Category: gardening tips

Winter, the Spring in Disguise

Winter, the Spring in Disguise

I always see people lose their green momentum when Autumn hits and Summer ends. They see the Spring crops wither, giving their last offerings and assume wrongly that the time for growth is over. Do not miss this great opportunity!


There are many plants that thrive in the Durban Winter. Most of these are intolerant to the harsh spells of heat, wind and storms that come with Spring and Summer. Now is their time to find comfortable root and flourish. Begin by ensuring the same parameters that you do in preparing for spring: mix beds of dying plants with rich compost and organic matter, fertiliser (especially those for rooting strength such as bonemeal) and turn thoroughly with a pitchfork- bringing bottom layers of soil to the surface.


If you have a BeeGreen Worm Farm, add in your worm castings and worm pee to this! Once turned, water thoroughly. Once you have watered, I always recommend immediately mulching the moist ground with dried leaves or other organic material that will not seed (see the blog on mulching for more information).


Next, pick your plant varieties carefully- bearing in mind which will need the sunny spots (which will be scarce during winter) and which prefer the shadier spots. Also pay attention to which plants work well together and which should not be planted in close proximity. Most of the root vegetables such as carrots, beetroots, sweet and normal potatoes, radishes and turnips do well in winter. The Asian greens, lettuces and spinaches (the leafy green crops) as well as your Brassicas including kale, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli enjoy the milder climates. Legumes such as peas and beans will also do well if they are prepared with supports or trellises. Finally, winter squashes will do well but should not be too close to more sensitive plants as they have a habit of taking over rapidly- draining the water and stealing sunlight from other plants.


Winter also will see many plants such as grape vines and fig trees lose all their foliage- this is heartbreaking to the new gardener, but the BeeGreen community knows better: this is the ideal time to do your pruning on your summer plants and trees while they are not fruiting. Look up the specific plant pruning tips as these vary from species to species.


As you can see the gardener should be as busy as they are in the more hotter months. There is a great deal of work to do and when done thoroughly, the gardener will ensure a rich harvest whilst also keeping the soil active and rich for when the Spring returns! Provide a sanctuary for your local wildlife in these harsher months and you will see them reward you with pollination and pest control.

Feed Nature and Feed Yourself

Feed Nature and Feed Yourself

Some gardeners put all their efforts into good soil and planting techniques. Whilst this is a crucial foundation point, nature itself is still a very necessary component in your garden’s success. We at BeeGreen have (through our products and assessments) promote the feeding of birds, bees, bats (for the brave), butterflies and other pollinators in the garden. This encourages them to visit your garden frequently through different shelter and feeding opportunities.


How does this help your garden? Well, a garden bustling with pollinators is one that seeds easily! Pollinators collect or feed off pollen which sticks to them, thus spreading to female flowers and fertilising them when the same pollinators come into contact with such flowers. This allows even more opportunity for seeding as opposed to just being dependant on the wind to carry the pollen.


We also encourage a very healthy soil using our worm farms and compost bins to promote good worms in the soil. This ensures that organic matter is always broken down and your soil remains more loamy and well-drained through the worms loosening your soil up. The more earthworms in your soil, the better the soil conditions.


Finally we encourage predators such as birds, praying mantises, ladybugs and others into the garden as they prey on pests such as termites, ants, aphids, slugs, snails etc. By educating oneself of the difference between desirable and undesirable garden life, one can regulate which creatures are removed from the garden and which are left and encouraged to remain in the garden. This information can be found through our articles and insights at the BeeGreen community.

The Importance of Mulching in Durban

Durban sees many extremes in temperature with daily fluctuations in rain or extreme heat. This can take its toll on your plants, especially those with sensitive watering needs. If you find your plants drying up too quickly or you cannot keep up with watering often enough, then try mulching.


Mulching in gardening refers to layering a thick blanket of dried organic matter such as leaves or sticks over your soil- allowing only your plants to be exposed and none of the soil (ensure that your material does not have any seeds of any weeds that may sprout in your favourite beds). Water does not evaporate as easily underneath this layer which ultimately means that your soil retains water more efficiently. Your soil also traps heat better when mulched well which allows a more optimal soil temperature. Finally, your plant will find it easier to grow through the leaves than shallow rooted weeds which are prevented from obtaining the sunlight they need underneath the layer of mulching. This is a great strategy during hot spells.


In rainy spells, however, you must ensure your mulch does not trap so much water that your plants’ roots become waterlogged which often leads to root rot and the plant dying. In rainy spells, monitor your mulching and adjust to allow for evaporation if the soil seems too damp. Remove some of the mulch in areas that are more sensitive to waterlogged soil- thus exposing the soil to the sun and allowing water to evaporate out.


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