Amelia van Zyl uses her vegetables and herbs daily and shares the excess with people close to her. She makes fresh juice from carrots, beetroot and mint; she roasts and freezes tomatoes for a Monday night’s pasta meal and she arranges tomatoes and brinjals in bowls as an alternative to flowers for her home décor. Throughout her house you’ll find quaint milk jugs and containers brimming with herbs. And thanks to her lush garden, Amelia has an abundance of gifts to give!
Amelia’s gardening tips
- The preparation of your soil is very important. I excavated the soil to a depth of about 1m and filled it in with layers of leaves, twigs, strips of newspaper and soil. With each layer, I incorporated a little compost and finished it all off with a thick layer of compost. This is called the ‘lasagne method’ and it works!
- Compost is vital. Rather pay a little more for good compost – it’s worth the expense. (You can also make your own compost.)
- After the initial preparation, I never till the soil again – I just add more compost each season.
- Vermicompost and earthworm tea is fantastic. I dip the roots of my vegetables and herbs in the earthworm tea before I plant them; this gives the plants an extra boost. It’s available at nurseries – I get mine at Wurmbosch, a specialist worm farm outside Stellenbosch.
- If you want to create a big garden, buy your vegetable seedlings from a wholesaler. I pay 80c per plant, which really reduces my costs; look online for people locally who sell plants in bulk.
Words: Marie Esterhuyse, Home magazine
Images: Francois Oberholster, Home magazine