VEGGIE OF THE MONTH
One of the healthiest crops you can sow this month is carrots and for beginners, it’s a prolific grower that’s easy to care for. Few veggies can match it when it comes to the greatest yield per square meter of garden soil. Carrots can also be grown in deep containers, using regular potting soil.
Carrots need soil that drains well. Prepare the bed by digging it over to at least 30cm in depth. Rake out or remove all clods of earth, stones, sticks, weeds and roots so that the soil texture is fine. Some people dig over the bed twice to really aerate it. Sow seeds fairly thinly directly into the soil, about 1cm deep in rows 20-30cm apart. The bed should receive plenty of sun. Keep the soil moist during germination. Thin out when the first two or three true leaves develop. Remaining seedlings should be 1cm apart. Continue thinning out until the final plants are 5cm apart. This prevents stunted or misshapen carrots.
Three heirloom varieties from Kirchhoffs are Cape Market, a sweet medium to large carrot developed for South African conditions, Chantenay Karoo, a long pointed carrot suitable for a wide range of soils, and Nantes, which is a long, cylindrical, sweet and crisp tasting carrot good for slaw and slicing.
Did you know? Store bought carrots are more likely to contain pesticide residues than most other vegetables, so that’s why you should grow your own.
INDOOR PLANT OF THE MONTH
String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) is an unusual trailing succulent that can be grown indoors in a hanging basket or trained up a trellis. It is closely related to the popular String of Pearls but is faster growing and easier to care for, being drought tolerant, and not needing regular pruning, fertilising or repotting. Its most important requirement is plenty of bright light or direct sunlight, up to six hours a day, in a sunny room, window or sheltered patio. Being a succulent, it doesn’t need much water. Allow the soil to dry out moderately before watering again. Over-watering can cause root rot. Details: lvgplant.co.za
We’re planting … Osteospermum Sunshine Beauty – which combines Namaqualand’s warmest colours in a single flower, with vibrant orange edges fading into a buttery, yellow centre. The blooms change colour as they mature, so that a single plant carries three shades of blooms at one time. Plants are bushy and rounded, 30cm high and 50cm wide, good for containers or in garden borders. Plant in full sun, in well drained, composted soil and water regularly. Once established they are drought tolerant. They flower in spring and autumn, attracting butterflies and bees. Fertilise once a month. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
GARDEN TASKS FOR AUGUST
Fertilise and water pansies, violas, poppies, primulas and other spring annuals for a great show of flowers. • Fork in compost around summer flowering perennials, fertilise and water regularly. Sprinkle superphosphate around irises and water well. • Keep watering spring flowering bulbs every four days for about 40 minutes. • Start planting summer flowering bulbs such as amaryllis, cannas, crocosmia, and arum lilies. • Prune winter flowering shrubs as well as hydrangeas. Trim evergreen shrubs to reduce their height and get them back into shape. • Clean and weed pathways and driveways. • Treat and fix wooden furniture and garden benches, renew gravel areas and pull out weeds.
Compiled by: ALICE COETZEE