The school holidays are around the corner, and this year we are super excited to invite all of our younger shoppers to join us to create their very own Upcycled Garden! We don’t know about you, but we love getting our hands dirty and watching things grow. So, to celebrate the start of the autumn planting season, we are giving kids the opportunity to build a cool-looking pot using recycled materials and plant a seedling to take home. They will also be taught how to care for their plant so they can provide it with everything it needs to flourish.
Here are the event deets:
When? Between 24 and 28 April, daily from 10:00 until 13:00*
Where? Capegate Centre Court
What? Create a mini sustainable garden in a pot made from recycled materials. Kids can choose to make a pot that looks like a cat, dinosaur, or a bee, and will also be able to choose one of 6 different plants to take home. They are also welcome to come back and collect them all (one at a time!).
How much? R30 per child
How do I book? Purchase tickets from Webtickets beforehand or pay at the door.
*Sessions start every 30 minutes, with the last session starting at 12.30 each day.
So, what are we planting?
We thought you’d never ask! We took a good, long look at the types of plants that are well-suited to the South African climate, and will fare well at this time of year. This helped us to narrow down our options to 5 different kinds of veggies, and one pretty succulent. Find all the info about caring for, harvesting and enjoying these awesome plants right here below.
Lettuce is a fantastic thing to grow. Picking fresh salad from your garden is a wonderful treat and lettuce also grows super quickly and does not need a full sun (great for winter, and balcony gardens!).
The best way to care for your lettuce seedling it to put your pot in a nice sunny spot and water it gently using a fine spray. You can either buy a spray bottle from your nearest nursery or hardware store, or repurpose a screw-top toilet spray bottle (not the aerosol kind, of course). Just make sure to wash out the bottle really well, and let it dry properly before you fill it with water.
Your lettuce will be ready to harvest once the leaves are about 2.5 cm to 7.5 cm long. Carefully cut the amount you need for each meal using a pair of scissors. This way your plant can continue to grow. Here are a few great lettuce recipes to try at home! TOP TIP: Snails love lettuce. If you are having some snail issues, it helps to add egg shells to your pot, or the area where your lettuce has been planted. Crush the egg shells, and scatter it on the soil around the plant. This makes it uncomfortable for the snails to shimmy that way.
Butternut needs plenty of sun, so the best place to put your container is somewhere that gets at least 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. Squash plants are pretty thirsty, so give it a long, slow soak every morning. Just remember to water the base of the plants and not the leaves, otherwise you’re likely to get powdery mildew, which is hard to fix (and also completely avoidable).
Once some blossoms appear, it’s a sign that butternuts are on the way. When your baby butternuts poke out their little heads, they will have green vertical lines running along their bodies. As the vegetable grows, the lines will fade, and the rind will turn orange or a light shade of brown. It will be ready to harvest once the stem turns from green to brown.
Here are a few tasty butternut recipes to try. Our favourite is a nice fragrant butternut soup, or butternut fritters with lashings of local honey – yum!
SPINACH If you’re not too sure whether your fingers are green, spinach is a very forgiving plant to grow – it is hardy and not finicky at all. Plus, it’s jam-packed with nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, as well as Vit A, C and E. It’s no wonder it made Pop-Eye that strong!
Swiss Chard likes an area that enjoys full sun to partial shade. It’s always best to sprout your seeds before you plant it out into the soil, but if you are growing from seed straight in the ground, just make sure to water it very gently. Spinach seeds are very delicate at the start and can easily be washed away.
Your chard will be ready to harvest once the plants stand around 23 cm to 30 cm tall. This is the best time to harvest – if it grows any taller the leaves get a bit tougher and aren’t as flavourful. Harvest by cutting the outer leaves first, so the tender inner leaves have more time to grow.
Here are a few lovely swiss chard recipes to try. Insider tip – if you make a salad for dinner, go with ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, chickpeas and feta; this way you can turn the leftovers into a breakfast sauté with eggs the next morning. Just steer clear of cucumber or avocado if this is your plan.
There is a reason why every mom on the planet tries to get her kids to enjoy broccoli - it's so healthy. In fact, one serving of the green stuff will serve you with a hit of Vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, iron, and fibre.
The seedlings like full sun for around 6 to 8 hours each day, and want to be watered regularly. Just be careful not to get the developing broccoli heads wet, but rather water it at the base. The plant’s roots are rather shallow, so try not to dig in the soil around it.
With this plant, it will be easy to see when you can harvest. You can either do so earlier to get really tender veggies, but then it won’t be that large. Alternatively you can wait a bit longer until the heads are bigger. The best time to harvest is in the morning, when the buds are still nice and firm. If you see any yellow petals around the head, or the buds start to flower, harvest immediately.
Broccoli takes quite some time to grow, so it’s important to be patient. Here are a few delicious broccoli recipes to try. We love good old cheesy broccoli – it’s the perfect accompaniment for everything from a braai to a big Sunday lunch with the family.
These plants like full sun and need at least 6 hours of it every day. Keep the soil nice and moist, but don't soak it. The growth cycle is pretty long - it will be around three to four months before you can pick your first sprouts. The plants need to grow tall first, and will only begin to produce the veggies once they are at full height.
Harvest your sprouts when they are around the size of a large shooting marble, and before it starts cracking (this is when they go bitter). Remove the leaf below the sprout first to make harvesting easier. Then twist it gently and pull it off.
Here are a few yummy Brussel sprouts recipes to try. TOP TIP: These sprouts also happen to be the exact right size to serve as a cabbage for Barbie dolls…
Lampranthus, also commonly known in sunny SA as ‘vygies’, are a genus of succulents that grow big, bright flowers. This is actually where the Latin name comes from – it means ‘shining flowers’ (how lovely?).
The awesome thing about this succulent is that it grows pretty fast and will live for a long time. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Water very sparingly in winter, and a little bit more when summer rolls around. It will likely grow into a small shrub in a container, or morph into a ground cover when planted out into the soil.
There you have it – all the info you need to take care of your Upcycled Garden at home! We hope to welcome all our little shoppers at Capegate over the school holidays so they can learn how to grow their own food like sustainability super stars. It all starts with planting that first seed…
Garden Ceramic Dwarfs
Kiddies Garden Tools
All purpose organic fertiliser
Kids watering can
Kids garden hand tool set
Kiddies Watering Can
Calandiva in 12cm Covered Pot
Universal Plant Food
Sweet Pea flower seeds
Products subject to availability. Prices correct at time of publishing.