Chapter 5: First Planting
After letting the soil rest for two weeks I proceeded to loosen the soil. Having read the various plant labels I placed the plants with adequate space between each. Next, I proceeded to plant Rose Geranium, Fennel, Rose, Pineapple Sage, Camomile and Black Peppermint. Make sure not to place any plants too deep in your container or garden bed, as soil mounted against the stem can result in rot.
I did not feed the Buchu as it does not need a lot of feeding, just good watering.
5.2 Planting chilli and lemongrass
At the same time, I planted a Chilli and Lemon Grass in separate pots. I planted the chilli in a 25cm pot and used the following soil mixture: potting soil and 2 handfuls of bonemeal. I planted the Lemon Grass in a 30cm container with the same soil mixture. You can follow the same planting instructions for both.
- Ensure that the pots have adequate drainage then add some of the respective soil mixtures.
- Place the plant on top of the soil and fill in within 2cm from the rim.
- Pat soil down firmly
- Feed with Talborne Organics Vita Veg 6:3:4, water thoroughly and place in a sunny spot.
Chapter 6: First harvest and feed
Today I fed the first batch of herbs I planted as well as picked my first harvest.
I personally love using Talborne Organic’s Vita Veg 6:3:1 mix for all my edibles and can highly recommend their quality products.
I loosely scattered a handful of the fertiliser pellets on the bed, followed by a thorough watering. As the weather gets cooler one can generally reduce one’s watering regime. Also, take into account any rain that you might have received. I did not feed the Buchu as (like Proteas) it prefers more infertile soil. I just gave it a good watering.
Next, I harvested some of the rose flowers, pineapple sage, rose geranium chamomile and mint leaves. These can be picked or snipped off with a pair of kitchen scissors.
I then proceeded with my first taste test using some of the fresh rose petals, rose geraniums and Carmien’s Green Rooibos tea, with honey to flavour. The glass teapot I purchased from them is ideal if one wants to experiment with creating your own flavours.
The rest of the harvest I proceeded to dry. I simply stripped the leaves and petals, placed these on a kitchen towel and covered them with a mesh food screen.
Chapter 7: More planting & Treating Aphids
First, I planted a hibiscus standard in a pot. For this, I used Bark Unlimited’s outdoor potting soil and a handful of bonemeal.
Next, I planted a few marigolds in a pot. Besides using marigolds to flavour my tea, they will serve the dual purpose of helping to repel insects from the garden-bed in which I placed the pot.
Make sure to only use pots with sufficient drainage.
Next, I planted up the second garden bed. Here I used apple mint, mint julep, ginger, turmeric, Margaret Roberts lavender, and bergamot.
One can use both the flowers and leaves of bergamot in cooking.
When planting different mint varieties in the same bed, avoid planting them right next to each other. Failing to do so may lead to cross-pollination which can alter the flavour profiles.
Spraying for aphids
My rose and rose geranium were both targeted by aphids. I proceeded to treat them by spraying with Ludwigs’ Insect Spray. This is a broad-spectrum organic insecticide for the control of insects on edible crops, roses, herbs and ornamentals. It contains garlic juice extract, canola oil, and natural pyrethrum (pyrethrins).