1. Mulch, mulch, mulch especially in summer. It saves water and protects plants and soil. Use compost, dry grass cuttings, newspaper, leaves, sticks, bark chips, peach pips or any other organic matter.
2. Urine is a useful fertiliser. Dilute it in a bucket of water and water the soil around your plants. A great way to save water and money.
3. Be water wise: make a circular dam with your finger around each plant. The water sinks deep into the soil without running off.
4. Plant lots of legumes like peas and beans. Their roots are home to millions of microbes that take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it to a form your plants can use, which is key for growth.
5. Don’t throw your egg shells away. Crush them up and sprinkle them over your plants. They’re a great source of calcium, which plants and vegetables need to grow strong - plants like cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts really love calcium. You can also add your egg shells to a compost heap and worm bin if you have one - but in this instance dig them deep into the soil. Worms love them.
6. If you live close to the beach, collect seaweed at the beach. When you get home, rinse them with small amounts of fresh water so they’re not covered in sand or salt water and add it to your compost heap, worm bin or use as a mulch, i.e. on top of your soil. It rots quickly, releasing lots of minerals that help plants to grow, flower, fruit and to make more seeds.
7. Grow garlic between your vegetables, especially spinach and tomatoes. Why? Insects, which often eat our plants don’t like the smell so it will help keep them away from your plants. But a word of warning, don’t plant garlic near peas or beans - it actually stops them growing.
8. Old car tyres make excellent nurseries for growing seedlings. In summer paint them a light-colour on the outside to prevent them becoming too hot. For more advice go www.soilforlife.co.za
. Featherstone is the director of Soil for Life