Posts Tagged ‘ maintenance ’

Pond Maintenance & Tips for South Africans

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Many homeowners dream of having a pond in their homes. It creates a beautiful environment where you can feel rested and relaxed as you enjoy the beautiful view. Although there is much to be enjoyed, maintaining your pond is a crucial element that can seem quite tedious.

Life is a Garden has the perfect pond tips that will make maintenance easier. You can find all your water gardening needs at your GCA Garden Centre.


Pond Pump

Choosing the right pump for your pond will set you up for a win. It will provide accurate oxygen and circulation which is essential for fish staying healthy and alive and an important aspect of your pond's ecosystem. If the water in your pond is not correctly circulating it will result in algae build-up and stagnation in your pond.

 Some of the things to consider when choosing the ideal pond pump are how high you are wanting to pump to push up and the volume of your pond.

 An easy tip for calculating the volume of your pond is: L x B x H = x 1000 which will equal the litres of water your pond holds.


Pond Leaf Skimmers

Adding in a product to minimize the leaf debris is your next step. For example, you could use a Pond Leaf Skimmer, this type of product is ideal for reducing your workload by removing leaves and other particles as they land in your water that may cause your pond to be waterlogged. It basically works as a net to accordingly collect all the particles before they sink to the bottom. It is easily accessible and should never be underestimated for the huge clarity it adds to your water for better viewing of your fish as they swim around.

 Although leaves are more likely to fall during the autumn season, we recommend that you use a pond skimmer with a floating basket that not only cleans your pond but enriches the water with vital oxygen and improves the water quality.


Pond Pumps
Pond Vacuum Cleaners

If you are looking at saving time on the weekends so you can simultaneously spend it doing what you love most. Look no further than Pond Vacuum Cleaners that gets to those areas which are not easily reachable –Pond vacuum cleaners are durable and can get to the bottom and around the surface of your pond. It does not even require you to bend and scrub or get messy and dirty. The best time of the year to vacuum your pond is early autumn or on a bi-weekly basis during peak summer.

If you are wondering if your fish will be safe during the clean, you can rest assured that they will not be harmed.


Algae Controls

Have you ever noticed a build-up of the green-like layer in your pond? This is called algae which is perfectly normal but certainly needs to be controlled. Controlling the algae is made possible with different types of algae controls that can be found in your nearest Garden Centre. Algae Control Powders are one of the simplest and inexpensive ways for keeping your pond clean and clear while being perfectly safe for your aquatic plants and harmless for your fish. It is also vital for releasing vital oxygen in your pond.

Depending on how quickly algae accumulates in your pond, we suggest that you sufficiently utilise it every two - four weeks, however, be sure not to over use products like these in order to prevent harming your fish.

Cleaning out the pond

Escape from the chaos of life and transform your pond into an environment of tranquillity. With these simple Pond Tips, you can ensure your pond is hassle-free.

Article provided by Waterhouse Pumps.

Spring Zing September Checklist

Posted on: August 23rd, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments
September Checklist

The season that needs no introduction – it can only be spring! This is an exciting time for gardeners filled with blossoms, blooms, and renewed beauty after the winter. This month, Life is a Garden loves the spekboom, and we’ve got some special varieties to share. The veggie garden is every home grower’s dream, so check out our edible zingers for September. Perennials and bulbs are also ready to crank up the heat in the garden, so let’s dig and plant right in! 


‘n Spekkie for thought 

Portulacaria afra (elephant's food, elephant bush, or spekboom) is an indigenous superstar in our South African climate. They tolerate high humidity, high rainfall or drought, heat, desert sun or well-lit indoor spaces. They are frost-tender but will bounce back quickly. Not prone to pests or disease either, the spekkie boasts the following fabulous benefits: 

  • Environment: They help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by acting like a handy carbon sponge, thereby improving the quality of air we breathe. 
  • Firebreaks: This plant is used in fire-prone areas as a perimeter hedge – good to know! 
  • Food: Spekboom leaves are edible and add interesting texture and flavour to salads. They are high in Vitamin C with a juicy, sour taste – definitely worth a try!  
  • Soil: A good soil binder that helps to prevent soil erosion – wind and slopes beware! 
  • Versatile: With so many varieties available, spekkies are excellent groundcovers, look spectacular in hanging baskets, add a vibe to mixed succulent containers, are super hardy trees, cute bonsais, and are just overall an awesomely easy addition to the garden.  
  • Easy to please: Prune them to shape or let them grow wild, feed them or forget about them, mulch them or munch on them. 

Did you know? Spekboom provides 80% of an elephant’s diet and can live up to 200 years. 

Plant these Portulacaria afra varieties now in well-drained soil with a dash of organic fertiliser available from your GCA Garden Centre.

  • Tom Thumb: a small-leaved, compact variety that makes an excellent bonsai.
  • Longstockings: also small-leaved but with a distinctly vertical growth form.
  • Macrophylla: a giant-leaved variety, very sculptural in the garden or in pots. 
  • Also try: Limpopo (most common), Prostrata, Aurea, Foliis variegate, Medio-picta, Variegata, Tricolor, and Cork Bark.
Tom Thumb
Portulacaria afra Prostrata
Portulacaria afra Medih-picta
Portulacaria afra variegata
Fired-up flowers 
  • Plant Alyssum in garden beds or hanging baskets in full to partial sun. They tolerate dry soil and will flourish with frequent deadheading. Alyssum are ideal as attractive edge borders, framing flower beds, as well as adding vibrancy and texture to window boxes. 
  • Also plant clivias, salvias, begonia ‘Dragon Wings’, verbenas, penstemons, camellias and azaleas for a splash of happy spring colour. 
  • Warm-season bulbs like tuberous begonias, dahlias and amaryllis can also be planted now. For summer bedding colour, include masses of petunias, dianthus, gazanias, and Zantedeschia hybrids. 
  • Perennials to plant with your spring collection include columbines, angel wings (Gaura), Limonium perezi (giant statice), Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (cornflower), and Viola odorata ‘The Czar’ (sweet violet). 
  • Sow bold sunflowers, zinnias, and portulacas to reap the rewards in a few weeks.

In the bloom prune zone: Mayflowers, banksia roses, hibiscus and poinsettia are ready for a snip. Deadhead pansies and violas now too.

Angel wings
Scabiosa columbaria
Edible spring zingers
  • Plant strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes, chillies, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, cabbage, beetroot, spinach and chard.
  • Sow seeds of tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, beans, beetroot, eggplants, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, mealies, pumpkin, dwarf beans, runner beans, maize and sweetcorn.
  • Trees to plant are olives and almonds, yummy!
  • Herbs to plant include dill, chervil, origanum, borage, mustard, caraway, coriander, mint, Pennyroyal, rosemary, fennel, basil, anise and summer savoury.

Top tip: Remember to head over to your GCA Garden Centre for organic fertilisers to help you get the most from your greens. Seed packets are the cheapest way to grow your own food and are widely available at nurseries and supermarkets.

Trees for your troubles 

Wildlife-attracting, shade-providing, and spring-blooming trees to plant now are: 

  • Paperbark acacia
  • Fever tree
  • Pom pom tree
  • Forest elder 
  • Cape chestnut
  • Dombeya rotundifolia (wild pear)

Our perfect pick: The indigenous Kiggelaria africana (wild peach) is a showy must-have for the critter-loving gardener. This beauty is drought-tolerant, evergreen, fast-growing, ideal for screening/hedging, costal safe (salt and wind), suitable for containers and small gardens, has minimal waste shedding, and the best part – this tree hosts the Acrea Horta butterfly and several other species too, including some stunning moths. Diederik and Red-chested Cuckoos feast on these caterpillars, keeping the numbers in check and sustaining your garden’s essential food chain. The fruits are not edible but trees will reward your garden with colour, charm, and an abundance of life! 


Paperbark acacia
Get your lawn lush 

Plant new lawn grass seed or grass plugs now. September is the best time for establishing new lawns as conditions give roots the perfect opportunity to settle down before the summer feet come rolling in. Fertilise and begin watering the lawn regularly and fix bare patches with a top-dressing of fine compost or commercial lawn dressing. Your GCA Garden Centre is fully stocked with all your lawn essentials, go check it out. 


Pesky pest alert

Watch out for these nasty guys that are as excited about spring as we are. Charge down to your nursery for eco-friendly pesticides that’ll make quick work of these pesky pests. 

  • Leaf gall on azaleas (small swellings or knobs on the leaves, stems, and flowers).
  • Thrips on gladioli (spottings on flowers and yellow speckled areas on leaves).
  • Citrus psylla on lemons (raised, pocket-like swelling on leaves). 
  • Impatient fungus (yellow-green discolouration of leaves, often curling downwards). 
  • Snails and slugs around newly planted seedlings.
  • Cutworms on the roots and foliage of new growth.


Maintenance incoming 
  • Refresh, top-up or replace pebbles and gravel around the garden, especially between paving stones where dust and mud accumulate to spoil the effect.
  • Check for algae and moss on paving. Scrub down with a solution of copper sulphate or use a moss killer.
Leaf gall
Black Thrips

Enjoy your zesty, zinger of a spring and plant your heart out. The rains will soon be coming to give all your new babies some TLC, followed by warm, early wake-up calls for the sun. September is a party in the backyard when your Life is a Garden filled with blooms, edibles, and trees like these.

August in the Garden Checklist An extraordinary, rewarding August

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

With the great winds of change upon us, dare we say the smell of spring approaches! All your hard work this winter will soon pay off as August comes to reward the garden with extraordinary blooms in gorgeous hues for every mood. There’s one more month of cool-season stunners to enjoy with daisy bushes leading the pack. Make sure to tick off your maintenance checklist and begin prepping the lawn for September. Edibles are exciting in August too and there’s much to sow and munch on. Hold onto your hats and let’s glide right in!


Fulfilling flowers
Strikingly crazy for daisies

Colour blast your way through the wind and immerse outdoor beds in bold and brave daisy bushes. The vivid variety of daisy blooms will pop off brilliantly against the winter landscape and are simply stand out additions to the  garden. Daisies flourish in containers, beds, and borders that receive full sun. Bushes can be sown and/or planted in autumn for a vibrant August gust of colour. Here are seven striking inspirations:

  1. Cape daisy (Osteospermum): Indigenous and water-wise in deep shades of many magical colours to choose from, flowering from spring to autumn.
  2. Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum): Blooms attract butterflies, available in pretty coloured hues for every mood that flower from spring to autumn. Single and double flowers available.
  3. English daisy (Bellis perennis): A fast grower and spreader with uniquely rounded red, white, and pink flowers, blooming in masses from winter to spring.
  • Golden daisy bush (Euryops chrysanthemoides): Compact and evergreen with bright golden-yellow blooms peaking from autumn to spring.
  • Livingstone daisy (Mesembryanthemum): Dark centres blend into radiant shades of pinks, purples, orange, yellow, and crimson. Flowering begins in August, peaking in September.
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum): Cheerful and quick-spreading with robust all-white petals and a yellow centre. These lovelies bloom from late spring to autumn.
  • Kingfisher daisy (Felicia amelloides): Local and lively with masses of sky-blue petals and yellow centres.  They attract butterflies and flower from spring to autumn.


Daisy do’s: Although performing best during colder climates, daisy bushes will flower repeatedly throughout the year. If you maintain them well with regular watering, feeding, and deadheading, your garden will be rewarded with near-constant colour and frequent surprises popping up.


Top tip: Fly over to your GCA Garden Centre and see which crazy daisies are in-store and in bloom now. Don’t forget your compost and organic fertiliser while you're there.

More mad blooms to sow now: It’s wakey-wakey to winter beds with marigolds, cosmos, lobularia, cleomes, godetias, lavateras, phlox, sunflowers, impatiens, and begonia.

Blushing August bulbs to plant now: These summer-flowering bulbs are ready for some rich soil, sun, and water: gladiolus, calla lilies, cannas, spider lilies, George lilies, tuberoses, galtonias, schizostylis, crocosmias, storm lilies, arum lilies, and dahlias.

Top tip: Don’t be tempted to cut off the leaves of your spring bulbs just yet. Although they have finished flowering, they need these leaves to make food for the developing bulb.

A rosy reminder: Ensure all roses have been pruned and increase watering. Spray bare stems to kill insect eggs and fungus spores. Relocation and transplanting should also be done now, followed by a good feeding. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for rose care essentials.

In the grow zone

Edibles for sowing from seed packets

  • In frost-free areas, sow these summer crops now: runner beans, dwarf beans, maize, sweet corn, pumpkins, and squashes.
  • Herbs heralding the spring sunshine: sweet basil, coriander, and rocket.

* Remember to harvest your root veggies: parsnips, turnips, beetroot, carrot, and radish.


Edibles for growing from seedlings

  • Plant out rhubarb, shallots, garlic, globe artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

*Also remember to top-dress perennial crops such as asparagus.

Motivated maintenance

Lawn loving

  • Begin prepping the lawn for spring with lawn dressing, fertiliser, and compost.
  • Your pre-spring treatment includes low mowing, firm raking, leveling out, and covering with lawn dressing.
  • Sow seeds for shade lawn now.


Wind whirling

  • The windy month has arrived. Stake all newly planted trees to prevent toppling and breakages.
  • Ensure all creepers are securely supported on trellises and tie-down branches where needed.
  • Mulch around your edibles to prevent wind erosion and help retain warmth.


Slug repelling

  • Slugs and snails are eager to feast on soft spring plantings. Go to battle by planting barrier plants around new greens.
  • Barrier plants include mint, garlic, chives, geraniums, and fennel.
  • Goggas are deterred by the pungent smell and taste of these natural pest-repelling plants.


Ladybugs to the rescue: Our eco-hero of the month is the sweet little ladybug. She may be pretty, but mealybugs, aphids, scale, caterpillars, and thrips beware of her deadly munching crunch! These pesky critters are her favourite meals and she’ll make quick work of them too.

Some cold caution: In very cold regions, leave pruning of frost-damaged plants until next month as the affected foliage protects the plant in case of another frostbite attack.

Your GCA Garden Centre is ready to receive your August enthusiasm, so head on over to see what grabs you and sparks your inspiration. Have an extraordinarily rewarding last month of winter and well done for keeping your crops and flowers flourishing. Daisies are your best colourful cover-up for gardens that took a little beating in the cool season. Plant some now and blow away the haters! Life is a Garden, just grow with it.

July Maintenance Checklist

Posted on: June 23rd, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments
All about much-needed maintenance!
Become a winter winner in your July garden here:

July Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

July is all about colourful comforts in the garden and enjoying the hearty harvest winter has to offer. Keep your beds looking lush with a sensational selection of flowers available from your GCA Garden Centre. Don’t forget your July maintenance to help your garden stay in top shape and ready for the last cold stretch. Enjoy the journey with your landscape and take some time to appreciate the remarkable changes of Mother Nature.


Beat the winter blues
  • Surround yourself with colourful comforts available at nurseries now: primose, alyssum/lobularia, violas, pansies, verbena, Primula malacoides, Primula obconica, Primula acaulis, and ornamental kale.
  • Robust succulents: Aloe Hedgehog, aloe Ferrox, and aloe Speciosa.
  • Gems: Krantz aloe, Basuto kraal aloe, nandina, viburnum, camellia, holly and Elaeagnus.
  • Indoor babies: Move indoor plants to warmer parts of the house if needed. Also check that your plants are getting enough light.

A flying reminder: Help the birds out and ensure your birdbath and bird feeder is well-stocked. Food is scarce for the flyers during the winter months.

Everything edible
  • Garden centre treasures: Fig, olive, grape, cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees are available at GCA Garden Centres from July.
  • Harvest now: Horseradish, asparagus, celeriac, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and waterblommetjies.
  • Split & divide: Divide your asparagus and rhubarb now for a larger yield and remember to mulch well after transplanting.
  • Support: Stake broad beans and Brussels sprouts to give them more support and increase growth.
  • Feed: Remember to feed your winter veg seedlings with nutritious fertilisers and compost. Also, feed your spring bulbs and clivias now.
  • Mulch up: Much beds well to retain warmth and moisture.
  • Water down: Be careful of overwatering during winter every 3rd day should be sufficient.

Top tip: Use bird netting or frost cover sheets to deter birds while also allowing light and air into the veggie garden.

Perfect pruning & maintenance

A little off the top: Deciduous shrubs, golden shower, barleria, ribbon bush, wild dagga, westringia, and hydrangeas. Also cut back bougainvilleas that have finished flowering.

Hard pruning: Fruit trees should be pruned substantially to adjust their structure and to remove any sick or diseased branches. At least 40% of the tree should be pruned out, especially low growing rootstock suckers and water sprouts. Also, remove any grey, non-fruiting shoots but leave the reddish 1-year-old shoots.

Cut away: All dead wood, diseased branches and leaves, large trees casting unwanted shade. Remember to add all this organic matter to the compost heap.

Check your tools: Sharpen your garden blades, lawnmower blades, and replace any old pruning shears. Remember to get your lawnmower and edge cutters serviced too, spring is going to be busy!

Rose care: Start pruning roses at the end of the month and spray with Kumulus afterwards. Feed them with a rose fertiliser and apply a new layer of mulch around the bushes. Also transplant roses that need to be moved now. Seal pruning wounds and spray with fungicide as wasps like to lay eggs in newly pruned, soft areas.

Fertilise your rose bush roots after pruning with bonemeal, compost, or phosphate. Most rose fertilisers have a low middle number that is ideal for root feeding.

Top tip: Visit your GCA Garden Centre for advice on products to help seal pruning wounds as well as which sprays and fertilisers to use after fruit tree and rose pruning.

There’s much on the maintenance to-do list this month, for which you will be well rewarded! Make sure your beds are ready to brave the cold and bring in some colour with balmy blooms. A little pruning maintenance and mulch goes a long way in helping your bushes and trees through harsh winter climate changes. Head over to your GCA Garden Centre and see what other inspirations await you.

June in the Garden Checklist for the outdoor artist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Consider the June garden as an inviting blank canvas, welcoming you to paint with a rainbow of winter blooms. For your cool-season muse, Life is a Garden has gathered a few vibrant beauts to plant-paint with, as well as some artsy edibles to inspire your soups. Learn how to defend your plant babies against black frost and enjoy our handy maintenance tips. Embrace the cold and plant on!


Chilled thrills in the Western Cape
  • Have faith in your fynbos and head over to your GCA Garden Centre to checkout new protea hybrids and visit some old faves too. Leucospermums (pincushions) and leucadendrons are stunning choices you can go bos with in the garden. Remember, proteas grow in pots too!
  • Aunt Gale’s wind is always around the corner so make sure all ties and stakes supporting young trees and roses are super secure. You may also want to check your garden furniture and make sure that nothing will end up in your neighbour’s yard.
  • Avoiding flooding at home by clearing drains and gutters of old plant material.
  • Begin winter pruning on vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for products to spray on dormant trees after pruning.
Plant flowers from Wonderland
  • Pansies and Violas: These annuals are perfect to plant as borders and edgings, in window boxes and containers. Position them where they receive full sun in winter but partial shade in spring and early summer, to give them a longer lifespan. They like fertile, composted soil with good drainage and regular watering.
  • Snapdragons: These short-lived, yet super-cute perennials are ideal in mixed border gardens, flower boxes, and as potted patio décor. Bright snapdragon flowers will bloom profusely all winter long in full sun to partial shade. Begin germinating seeds indoors and when they’re ready, pop them into nutrient-rich soil that drains well.

Blooming muses to plant: Primula, primrose, calendula, stocks, gazania, poppy, bellis, alyssum, conifers, hellebores, narcissi, Camellia, Erica, pincushion, and ornamental grasses.

Triumphant cold troupers to plant: Abelias, Elaeagnus pungens ‘Variegata’, Pittosporum tobira, P. tenuifolium, rosemary, confetti bushes, Melaleuca bracteata ‘Johannesburg Gold’, and holly.

Artsy-potsy plant pick: Lewisia is one tough babe and will handle pretty much everything winter has to throw at her. She likes sun or partial shade, good drainage, but not the richest of soil. Water her moderately and deadhead spent blooms. She’ll reward you with gorgeous rosettes, slender stalks, and pastel-pink flowers for patio pots and just about everywhere else really!


Pruning particulars
  • If you live in a frost-free area you can begin pruning roses in June.
  • Very chilly and frost-prone areas should wait until the 2nd week of July.
  • Everyone can prune and cut back deciduous trees, conifers, vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees now.

Black Frost se voet

  • What is it: Black frost happens when humidity is too low for frost to form, but the temperature drops so low that plant tissues freeze and die, becoming blackened.
  • Where it affects: The leaves of plants are the most affected. Avoid pruning the burnt leaves as they will continue to protect the plant in case of another freeze invasion.
  • How to protect: You can protect plants even more by using raised beds, mulching up (a lot), covering growing trees at night, and changing to mid-morning watering to allow all water to evaporate before evening temperatures drop.
  • What to do: Once a plant has succumbed to the black frost horseman, do not prune or feed it, simply send it love – this too shall pass. Once the temperature increases, some plants will shed dead leaves on their own, while others that have died back will begin to regrow.

Inspirational edibles to plant: Rocket, cabbage (red and baby), horseradish, asparagus, global artichokes and rhubarb, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, beetroot, turnips, Brussel sprouts, oriental vegetables, celery, parsley, peas, and leeks. Pop into your fave GCA Garden Centre and see which seedlings are available.

Homegrown’s to harvest: Citrus and avocados (finally), leeks, Brussel sprouts (from the bottom upwards), carrots, parsnips, and cabbages.

Mulch-up your canvas: Mulch the entire garden with lovely autumn leaves to protect plants from the cold and assist in water retention in dry areas. Cape gardeners, get on top of those rain-loving winter weeds with max mulch power.

March in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: February 16th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
March Gardening Checklist

As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.


Flowers and foliage

The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:

  • African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
  • Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
  • Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
  • Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
African daisy (Dimorphoteca)
Livingstone daisy
Virginian stocks
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
Blue Felicia bush
Sweet peas

Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.


Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.

Sweet pea
Rose care

Tree tip: Plant new fruit trees from mid-March onwards in temperate regions to ensure a good spring and summer harvest. Your GCA Garden Centre has a tasty selection of fruits to grow, go check it out.

Veggies and herbs

Winter veggies are ready to be planted for delicious soups and stews to enjoy during the chilly nights. Remember that your GCA Garden Centre supplies both vegetable seeds and seedlings to get you started. Sow/plant these cool-season sensations now for an autumn/winter harvest:

  • Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Broad beans, Brussel sprouts, and onions
  • Spinach, leeks, celery, and peas
  • Gooseberries, beetroot, and garlic
  • Oriental veggie varieties available at your GCA garden centre

Bedding bestie tip: Do companion planting with wild garlic, yarrow, comfrey, and Marigolds to assist with soil nutrition and natural pest control.

Brussel sprouts
Herb preservation

For an on-demand homegrown supply of fresh herbs during winter, start harvesting and preserving your greens now. Chop mint, parsley, basil and lemon balm, place them in an ice tray, fill with water, and pop them in the freezer. Aromatic herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, bay leaf, and rosemary, are better air-dried. Continue to feed herbs monthly with a half-strength liquid fertiliser and water regularly.

Must love maintenance

March is a month of maintenance, for which you’ll be gloriously rewarded as we move into winter. Give the garden a little extra TLC in preparation of the changing season. A little goes a long way in terms of the overall appearance and fertility of your beds, plants, and harvest.  Start these maintenance jobs now:

  • Work in about 30cm of compost into beds with a handful of bonemeal or super-phosphate to ensure plants have all the nutrition they need for winter.
  • Trim ground covers like sutera (bacopa) that may have taken strain during the hot summer months. They’ll produce fresh new growth and will thicken up nicely.
  • Give fynbos plants like confetti bush, a light trim to shape them up before their winter flowering.
  • Protect grapes this time of year and prune back excessive leaves to allow more sunlight into the crop.
  • Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune to shape and remove any dead or diseased branches.
  • Remember to reduce the amount of water given to houseplants.
Sutera bocopa
Confetti bush

Although summer has loved and left us, autumn has come with its own wonderful variety of sowing opportunities. There’s always a flower, fruit, and veggie in need of a home, roses looking for a pruning, and a little maintenance to make all the difference. Enjoy March in the garden and tick off your to-do checklist with the help of tools, accessories, and seeds available at your GCA Garden Centre.