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Seed - Colour the most economical way!It's also the time of the year for growing from seed. Not only more economical, the range is just so much more. Ready to go in now sow the indigenous seeds of the Namaqualand as well as some yummy veggies and herbs. As you pull out your summer colour and crops that are ending always prepare the soil to replace the nutrients. As always our recommendation is to add loads of compost and bone meal in the preparation along with the organic fertiliser BioGanic.

First up is growing colour from seed. Water wise African Daisies also known as Namaqualand Daisies, lead the pack when it comes to loads of colour from seed for spring but that's not all there is to choose from. We love the tough Bokbaai Vygies, the dainty Lineria and the fragrant Virginian Stocks which are just as easy to grow and give you loads of colour in the most economical way.

When a packet of seeds covers 2m2 and a bumper pack up to 10m2 there is no reason why we can all grow some colour on the pavement or a sunny winter dry patch in your garden.

African Daisies are indigenous requiring a little attention to get them growing and then absolutely minimal care for the rest of the season. By simply turning the soil raking even and broadcasting the seeds, roughly raking again and then water well, they are set to give you a cheerful display. Don't add fertiliser or compost and only water daily till germinated. After that just water them once a week to every second week, if you remember. They prefer a less rich soil and survive best with near drought conditions, just like in the Namaqualand.

Plant a show of yellow or orange and if you want a bright contrast consider the white; they sparkle in the winter sun.

Classic African Daisies in bright colours White African Daisies sparkle in the winter sun

Most of the winter into spring flowering seeds are very #waterwise as they grow in winter which for us is a naturally more dry time of the year. Bokbaai Vygies will come up very quickly and give months of bright daisy flowers with very little watering. They need sun or the flowers won't open and are perfect as a carpet of colour as they grow flat and spread into each other as a border plant.

Virginian stocks are fragrant. In the early morning and late afternoon they fill the air with their sweet sent. Sow them as filler between roses or along the edge of the garden bed where they will find their own way and give you a patch of bright green leaves within days of sowing and flowers within a few weeks. They love the sun but will do very well in a light shade or half day sun.

If you love fairies like we do then plant some Fairy Linaria. They are so easy to grow perfect for introducing children to the wonder of sowing seeds. Their little spires look like fairy castles and in almost any colour the mix is really pretty. Full sun to half sun and even sprinkled into your fairy garden they are very special indeed.

Bokbaai Vygies also known as Livingston Daisies Virginian Stocks are fragrant

Once you have prepared the area for them the trick in planting these three is definitely not to “plant” them. It sounds crazy but what works best with the fine seed they have, is to literally sprinkle them like salt over the area you want to grow them. Follow up with a good watering and the seed will move into the surface by themselves and germination will soon follow.
Seeds need light to germinate and the smaller the seed the closer to the surface they need to be.
Experiment and have fun growing bedding plants from seed. It's easy and the most economical way to get your winter and spring garden into a riot of gorgeous colour.

Eat your own

You can do it! Grow sum yum!The food garden also changes through autumn as the cool season plants go in and the last of the summer crop gets eaten. Keep the harvests coming into the kitchen by planting in autumn to harvest by mid June through to next spring. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow some yum in a few containers on the patio or on the balcony this winter.

The warmer weather in autumn helps them establish faster and then as it cools down in May they are all ready to start producing.

Two of the most popular and easiest to grow edibles are Carrots and Spinach. Winter veggies are traditionally root and leaf crops. The fruiting veggies such as tomatoes and egg plants are part of the summer selections. The colder your garden gets the more you should lean to root crops and in warmer gardens a mixture will always go down well.

South Africa most popular vegetable Mayford Carrots can have up to 7000 seeds per packet

Swiss chard

Easily grown from seed or transplanted seedlings, Spinach or Swiss chard can be harvested quite soon after planting and can be used over an extended period. They will grow in full sun to semi-shade. Look out for the new coloured veined varieties for something different. We grow them in a container here at Eckards and our team harvest for months and months. When planted in a pot they really don't need much as long as they are regularly fed.

Carrots

Anybody can grow carrots as they are very easy to grow. Carrots are best grown from seed as they are a root which is damaged by transplanting. A crop sown now should be ready for harvest after 100 days and will remain edible for many months. Make sure you space your carrots carefully - the best is to have about 100-120 plants per square metre. These will grow to the best size and then remain in this condition until required. Did you know that a MayFord seed packet of carrots has up to 7000 seeds all of which will germinate if planted correctly.

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