There are some vegetables to be planted in winter and others for the summer.

If you plant a variety every month, there’s always something to harvest.

Winter:

Peas, carrots, spinach, beetroot, onions, swiss chard, turnips, radish, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and celery.

Summer:

Beans, tomatoes, aubergine, peppers, sweet corn, baby marrow, gems, butternut, cucumber, melon, watermelon, swiss chard.

What to plant ?

Plant the ones you like to eat. If you have space for only one kind, plant beans in summer and peas in winter.

Crop rotation

This means different categories of vegetables follow each other in one bed:

Heavy feeders:

tomato, peppers, potato, sweet corn, pumpkin-family, onion & greens (cabbage-family, lettuce, spinach)

Nitrogen binders:

legumes (beans & peas)

Light feeders:

Carrots, beetroot, sweet potato

It works like this: you work in lots of compost, and then plant the heavy feeders. As you harvest them and the plants come out, you put nitrogen binders in their place, and then follow with light feeders. That's the ideal. In practice, just don’t plant the same thing in the same place all the time.

We plant (e.g.) one row of cauliflower, a row of peas and then a row of carrots, a row of spinach or lettuce and another row of peas or beans in one bed - and some herbs and flowers tucked in here and there. After harvesting, we plant the next category in the row, as explained above.

Herbs and other Companion plants

It helps to plant Nasturtiums with Cauliflower, Broccoli and garlic chives to keep the aphids away. Actually, the nasturtiums act as a trap crop. The aphids like nasturtiums, and then sit there instead of on your veggies. If the nasturtiums are disgustingly full of aphids, just pull them up, throw them away and plant new ones.

Marigolds (or even Khakibos) are good companions to carrots, cabbage and tomatoes. These veggies are susceptible to nematodes (eelworm), which the marigolds help to keep at bay.

It also helps to plant a variety of herbs and flowers that attract beneficial insects. We plant some of the following around our fruit trees: yarrow, chives, garlic chives, garlic, wormwood (wilde als), camomile, feverfew, nasturtiums and rue.

Basil and tomato is said to benefit each other. Whether that really is so, I wouldn’t know, but they are a good combination in cooking. So are basil and spinach.

On the other hand, it is said that basil and rue do not like each other. Likewise beans, fennel and the onion family reputedly dislike each other.

Wondering which herbs to plant ? The ones you use. If space is limited, plant the ones that are used fresh: parsley, chives, dill, mint and basil.

Plant the herbs you use most, nearest to the kitchen door. And please don’t plant them in little pots on the window sill, especially parsley, which have very deep roots. If it has to be in a pot, use a big one.

Natural pest control

Steer clear of poison and artificial fertilisers, and you will soon find a BBBB in your garden:

a beautiful bug busting brigade, consisting of birds, chameleons, frogs, ladybirds, praying mantises, spiders, and the like.

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