Eating seasonal has its perks. Plus, it’s even better when you grow your own food to eat different seasonal produce at different times of the year.
Get this Mzansi, the summer, spring, autumn and winter seasons bring with them the freshest produce we should really be taking advantage of for our health and nature.
Just ask North West farmer and vegetarian Gugulethu Mahlangu who says that there is no comparison when it comes to the taste of a garden fresh tomato and one that is bought from the grocery store.
“The benefits of planting and consuming seasonal produce are many,” she says. “Now that it is summer, there is an abundance of produce that are in season like delicious fresh fruit like pineapples, watermelon, peaches and nectarines that you can grow.”
Why you should consider growing seasonally?
According to plant advisor Gaye Boshoff, growing seasonally is the best option for Mzansi’s gardeners. “If you don’t use things like fertilisers and you want your crop to grow fully, you need to pay attention to seasonal and climate changes for the best produce,” she says.
Understanding or knowing what to plant in each season is determined by your location in the country. “Summer tropical areas in South Africa are very different to the rest of the country,” she says.
But what can you grow?
While growing your own produce may seem overwhelming it is actually much simpler when you plant seasonally, says Mpumalanga farmer Thandeka Maseko.
Growing seasonally not only means you are getting quality produce, but it also means using less fertiliser to grow your food, she says. “I am yet to figure out what to plant and for which season. Over the years I have realised that I have poor planning, it doesn’t always turn out the way I want.”
A lifesaving trick Maseko has made use of is to grow perennials like spinach throughout the year. “This way I make sure nothing I grow goes to waste.”
Maseko farms alongside her twin sister, Thando Maseko in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
Wanna eat from your garden? Plant this!
Boshoff says if you want to plant during the cold winter months, you should try green onions, peas, garlic, spring onions and spinach right about now.
Wondering what to grow in spring? Try beans (climbing), beetroot, celery, maize, cucumber, eggplants, lettuce, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, radishes, pumpkin, tomatoes, and artichokes.
If you are wondering what to plant in summer? Try carrots, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce.
Autumn is the ideal time to plant Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, morogo, onions, peas, spinach, Swiss chard and radish.