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Grow to Eat

Spring 2019

Grow to Eat is the definitive seasonal guide to edible gardening in South Africa, brought to you by your favourite gardening magazine, The Gardener. A practical, non-nonsense guide, Grow to Eat is filled with growing, harvesting and cooking tips for seasonal fruit, vegetable and herbs.

South Africa
Lonehill Trading (PTY) LTD
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3 Issues


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Spring is in the air and that means things are starting to happen in gardens all over the country – edible or not. It’s such an exciting time to be a gardener, because things seem to happen almost overnight – seeds germinate, plants grow and fruit appears. I swear that the other day when I walked around the garden things were there that hadn’t been there the night before! Of course this also means that you need to spend those long spring evenings in the garden, keeping an eye on weeds and reaping the bounty that nature sends your way. Our aim is always to inspire you to get growing, and it has been a long time since we met a gardener as inspirational as Fiona Massey and her incredible Bryanston garden. Every…

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spring season checklist

1 DECORATE WITH VEG Some vegetables, especially those with pretty leaves and stems like spinach ‘Bright Lights’ or mustard, can be used creatively in an ornamental garden. When planning a garden design, don’t relegate the vegetables to the bottom of the garden. Leafy veg come in various colours, textures and patterns to create contrasting and dramatic scenes. Think blood sorrel, mizuna and tatsoi for bold, striking colour. Many vegetables make attractive bedding plants, and the quick-growing ones like lettuce are great space fillers. Interplanting your favourite flowers with onions or garlic is also a great pest deterrent 2 DON’T FORGET THE FLOWERS Edible flowers continue to be popular, especially those that are also pollinator friendly. Bees and other pollinators increase the yield by pollinating crops like cucumbers, melons and squashes. The best blooms…

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pots of flavour in small spaces

Why terracotta? Whenever we’re asked what containers to use on a patio we tend to recommend a nice big terracotta pot, or a matching set of terracotta pots as pictured here. Why terracotta and not plastic? Obviously terracotta pots look so much classier, but there are practical reasons too. Terracotta pots are made of clay, and natural materials like clay tend to work better with plants. Terracotta pots are able to breathe, allowing air and even moisture to move through the walls, keeping pants healthier and helping to prevent fungal root disease. Plants don’t like sudden changes in temperature, and terracotta pots act as insulation, slowing down variations in temperature. Weight is also an advantage – terracotta pots are heavier than plastic or wood, which is great when you’ve got a cat that…

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use and value diversity

Fiona Massey may live on a typical 1-acre plot in Bryanston, but she definitely doesn’t have a typical Bryanston garden. Instead it is almost entirely edible, gardened using organic principles, and she generally only grows plants with a purpose. Fiona’s journey to self-sufficiency and edible gardening started with a herb garden much like any of ours – parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, grown together and separately from the ornamental side of things. Then there was a little vegetable patch with lettuce and tomatoes, which she regularly sprayed with a toxic cocktail of chemicals to keep the bugs and diseases away, which meant a 20-day wait before her family could safely consume anything. Sound familiar? The catalyst for change was a Christmas present – a copy of a Jane Griffiths book. Through this…

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fiona’s five tips

1 Use raised beds My garden comprises 32 raised beds. Raised beds compensate for the clay soil of my garden, and they help my back out when I’m working in my ‘farm’. Converting to raised beds has been the best choice we ever made! 2 Natural remedies Look out for flowers like artemisia, lavender, feverfew, tansy, yarrow and soapwort. We cut these constantly to strew on beds to repel insects. I have found making sprays from the organic books a pain and prefer the ‘chop and drop’ or strewing method. This means spreading the clippings over or around plants and letting them exude their smells. 3 Respond to change The climate is changing, water is precious, so garden in a water-wise way. Install rainwater tanks, learn to love the hardier plants, irrigate wisely. We water…

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everyone is welcome

Our garden and we have recovered from our pumpkin peril, as discussed last issue. After clearing the mess we sat down and drew up plans for each area in the garden, which we will unveil to you one at a time. The first area that we started with was one that is very close to our hearts and our ethos here at Grow to Eat – the pollinator garden. Our veggie garden is divided into four quadrants, as well as a couple of incidental areas, so we decided to dedicate one of these quadrants to our pollinators. What we tried to do here is to plant a selection of plants that are both edible and a source of pollen and nectar for the various bee and butterfly species that frequent our…