Selecting your seeds: growing the right plants in your garden

  • 20 September 2018 | Tumelo Buthelezi

Spring is the season of growth and renewal – the perfect time to review your lifestyle choices. Make some changes to the food you eat. You might like to buy a nice salad from your favourite supermarket, but if you really want the best quality, consider growing your own vegetable patch where you’ll have immediate access to nutritious greens.

Get started with the following easy-to-grow plants and dig your way in deeper.

Beans

Beans sit at the top of this list because of the mutual benefits  they have for both people and their environment. The most common varieties of legumes, they enrich the soil rather than deplete it during their growing process by adding nitrogen to the soil through their root nodules. Members of the legume (Fabaceae) family grow quickly and become sturdy plants within a few weeks. Sow them in pots of compost or put them directly into the ground and let the bees pollinate their flowers.


Chard and spinach

Want the kids to grow big and strong like Popeye? Then you should add chard or spinach to your garden. These green, easy-to-grow leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamins K, A, and C with their associated health benefits. The beautiful greenness of chard and spinach also add an amazing aesthetic to a garden.  


Tomatoes

Thought to have originated in the Andes, tomatoes can grow very well in your garden if you understand their growth habit (vining or bush-type tomatoes), the best location to grow them in and which tomato characteristics are of greatest importance to you. Tomatoes are not only used in a myriad dishes, sauces and salads, they are also high in vitamins, minerals and other healthy compounds such as the carotenoid and antioxidant lycopene. They are relatively easy to grow and the ideal gardening activity to do with the kids.


Broccoli

“Broccoli again,” groan most kids when mom presents a plate with the green-headed stalks. Change your offspring’s attitude to broccoli by getting them involved in the fun process of growing this nutritious green vegetable in your backyard. Broccoli is high in calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C. It grows well in well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

Carrots

Carrots may not really help you see in the dark, but they are loved for more than just their crunchy sweetness and health benefits. These popular root vegetables – these days, they are usually orange in colour, but also come in shades from purple to white – are simple and fun to grow. Start by paying close attention to the soil you will be putting the seeds in – you need deep, stone-free soil to give them a chance to develop and grow good-quality roots.  

Spring is a great time to relax by engaging in a therapeutic activity such as gardening and producing fresh veggies that will go straight into the pot or salad bowl. The physical and mental benefits make the little bit of labour worthwhile.