Mandalay couple shares gardening tips

Beauty Kume, 50, and Harrison Mana, 55, who started growing their own garden a year ago.

Gardening is easy to start and it can be a great stress reliever and a way to supplement your cooking with food you have grown yourself, say Beauty Kume and Harrison Mana.

The Mandalay couple celebrated Garden Day at their home on Saturday. The day was launched by the gardening app, Candide four years ago.

You don’t have to have a sprawling backyard to start a garden, says Harrison, 55. You can get away with planting in some pretty small spaces, including a box or a bag, he says, but it’s important to use fertile soil and compost.

Knowing the right season to plant certain fruits and vegetables is also important.

Planting your own food, Beauty, 50, says, is a great way to cut down on your food bill.

Her late mother, Elizabeth, taught her how to grow her own maize, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and peas in Gugulethu where she grew up.

Beauty and Harrison started their garden last year. They are growing celery, spinach and parsley. The tomatoes were a challenge, Beauty admits.

Harrison grew up in Nyanga East, and he remembers planting maize at his school.

“The soil in Cape Town is very different and most times difficult to garden with,” he says.

“It is not good soil. In summer, when the sun is most high, this really affects how we grow vegetables in our garden. However, we do feed the soil and keep the garden in good shape.”

The couple, who have been married since 1998, say gardening is also how they stay connected to one another as it’s something they both love to do. And they both enjoy sitting in the garden with a cup of tea.

“It is very therapeutic for us,” says Harrison.

For Garden Day, Beauty invited some of her friends over and introduced them to gardening.

They all wore flower crowns in recognition of the day, and Beauty gave her guests some spinach to take home.

Harrison says lockdown has shown the importance of having your own food garden.

“If people take up gardening, especially during this time, it will help with providing food. If this is done well, it can be sold and the person is able to receive an income. Start small and then go bigger.”