Give it a gentle stir and add mint leaves to garnish – voila! 

Try this: Add a splash of gin or rum to the punch and a tot of passionfruit cordial as an adult’s only option. 

Hydroponics for the home gardener Sassy, soilless gardening

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Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank

Make a statement and make a difference, save space and maximise your harvest – how? Hydroponic farming, baby! Life is a Garden has turned up the sass meter this month with expert insight from Timothy Damons, an equally high-spirited soilless enthusiast with a passion for LIFE. Debunk some hydroponic misconceptions, learn how to set up and maintain a system, and be inspired by the flowers and food you can grow. Let’s dig in, or rather, let’s pump up!  

November’s topic: Soilless, sassy gardening
Theme: Hydroponics for the home gardener  
Industry expert: Timothy Damons based in Saldanha Bay on the West Coast  

1. We love finding new members from the eco-tribe! Please share your story with us: What lead you to hydroponics? How did your journey with this growing method begin?  

I adore nature and have always loved gardening. I love being out in the open, taking in the fresh morning air and witnessing all the weird and wonderful things that planet Earth has to offer. Seeing plants growing into something beautiful and nutritious gives me tremendous joy. When I left the corporate world in 2017, I decided to take a hydroponics course with a well-known hydroponicist named John Sandison. I chose hydroponics because I wanted to understand how to grow good quality fruit and vegetables in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way. I also lived in a big city at the time and generally, space for gardening is limited. I wanted to explore how people can grow edibles in the city without the large-scale footprint that our commercial farming methods have. Vertical farming is truly the answer to this conundrum and that is why I decided to pursue it.  

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Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank

2. The system you have built sounds very interesting and easy for a home gardener to set up. Please give us an overview of your vertical recirculation hydroponic growing station.

Hydroponics And Beyond Workshop at HomeGrowers Edenvale

Live and on site at HomeGrowers Edenvale
Welcome to another incredible HomeGrowers Hydroponic workshop.
During this workshop you will be exposed to the following:
1. What is Hydroponics?
2. Why hydroponics?
3. What can I grow in Hydroponics?
4. Is Hydroponics for me?
5. What are my options when considering a hydroponic system?
6. How do I manage my hydroponic system?
7. How to manage my nutrients and pH levels.
This workshop is offered FREE OF CHARGE.
We will cover most of the systems available from HomeGrowers so that you’re able to get a real life view of how herbs and vegetables are grown, produced and harvested.
RSVP
Contact: 061 103 7121