Start a family garden!

In celebration of Mom’s and Dad’s day

Yes, this is an amazing way to have a shared interest and
involve the kids too. Whether you have a big garden or not, gardening is a wonderful activity that brings the family
together. Working as a team on a meaningful project has so
many advantages, including the reward of seeing the beauty or eating its harvest. 

Children tend to spend a lot of time indoors on devices these days, which is not good for their health and mental wellbeing. Research
shows that spending time in nature has so many benefits for children. Starting a family garden will get them outside and is
really good exercise for everyone.


Our wonderful Lowveld winter
We certainly have the best winters here in the Lowveld, so starting now in May/June is no problem. There are many flowers, herbs and vegetables that will thrive if planted now, especially if you plant seedlings.

All the onions: green onions, spring onions, shallots, chives and garlic can be planted now, as well as mint, parsley and thyme. Most of these will grow well in a container as long as they get a fair amount of
sun. You can also try oregano, marjoram and dill. Spinach is a
definite winner too. Herbs are easily grown in a small space and offer
amazing health benefits and yummy flavours to your cooking. Its
such fun for little ones to be sent off to harvest a few leaves to add to your cooking.

Veges are a lot more difficult and time consuming to grow and tend, but right now Kale is the hardiest vegetable when it comes to cooler weather in South Africa. Unlike any other vegetable, kale can be
grown throughout the entire year.


Flower gardening is very rewarding for every one. From sowing seeds to planting seedlings, if you choose the right type of flower for the season, you will enjoy colour and beauty, even in winter. Marigolds are so easy to grow all year round and help to keep bugs off the surrounding plants too. Pretty winter flowering primula malacoides,
pansies, violas, nemesias, lobelia, calendula and cornflowers can be planted now.

Another winner is dianthus. They flower all year round and are fairly hardy. Additional flowers you can plant in the Lowveld at this time of the year are alyssum, vygies and African or Namaqualand daisies.

Preparing the soil
The success of your garden, whether it is flowers, herbs or vegetables, is directly dependent on how well you prepare your
soil. Dig and turn the soil over to a depth of about 30 cms in the area you intend to plant. Dad, this is probably where your muscles will be needed! Then add bone meal to the soil. If you have dogs, rather use
superphosphate as dogs love to eat bone meal and will dig it up. Then of course, don’t forget the compost. You can make your own (a long but rewarding process) or buy from your nursery.

Composting is non-negotiable. You can buy compost from your nursery or make your own, which is very rewarding and eco-friendly.
Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds. Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep.


This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are fresh vegetable scraps, tea bags, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust and wood ashes (not from the braai). Add grass clippings or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden, so cover it if necessary. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn to aerate the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers.

You can also buy a compost bin. A rotating tumbler bin will make it easy to mix the compost regularly.

Garden chores for kids
Kids can do a lot of the work for your family garden, either independently or alongside an adult. While you don’t want them to burn out on tedious tasks like weeding, helping out and taking responsibility is part of what makes a family garden meaningful. Set a goal, such as clearing one small, designated area or working for 15 or 20 minutes, then do something else for a break between chores.

Depending on their ages, kids can:
• Bring compostable waste to thecompost pile
• Collect sticks and other debris
• Dig holes for seeds or plants
• Harvest fruits or vegetables
• Mow the lawn (age 10 and up)
• Pull weeds
   (with good instructions on what to pluck and what to keep)
• Rake leaves
• Snip flowers for a bouquet
• Water plants

Be the first to know

Subscribe to MOMSNOTES


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email