New Year, New Garden, New You New beginnings

The New Year is an exciting time when the promise of new beginnings lies ahead of us. It is a time of self-reflection and motivates us to improve our lives. Usually, this includes changing our lifestyles to eat healthier and incorporate daily exercise for better health.

Rather than waiting for an open exercise machine or joining an overfilled class at the gym, all you need to start a healthy regime is in your garden. Not only will your garden benefit from you spending time working in it, but your body will also be more robust and stronger too. Here are a few ways you stand to benefit from including gardening into your lifestyle this year.

Get physical

While you might think of your garden as a haven of relaxation, digging, mowing, raking up leaves and pushing a wheelbarrow around the garden all help you to burn calories and tone up those muscles. That’s right; gardening is considered moderate-intensity exercise, which means working in the garden for 60 minutes can be equivalent to 35 minutes of jogging.

There are also benefits to spending time planting and pruning, which can all contribute to low-intensity stretching exercises which have a host of benefits for your body and mind. By regularly stretching, you increase your flexibility and range of motion, both beneficial for pain reduction.

Eat 5-a-day

Growing your own fruits and vegetables often provides an abundant supply of the good stuff. It is recommended that you consume 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables to lower the risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Easy access to freshly grown foods in your own garden often means eating more fruits and vegetables which are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals to promote good health.

Strengthen your bones

Working in the garden means you’ll be soaking up the sun.

Spring brings new beginnings September in the Garden

September is here – the sun is getting warmer, and our gardens are showing new signs of life. Spring is the perfect time to look at your garden with fresh eyes, make some changes and plan for the summer months ahead. 

Arbor week

The 1st to the 7th of September is national Arbor week in South Africa - a time when South Africans of all ages are encouraged to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees.

The trees of the year for 2019 are Common Tree of The Year: Sclerocarya birrea Marula Maroela. Rare (Uncommon) Tree of The Year: Philenoptera violacea Apple-leaf, Appelblaar. 

The month of September is the perfect time to plant an indigenous tree in your gardens - at home, office parks, and schools – especially as we are currently losing many of our trees to the invasive Shothole Borer.

What to Sow

During summer months, having fresh salad supplies ready to pick from your garden is a win! September is the time to sow lettuce, spring onion and tomato seeds, ready for your summer salads.  

  • Lettuce can be grown in a sunny garden bed. Most varieties are quick and easy to grow and produce a harvest within a month or two.  The loose-leafed varieties are the most practical because you can harvest the individual leaves for up to three months before replanting. Others, like the butterhead or iceberg, are picked when the heads form, so it’s best to sow seed at 3–4 weekly intervals to have a constant supply. Use a fertile, well-draining soil medium and space about 30cm apart to allow for good air circulation. Keep the soil evenly moist at all times — drought stress can cause a bitter taste. 
  • Spring Onion can be grown in sun or partial shade and prefer rich soil with compost dug in.