Starting a veg garden

It started by wanting fresh spinach and lettuce – so I first converted a flower bed and a wash trough into a veg garden – and this is what happened.

Inspired by this, I cleared out a part of the garden that was always a bit messy and made some raised beds with paths in between and found all the large pots (and some concrete rings) in my shed – this was the result

The next task was to prepare the beds. First I gathered a pile of newspapers, 15 bags of mushroom compost, 4 bags of kraal manure, 2 blocks of compressed peat and coir, collected all the leaves and grass cuttings in the garden (mostly from my compost heap), some soil from the bottom of the garden (quite rich with compost) – and a bale of hay

With the help of my weekly gardener, I first layered the beds with newspapers and wet them down – then put down a layer of leaves and grass – and wet them down too. Then I put a layer of soil from the bottom of the garden – it has no weeds and been lying there for years – so has some compost in it – and then more water

I then put a layer of mushroom compost over that, a sprinkling of bone meal and a thin layer of kraal manure – and some more water. Then another layer of dry leaves – and more water

Then I made a mix of mushroom compost, a block of peat and coir (reconstituted by breaking it up and soaking it in a large dust bin), some soil and kraal manure and spread it as the last layer – and then more water.

Then covered it with hay and then watered it some

This is what the bed looked like finally (I have since completed the other bed and am in the process of preparing the pots. Now I will let it “cook” for a week before planting Next week – I will plant the beds and the pots. I am still deciding what to plant

I am also preparing a part of the garden for paw-paw and banana – and looking at every available spot to plant – like pumpkin under the windy dryer, more pots in sunny spots in the garden for anything I can think of!

11 thoughts on “Starting a veg garden”

  1. That’s excellent bed preparation. What i know about pumpkins is, they need lots and lots of space. I planted six in a small area, eventually culled them to two after their vines grew and spread, and still they dominated an entire 1/4 of the back garden, with the vines growing literally 2-3cm daily…

  2. Glad you like my veg garden prep! Still working out what to plant. As for pumpkins – I am more intersted in the flowers and the new shoots – delicious steamed and then eaten with a dash of olive oil, squeeze of lemon and slat and pepper. So, with continualy “culling” – I could keep the plants in control!

  3. Wow – great beds! And under the shade of a fever tree, my favourite. I like the sounds of that flower/shoots dish. I’m gonna try it …

  4. Patrick – my gran used to tell me tomake sure that you take out the pistil first – and only use the very new tender shoots

  5. Your beds are just fabulous. I started my 3rd kitchen garden 2 weeks ago and my experience is lots of salad stuff, beetroot because you can eat above and below, eggplants continually produce and now I am growing a variety of herbs.Rocket(is it a herb)coriander, basil, rosemary,oregano,parsely and sage.Sage cooked in butter until it crisps is sensational on a salad!

  6. Hi Helen, definitely lots of salads and herbs (dhania, rocket, mint, basil, parsly. I am thinking of planting eggplant, celery, tomato, onion, spring onion, garlic, carrots, cucumber, peppers, chillis, runner beans, marrow – and artichoke if I can find some somehwere. Not all in the beds – but also in the pots. Then I will see what works or not – and only repeat what does well in my garden. Not sure what does well in Durban.

  7. newspaper creates a barrier for the weeds – because the soil was not turned below (also I am going for a non-tilling approach). In fact, if you put newspaper and cardboard directly on grass and build up your bed, it kills the grass below. Newspaper also retains moisture and is in fact an organic material that will decompose into compost

Leave a Reply