In November 2016 we moved to a farm along the Lion’s River in the KZN Midlands. Finally we had a big space to grow veggies in!
A few weeks after moving in, we started to plant without much of a plan (well Karl planted while I stood watching with baby Emma). The first seedlings that went in included different varieties of lettuce, spinach and chard, plus some small rosemary, oregano and thyme bushes.
Over the summer we planted meilies and sweetcorn, hybrid squash, peppers, aubergine, cabbages, watermelon, sage, parsley, fennel and lots of cherry tomatoes. We also kept replanting lettuce and spinach seedlings.
It’s a haphazard garden; wild and unplanned. We don’t know much about gardening but we are learning. We haven’t used any harmful chemical fertilisers or pesticides so everything is organic.
- The lettuce and spinach have flourished all season. It’s so awesome to use our home-grown leaves in salads!
- The hybrid squash grew abundantly, but tasted bland and flavourless so we won’t be using those seeds again.
- The tomatoes grew nicely, but lacked sweetness.The peppers were also very bitter.
- The meilies and sweetcorn grew, but next time we will plant more to get a better, more consistent yield.
- The red cabbage was a fail. They probably needed more water (we didn’t use sprinklers this year so as to save water).
- The herbs are growing slowly, except for the pineapple sage which is thriving.
- We planted the watermelon late so it is just starting to flower now. We are excited to see if any watermelons will grow before it gets too cold.
- The aubergines are doing great and should yield soon.
We took some of our excess produce to the Barter it Bru, which happens on the 1st Saturday of every month at Steampunk Cafe. It was so amazing to meet like-minded local gardeners and trade our produce for theirs. I can’t wait to trade more.
To find out more about the various KZN Midlands barter markets, join the Midlands Barter Markets public group on Facebook – https://web.facebook.com/groups/midlandsbartermarkets/.
Growing our own veggies has been such a fun, rewarding experiment. There is nothing greater than using our own produce in the kitchen – we know where it’s come from, we know how fresh it is and we know for certain that nothing bad has been sprayed onto it.
Next time, we will be more thoughtful gardeners, planning better and using perma-culture techniques to get better yields and control the bugs.
Here are some photos of our first organic veggie garden: