Spring is here

The first spring in our food garden has been something special to witness. Every morning I go outside and see something new coming to life.

This time last year I had only just begun the food garden journey and was starting off with a lot of seeds.

This year I consider this season to be my first official spring in the food garden because a lot of the plants are at a later stage and I’m starting to see the ones that survived come back to life.

Many plants didn’t survive but I learnt a lot in the process, as I wrote in this Open Letter to my Tomato Plant. We have one tomato plant that’s survived and it’s already flourishing thanks to the brilliant tripod my husband John installed to support it.

There have been a lot of surprises, like the spring onions which are all starting to flower.

Our balcony garden is also coming along.

We have already eaten a lot of butter lettuce and spinach that we planted in winter. Now we’re adding more leafy greens to these boxes I made with John.

They get great afternoon sun but need watering often as they dry out quickly.

Hoping to grow cherry tomatoes and basil in the hanging baskets
My talented and creative brother, Brandon, made that beautiful heart for our wedding, It was the centre piece of the dancefloor. Now it’s the centre piece of the balcony garden, so glad I can still use it.
That’s a curry bush growing in the black and beige grass basket I bought on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. Have to get more of those baskets next time I visit.

We now have pineapple sage, lemon verbena, tarragon, mint, rosemary, dill and curry bush growing on the balcony. Will definitely be adding more herbs to this collection.

This mint plant is flourishing. Another surprise because I had to cut it back after it was almost destroyed by spider mites.
The first strawberry from the balcony garden. Planted it in a box with spinach and borage which are great companion plants for strawberries.

In the courtyard garden we have planted some new cherry tomato seedlings.

Since we cut back part of our bottlebrush tree the courtyard is getting a lot more sun, and in areas I didn’t expect.

One of these new sunlit areas is against the wall where we have some planter boxes. These were the first boxes John made for our garden.

Parsely, oregano, wild garlic, spring onion, butter lettuce, tarragon, thyme, strawberries and pineapple mint currently growing in these boxes. Don’t be despondent about urban spaces – there’s always room to grow something.

The seeds for peas I planted in winter have finally arrived. I think next winter I will plant them in the box at the top so they have more growing space and aren’t so cramped.

The learning continues.







Last weekend there was a bit of rain on Sunday afternoon but it was more like a very short sprinkle. We’re still waiting for the first proper Highveld thunder storm of the season.

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Caserta Zucchini I planted on Women’s Day. These don’t like to be transplanted so plant seeds in situ. They also need a lot of water.
New leaves on the blueberry plant which we thought were completely dead. In fact we were about to empty the pots and give up on them when we noticed the new leaves. They’ve been moved to the steps where they will get a bit more shade than sunlight.

I’ve written before about how the garden is a place for reflection. Now that I’m waiting for the first rain of the season I can’t help thinking about my first spring in Joburg in 2010. The winter was so cold.

I was living in a tiny flat in Westdene at the time and I remember the first rains were only  in October. The afternoon it started raining I was so excited that I invited my friends over for a spontaneous rain party to celebrate.








How things have changed in seven years.

I’m no lo longer drinking box wine on a metal staircase one block up from Ontdekkers road but I’m still very excited about the first rain of the season.

I’m sure I’ll be raising a glass to mark the occasion this year and hopefully that will be soon. Fingers crossed for average to above-average rainfall this season!


  1. I am also so happy when spring comes around. I have bought very similar planter boxes but haven’t planted in them or haven’t put them up as yet. Still doing research as to whether to put them in a sunny spot or shady spot


    1. Leafy greens are great for boxes and partial shade. If you have a bit more sun, herbs like thyme, basil, rosemary and oregano will do well. Companion plant all of these with spring onions to deter pests.


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