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Month-by-month information on how to grow your vegetable garden in South Africa.

Your veggie garden - November

Well I hope by now you do have the makings of a veggie patch? With late rains, it’s been a bit of a challenge keeping seedlings watered and healthy. One good tip - plant in the evenings so the plant has the night to settle in before the heat of the day. Do not forget to put the fertiliser next to each seedling to give them a much-needed boost.


By now you should be putting your second tyre on your potatoes, slowly building the soil up as they grow.

Your beans should be doing a “jack and the beanstalk” and your strawberries should be producing. A good tip for strawberries is to leave them in their plastic bags so that the berries are off the ground for insects and to put them in rows among mature plants so that the birds don’t find them. Thanks for that, Ebba.

If you’re a raspberry lover now’s the time to put in established plants, remembering that they will need to be tied to a wire strung across at about a metre high so choose your positioning with this in mind.


Everything should be growing well - but so are the insects and birds. I find that my cabbage family is attacked by birds and I have now taken to hiding the seedlings amongst mature plants, so far this is working. If all else fails, resort to an area under bird netting.

Because my tomatoes are attacked as soon as they start going red, I’ve resorted to using the green tomatoes in chutneys and curries. They really add a good flavour to the dishes.

When clearing out beds, use the opportunity to get rid of all the weeds that have built up. Do not forget to add organic matter to the cleared beds, as this will stop the soil from becoming leached of goodness. Try to alternate leaf and root crops in your beds.


By now, you are getting an idea of what your family can consume and it is NOT twenty heads of broccoli and two carrots a month! You should start planting your seeds or seedlings on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis according to need. Take into account that you will have to plant three for every one that you successfully cultivate. My grandfather used to have a saying: “One for the insects, one for the birds and one for me.” Where I stay you can add porcupine, monkey and baboon to the list so consider yourselves lucky!


My salads of summer are a colourful affair as I let some of my veggies and herbs go to flower, for seed and to use the edible flowers in salad. The purple of the chive flower, the yellow of the Chinese cabbage, the white of the rocket and dill make a wonderful and tasty display.

So good luck with all the pests and if you have any tips, please send them in. I would love to hear from you all.


In the December issue, I will be starting a series on herbs and their uses in the garden, in cooking, in fragrant preparations and for healing purposes and most importantly, how and where to grow and propagate.


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