The journey to a healthy and fruitful garden does not begin and end with soil, fertilisers, and water. A little tender, loving care can make your garden a little special with each harvest.
According to the co-founder of Abalimi Bezekhaya, Rob “Ncinci” Small, while there are four basic things that help in the prosperity of your garden, namely good soil, good water, good air and good light, they are not the limitations to the beauty and the health of the garden.
He says “the love for others, a happy heart and lots of hard work are some of the most important basics for your garden too! With these four ingredients you can have lots of fresh food to feed your family, as well as constant extra cash!”
“Anyone interested will find out what they don’t know, learn, and make it work – Just like raising a child. It is as simple as that,” Small says.
Building a relationship with your garden
According to Small, very little is understood about the concept of forming a love relationship with plants and the garden. He says “people need to understand that the relationship starts when you think about your garden all the time, like you do with the person you love, then you will plan for it to succeed.
“The plants will grow as fast as plants can grow- and that can be very fast! In three weeks, for instance, you can have a lovely crop of healthy lettuce! Radishes take less time,” he says.
It was not so difficult for 25 years old KwaZulu-Natal born vegetable farmer Sinethemba Ngoako to fall in love with crop, after being influenced by her grandparents back in the days.
Following the setbacks of the pandemic Ngoako decided to try something different and see the outcomes.
She started backyard farming back in 2020 “after realising the impact Covid-19 had on the South African economy and the highly increase of unemployment in the country,” she says.
“As a child, growing up we were always involved in farming and planting small vegetables in the garden for home use, and it never stopped since,” she says.
Romance your garden
“My Grandfather use to say “whenever you plant your crops you must talk to them, communicate with them because they can also breath like humans” back then I use to laugh and be like huh?? But now it makes perfect sense.”
She says you can never be a crop farmer if you don’t have a pure heart, plants need you to be pure inside and have love for what you are doing.
“Be a hard-working person because crop needs you to take good care of them and trust me, they will grow and be the beautiful food quality that you need,” Ngoako adds.
Her secret to the growth of her crop is communication. “Like I said, taking good care of them especially cabbage which I love so much, that type of crop needs your time and care so that it will grow fast and be in good quality,” she says.
It’s very important to look after your crops till they mature and harvest because you will not want to eat, sell, or supply bad quality food.