How To … Create your own kitchen garden

2013-09-07 11:00

Plant edible herbs, leaves and flowers in your patch of soil.

Section 1

Grow a lemon tree on a frame in the background so it doesn’t take up too much space. Or plant a lemon tree about 50cm away from the wall and prune it ‘flat’. Plant rosemary (R) surrounded by chives and three pavers as shown.

To the right of the lemon tree, plant a vertical garden with herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme, rocket, wild rocket, origanum and lettuce planted in a pallet.

(Look on the Facebook page ‘Grow your own food – food gardens with almost no money’ for step-by-step instructions.)

If you don’t want to plant a vertical garden, plant the herbs in the ground with chillies and eggplant. Let something like passion fruit grow up the wall.

Place pavers as shown on the sketch and use wood chips or pebbles as a border.

Section 2

Plant a bay tree in the back quarter with lemon sage on either side. Its flowers are great in salads, and attract birds. A central water feature creates a focal point for this section of the garden. Even a simple flat bowl of water surrounded by lemongrass will work.

Section 3

A mirror image of section 1.

Section 4, 5, 6 & 7

These sections are identical mini food forests and are duplicated to form a pattern. Use an obelisk in the middle, against which you can plant tomatoes, beans (in summer) or peas (in winter), and butternut.

Plant every few weeks in different corners of the pyramid so you have a continuous harvest. Sun lovers (beetroot, carrots, onions and spring onions) should be planted in the sunny corner (north) and lettuce, basil and other leaves on the shadow side (south).

Garden designer Cobus Smit says

‘Don’t try to plant the entire garden at once. Every two weeks, plant a few annuals that grow quickly, and every month, plants things that last longer, such as spinach, tomatoes, eggplant and butternut. Permanent plants and paths give structure even when the garden is “empty”. You can even give more structure by bordering the main path with wooden beams, poles or cobblestones.’

How to use plants when you braai

Lemon: Drizzle over fish or use in marinades for chicken and seafood*

Lemongrass: Use in Thai dipping sauces or as kebab sticks

Rosemary: Use whole twigs as fragrant kebab sticks

Chives: Chop into potato salad

Eggplant: Roast whole or in parcels*

Chillies: Roast directly on the coals, peel, chop finely and use to flavour olive oil

Parsley: Combine with garlic and butter for garlic bread

Basil: Fresh pesto for braai toasties; whole leaves in caprese salad

Thyme: Sprinkle over roasted brown mushrooms with mozzarella

Rocket: Sprinkle on braaied pizza or in salads

Wild rocket: Use in salads with rocket, Parmesan shavings and pine nuts

Origanum: Chop and mix into Greek salad dressing

Passion fruit: Drizzle pulp over baked bananas*

Bay leaves: Flavour BBQ marinade

Green beans: Braai side dish: steamed with wholegrain mustard and olive oil

Peas: Steam and combine with chopped spinach, feta and bacon

Butternut: Slice and roast over the coals, drizzle with chilli oil

Carrots: Grate and combine with orange juice and pineapple

Beetroot: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, wrap in foil and roast whole on the coals

Onions: Use in braai toasties or roast whole (filled with parsley butter)

Spring onions: Chop and use with chives in potato salad

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