Strawberries from Seed – A First for RSA Feature Diamond Sponsor - MayFord Seeds

Rich red in colour and silky sweet to taste, few fruits are as quintessential of a sunny summer’s day as are strawberries. If it is taste and packed in goodness you are after, we all know that nothing beats growing your own.

Known for being at the forefront of innovation and always happy to oblige, MayFord Seed will be offering strawberry seed to gardeners around the country, a South African first. And not just any strawberry. This is a high quality, world class strawberry variety that wouldn’t be out of place in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.

Strawberry ‘Florian’ offers up delightful, bright pink blooms that are followed by a heavy crop of perfectly sized, aromatic, red fruit with a distinct Japanese style flavour to them. Be ready to be amazed as the sheer volume and quality of the fruit, coupled with the unbelievable taste will blow you away. Sow in spring and harvest the delicious fruits from early summer right through until autumn.

Strawberry 'Florian' is an ever bearing variety that forms a compact plant just 35cm wide. The plants are ideally suited to being grown outdoors, either in their own row in a veg garden, or because their flowers and fruit are so attractive in your garden beds. If space is limited, you don’t have to miss out; ‘Florian’s’ compact form makes it perfect for container planting on a sunny patio. Because it fruits from its runners as well as the main plant, 'Florian' is ideal for growing in hanging baskets.

Top Tips
  • Sow from early spring in seed trays using coir/peat or seedling mix.
  • The seed is very small so cover lightly, press down and keep moist.
  • Be patient as germinations takes up to 3 weeks.
  • After about 8 weeks or when they are large enough to handle, the seedlings are ready to be planted out.

Spring Zing September Checklist

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. 

Growing a Veggie Garden for Beginners Fundamentals of Gardening - Back to Basics

Veggie garden for beginners
Growing a veggie garden for beginners

Welcome, novice farmers! We are delighted to see your green fingers in bloom, exploring the world of homegrown goodness. Experience for yourself what all the hype is about by starting your own little veggie garden or edible pot. There is something truly special about fresh greens from the Earth – their incredible flavour loaded with nutrients, the direct connection with Mother Nature, and the unbeatable sense of pride from harvesting the fruits of your labour. Find out how to start your own edible journey below.

Humble beginnings

For your first growing quest, we recommend starting small. Think about whether you would like to use containers, plant straight into the ground, or if you would like to make raised beds. Consider your space and available time to guide your growing style. Sowing a couple of seeds in an empty space in your flower bed is as good a beginning as any.

Top tip: Be careful not to overpopulate your space. Your veggies will increase in size and need room to grow and climb. Planting too close together will also cause veggies to shade one another. Refer to your seed packet or handy GCA Garden Centre guy for advice.

Planting in containers
Planting in the ground
Planting in raised beds
Bean growth

Location, location, location

With the idea of starting small in mind, where you choose to grow is an equally important factor to consider. Veggies love the sun and will flourish in open areas that receive as much sunlight as possible with no big trees throwing shade on your new babies. Examine your space through eco-eyes: take note of the sun’s movement, surrounding foliage, and expansion space needed as your greens grow.

Top tip: Location is also important in terms of watering. Make sure your veggies are in reach of the hosepipe or irrigation system, and remain uncovered to receive as much rainfall as possible.