Keep healthy with these easy, green pickings

Make the most of the winter sun by growing your own herbs and veggies.

Do you have a sunny corner where you like to warm up, perhaps with a mug of coffee or cup of tea? Why not put it to good use by growing herbs and veggies for the family.

Other gardeners may say you are daft to plant in the middle of winter but here is an idea. Plant your greens in containers, that are easy to keep in a small, sheltered space, and to move around to follow the sun. What could be nicer than being able to pick fresh herbs or salad veggies all year round.

Container gardening can even be taken one step further with the mobile, self-contained Vegepod system that comes in three different sizes, with planters being at waist-height, which is suitable for anyone who doesn’t like bending or has back problems.

The smallest pod is one-metre by half-a metre, as a balcony or starter option. Starting small is always a good idea, because it is better not to over-commit in terms of time and effort when starting out. And it is surprising how much can be grown in such a tiny space. Try this for size:

  • Common thyme and lemon thyme: great for winter stews and soups
  • Oregano (known as the pizza herb) for yummy Italian pasta’s.
  • Parsley that goes with everything and is a great immune booster that’s rich in vitamin C.
  • Rosemary for roasts and roast potatoes.
  • Asian greens such as Tatsoi, Mizuna, and Red Frills mustard, for salads and stir fries.
  • Superfood Kale ‘Storm’ for smoothies and steaming.
  • If there is still room, add in one or two leaf lettuce varieties.

All this and a little more can be grown in the medium pod (one meter by one meter) for a kitchen courtyard. The largest Vegepod is two-metre long and 1 metre wide, the size of a door.

All the plant boxes come with an optional stand or can be fitted with wheels.

What makes the Vegepod system suitable for all weather, cold included, it the fitted permeable canopy that creates a micro-climate, while still allowing through sun and air. In winter it is kept down to protect tender plants from cold and in summer to keep out the pests.

Each Vegepod is fitted with water tanks that provide water to the roots through a water-wick system with a mist sprayer for really hot days.

Getting started:

  • Most vegetables need sunshine to grow. To find the best position, leave the Vegepod in the same spot for a few days. Check on it during the day to see if it is in the sun. If it isn’t, move it somewhere else and check again until you find the best spot.
  • Make sure it is easy to get to. The easier it is to garden, the more time you’ll spend there.
  • Check there is nearby water. A hose is the best way to give your garden water.
  • Once you’ve found the sunniest spot, close to home and water, fill the planters with good quality potting soil, enriched with compost, organic fertiliser (Vita Grow 2:3:2) (16) or Vita Fruit & Flower 3:1:5 (18) and topped with mulch.
  • Select healthy looking plants with deep green, not yellow leaves.
  • Dig a hole the size of the pot the plant comes in. Water the plant, while still in its pot. Once the pot has soaked through, take the plant out and place in the ground. Fill the rest of the hole with soil. Pat the soil down so the plant stands up. Add some mulch around the base of the plant.
  • To give plants a good start, drench with StartGro that contains the micro-nutrients boron (B), silica (S) and calcium (C) that reduce transplant stress and play an especially important role during early plant growth. 
  • Water in well to settle the plant in the ground.

Buy the Vegepod system online from www.vegepod.co.za or find out more by emailing info@vegepod.co.za or contactingVegepod on 010 634 0786.