Subsistence farming is a way of life for many people. It provides them with everything they need in order to survive. Many people in rural areas are completely reliant on subsistence farming.
But as people are becoming more health conscious, and with the current economic climate within South Africa we have noticed that it is no longer people just in rural communities looking at subsistence farming. Therefor, we have taken the time to talk about some of the simplest ways to turn your flower garden into a mini vegetable and fruit subsistence farm for you in your family.
What is Subsistence Farming?
According to our trusty friend Wikipedia, Subsistence farming is defined as:
” When farmers grow food crops to feed themselves and their families. In subsistence agriculture, farm output is targeted to survival and is mostly for local requirements with little or no surplus trade”
Therefore, anything that is meant to mainly feed the family, can be considered subsistence farming. Whether it is fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit or even things like poultry or rabbit farming.
Today, we will be discussing some tips and tricks for constructing your own garden beds and structured to make the most of your vegetable, fruit and herb gardens.
Subsistence Herb Farming
Herbs is something many people want to grow, but they are not sure which herbs to grow, and how to even start. Therefore, we will give you some handy tips and tricks on starting your very own herb garden.
Which Herbs can I grow in South Africa?
South Africa has the perfect conditions for most herbs that you know and love, to grow in. We get just enough sun and rain to have our own little herb gardens. All it will take is a little additional love and care from you to keep it happy. We will briefly discuss the different herbs you can grow in South Africa and their ideal conditions:
- Basil – Full Sun, well-frained and moist soil
- Parsley- Partly Sunny, well-drained and moist soil
- Rosemary- Full Sun, well-drained, sandy soil
- Thyme- Full Sun, only water when soil is completely dry
- Sage- Medium- Full Sun, Only water when soil is completely dry
These are some of the most common herbs. So looking for idea to plant these lovely herbs? Start your own herb garden by building a garden bed, or pots with CCA Treated Timber.
How to Build your own Herb Box
This is one of our favorite tricks. Using CCA Treated Timber for your herb boxes will ensure that you don’t have to rebuild them every single year! Why is CCA so ideal for this purpose?
Simple: It is weather resistant, does not get damaged by water (depending on which CCA Class you use) and it will not be attacked by insects that damages wood.
Do we have some additional tips for you when building a DIY Herb Box? Yes! Of course we do:
- Ensure that you drill holes in the bottom of the planter box, otherwise your will “drown” your precious herbs!
- Create multiple herb boxes, and stack them in a ladder-like way. Plant your full-sun, dry soil loving herbs rightat the toop. This way, when watering the herb garde, the top ones will drain and stay dry whereas your bottom water and shade loving herbs will get enough shade and water!
- Do not use untreated timber. Untreated timber will rot and can damage your plants if they fall apart.
Here are some links to help you on your herb box building journey:
Subsistence Fruit and Vegetable Farming
Subsistence farming has become one of the most important, yet least highlighted topics in South Africa. Having a stable, balanced diet is so important for everyone to heave a healthy life. Therefore, starting a vegetable garden for you and your family can lead to a healthier lifestyle! More than that, with time, you can start selling the excess fruits and vegetables and make a profit.
So what are the most important vegetables and fruits to consume in order to have a healthy, balanced diet?
- Spinach or/and Kale – Leafy green ground plant
- Broccoli – Leafy GreenGround Plant
- Peas – Vine
- Beets – Roots (Underground)
- Potatoes – Roots (Underground)
- Tomatoes – Vines
- Carrots – Roots (Underground)
- Strawberries – Leafy ground plant (Best to plant in planter box)
- Granadilla – Vine
- Blueberries – Shrub
Each type of vegetable requires different environments to thrive.
Want to know some of the most effective way of creating a vegetable garden? We’re here to help!
The spinach and brocolli can be planted in planter boxes as mentioned above. For the other vegetables, there are some handy tips and tricks to get you going and keep your plants alive and happy!
DIY Root Vegetables Garden
There is an easy way to optimize the growth and harvesting of root vegetables. One way is creating a vertical planter box, with doors that can open as can be seen in the picture below from Your Garden:
This design can be used for various root vegetables such as beets, carrots , parsnips etc.
NB: Make sure you use Tanalith pressure treated timber for your project otherwise your planter will fall apart before your plant starts producing delicious home-grown veggies.
At Sabie Poles, we have all the timber you need to construct this planter. It is pressure treated and perfect for creating these planter boxes for your subsistence farming. You can easily DIY your very own box. Check our CraftThyme to get step-by-step instructions on how to build a potato box.
DIY Vine Vegtables and Fruit Farming
Vine vegetables and fruit like peas, grapes, tomatoes etc.all need something to hold onto while they grow upwards. That means that you need to build something that will allow them to flourish.
For this, we highly recommend building your very own Trellises. This is a relatively easy thing to build with CCA Treated Timber like Laths and droppers and do not require a lot of skills. Always ensure your timber is pressure treated. If you build this with untreated timber, the timber will start to rot and be attacked by insects.
To build a trellis, you can head on over to The Spruce for some helpful tips and guides.
Vegetable / Fruit Garden Bed Building Materials
At Sabie Poles, we have a wide range of CCA Treated Timber available at wholesale and directly to the public. You ca contact us for more information. Some of the products that can be used in the projects mentioned in this post is:
If you have any additional questions regarding our timber. Please feel free to contact us via Facebook, or you can leave us an email below:
Be sure to check out our other posts on farming in South Africa: