If you are looking to grow your own food in 2022, then you might want to get planning. Not only are well-planned food gardens easier to care for, but they also save you a world of time and are more productive than unplanned gardens.
Just ask KwaZulu-Natal farmer Minenhle Mbuyazi (25). She knows all too well the value in planning your garden well in advance. Mbuyazi has been gardening alongside her parents in the village of KwaMbonambi since before she could even speak.
“Growing up in a home where parents practiced agriculture was a great experience. To see from a young age that food does not get to the shops by magic, but it is planted, watered, and nurtured till its ripe… all that was a lovely sight. Helping with watering from time to time and harvesting, that is where my love for agriculture came from.”
When you start planning and plotting well in advance you will be ready to get to work when the time to plant arrives, she says.
“Planning your garden helps you to know when to do what and how to do it. You know which plants to grow in which season and how to take care of them. Sticking to the plan is better that planning as you go. There are hardly mistakes when you follow a structured plan.”
It’s called mindful eating
After two years in a global pandemic, now more than ever vegetable gardening in your own home food garden has become the most rewarding hobby, plant advisor Gaye Boshoff believes.
“When you pick vegetables out of your garden, they’re just full of nutrition and healthier. Even if it is just a little spinach or some tomatoes, it’s much better than what you would buy in a shop,” she says.
Along with her husband, Pieter, and her two children, Gaye runs Honeymoon Farm, a smallholding in the Harkerville forest between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna on the Western Cape Garden Route.
Growing your own food promotes mindful eating, says Gauteng registered dietitian, Ashleigh Carada. According to Carada what we consume and how we consume it is key to your health. Mindful eating can fill our lives with the joy of truly connecting with our food, she observes.
Mbuyazi agrees and says, “Eating food that is from the ground remains the best option for our health. Unlike processed foods with a lot of preservatives and colorants, less processed good are with all the nutrients our bodies need.”
Top tips for planning your garden
Before you reap the benefits, start planning your garden with Mbuyazi’s four tips:
Sleep on it: Starting a garden is not easy as ABC. It is important to think thoroughly about your project and what vegetables you want to grow, says Mbuyazi. Do your homework, “You need to know which plants thrive in the various seasons, how much land will you be dedicating to your garden and the time you will have to take care of your garden from weeding to watering,” she says.
Location is everything:We all know that most plants need a lot of sun and enough water for irrigation purposes. If you have found that spot, you are good to go.
Start Small: As a start, it is best to start small. Choose a selection of vegetables that you will start with. Starting small also helps with the planning.
Good soil is key: You always need to pay attention to your soil. Make sure that it is well taken care of before you plant seedlings. Mbuyazi says she has a planting plan for relevant seasons as well as a maintenance place that includes activities such as spraying and weeding.