Tips for Your Own Veggie Garden

Planting your own herbs and veggies is not only a great way to save money and enjoy the best sun-ripened tomatoes, but it also gives one a great sense of achievement when you harvest from your own garden!
Fresh VeggiesContrary to popular opinion, you will not need a lot of space to create a stunning veggie and herb garden.  The internet has tons of advice with in-depth videos and diagrams, showing you exactly how to create a tiered veggie garden in a small space using wooden planters, a variety of stacked pots or even creating a small planter ladder. There are also ideas for creating a raised bedding using wooden borders and building it up as a three-dimensional triangle.  These are particularly great because it gives you the option to plant vine tomatoes in the base bedding and allows them to grow up, along rope or wire supports to the top layer.  There is nothing quite as juicy and sweet as a homegrown sun-ripened vine tomato!
Just ensure that your area where you decide to create your tiered veggie and herb garden gets good sun…for Namibia, try and avoid late afternoon sun as it is often too hot for the plants.  Morning through to midday and even early afternoon should be sufficient.
Plant lettuce, beetroot, spinach and other larger varieties of veg, including gem squash, in the bottom and largest bedding.  Remember, you can harvest a few leaves off each beetroot plant – they make a wonderful addition to a salad!
Regular tomatoes will also work in the base bedding if you cannot find vine tomatoes.  Green beans and cucumber, both vine veggies, will work great in the place of the vine tomatoes.
In the second tier, smaller veg like a few carrots, some onion, a chilli plant or two, herbs like thyme and basil and so on, will work.  Do not plant oregano and mint in the tiered garden unless you are willing to trim back regularly. They have a tendency to take over everything.  Save those for a pretty pot!
In the top tier, spring onion and regular onion will work well. Leeks and radish, and rocket are also great options.
Lettuce in boxExperts recommend at least 25% compost mixed in with good quality topsoil.  The soil must be well aerated and if you can an earthworm or two, you are in business.  Fertilisers include 2:3:2 and for squash and marrows, 3:1:5 works very well.  Coffee grinds can also be mixed into your soil (while wet) as they contain 2% nitrogen, so critical for all plants.
A good and natural deterrent for white fly, insects, pests, caterpillars and so on, is a spray mix of water and onion.  Place your kitchen’s fresh onion waste in a bottle of water. The longer it stands, the more efficient it becomes.  Spray onto your plants regularly and remember to check for caterpillars under the leaves as well.
Plant a few garlic cloves in between your plants.  It keeps pests at bay and gives you divine garlic chives.
Boxed Plants
Use companion planting.  It works wonders! Basil loves tomatoes and peppers.  Green beans and tomatoes grow very well together along with celery, chives, garlic, and cucumber.  Beets and onions are great mates in the soil.
Lettuce and onion, along with beans also like each other.  Add garlic in between and the flavour of your veggies will be enhanced.
Whatever you decide to plant, remember that a veggie garden will need attention, and avoid pests at all costs.  Research organic pesticides because remember, you cannot use poison because you want to eat the plants!
Finally, veggies also need pollination so keep a few pots with flowers handy to attract bees.
Bon appétit!