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HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES 

Growing your own vegetables has become standard practice for many gardeners. The value of nutritious vegetables and herbs from the home garden is being appreciated more and more these days. Planting vegetables from seed or using ready grown seedlings from the nursery is easy to accomplish. 

Regular seasonal plantings need to be carried out on a monthly basis to ensure a continuous supply of fresh produce. Be aware of the seasonal aspect of growing vegetables. Some are winter and spring crops whilst others only grow during the warm summer and autumn weather. Plant the correct plants for each separate growing time.

PLANTING PROCEDURES

– Prepare the soil by digging over deeply with garden fork
– Add 2:3:2 fertiliser and compost or kraal manure at recommended rates
– Areas with acidic soils should add agricultural lime as well
– Dig into soil and mix thoroughly
– Rake soil to correct level in the form of a raised bed
– Gently remove vegetable seedlings from tray or punnet
– Carefully untangle some of the matted roots
– Dig a small hole with a trowel and place the seedling in it
– Fill in around the root ball and firm soil down gently
– Make sure the plant is buried at the same level as it was growing in the tray
– Space seedlings at the recommended planting distance
– Once planting is complete water well to settle in

FERTILISING AND CARE

– After planting spread a layer of mulch around the seedlings to reduce water needs
– Regular monthly feeding with a side dressing of 2:3:4 granular fertiliser at the recommended rate will ensure healthy plants and high yields
– Stake young plants of climbing crops like peas and beans
– Tomatoes and peppers also benefit from some means of support
– Pull out or dig in any weed growth that starts to compete with the vegetables
– Check plants regularly to see if ripe vegetables are ready for harvesting
– Remove spent plants at the end of the season

PESTS AND DISEASES

– Aphids gather on the soft new growth tips and suck the sap out of the plant – control with general purpose insecticide suitable for use on edible crops
– Caterpillars, beetles and grasshoppers chew the leaves – remove by hand or spray with
insecticide for chewing insects
– Red spider mites are a problem on some plants in summer – use a suitable miticide
– Fungal diseases like mildew and rust on the leaves – spray with broad spectrum fungicide
– Cutworms chew seedlings off at ground level apply Cutworm bait immediately after planting or drench newly planted seedlings with general purpose insecticide
– Snails and slugs are nocturnal pests that eat the lush young leaves – apply snail bait at
regular intervals
– Warning –check the safety period from last application to harvest for every pesticide used
on edible plants and adhere to it

GARDEN USES

– Ideal for mass planting in vegetable beds
– Some vegetables and herbs can be integrated into the ornamental flower garden
– Grow in pots or containers where space is limited
– Protective structures need to be used in cold climates for many crops
– Wire or hale netting covered structures prevent bird and monkey damage

SUMMARY

1. Most vegetables need full day sunshine to be successful
2. Make sure that the correct plants are being grown in the right season
3. Prepare the planting soil thoroughly and feed regularly
4. Check often for pests and diseases
5. Crop rotation helps to prevent the spread of diseases