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5 dos and don’ts for starting your own veggie patch

Urban farmer Iming Hin is a gardener, who became a public health specialist. who became a farmer.

She grows over 150 varieties of 50 veggies on Meuse Farm in Hout Bay, Cape Town. And while she doesn’t think everyone needs to go the whole hog, she believes everyone can grow veggies with success. These are the five things she wants you to consider before you start tilling the soil.  

1. Understand why you’re doing this 

Before you even find a place to start your veggie patch, ask yourself: why do I want to grow my own veg? “The answer will be personal. Do you want to avoid pesticides? Are you growing because you want to spend time outside and dig in the dirt? Do you want to show your kids where food comes from? The answer will affect both how you do it and what you pick to grow,” Iming explains. 

2. Grow what you’ll eat 

Give this one some good thought – you want all the time and effort to be worth it! “If you grow what you enjoy eating, then you’ll put in the time to make it work. Make a list of them and then ask people in your neighbourhood what’s been easy for them to grow. Check if it’s on your list and go from there,” recommends Iming. 

3. Figure out how much space and time you have 

Be realistic about this, suggests Iming. “A chef recently asked me what they should grow at home. I recommended that they consider the fact that they have very little time, but that flavour is important to them. Someone like that should grow stuff you can process in bulk to make great sauces or dry out, such as herbs and chillies. Herbs are great because you can grow something you can’t get in the shops and it matters that they’re fresh,” she explains. 

4. Follow the seasons 

Be willing to grow with the seasons. “Try not to grow tomatoes in winter and lettuce in summer! Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Match the season with something that won’t easily die on you, and which will fit the space that you have,” she suggests.  

Words by: Christi Nortier

Photography: Pexels

Also read: Fill your garden with these herbs

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