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Long summer days are better spent outdoors Print E-mail
08 December 2017
Summer holidays are here and what better way to enjoy the warm weather - and take advantage of the rain - than to revive your garden or plant one?

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo says there are many benefits to having a garden at home, these include: the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing the impacts of global warming and climate change through heat reduction.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo develops and maintains, amongst other things, the city’s parks, cemeteries, nature reserves, bird sanctuaries, main arterials, Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Johannesburg Zoo. It says plants can also assist in reducing air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and releasing oxygen that we use to survive and it is a source of enjoyment which provides a number of health benefits including reduction of stress and anxiety.

A garden can be a source of food and it provides shelter for many different fauna species that use gardens for food as well as nesting.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has put together some tips to help you prepare your garden for the summer:

• Make a plan. It’s easy to get carried away so try to plan out the basics of what you want to grow before you go out to get your supplies; and
• Prepare your gardening area. If you’ve grown a garden before, then your gardening space might be well prepared. However, if you’re starting a new garden, chances are you’ll need to enrich your soil. If your soil is light brown, that's a sign that it needs some help. Organically rich soil is usually dark brown.

Says Vuyokazi Nkomo, Senior Horticulturalist at Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo: “Nearly all soil needs a regular addition of soil fertilizers to remain healthy. Soil fertility constantly changes due to digging or tilling the soil, from plants using up the nutrients and from leaching due to rainfall." There are two types of fertilizers, organic and inorganic.

“Organic fertilisers feed plants while also building the soil. Soil with lots of organic material remains loose, airy and holds more moisture and nutrients which fosters the growth of the soil organisms and promotes healthier plant root development. Ensure that the organic fertiliser is safe and does not contain any weed seeds,” adds Nkomo.

Some plants do well if you sow them directly into the ground while others benefit from being planted in containers first that can be moved and brought indoors if it gets cold. If you’re overwhelmed by all the prep work and aren’t sure about growing your own plants from seed, you can get plants that professionals have grown. This is particularly a good route for new gardeners. Now that your garden is ready, it’s time to take it to the next level.

If you’re struggling with weeds, you can create a weed barrier to block them from growing or you can mulch. Mulching keeps weeds out while keeping the moisture in.

“Mulch the planting area with wood chips, chunk bark, pine needles or shredded leaves. Don’t use plastic beneath the mulch, as matter or air can’t penetrate it. Ensure that the mulch does not touch plant stems as they cannot rot the plant,” says Nkomo.

Mulching your plants and watering them early in the morning instead of the later in the afternoon will also reduce evaporation and also save water. Watering in the evening can make your plants susceptible to fungi attacks. Be water wise and use water sparingly. “Water your garden with a watering can rather than a hosepipe. A hosepipe uses 1 000 litres of water per hour. Consider installing a water drum to your drainpipe and use the water collected to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows,” concludes Nkomo.

Joburg City Parks and Zoo would like to hear from residents. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and share your garden and gardening pictures. Use the hashtag



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Last Updated on 08 December 2017