What is potting in the garden?

What is potting in the garden is all about growing veggies in a temperate climate; Hilton, South Africa, not Chicago, USA where I studied for four long years, with a little respite in the Lombard containment.

Most veggies, straight from the garden, are so different. These fava beans, for example, any other way are starchy and nasty. They are the richest source of vegetable protein, and the only natural treatment for Parkinson's disease; it is all about the L-dopa.

Green fava beans in shells

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 3rd May, 2021.

Yes what is potting, of course, especially for a writer, but Google takes a dim view of the poor old apostrophe.

Starting your own Eden is perhaps one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, not least because there are so many spinoffs. Greater well-being, together with a much improved physical condition, a stronger back, and a place to be quiet and meditate.

I call ours the Garden Cathedral. It is no coincidence that the first reports of mankind in the Bible are Adam and Eve walking with the Lord in Eden. Be still and know that I am God is challenging in our overly-busy world; there is just too much going on.

This page is about the vegetable garden. A weekly update on what is potting in the garden. I confess to little interest in growing flowers except my orchids; this is about our dark-greens, oranges and purples.

Growing vegetables is one of the most rewarding hobbies of my life, and I am convinced it is the reason why the good wife and I enjoy in our eighth decade a life without medication. Type it into search engine below if you want to know more.

Interestingly gardening is one of the pursuits found to be common to all those living in the blue zones of the world, where living to 100 is not that unusual.

Read more about that at gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to 100.

Starting a garden

A little vegetable garden design is not a bad place to begin. How much space do you have? Three square metres? Then it has to be intensive, and there is no place for butternut, sweet potatoes or corn. What is potting in the garden may be quite different for you and me.

Think then of herbs and veggies that will give a huge yield from a tiny patch. Just three spinach plants will feed your family, and half a dozen lettuce seedlings will go on for a month or more; pick a few leaves every day. A row of radishes, ready in 3 - 4 weeks is a must, and six pole beans. If you like it hot, then just one jalapeno will provide for your needs; we love the peppadew as well.

Plant the rows north to south so they get maximum sunshine on both sides.

If you are blessed with a larger garden, then a compost pile to deal with all the kitchen vegetable refuse is a must; the grass cuttings and all the leaves in Fall also to improve the quality of your garden soil. The science of humus is fascinating.

More about making a compost pile elsewhere; and there is nothing like the wonder of worm-farms to improve your topsoil. Optimal potting in the garden is a complex science but there are many simple things we can do.

But I would not start there, though it is vital later. Just turn the sod and get some seeds planted so you too can boast about what is potting in the garden.

You also have to consider the availability of water; mains is just fine, if expensive, but then a rainwater harvesting model is not cheap either. Having said that, after eight years of enjoying the free manna from the heavens, our underground reservoir is completely paid off.

Besides the water there are other harvests to consider like rotting leaves that fall into your gutter. Keeping them free of crud is hard work, but it should be done anyway.

The summer veggie garden

Pride of place in the summer garden surely goes to the pumpkin family, though there are many competitors for the title; growing zucchini and nothing beats buttered gem squash in the dining room, for flavour and well-being, and especially your eyesight.

Mind you green legumes give us the ability to reduce our reliance on animal protein, but ours took a hammering from three hail storms in 2018. As I write in the summer of 2020 we are beginning to harvest what will hopefully be a huge crop of pole beans, scarlet runner, lima and favas. Yes, it was good and so was 2021. Interesting that I have an essential tremor that is greatly reduced when the broad beans are coming in; they are the only source of significant amounts of the precursor of dopamine.

If you have corn in flower and lima beans then this quick succotash recipe is an old favourite; fresh nutritious food that tastes wonderful. Don't for one second believe those who say it is fattening. Both have a low glycemic index; they are turned very slowly into blood glucose and do not provoke an insulin storm. It's the refined carbs that make us obese.

However if you have a significant weight problem, a glucometer is really of more use than a scale; knowing which foods make your blood-sugar soar, and how you can manage it makes such a difference. You have a sense of control again of your life instead of those interminable diets that we all know do not work. Interesting research that the pumpkin family is also good for diabetics, just don't roast it and keep the portion small.

For example I was very disappointed to discover that the oranges grown in our own garden made my blood sugar soar; but if I took a stiff ten minute walk, the rise was quiet normal. Discovering that was liberating. Never drink OJ from a carton; it is junk of the highest order.

Growing green beans with some fruit.

Building a vegetable garden trellis so that we could practise crop rotation for our beans proved very simple.


What is potting in the spring garden.

Update: What is potting in the winter garden.

Update: What is potting in the autumn veggie garden.

Late summer 

Early March in the very deep south, and September in the north is when the harvest moon is rewarding us for all the hard work.

A strange date to start perhaps, but it is where I am today. Late summer at what is potting in the garden.

Start by getting out a hoe and clearing off the ground, and then a garden fork, turn the sod. No, first do these lower back exercises.

Lower back exercises

Lower back exercises are important for us all, but especially for those indulging in what is potting in the garden; make preparation just as you would if going for a game of tennis or golf.

I mentioned above that gardening is good for your back. And so it is; if you follow the rules. And one of them is that you begin your gardening, every day really, with these simple exercises. Otherwise you will be visiting your DC tomorrow.

So I have just cleared this patch of weeds, added compost and turned the sod. On the right you can learn how to grow radishes; I love them for their peppery taste in an otherwise perhaps bland salad. They are the easiest of all veggies to grow. Seeds will be up in about three days, and you can start munching them in about a month.

Then in the central three rows, something new for me. Mange Tout Kennedy peas. You do not need to shell them but we will have to be more patient; two months before reaping them.

On the left, on the fence, is a row of climbing Sugar Snap peas. You do not need to shell them either. We eat them, pod and all in a salad.

So, what is potting in the garden?

For a fuller page on the summer vegetable garden to indulge yourself here.

choice foods

Choice foods are for those who indulge in what's potting in the garden. I am really not sure whether it is my commitment to the spinal adjustment for spiffing good well-being, plenty of outdoor exercise or just good genes; or the wonderful organic fruit and veg, but at over seventy neither the good wife or I take any drugs whatsoever. Visits to the medical doctor and pharmacist occur less than once a year. Does that in itself not make the effort worthwhile?

I am not boasting; it is just a fact. Combine exercise with good food and a regular adjustment of your spine and with luck you too will enjoy sparkling vitality and well-being.

Starting a vegetable garden.

Work in progress

What is potting in the garden?

In late spring we planted sweet potatoes, peppers and butternut; summer squash, and gems too that we are now enjoying.

In midsummer, the bush beans and radish that you can see in the background are flourishing. These are the radish I picked for lunch today, together with lettuce and peppers, parsley and mint. It will be a few weeks before we are enjoying green beans.

Radishes, peppers and lettuce for lunch.

Then today 3rd March, which is September in the Northern Hemisphere, I spent a few moments weeding my one-yard row of lettuce; and picked the first four leaves for our lunch. They are so sweet.

When I am planning what's potting in the garden I try to think of how many different foods we can enjoy.

They look a bit lonely but form the base for creating a divine green salad; all those boasting of no-lettuce lunches simply do not have access to fresh vegetables straight from the garden. I must confess that I agree; they are indeed dull from the supermarket.

Summer green salad freshly picked from the garden.

We'll be picking fresh leaves every day now, for at least two months. At growing lettuce you can get more details about how to grow this food rich in folate that forms the base of creating a divine green salad.

Then there are these delicious peppadews. No salad can ever be described a dull with these sometimes fiery little fellas. After citrus, they are the richest source of vitamin C, by the way. They are obviously members of the chilli family of fruits.

Peppadews are one of our favourites in the garden.

Two or three peppadew plants are enough by the way for the average family. It will take up about a square metre, and will look very pretty in the front flower garden too when they turn pillar-box red.

They are the second richest source of vitamin C after citrus and add a richness to any vegetable dish.

We add them to eggs Florentine, curries and stews.

They need to be staked as the branches get very heavy with an abundance of fruit. In Fall they will turn a beautiful bright red and we will freeze and pickle those that survive our summer demand for salad peppers. They are a perennial and will perform just as well next year.

She who must be obeyed has a fascination for them and will collect seed and replant anyway. Soon we will be able to supply the local supermarket with fresh peppadew fruit. What is potting in the garden? Plenty is happening.

Sweet potatoes in the garden.

But the real delight of this day, 3 March in late summer was poking my garden fork into the sweet potato patch. It is the first time we have grown them; one of our favourites is a butternut squash soup recipe with a couple tossed in, and just look.

What is potting in the spring garden has so many benefits. This is when you'll be wanting to know about how to plant potatoes; if you reap them by the way before the plant has died back, they are much less fattening; it has all to do with resistant starch.

One of the less pleasant Spring activities, but very necessary, is sorting out the rainwater harvests; gutters, filters, tanks and reservoirs need to be cleaned.

And now to a hot solar power energy shower and a good lunch. One of my passions, as a sun worshiper, is to get maximum from Mr Golden Sun and that includes heated water and electrical energy for my computer and lights, and even the oven and dishwasher.

Bernard Preston

Covering of your head like my gliding hat is essential in the garden.

With one exception, Bernard Preston is a sun worshiper. Every glider pilot and those who indulge in what is potting in the garden, if they have any sense, know that a good hat is mandatory. South Africa is the melanoma capital of the world.

Acne body wash and melanoma are potentially a serious problem for us all, and part of the solution is to be found in the garden.

A steel gate design is simple if you have a welding machine; it enables you to create rotational grazing for the hens and protect your young seedlings.

Find the Warren Buffett interview in Site Search. It reminds us again of the simplicity of life and a frugal way of going about things; the doyen of wealth emphasises the importance of saving each month. That means spending less on other things.

Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch is a glorious affair, usually with a roast chicken, salads and homemade ice-cream with fresh mulberries or whatever is in season; most South Africans barbecue regularly, except the vegans, of course, and we are not the exception. It is a very real part of what is potting in the garden.

But our red meat intake is really very low, and the processed stuff virtually zero; I would rather keep bacon and salami for high and holy days and live to a healthy eighty with my prostate intact.

The urologist just phoned to tell me my PSA is 0.9; he could not believe it. Just one of the many blessings that come to those who make the time to potter in the garden.

So now the lettuce and radish have been cleaned and washed. We carve out the peppadew pips, they get you coming and going, and I've added other green salads; what my grandchildren call "Ba's weeds." Parsley, mint, and rocket. If we are having guests I will turn the parsley and mint into one of my favourite side dishes, tabbouleh bulgar wheat, but today it is just the salads and a slice of thick homemade bread.

Find tabbouleh bulgar wheat using the Site Search function. Whole grains are quite difficult to get.

Yes if you eat lunches like this, a thick smear of butter is allowed, and your cholesterol will still be dangerously low.

I refuse to eat margarine, it tastes terrible and all hydrogenated foods are indeed terrible for our blood vessels. Avoid them if you desire to live long in the land.

It is all about phytosterols, those substances that prevent tumours from forming. Have you had your five colours today? I try for ten. Malignancies are big in my family and I am out to prevent it. It is a large part of the motivation of what is potting in the garden.

And of course the soluble fibre that keeps us regular. Constipation and large bowel neoplasms go hand in hand.

Here you can see on my plate:

It is agreed by all that olive oil benefits reign supreme, with the possible exception of fatty fish. We endeavor to enjoy both. Find them in the Site Search function at the top of the page.

Phytosterols come from the many coloured foods from your garden.

Folk often ask me if I, Bernard Preston am a vegetarian. Absolutely not, but with all the lovely people, good folk in my family who have died too young, I am passionate about enjoying my grandchildren growing up and sitting under those trees that I once planted, and that means plenty of vegetables, salads, fruit and nuts in the diet. And not smoking; that killed both my parents ten years before their time.

So we are flexitarian; most of our food comes from the garden but we do eat meat periodically. Our own organic roosters are tasty beyond belief. I once read a book called Twenty Chickens for a Saddle, and was moved the philosophy that if you cannot kill it yourself, then you should not be eating it. I found it hard to argue with that. It is worth a read, beautifully written by a girl brought up in Botswana, and a tribute to the power of home schooling.

Stop smoking permanently is the only way to save your blood vessels from an early catastrophe. Find that too in Site Search.

Tonight we have rump steak on the BBQ planned. For lunch it was feta cheese and hummus for protein. Animal protein max once per day remember, perhaps even less. Today is Sunday so we indulge a little, cheese and red meat. We may rue it one day. Together with a large sample from what is potting in the garden, and we will be fine, I reason.

Find the links to those topics highlighted in bold by copying and pasting into the Site Search function in the navigation bar above. 

In April (October), the soil temperatures will be too low to germinate many seeds, and my attention will be turned to my bees. The Eucalyptus honey flow is about to start and May, June, July will be taken up with harvesting the honey.

Rome was not built in a day

Rome was not built in a day and nor were Achen and Cologne as we say in Holland; if you love to travel make sure you see all three beautiful cities.

Do not be discouraged by the richness of our vegetable patch. It is two and half years since we starting indulging in what's potting in the garden, and I have to admit that because we have so much space that the design is a bit haphazard.

But you will have to choose; will you be a couch potato?

Or is it in your heart to be a sweet potato? Gardening does take time, and that may mean turning off the telly and foregoing the odd game of golf. I decided not to go gliding yesterday so I could build our first worm-farm.

For the time being my flying is on the back burner; yes, I am missing it. But until the garden layout is complete and in some sort of order other hobbies have had to take a backseat.

What is potting in your garden? Get a few seeds in this weekend.

You will notice that I'm not afraid to show the weeds. This is not Windsor Castle with three professional gardeners and ten serfs. But I can guarantee, the Queen of England does not eat more nutritious food than we do.

But no junk food either I suspect; she has lived to a ripe old age; how I miss the Scottish salmon we enjoyed in Holland.

And now a new day has dawned, and I must prepare for the first patient. She had an acute sprung rib last week after a shower of sneezes. I wonder how she is doing. It is one of the favourite conditions that I treat, but one does have to take care not to crack a rib. It is called Chiropractic Iatrogenic Illness; doctor-caused disease. It happens in our clinics too.


Pin oak firewood logs.

This large pin oak came down in an autumn gale. Preparing the timber for the hearth was made a lot simpler with a simple piece of homemade firewood processing equipment.

Firewood log processing equipment for timber in the garden.


The autumn season is late for planting seed, but we've just slipped in a couple rows of radish and lettuce, and I'm going to add a row of winter peas tomorrow.

4th April (south), 4 October (north)

It is the season of mellow fruitfulness, of reaping. For a lot more detail turn to what is potting in the autumn garden.

It is the season of mellow fruitfulness, of reaping. For a lot more detail turn to what's potting in the autumn garden in this search engine.

There is a tale in our family that on returning from church, our grandmother put her new hat on the table and went in to make Sunday morning tea. On returning with the tray, the hat had vanished. Finally, my grandfather appeared from the garden, hat in hand, filled with green beans.

My wife does not wear pretty hats, so I used my own leather gliding hat of many years for a receptacle for my green beans and granadillas. Green beans salad for lunch, so simple. Blanche the beans, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and chopped spring onion and clove or garlic.

Green beans and granadillas in my garden hat.

Winter broccoli are doing great, summer squash on the right are nearly over, but we are still enjoying the last of them; also known as zucchinis. Not really visible a couple rows of winter peas are fine. We will be eating broccoli and peas in about 6 weeks.

Garden Soil

Garden soil that is deep and fertile, composted and well-irrigated is what it is about.

Broccoli in the autumn garden need nutritious soil.

You can spend a lot of money improving the quality of your garden soil; it is vital if you want healthy plants. But why not rather starting collecting the raw kitchen waste and garden refuse and make a compost pile? They tend to be a bit untidy, but if well aerated they do not smell at all. Quite the contrary; the gentle scent of organic matter that is breaking down is part and parcel of the healthy garden. 

These lettuces going on providing fresh greens for months.

We are about to start a chicken tractor design, if the bees will permit, and that I know will contribute greatly to the quality of our garden soil. Another big upgrade is getting into the wonder of worm farms.

It's all about getting your garden soil ready for the year ahead.

The organic butternut or winter squash, are bulking up nicely. The vervets have ruined a few, just one bite and then chuck it down! Damn, this week I'm going to buy a paintball gun.

The paintball gun has been a great success; it does not kill or maim, but the vervets now know to give us a wide berth.

Butternut in the autumn garden.
Radish in the autumn garden.


I get so many letters from folk complaining of the side effects of statins; tingling in arms and legs, erectile dysfunction, and kidney failure. Just enjoy a lunch like this most days, and I can promise you will not be needing Zocor to lower your cholesterol. What is potting in the doctor means being a lot stronger and able to enjoy your butter and cheese without guilt; I guarantee your levels will be well within the norm; organic butternut is a great way to ring in the changes.

The corn in flower in midsummer also means we will soon be in for another cholesterol-lowering feast. Straight from the garden to the pot is a treat that only a few can enjoy; elbows on the table we love them daily for three months, and never put on weight. It is all about the context of the whole meal.

Missing today is our homemade hummus, and the hass avocados alas are over from the moment. The Fuerte are almost ripe.

Enjoy butter, cheese,  and a slice of ham occasionally with no cholesterol worries.

Lunch from the autumn garden.

22nd April (south) / 22 October (north)

It is late autumn now and plenty to report in What is potting in the garden; apologies to those who still revere the apostrophe. I do, but the web does not.

Firstly one of the world's most invasive species in a tropical climate, is a pure gem in our subtropical South Africa. The Cherry guava makes the most divine jelly you have ever tasted. Slightly tart for many with a sweet tooth, but right now my breakfast begins with 10 little guavas straight from the tree.

One of the big advantages is that it goes on fruiting for months. Right now we have mature fruit, and Helen has made the first bottles of jelly. But at the same time, there are masses of flowers; we will be eating them for months.

Fruit from the cherry guava can only be from your own garden.
Cherry guava flowers.
Cherry guava jelly in bottles.


Legumes are where I part company with those who advocate banting; that is similar to the paleo diet; high fat and low carbohydrate, so no chickpeas or broad beans are allowed.

Pole beans and peas, and in fact all legumes, remain very high on our agenda. Anyone who loves red meat, absolutely must feast on their greens too. And if you want to reduce your reliance on animal protein, beans and peas are one excellent, delicious way to do it.

The beans are frost sensitive, and will soon alas come to an end. But the peas and broad beans grow far better in our mild winters. Do not grow them in a Chicago winter though. I have just planted another 50 odd pea seeds; they will grow very slowly through the winter, but we'll be loving them in the Spring; in fact they went right through to the end of October.

Can you now answer the question what are legumes?

The 'modified Banting diet' includes legumes without restriction except perhaps for those who are diabetic who really must keep their total daily carbohydrate to under 50 grams per day. Find it in Site Search.

Pole beans with fruit in the garden.
Evergreen pole beans and lemon juice make a delicious salad.
Green peas with flowers in the garden.

Until May we must wait then; meantime my work force is busy as you can see, and I will certainly have some sweet honey to report on. Oddly, the main flow is in winter in South Africa. Putting out bee traps at the beginning of the flowering period is the easiest way to expand your apiary; that is when swarming occurs.

The workforce of bees ensure pollination in the garden.

Oh over and above my workforce, I have another sales team out there. Have you met them? These two are out in the field, and three more are in training.

Stones in my Clog is only $2.99 and The Bostonians only 99c. Do sample, only on your Kindle, tablet or smartphone.

Here is an excerpt from The Return, the third book in the trilogy A Family Affair, one of the most promising in my sales force...

Can you imagine a stranger arriving at the door, ostensibly to do an interview, your granddaughter:

The doorbell rang and Mrs Thomas sprang to her feet and strode out of their formal lounge, her high heels click-clacking over the tiles in the hallway. Left to his own devices Scott struggled to his feet out of the deep rocker and shuffled off to his study. Ridiculous, ha! Well, they will have to drag me out.

Sandra Thomas thought it the most exciting thing that had happened to them in months. Their lives were pretty humdrum now, what with Peter being so busy with his school stuff, and so morose during the holidays. It was a pity about that lovely girl Gill. I wonder what became of her? she thought, gazing through the peephole. One olive-green eye glittered into another olive-green eye only centimetres away. Both women sprang back involuntarily, backing away from the heavy wooden front door. Mrs Thomas took a minute to recover and then swung open the door with a flourish. A young woman dressed in a casual beige suit with subtle white stripes, accented with a gold scarf, stood well back, flushed. Her dark glasses sat up on her blonde hair, and she was nervously flicking her hair behind her ears. Mrs Thomas approved. She has got style.

‘Mrs Thomas? I am June Twycross. It is so nice of you to do this interview,’ said June stiffly, gaping at Peter’s mother. Her first thought was of a tiny doll, dressed in black lace, her hair completely white, but looking elegant rather than elderly. Actually, she was beautiful. It came as a surprise to June who had never considered that elderly women could be beautiful. A smoky yellow cairngorm perched on a grouse’s claw glowed on her lapel in the afternoon sunlight.

‘Hello, my dear. Well, to tell you the truth, I am not a little anxious.'

I am rather hoping the editing of the The Return will be done by May. Meantime, make a start with The Bostonians, Book I.

Update: Yes, the editing of the The Return is complete, and all three  books from the trilogy are now available on Amazon. Only 99c each, the proceeds to a charity. Buy it now! Unputdownable! And now Priests Denied is half done.

Late autumn

16th May (south) / November (north)

Here is the first harvest from the beehives; decapping the honeycombs is the first step before they go into the extractor. How to start beekeeping ...

Decapping honeycombs with a hot knife.

Early Winter (25 May / 25 November)

The first harvest from the bee hives in early winter proved just as good as expected. The name of the game is not just to produce honey from your backyard, but more especially Raw Honey which is an entirely different food from that which you buy in the shops.

Perfect in your oats in the morning, or on bread and butter sandwiches. If you have a cholesterol problem, then rolled oats should be on the menu every day. It is the champion of foods that lower cholesterol and with a teaspoon of honey, a few raisins, three pecan nuts and some yoghurt it makes the perfect delicious breakfast.

Quaker oats recipes are not only a joy but the flagship is porridge for breakfast if you are into healthy food made fast. Take care though, as there are plenty that are highly refined, the equivalent of cake flour.

It is a quarter of the price of packaged cereals and certainly more nutritious and tastier; with that raw honey and pecan nutrition you have a winner.

There is a proviso; refined oats has much of the germ and bran removed; that makes it fattening. Look very carefully at the contents of that 'healthy' breakfast cereal; is it largely broken biscuit bits? The diabetic needs to test his blood glucose after every starchy meal.

Another aside:

In a world where children seem to think that milk comes from a bottle and oranges in cartons from the supermarket, having my grandchildren, only 4 and 6, the next generation of beekeepers, help bottle the honey was such a joy. Get them away from that damn telly and grasp that living life is lot more fun that watching others have fun. Now that oats goes down with no problem in the morning.

Pea seedling in the winter garden.

So what is potting in the garden this month. It is getting cold, so the last of the seeds are in. The lettuce are a gamble and may be bitter, but the peas assure us of legumes in the spring. Whilst I too love my red meat, there's heaps of evidence that vegetable protein is vital if we want to reach that magic eighty without cancer.

It is all about more greens too. What is kale good for seeing that it has minimal flavour?

Lettuce seedlings in the winter garden.

Meantime, those peas we planted ten weeks ago are fruiting and are so delicious raw in a salad. The grand kids pick them and eat them straight in the garden.

Peas in fruit in the winter garden.

We are experimenting with all the leaves that are falling for a mulch and to keep the weeds down. They threaten here to get ahead of me; then the lower leaves go yuk.

Growing lettuce in the winter garden.

Growing lettuce is certainly one of the easiest and most rewarding plants if you're into Whats potting in the garden and creating your own organic foods.I have at least 8-10 of these every day on my salad. The plants just go on for ever.

And of course, the evergreen broccoli, number one of the anti tumour foods. Here we have two kinds, the normal that forms a beautiful head and below several rows of the branching type for our broccoli soup, one of the favourites in this home. Use a chicken bones broth to beef it up.

Eh chicken it up, I mean. Read the research from Harvard what the bone extract does for arthritis.

A beautiful broccoli head in the winter garden.
Branching broccoli plants are our favourite in the garden.

A row of shelling peas on the left, beehives in the background. I can only garden here in the very late afternoon, African bees are dangerous when aroused. Interesting the vervet monkeys won't raid this garden either.

I've got a heap of photos of the last of the summer squash, passion fruit, limes, spring onions, but I will not bore you. And of course we are still reaping sweet potatoes and butternut.

This lime fruit tree is a new experiment. My brother is trying to convince me that they beat a lemon hands down. We will see, in a month or two.

We have three lemon trees. The Meyer is my favourite; the juice on my salad every day along with hummus and olive oil.

Arthritis? She who must be obeyed swears by the fresh lemon juice and hot water she enjoys every morning.

First fruit of limes from the garden.

It is the winter solstice; what is potting in the winter garden?

Making a compost pile

Making a compost pile is at the heart of any organic garden; they don't smell oddly if you put only raw matter in. Any cooked leftovers go to the worm farm.

Kitchen waste in the compost pile make for a better garden.

The organic gardener of course needs plenty of compost for his garden. This kitchen refuse looks ugly, but it doesn't smell and I cover it immediately anyway with the fall leaves that we have in abundance now. Perfect for making a compost pile.

Till next month then. The midwinter garden. Meantime, make sure you've bought yourself a treat, a Kindle, and of course download a Bernard Preston book.


Wood stoves are a gem; yes, they do leave a carbon footprint but less than a coal-fired power station I suspect when it comes to warming the home.

Logs for the woodstove can often be harvested from the larger garden.

This tiny woodstove keeps the Gardeners' Cottage warm right through the winter. My chainsaw has been busy; it is all part of what is potting in the garden, and the sawdust from the thicknesser in my carpentry shed produces a mountain of shavings that are too acid for the soil, but perfect for lighting our little beauty.

The design is clean-burning to generate a minimum of smoke.

The chimney runs up through the ceiling and our bedroom above; it is just perfect.

Okay I will admit it. Bernard Preston has become something of a wellness nut. For me, leaving a pristine planet for my grandchildren is big in my psyche.

Eating nutritious food, too, enjoying life at full speed, and growing organic vegetables; in short, doing everything in my power not to get the big C, and taking no drugs.

Yes three months ago I did seriously injure my own spine lifting a very heavy patient and suffered serious femoral nerve damage, came very close to the knife, but there again, my colleague's treatment, common sense and lower back exercises saved the day.

I did take some anti-inflammatory drugs for three days, as the pain in the leg at night was so severe. But, as a general rule, neither my wife nor I take any medication. It is just one of the many benefits of being a wellness nut.

Now it is only one small step to go from a genuine concern about our well-being to Health Nut Neurosis but they are in reality worlds apart.

The wood stove is our gardening solution to the winter chill.

The wonder of worm farms

What is potting in the garden is a step by step process; Rome was not built in a day and nor is the spectacular veggie patch. After many years we have got into the wonder of worm farms, to better dispose of kitchen waste, create an organic plant fertilizer, and creepie crawlies to feed the hens.

Perhaps more important it is the only effective way to replace and restore all the minerals and chemicals to the soil that we need to from our food; the only alternative is to take bucket loads of supplements.

  • The wonder of worm farms
  • Warren Buffett interview - as a teenager his first major purchase was a small farm; he too knows about what's potting in the garden.

Garden soil

What is potting in the garden? A compost heap to enrich your garden soil.

Only the top few inches are suitable for a healthy vegetable garden and world over that is getting thinner by the day. Below, it is inert, with compact clay, sand and stone.

If you are planning on starting a garden, then at least plan on a compact compost tumbler and if you have the space composting with sticks. Use up all those vegetable and fruit peels from the kitchen to improve the quality of your garden soil. Nothing cooked though. The bugs have been killed by boiling, and it just rots, and may stink.

Cooked kitchen waste can only go to a worm farm, dogs and even the chickens.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Contrary to popular belief, well aerated compost piles and tumblers have virtually no odour. Up close, just the healthy smell of composting going on as millions of tiny creatures feed on your peels. No cooked food if you are starting a compost pile.

I have a large garden and five compost heaps brewing. Rotting sticks and vegetable matter make perfect compost for your pile. Grass cuttings and kitchen waste take 3-4 months, sticks like these a few years.

Do not send them to the dump; compost them.

Composting in the garden uses a mixture of dry and green ingredients.

Learning different skills is one of the vast benefits of what's potting in the garden. For example, I taught myself to weld; it is not rocket science. This steel gate design has saved me a mint at our home; likewise erecting a vegetable garden fence.

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa