Homegrown veggies picked at their peak provide more concentrated nutrients than any trucked-in stuff from the grocery store. It’s time to grow up.
IF YOU HAVE A GARDEN
Loose soil helps plants grow fuller, so elevate your garden on a 1-by-2-metre bed. For wood, you’ll need four 500cm-by-3m boards (two 21⁄2-metres and two 5-metres) and 3 metres of 1-by-2. Also grab 28 decking screws (21⁄2”) and a saw. Finally, go to rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-make-raised-bed for the steps. Total cost: about R100 and less than an hour.
IF YOU HAVE A VERANDAH
They allow the plants’ roots to roam, says Alex Mitchell, author of The Edible Balcony. Any vessel deeper than a foot and larger than half a metre in diameter will provide room for runner beans, potatoes or carrots. If you’re on a budget, fill a galvanised trash can with potting soil. Make sure your vessel has holes in the bottom for drainage; if it doesn’t, drill five holes using at least a 2.5mm bit.
IF YOU HAVE A SUNNY WALL
Vertical gardens work best for compact plants, such as herbs, lettuces and hot peppers. Find planters at Stodels, or make your own, suggests Mitchell: pick up a dark-green or black hanging shoe organiser, fill the pockets three-quarters full of compost, and drop in your seedlings. Then choose a wall that gets the requisite dosage of sun for your chosen plants, and hang it up.
IF YOU HAVE A WINDOWSILL
Lettuce and herbs can grow with only water and fertiliser, says Mitchell. In the lid of a clean coffee container, cut a hole that’s large enough to accommodate a 2-or 3-inch plastic net pot (available at garden supply stores). Fill the container halfway with distilled water, add 2 teaspoons hydroponic fertiliser and stir. Insert the pot and add your plant. Water and feed accordingly.