Gauteng Smallholder October 2015 - Page 29

From page 26 preserve the produce and the growing season. Thus, succession planting of quick-growing vegetables such as beans should be matched with single plantings of slow-maturing and easilystored varieties such as onions. With those considerations in place the canny gardener will have a good idea of the bedspace necessary for each vegetable, and the timing of when to plant, taking into account, of course, the need to rotate beds year-by-year. A useful tool is to have a simple blank plan of one's vegetable patch which can be re-used each year. When planning for the season ahead one marks down what should be planted where and when, revising the plans as one goes, and noting on it any successes and failures. This plan is then filed away at the end of the Seed harvesting is a way to cut costs and ensure you enjoy the varieties you prefer year after year PLANNING contrast to some modern hybrids that produce no viable seed and thus force one to buy fresh seed each year. season, to act as an aide one's soil more acidic, pour To harvest seed from most memoire next year. one's coffee-grounds into the species, allow a plant or two bed each day, or add pine With the plan in place, soil of the chosen variety to needles to the bed as organic remain in the ground long testing can take place before matter. anything is sown and after the crop has been nutrients and pH can be There is a strong revival of harvested, allowing it to adjusted to suit the crop. interest among home flower. As the flower dies it But, if one is aiming for cost- gardeners in old-style will go to seed. When the vegetable varieties. While free crops grown naturally, flower is properly dead (but they may be shy-bearing, less before it naturally starts to one should avoid bought-in resistant to extremes of chemical fertilizers and shed its seeds) pluck it and concentrate rather on adding weather, pests and disease, pull it apart, removing the and produce fruits of liberal quantities of homeseed from the surrounding made compost to one's beds, inconsistent shape and size, matter. and using naturally-occurring there is little doubt that the The seed should be stored old-style heirloom varieties of only when it is absolutely dry substances and practices to everything from tomatoes to add nutrients for specific or it will quickly go mouldy carrots have vastly superior purposes, adjust pH etc. and become useless, and Examples would be to plan to flavour to the modern storage should be in a sealed plant a nitrogen-needy variety hybrids. packet in a cool, dry cupBut there's another reason to board. Don't neglect to (eg, a green leafy vegetable such as spinach) this year in a grow heirloom vegetables and carefully label the packet with bed that held a nitrogen-fixing that is that it is easy to harvest the full details of the species, viable seed from old-style crop last year (eg, peas). variety, etc because a year is open pollenated varieties, in Or, if one needs to make Continued on page 30 27