Garden gems

Keep sowing those Summer veggies and allow your blooms to shine in full light.

Indoor plant of the month

You may not have a clue how to pronounce it, but Calathea Warscewiczii is nevertheless a gorgeous houseplant – guaranteed to get oohs-and-aahs. Its common name is Jungle velvet calathea. Much easier!

Calathea are originally jungle plants from South America so they like a warm, humid room with medium to bright indirect light, but no direct sun on their leaves. Let the top 3cm of soil dry out before watering.

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Plants can grow up to 1m high and wide, however, keeping them in a small pot will contain their growth. Don’t be in a hurry to repot them. Their roots don’t like to be disturbed and it will only be necessary to repot once they are totally root bound.

Feed monthly with a liquid fertiliser at half strength during spring and summer to keep it healthy and happy. Details:


Veggie of the month

Gem squash is a locally hybridised squash that is as quintessentially South African as marmite and Mrs Ball’s chutney. Squash Rolet (Little Gem) has dark hard shells that go almost black when mature but with a light buttery flesh inside.

Sow seed directly into rich, fertile soil and in a position that gets full sun. Space plants 1.2m apart as they are spreading growers. Pinching off the tips helps to contain the spread and produce better quality fruit. Vines that are trained up a trellis need to be supported because the stems are brittle and snap easily.

Each plant can produce fifteen or more fruits on the trailing vines and the fruit is ready for harvesting within 70 to 90 days. It can also be harvested earlier as a baby squash when the skins are still soft enough to eat.

Water regularly but be careful of overwatering and getting water on the leaves because the plant is very susceptible to mildew. Watch the growth and fertilise if you feel it is necessary. Details:



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