Grow your own – the April veggie garden – Lowvelder


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Most winter veggies are full of vitamins, especially C and A that strengthen the immune system as well as fibre for good gut health. But did you know that once harvested, their nutrient value starts to decline. That’s why homegrown veggies are so much better for us than shop bought ones.  

What to sow now

Root veggies: beetroot, carrot, parsnip, radish, turnips
Greens: kale, kohlrabi, spinach, Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, Chinese cabbage
Salad greens: lettuce, celery, spring onions
Legumes: broad beans, garden peas (in warmer areas)

Some like it hot In subtropical, frost free areas, gardeners can sow all the summer veggies like tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumber, and beans as well as cooler season crops like carrots, beetroot, broad beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and kale.
Sowing tips from Marlaen Straathof of Kirchhoffs.

Prepare the soil in advance. Dig in well- rotted compost, remove sticks and stones, break down clumps of soil and rake level. The finer the soil, the better the seeds germinate.
Water the bed and leave overnight so that the soil is damp for sowing.
Sow seed at the depth recommended on the seed packet.
Keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating.
Transplant or thin out when the seedlings have developed their first true leaves.
Water transplanted seedlings with a liquid fertiliser.

Baby vegetables are generally ready for harvest within half the time of normal sized vegetables. Once ready for picking, don’t leave them because they will get larger and the flavour won’t be as good.
Try these: Kirchhoffs Baby cabbage Green Gonzales, baby cabbage ‘Red Primero’, carrot ‘Little Finger’, RAW Baby vegetables micro greens and baby broccoli Spring Rapini.
Brassica basics 

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflowers are heavy feeders so enrich the soil with lots of compost before planting.
A family of four should only need about 6 broccoli plants at a time. Two to three succession plantings should provide a good supply.
Water regularly and don’t allow the soil to dry out.
Feed once a month with a nitrogen-rich liquid fertiliser.
Eradicate aphids with Margaret Roberts organic insecticide. They quickly spoil the crop.

Veggie of the month – Kale Kale has the highest level of vitamins and calcium among the cruciferous vegetables. It thrives in cold weather, is not troubled by pests or disease, and grows in slightly acid soil, in sun or semi-shade.]
‘Kale Dinosaur’ (RAW seeds) is a compact, low growing kale with blue-green ruffled leaves that have a sweeter and less bitter flavour than other types of kale. The leaves grow from the base and can be picked like Swiss chard. Space plants 50cm apart, as plants grow 90 to 100cm high and wide. The leaves can be harvested when they are 30cm long.  
Kale leaves can be cooked whole, chopped, or shredded, sautéed in olive oil with garlic and chilli, stewed in a broth, blanched, or used as wrappers with a filling and baked.  
Veggie garden tasks for April

Water regularly; winter greens go bitter or don’t set heads if they dry out.
Earth up celery, leeks, and winter greens.
In warm, frost free areas spray young tomato plants with Margaret Roberts organic fungicide to prevent blight.
Make a compost heap using the fallen leaves.


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