Summer Gardening Tips - Herbs and Veggies

    Spring is traditionally seen as the season for harvesting herbs and veggies, however there are a variety of these food sources that are at their peak for harvesting during our warm summer spells.

Summer is the time to sow and reap carrots, beetroots, beans, pumpkin, marrows, cucumbers, rocket and radishes for example. For tomatoes, eggplant, chillies, green peppers and lettuce, it is easier to sow the seeds into seed trays and wait until they germinate before you plant them into the beds, or even simpler, buy already grown seedlings from your nursery. Putting a thin layer of straw over the sown seeds will help prevent the beds from drying out in the warm weather.

Summer is a good time for herbs such as mint, sweet basil, coriander, dill and oregano. You can also plant herbs that your pets will love, such as dog grass, catnip and borage. To keep the herbs growing well, pick them regularly and feed them twice a month with a liquid fertiliser at half the strength.

Summer gardening tips

Restoration workshop

A little out of the way and not widely known is the gem of a find - the Restorers Workshop in Worcester. Tucked in the front room of the local nursery is a small workshop that is filled with ceramics, porcelain and ming items, some items are in 2 pieces, some in 10 and some with chips or pieces missing, all once treasured but now in the dire need of professional attention and restoration. This is where the expertise and craftmanship of Werner Scheepers restores broken or damaged items into their original state so well, that the inexperienced eye will not even know that it had a defect.

Werner grew up in Worcester and started working after school in an art gallery in the local town. While working at the art gallery, a friend told him about porcelain restoration, and the two of them started investigating this further. They bought a book on the subject and began reading up on it, and eventually managed to source a course in Claremont, Cape Town, given by Belinda Wilkinson on exactly that.

Being inspired by the course, Werner took up porcelain restoration as a hobby while working at the art gallery and shortly gave up the gallery to apprentice in glass blowing works for 4 years with David Reade at The Barn in town. But eventually as the restoration work grew more demanding, a decision had to be made between the two crafts. Porcelain restoration won, and after a few more intensive courses at The South African Institute for Objects Conservation (SAINST), Werner started his own business.

As anyone who has started their own business knows, the first few years are hard work. The same was true for Werner, but his work spoke for itself, and over the years his business has thrived. Today he has customers from all over the country and abroad. They are mostly collectors, people who the auctioneers Strauss & Co. send to him, museums, architects, The Heritage Conservation Group (part of SAINST), and also ordinary people who attach sentimental value to a broken item. Werner never says no to work that does not come his way. He said if the piece means something to someone, he would fix it, no matter whether it is an ornament of thousands of rands, a priceless collectors item, or a cheap but sentimental treasure.

View Idees Website and The South African Institute for Objects Conservation

The Restorers Workshop

Early detection for Alzheimer's disease

Previously, no method existed for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease, which affects one out of nine people over the age of 65. However, recently, an interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers have developed a non-invasive MRI approach that can detect the disease in a living animal. And it can do so at the earliest stages of the disease, well before typical Alzheimer's symptoms appear.

Led by neuroscientist William L. Klein and materials scientist Vinayak P. Dravid, the research team developed an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) probe that pairs a magnetic nanostructure (MNS) with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of the disease. The accumulated toxins, because of the associated magnetic nanostructures, show up as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.

This new MRI probe technology is detecting something different from conventional technology: toxic amyloid beta oligomers instead of plaques, which occur at a stage of Alzheimer's when therapeutic intervention would be very late. Amyloid beta oligomers now are widely believed to be the culprit in the onset of Alzheimer's disease and subsequent memory loss.

In a diseased brain, the mobile amyloid beta oligomers attack the synapses of neurons, destroying memory and ultimately resulting in neuron death. As time progresses, the amyloid beta builds up and starts to stick together, forming the amyloid plaques that current probes target. Oligomers may appear more than a decade before plaques are detected.

This ability to detect the molecular toxins may one day enable scientists to both spot trouble early and better design drugs or therapies to combat and monitor the disease. And, while not the focus of the study, early evidence suggests the MRI probe improves memory, too, by binding to the toxins to render them "handcuffed" to do further damage.

Sources : Science Daily.

Alzheimer's disease

Bee busy

When it comes to raising honeybees, there is plenty of buzz out there. Before you get started, be sure that you are ready to handle the task. There are many reasons why you would want to raise honeybees:
  • Honey is probably the obvious answer. Who wouldn't love their own fresh batch of honey to use in recipes. A single bee can produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime (about 6 weeks), and with a colony consisting of thousands of bees, that can add up quickly.
  • Pollination is a key component of bee life. If you want healthy plants, bees can help particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables. About one mouthful in three in the diet directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination.
  • The great thing is that it doesn't take a lot of work on your part to raise bees. Once you get past the initial startup costs, you now have a free labor force that will produce honey and wax that you can later sell.
But there are some downsides to raising honeybees:
  • Stings can be a major deterrence for the would-be beekeeper. Check with your doctor first to determine if you are one of the unlucky people who are allergic to bee stings. Even if you are not allergic, stings can still be slightly painful. Luckily, though, most beekeepers develop immunity to the poison over time.
  • The initial cost of beekeeping is relatively cheap. You will, however, need to invest in supplies such as a hive, proper clothing, a smoker, extracting equipment, and hive supplies.
  • The first year can be a tough one. On top of learning the ins and outs of beekeeping, you may not get a large amount of honey. Learn to be patient with yourself and your bees.

To read up on starting beekeeping read the Beekeeping 101 guide.

Bee keeping

The Tin Mines in local wine estate

Situated on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, Zevenwacht has viticultural roots which penetrate deep into the historic past of South Africa. While literally meaning Seven Expectations, the name Zevenwacht exemplifies the abundant delights which await visitors to the Farm.

A family owned and managed Estate, the current owners, Harold and Denise Johnson purchased the farm in 1992, and have committed themselves to a programme of development to realise Zevenwacht's rich potential beyond wine production. The estate has a strong commitment to historic and cultural preservation, as well as the active socio-economic upliftment of its workers and their families.

Two prime farming locations supply the Zevenwacht winery. The home vineyards on Zevenwacht's 450 hectare maritime property supplies the bulk of the wine that fills the 1000 ton cellar. The farm Zevenrivieren, at the crest of the "Helshoogte" (Heights of Hell) Pass, overlooking Stellenbosch, provides equally outstanding grapes and adds fascinating variety to the collection.

The slopes of Zevenwacht not only produce wines, but also mark the site of one of the Cape's most remarkable Commercial enterprises - The Tin Mines which operated here in the years leading up to the First World War.

The shafts and machinery from that venture still remain on Zevenwacht bearing eloquent testimony to this impressive undertaking. A white blend and a red blend are made from top quality grapes exclusively from vineyards on these sites. As a result a specific sense of place finds expression in the complexity and richness of these two Tin Mine blends.

For more information visit Zewenwacht Wine Estate website.

Zewenwacht Wine Estate

Hot News

Opening date 2015

After a successfully busy year, we are taking full advantage of the builders holiday and will therefore only be opening up officially on Monday 19 January 2015.

Drive safe and enjoy the lovely sunshine !

Featured Plant

Asparagus Densiflorus

Asparagus Densiflorus
(Emerald Fern)

Family :


Description :

Spreading shrub up to 60cm with small white flowers.

Flowering time :

Winter - Summer

Conditions :

  • Sun / Semi-Shade
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Some frost resistance
  • Wind resistant
  • Enriched Soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Design idea feature

Design idea feature

Bringing in the festive feel into the garden - whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Year - can easily be done with small hanging lights strewn across a specific space.

Design idea feature

Spread the lights strings in parallel lines (vertically or horizontally) or run them in a straight line at floor level for best impact and switch them on just as the sun is setting.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Red Spinach

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    November's Teaser Answer :
    "Touch Down"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82