garden soil

Canola Meal in Durban?

Hi, I read your article and like the idea of using canola meal as a fertilizer. Where can I buy Canola Meal in Durban?

Look forward to hearing from you,


garden soil

Buffalo Grass Blues

Hi there,

When we moved in there was newly planted buffalo grass in our back garden (south facing), this was about 2 yrs ago and it has died. We think it is because there is little sun, lots of trees and poor soil preparation, i think there is building rubble underneath the soil. We would like to know why this has happened and then we would like to know what WILL work. We are based in the Southern Suburbs Cape Town.



garden soil

Five Ways to Improve Your Raised Bed Garden Soil

Are you struggling with your raised bed garden soil quality? Or are you simply looking to extend its life? The following five tips will not only improve the quality of your soil, but will potentially add years to its life cycle as well.

Cover Crop

Many gardeners believe that this method is exclusively reserved for the large-scale enterprises. Not so. Cover crops work fantastically well for personal lots as well.

Cover crop_teaser image

Cover crops with a deep root (alfalfa, for example) will give you the best results when it comes to aerating the soil. You’ll get those nice nutrients deep into the soil, replenishing your entire lot.

No Till Gardening

Also known as ‘Lasagna Gardening’ or ‘Sheet Composting’, it’s a wonderful way for you to improve your raised bed garden soil. So how does it work? Over time, the soil on your garden bed will deplete as part of the natural process. Combat this by layering your soil as you would lasagna (hence the name), improving the quality from top to bottom. 

Use Organic Compost

Adding compost annually is a must for any lot and will markedly improve the state of your raised bed garden soil. Not only will soil fertility increase, but your soil will be able to handle more water and fertilizers as well. Overall, a healthy injection of compost will keep your soil as low-maintenance as possible. We suggest adding it at the end of the gardening season for best results.

Those that are a little inexperienced with using compost may regard it as a smelly necessity at best. However, if done correctly, your compost pile will not give off any unpleasant odors. If you’re an urban gardener or working with a very small area, it’s worth going for sealed composters. These ensure that no smell is emitted and they won’t impact the aesthetics of your garden. The added benefit of this method is that it won’t encourage rodents such as mice and rats to pay your lot a visit.

Organic Fertilizer

While chemical fertilizers do a good job, the benefits are often only experienced in the short-run. In addition, these don’t really impact the soil as much as they do the produce. So you’re not really getting any added value. That’s why we recommend using organic fertilizer if you need to give your raised bed an injection of goodness. It works particularly well with young seedlings. One example of a very decent organic fertilizer is canola meal, which is weed-free and won’t hit your wallet too hard either.

Preparation for Winter Months

Preparing your garden bed for the winter months can make a huge difference. These are just a couple of ways you can give your raised bed a boost before the start of the next garden season:

  • Compost + Mulch = Winning Combination: With just a few inches of compost all over your bed finished off with a layer of mulch, you’ll give your soil a nice bit of protection as well as nutrients.
  • Careful with the Roots: If you’re thinking of attacking the roots, stop! Just go for the plant at the surface and cut it. The roots will actually aerate the garden soil.

Overall, keeping your soil in tiptop condition mainly requires the right planning and implementing your strategies consistently. While it doesn’t require a silly amount of effort, you do need to keep on top of it. It’s definitely worth the improvement you’ll get in soil quality!

Bury Hill Landscape Supplies Ltd is a family run business selling a wide range of high quality topsoils, landscape materials, turf and seasoned hardwood logs and coal.

food garden soil

Seeds or seedlings?

Seeds or seedlings?

Using seedlings is easier and saves time, but the variety of available vegetables is limited. Choose the strongest, healthiest looking plants. If the seedlings start out weak, they will always struggle to grow and your harvest will be small. Growing vegetables from seed can be challenging. I planted only seedlings for the first few seasons after starting my vegetable garden before I was brave enough to try planting seeds. I started planting from seed because there is a much wider variety available. Specialist seed companies like Livingseeds and Gravel Garden have seed an amazing range of plants that are never sold as seedlings or even in grocery stores. I wanted to try the yellow tomatoes and purple carrots. The bigger seed companies are also widening their range of seeds. I bought Kirschhof broad bean seed from my florist last month. The little plants are already almost ten cm tall and growing very well.


If you stock up on seed at the beginning of the season, you always have seed available for sowing through the season when a spot opens up in your garden. Just remember to plant your seeds, not just collect them. Vegetables like spinach, carrots, lettuce and rocket can be planted throughout the year so that there is always something to harvest. Root vegetables like carrots and beetroot don’t like to be moved, so sow these directly in the vegetable bed. Others like peas, tomatoes; broccoli can be planted in seedling trays and transplanted when they are bigger.

How to protect your seedlings?

  • Cut a plastic cool drink bottle in half to make a plastic cover. This will work like a mini greenhouse to keep the little plant warm.
  • Cut a toilet paper roll in half to make a collar for your seedling. This will protect it from snails.

Fun for kids

  • Grow your child initial or name
  • Help your child to write his or her initial or name in the soil. Use any fine seeds that germinate quickly and sprinkle the seeds in the grooves where you have written the name. Cover carefully and keep moist. What a surprise when the seeds come up!

Samantha van Riet Paarl:

food garden soil

Gimme some soil…


I live in Edgemead and I need to buy soil for raised beds and plants – various herbs, vegetables will go into these beds. Where can I get good quality soil from?