Wanting to plant a vegetable garden? It’s a grand time to get started for spring. We cover veggies that thrive this time of the year, as well as the best veggie choices for your climate and top tips. Put on some sunscreen, pull on your gardening gloves and get ready for spring success.
Prime and prep to plant a vegetable garden
To get vibrant veggies, make sure to give your seedlings the best chances with supportive soils. Brush up on soil care and best practices with our spring soil guide to ensure an excellent harvest. And if you are unsure on which veggies to choose from, we broke down spring gardening by province for the ideal growing climate for each option. Once read up and ready, you are well on your way to plant a vegetable garden in time for the season.
Generally, vegetables flourish in sunny spots. Once you have located their prime position, give them the best possible start by preparing the soil beds by digging and aerating them, mixing in Wonder Organic Vita-Boost Vermicompost and Wonder Root Builder Bone Meal or Wonder Super Phosphate.
During germination (if growing your veggies from seedlings), keep the soil moist. Then, thin out the seedlings and select the strongest contender for planting. Fertilise with a balanced fertiliser like Wonder Fruit & Flower two weeks after germination for fruiting vegetables and then use every 6 weeks thereafter, or use Wonder Organic Vita-Boost Vermicompost for evergreen vegetables every 4 weeks. To keep your garden pest-free, use Efekto’s comprehensive pest control solutions.
3 fun veggies for a fresh spring garden salad
Explore these tips for growing a great garden garnish or a delish veggie dish featured on your spring table.
For a fine head of lettuce, be sure to choose your planting position wisely. Find a spot that gets afternoon shade or dappled sunshine as the South African summer sun can be very hot and intense, causing your lettuce to go to seed quickly.
Great lettuce choices include growing Vera and Rosa. These variations of lettuce instead of forming a head, have tight curly leaves which can be harvested for up to three months — making for a rewarding option.
Sow directly from the pack. Plant rows – 30 cm apart. Thin out when the plant reaches 5 cm in height. Make sure to check your soil retains moisture well while being able to drain well. Depending on the variety, your lettuce will be harvest-ready about 70 days after sowing.
Be sure to check over your lettuce leaves, as they are prone to pests like loopers. Use Efekto Cypermethrin 200EC to reinforce your efforts.
Think juicy, crisp and an oh so fresh addition to salads — yup, it’s cucumber. This option is great if you have space as it is a vigorous creeper. Cucumbers thrive in the full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade and grow best in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
To achieve the optimum growing environment, erect trellises or supports in place for the vines to grow and crawl along, or, you can mound the soil to create a small hill where cucumber vines can run. Ideally, your trellis should be 1.2-1.8m tall. As for your mound, make it at least 40cm across and several centimetres tall and then space mounds about 1.2-1.8m apart.
An important note on cucumbers — as they are about 95 percent water they require regular watering for fast, even growth. You can achieve this by keeping the soil evenly moist with regular watering and making sure to not let the soil dry out.
Pro tip: You can measure your soil’s moisture by sticking a finger in the soil — and if your finger comes away dry, it’s an indication you need to water.
Ward off pests like aphids and slugs with Efekto Aphicide Suspension Concentrate and Efekto’s range of slug and snail solutions. At about 55 to 65 days after sowing, you can expect to harvest your crisp cucumbers.
Get ready for spring with a peppery zing! Whether you like it sweet or hot, peppers come in a wide variety to suit anyone’s preferences.
Grow your peppers in seedling trays and transplant the seedlings when they are at least 10cm tall. Choose an area that receives about 8 hours of sun a day, as peppers grow best in full sun. Make sure your soil retains moisture well but drains easily — use slightly sandy or loamy soil.
Peppers are prone to getting attacked by cutworm — use Efekto Cutworm Bait to keep these pests at bay. At about 75 to 95 days after sowing, your peppers will be ripe for harvesting. Remember, you achieve different coloured peppers as they mature and sweeten from green to red. Be sure to cut your pepper and not pull them, leaving a short length of the stem behind. Use pruning tools to do the job well.
Additional tips to plant a vegetable garden in your province
Coastal winter rainfall (Cape Town and surrounds)
During the month of October, you can plant beans (bush and runner), beetroots, celery, maize, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce, melons, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, tomatoes and watermelons.
Fun fact — watermelon is considered a vegetable that originates from southern Africa. As a member of the gourd plant family, watermelon is a relative to cucumber, squash and pumpkin. After getting planted from seeds or seedlings, it gets harvested and cleared from the field like a vegetable.
Summer rainfall Karoo/Highveld (Joburg/Gauteng area)
Here, you can plant beans (bush and runner), beetroot, carrot, celery, maize, cucumber, parsnip, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach/ Swiss chard, tomato, plus melon and watermelon.
For the long haul, plant asparagus. This crop requires a large amount of compost, patience, and time as it can take years for your first asparagus crop to be ready for harvest.
Coastal summer rainfall (KZN)
During springtime in this coastal region, you can plant beans (bush and runner), beetroot, cabbage, carrot, chillies, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, onion, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, spinach/ Swiss chard, tomatoes, as well as melon and watermelon.
Step-by-step success: a spring vegetable planting guide
To get the most out of your spring vegetable garden, we focused on some top favourites from each province. You can access this guide in our eBook, by signing up for our newsletter. Plus, we explain how to nurture blueberries and how to grow:
- Beetroot (in coastal winter rainfall regions)
- Asparagus (in the Karoo and Highveld)
- Potatoes (in coastal summer rainfall regions)
Planting the roots of a rewarding vegetable garden
Now that you are equipped to plant a vegetable garden, here’s to a plentiful and productive harvest ahead. Have more questions? Explore our blog posts for tips and tricks and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive our spring eBook for all your gardening needs.