Introduction Vegetables

small seeds logo





We at SEEDS have placed the following statement on every “How to Grow” page in this web site to encourage people to be aware of what they are planting and growing.

 Please DO NOT use Genetically Modified Seeds (GM or GMO). Ask your seed provider and if they cannot give you written proof, do not buy the seed. 

Try to save your own seed that you know is safe and you will get more money for your vegetables if they are organically grown, which means no pesticide use for the previous 5 years.

It is our goal at SEEDS to stop production of Genetically Modified foods, both animal and vegetable on our globe. It is our opinion that the key to feeding our global populations is through the combination of permaculture and organic farming through small local farms instead of large industrial farms. We need to nourish the soil, not modified genetic make up.

Using an agro-ecological approach, cities could produce vast quantities of food organically and without the use of heavy machinery (chemical inputs and machinery being the two major sources of Greenhouse Gas emissions – if we take livestock out of the equation).

Our SEEDS web site will continually be updated, but we have only included the

“ How to Grow” vegetables, herbs and edible flowers we will be planting in the years 2014/2015 in Zambia Africa.

The following is a “Which Vegetables Grow Well Together Guide “we will be using as our model courtesy of  Jeanne Grunert
Tip: Want to download Which vegetables grow well together? Download the printer-friendly version here.

Establishing the Vegetable Garden

A suitable location for the gardens needs to be identified.

Water: A permanent supply of water close to the garden is essential.

Area: The area required will depend on the number of seedlings to be planted and what varieties you are planting. Squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers need a lot of room so allow for the plants to spread out.

Soil: There should be good quality soil available nearby, either from a dambo or forested area.

The ideal soil will be light and sandy, well drained, and free of weed seeds and stones. Avoid choosing heavy clay, waterlogged, or dimba soils.

Flat ground: The garden needs to be located on flat ground which will not be exposed to flooding and running water. Gardens can be located on slopes if the areas are terraced.

Sun: Avoid east-facing sites. Seedlings exposed to morning sun may suffer from heat shock which may lead to seedlings dying.

Equipment and Resources Required

Compost: Compost needs to be made constantly so that it is ready for the garden all year round.If the compost pit is made in April, compost can be ready for use in six weeks. Typically, compost should be made in pits – a pit of 2 metres long by 1 metre wide and 1 metre deep will produce enough compost for up to 8,000 small polythene tubes.

Compost making process: The first layer in the bottom of the pit is 10cm (4 inches) of forest or dambo soil.

The second layer is 10cm (4 inches) of leaves or grass which should be compacted by

walking on top of it.

The third layer is 10cm (4 inches) of manure. Except for the first layer, each layer should be watered with three watering cans of water before adding the next layer.

These layers are then repeated in the same order until the pit is full.

Normally, there will be three layers of each material in a 1 metre deep pit. The compost pit should be completed with a final 10cm (4 inches) layer of soil which is compacted by walking on it, and the finished compost heap should be the same level as the surrounding ground.

Minimum basic equipment required: Two watering cans, two buckets, two metal basins, two hoes, two slashers, two phanga knives, one shovel and one rake.

Seeds: Seeds are supplied in paper envelopes according to the calculated number of seeds required.

Garden Site Preparation

Establish the size required: 10 metres x 10 metres is a sizable garden. You also need a suitable area for tube filling if you are planting some seeds in tubes, seed beds, piles of compost manure, soil and sand, etc.

Clearing: The area for the garden needs to be cleared, the size of which will relate to the

number of vegetables to be grown and what type of vegetables. You may have a few different smaller gardens growing 1Kilometre apart. (squash need the space so they will not cross pollinate)

Fence: A small 11/2 foot shade enclosure/fence made from grass and poles should be constructed near the garden site to protect the seedslings as they grow. You may also build a fence around the whole garden if it is not too big to keep out animals and people, and will shield the seedlings from the wind.

Shade: Ideally, if space and money allow, a structure of poles with thatching grass should be erected to provide shade for the delicate tree seedlings. This should be at a height so that people can comfortably walk underneath it. Some people establish their nurseries under the shade of trees. This can be done, but it is not as good as providing a structure with shade as this can be more easily controlled and can be removed four weeks before planting out to harden off the vegetable seedlings.

Record Keeping

It is essential that careful, accurate records are maintained at all stages. That way you will know what grows well with other plants and where it grows well.

If some plants don’t grow well you may put them in the compost pit to break down or work them into the soil to add nutrients.

Also record dates of compost making, tube filling and quantities filled, and seed sowing of various species of vegetables together with quantities.

A drawing of the garden layout showing the groups of tubes, types of vegetables and dates planted, should be made.

In addition to this, labels can be made from chibuku packets (as these are waterproof) using a ball point pen to show the types of vegetables and quantities, and these should be placed by the respective groups of tubes.

“Which Vegetables Grow Well Together Guide”
Tip: Want to download Which vegetables grow well together? Download the printer-friendly version here.
By Jeanne Grunert

Through the many centuries that humans have cultivated gardens, people have noticed which vegetables grow well together, and which plants seem to stunt each other’s growth. Some vegetables, herbs and flowers benefit each other by improving soil, while others deter pests from one another. Companion planting provides a fascinating blueprint for a higher garden yield.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the art and science of laying out a vegetable garden so that complementary types of vegetables are planted in the same bed. Unlike crop rotation, which means successively planting vegetables from different plant families in the same garden area season after season or year after year to minimize insect and disease problems, companion planting aims to create a harmonious garden by allowing nature to share her strengths.

Rules of a Green Thumb

The rule of (green) thumb for companion planting is to note which family the vegetables come from, and think about planting vegetables from complementary families together. Vegetables from the cabbage family, for example, like to be planted with beets and members of the green leafy vegetable family. Certain herbs will help them by deterring pests. Mint will also improve the flavor of cabbages. You could plant any member of the cabbage family such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, and others alongside these plants and see a higher yield and improved disease resistance.

Avoid Planting Some Vegetables Near Each Other

Just like people have likes and dislikes, vegetables actually have likes and dislikes as well, particularly for their “next door neighbors” planted alongside them in the garden. Some vegetables will stunt the growth and yield from other vegetables. Consult a companion planting chart, such as the one provided below, to make sure you plant vegetables next to each other that do well together.

Click on the chart at the top of the page for an Easy Reference of Which Vegetables Grow Well Together, as well as which to avoid planting together.

Other Companions for Vegetables

Many old-fashioned vegetable gardens, which are also called kitchen gardens, mixed vegetables, herbs and flowers together. Not only does this type of garden look beautiful, but it also harnesses the power of nature to create an organic garden that naturally repels pests.


Marigolds repel many species of insects. You can plant marigolds around tomatoes to inhibit the ugly green hornworms. These big insects can devour an entire tomato plant in one night. Plant marigolds around your entire vegetable garden to add bright color and keep the insect predators at bay.

Also crush egg shells and lay them around you plant to stop grubs. They don’t like crawling on the broken shells.


Herbs add flavor to foods, and they can also discourage harmful insects.

Nasturtium and rosemary deter beetles that attack beans.

Thyme repels the cabbage worm.

Chives and garlic deter aphids.

Oregano, like marigolds, is a good all-purpose plant for the organic gardener who wants to deter most insect pests.

Plant herbs freely among vegetables, tucking basil, oregano, rosemary and chives in among the tomato and pepper plants. You can harvest the entire crop and make one great tasting dinner.