Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

The lack of land and the slow pace of its redistribution has robbed many black people of the joy of having their own gardens.

Whether you have a huge or a small area, or just a deck for being creative, you can use that space well.

Growing up in the former Transkei I had the opportunity to experiment with growing vegetables. There is nothing more satisfying than planting your own vegetable garden.

It is a fine way to relieve stress, eat healthily and provide better nutrition for your family .

Child psychologist Namhla Grootboom says planning, planting, growing and harvesting a vegetable garden can be great fun for the whole family.

Having children participate in planting the family vegetable garden can be very satisfying and is an excellent way to teach them responsibility. She advises parents to give children their own gardening tasks which they themselves can keep track of.

"Working in a family garden does not only keep the children off the streets but it helps the family to bond. It is very fulfilling for kids to see the the work of their hands helping the whole family.

Growing your own vegetables is much cheaper than buying them, so gardening will leave you with some extra money each month," Grootboom says.

Grant Smit, a Wilgeheuwel businessman, who owns a gardening service, says having your own vegetable garden eliminates stress naturally and it helps explore creativity with plants. People were made to be one with nature and this is one of the few places where this occurs naturally.

"There is nothing that increases the value of a house like a well-kept garden, no matter where the house is. A beautiful garden is an inviting and healing sight," says Smit.

He says to produce quality vegetables it is essential to choose the garden site carefully.

"Make sure that it gets plenty of sun. If there is no sunlight the plants could die," Smit says.

"Also be sure that there is enough water. If you are short on rain, you will have to water the garden yourself.

Try to find a garden patch that has rich, healthy soil to ensure your plants grow well.

"Ask for advice from a gardening service if you are not sure."

Tips for creating a successful vegetable garden from

lPick the right location

Most vegetable plants do best in full sun. Find a location that gets at least six hours sun each day. Place the tallest plants on the north or west side so they do not shade the smaller plants.

l Soil is king

If you're looking for shortcuts, this is not the place. Use lots of compost and other organic matter. Soil must be neither sandy nor compacted.

l Water wisely

One inch of water a week is adequate. An efficient method is to use soaker hoses or drip irrigation lines.

l Don't fertilise too heavily

Too much fertiliser, especially one high in nitrogen, promotes lush green growth but of less fruit and a smaller harvest. Excessive fertiliser can also harm or even destroy the living soil food web below the surface.