Preparing for Spring with Jane Griffiths!

Although it's the middle of winter it is time to start preparing your garden for spring.

Garden beds

Prepare your garden beds by pulling out any weeds. Don't throw them away - simply toss them onto the surface of the beds, where they will rot down and add their nutrients back to the soil. (Unless they are weeds that can propagate by their stems - rather throw these away.)

Once weeded, add a thick layer of rich weed-free compost to the beds. This has multiple benefits:

  • Provides food, warmth and homes for beneficial organisms
  • Keeps the soil at an even temperature
  • Prevents further weeds from growing
  • Adds nutrients to the soil
  • Breaks down to become humus, creating the perfect spongy, crumbly, texture to retain water and nutrients in the soil



One of my favourite ways to brighten up a wintry day is to browse online seed catalogues and plan my spring and summer planting. Now is the time to order seeds ready for spring. Growing vegetables from seed saves you money - plus there is a wider variety of choice.


Vegetables with a central tap root (carrots, radish, beetroot, parsnips etc.) should be sown directly, as transplanting damages their roots.

Leafy greens (lettuce, rocket, spinach, mustard, chard, etc.), large-seeded beans and squash are easy to sow directly, but can be sown in seed trays,

Although tomatoes, basil, eggplants, peppers and chillies can be sown directly, these frost-tender plants can also be sown under cover in winter.

Sowing in seed trays gives you a head start on the season - plus there are several other advantages:

  • Seeds can be protected and nurtured more easily.
  • It makes better use of limited space as something else can be growing in the beds.
  • With smaller seeds, even careful direct-seeding can result in uneven plant spacing, as broadcasted seed falls in random patterns and not all seeds germinate. Seedlings however, can be transplanted into a spacing pattern best for optimum growth.

Sowing in seed trays

Fill trays with damp seedling mix (see recipe below) and press down firmly. Make dents (according to the depth on the packet) and drop in the seeds. (Seed germination rates vary. Sowing two or three seeds per hole will guarantee at least one seedling but is a waste when using expensive seed. Rather sow one and if it doesn't germinate fill in the gaps later, resulting in a successive harvest). Cover with seedling mix and gently firm down. Mist the surface with water until moist but not waterlogged. Label and place in a warm, light protected spot. Mist daily or twice a day in hot weather. Turn trays regularly to keep them growing straight.


If seeds are sown too thickly, leave until about 7cm high. Thin by snipping them at the base with small scissors. Don't waste thinned seedlings, many are delicious - and healthy in salads.

Seedling mix

2 parts sieved compost
2 parts pre-wet coco peat
1 part pre-wet vermiculite

Organic seedling fertiliser


Tidy your garden shed

Check all your tools and give them a good clean and oiling if required.

Stock up on ingredients for making seedling mix and organic fertilisers.

About the Author

Jane Griffiths is a television producer, writer, artist and traveller who has been growing healthy organic vegetables, fruit and herbs in her Johannesburg garden for more than 25 years.  Her first book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, led to a vegetable-growing revolution in South Africa. Jane has written five more best-selling books, with thousands of people now following in her green footsteps.

Grab one of Janes best selling books here :

Janes Delicious Garden

Janes Delicious A-Z of Herbs

Janes Delicious A-Z of Vegetables

Janes Delicious Urban Gardening

Janes Delicious Superfoods

SPECIAL OFFER : Please note that any purchase of one of Janes books between 19 July and 31 August 2022 will receive a 500 gram pack of Talborne Organics Vita Veg free of charge with your order.

Links to Janes website and social media :

Instagram: DeliciousJane

Credits : Text: Jane Griffiths. Photographs: Jane Griffiths and Keith Knowlton