hints and tips to
grow your own
An important book by
Published in South Africa by Lets Look (Pty) Ltd.
30 Verbenia Street, Lynnwood Ridge,
Pretoria 0081, Gauteng, South Africa.
Tel: +27(0)12 361 2329/3854 Fax: +27(0)12 361 8060.
© Copyright 2008 Lets Look Publishers. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise without the prior permission of Lets Look (Pty) Ltd.
© Text Copyright - Ginny Stone
Printed in South Africa
1 2 3 4 5 12 11 10 09 08
Designed and illustrated by Lets Look.
Sibo was reading the paper one day.
She liked what the Basset Hound, Fred had to say
But other things made her seriously mad
As some of the stories were really quite sad.
Everything always goes up in price,
The latest to rocket, the high price of rice.
Never mind petrol, bread and oil,
It was all enough to make young blood boil.
Sibo thought that the world was going to pot
And whether some people liked it or not,
It was time that everyone took a stand
And all pitched in with a helping hand.
She had got to page four of the Saturday Star
‘Interest rates rising’ – blah blah blah!
Suddenly ‘How to make a bed’ caught her eye
Sibo thought – “That’s silly, it’s easy as pie!”
But the bed wasn’t one with blankets and sheets
It was a veggie bed to grow things like beets
Or carrots, potatoes, a pumpkin or two
Stuff that goes well in a warm winter stew.
Of course you could also grow salad greens
Like lettuce, tomatoes or long crunchy beans.
Sibo read more – it didn’t seem very hard,
All that she needed was a small piece of yard.
But their plot is always tidy and green
With never a single weed being seen.
You see a garden service comes once a week
And the lawn is mowed even, short and sleek.
She dashed outside to check out the place-
No hope for the front - there just wasn’t the space.
She was sure that Mum would never agree
To use any ground at the back that was free.
Her Dad was too busy to do garden chores
And her Mother just wanted to visit the stores.
But Sibo liked the feel of the ground
Oh how she’d love just pottering around!
Sibo thought as she gazed at the space,
“By the fence, at the bottom, might be a good place.”
But she’d wait ‘til her Mum was in a good mood
Before she enquired about growing some food.
“Wait a moment,” she thought, “I’m not using my head
It would be much easier to ask Dad instead.
If he says yes - then Mum won’t say no
And we each can choose a veggie to grow.”
She went back inside and carried on reading
And got to the part about digging and weeding.
The instructions were all wonderfully clear,
She could do it alone and had nothing to fear.
But Sibo soon found that she would need stuff
A watering can and a spade that was tough.
For she needed to dig a hole in the floor
That was just about as big as the door.
“Goodness” thought Sibo, “the ground is quite hard.
It will need lots of water to soften this yard.
The digging alone could take a long time
I’ll have to start when the weather is fine.”
Sibo waited until her father came home
Then they went for a walk in the garden alone.
She showed him the patch that she’d chosen with care
And asked if he’d mind if she made the bed there.
He thought for a bit and then nodded his head
“That’s a very fine place for a vegetable bed.
It’s a great idea - I’ll make a deal with you
We’ll do it together – I’ll find some time too.
This is a
Will you grow some
herbs for me?
We’ll talk to your mother and I think you’ll find
If you keep it tidy, she really won’t mind.
We’ll ask her nicely to recycle the trash
And tell her that she will also save cash.”
Her Mum listened and then she said,
“Okay Sibo, you can make your bed
And maybe if there’s a patch that is free
You’ll think about planting some herbs for me?”
Sibo grinned and hugged her tight
“Oh Ma – you’re a star!” she yelled with delight.
“Herbs, veggies and lovely salad stuff
Do you think that one bed will be big enough?”
“Well”, said her Mum, “we’ll start with just one.
See how it goes – let’s all have some fun.
If our space runs out and we find we need more
We’ll make a new bed, the size of our door.”
Oh Ma -
“Dad”, Sibo said, “you always know best.
The bed’s meant to lie from east to west
But I don’t have the faintest or foggiest clue
So this is why I am asking you.”
“I’m glad the Earthman left a thing or three
So you can still learn a lot from me.
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west
But you know what I think may be best?
THE SUN RISES IN THE EAST
AND SETS IN THE WEST
Is if you do some research, my girlie
And get up and out of bed quite early.
Go check outside and you will see
Which way your veggie bed should be.”
Sibo grumbled and said “Oh drat!
I’ll have to do exactly that
But I’ll do it one day when I have school
Early on the weekend is just not so cool.”
Her Mum was keeping the useful trash
So she went to the kitchen to check on this stash.
“We’ve got four bags already,” her mother said,
“You’ll soon be making your own veggie bed.”
They needed six bags of first-rate stuff.
Scraps of food and peelings were good enough.
Plus you could put in dead plants and bits
Like torn-up newspapers – just use your wits.
But don’t include things like plastic or glass.
Of course you can use the clippings of grass.
“Ah ha!” – thought Sibo, “I know just what to do
Ask the garden guys for a bag or two.”
“They’ll be here tomorrow roundabout three.
School is finished by then so I will be free.
If I wake up early and get out of bed
I’ll see where the Sun raises his head.”
“Oh yay Dad!” yelled Sibo, “this is so good –
If you’re not busy this weekend do you think that we could
Mark out our veggie bed – the size of a door
And we could both dig a hole – knee deep in the floor?”
Do we have the right
Dad looked up and slowly nodded his head.
“I suppose that we could”, he eventually said.
“But do we have all the right gardening tools?
Or else we’ll look like a right pair of fools.
We need manure, a spade and watering can.
And if you wanted to be a really nice man,
You could stop at the shop on your way home
I’ll remind you – don’t worry – I’ll call your cell phone.
And Dad, just to show that I mean what I say
I’ll give you back half of the money you pay.”
Her father smiled, “I’ll get the tools that we need
You and your mother can buy all the seed.”
It’s OK, you and Mum
can buy the seed.
In the end, Sibo did what she said was not cool
And woke up very early on a day with no school,
But she couldn’t bear thoughts of lazing in bed
And would much prefer digging the veggies instead.
She and her Dad measured the size of the door
And they both started digging a hole in the floor.
“Remember,” said Sibo, “while we’re digging the hole
Separating the soil is also our goal.”
Under the topsoil they found some red ground
So they sorted each type in a different mound
“Phew”, gasped Sibo, “this digging is tough.
Hey Dad, do you think that we’ve dug up enough?”
After quite some time, the hole was all dug
Sibo gave her tired, dirty Dad a big hug.
“Thanks”, she said. “The hard work is done.
Now we can all start having some fun.”
In the hole they placed six small, flat, rusty tins.
Then they chucked in the rubbish saved from the bins.
Next, they added the paper that Sibo had shredded
There’s a lot to be done before seeds can be bedded.
They added manure that was really quite stinky.
Sibo closed her nose with her thumb and left pinky.
She tripped over the spade and just her luck
Landed – “KADOOF!” – on her back in the muck.
Her Dad laughed so hard he clutched his tummy,
Even Sibo admitted it was rather funny.
It was quite good to have a quick rest
Even though it didn’t smell the best.
They watered the manure and put back the ground
First the red, then the brown and they spread it around.
Lastly, they scattered five inches of mulch – dry leaves and grass.
Then admired their veggie bed - which was, really, first class.
Sibo and Dad were very tired, yet pleased.
“Let’s go inside for a drink”, Sibo wheezed,
“And maybe Mum will make us a treat
We can sit for a bit and rest our poor feet.”
Whilst Mum was busy making their snack
Sibo fetched the packs of seeds from the rack.
There were so many different veggies to choose
She had no idea which ones to use.
Sibo discovered when she looked at the pack,
There was lots of info to read on the back.
Some seeds could not be planted when hot
And some did not mind if it got hot or not.
“Yuck! We can plant these now”, Sibo said with a sigh.
“Yum”, said her Mum, “I love pumpkin pie”.
Her Dad raised an eyebrow then he quietly said
“You must eat what you grow in your vegetable bed.”
“Yah, Pa”, she said with a cheeky wink,
“Now please hurry up and finish your drink
Let’s all decide - come gather around,
Which seeds we are going to plant in the ground.”
So they planted the seeds in shallow rows
In the direction of how the shorter side goes.
Just under the mulch that keeps the soil cool
They used their fingers instead of a garden tool.
When they were finished, Sibo sprinkled some water
Then they checked out the bed – father and daughter.
“You know Dad”, said Sibo, “that’s not the lot.
Think I’ll make signs, so we know what is what.
Little seedlings sometimes all look the same,
And mixing them up sure would be a shame.
I’ll have to check that they never get dry
Or there’s a chance they may shrivel and die.”
“You are right”, he said. “Growing veggies takes time.
You have to care for the plants, come rain or shine
And later on, you know what we need?
Is for you to carefully take out the weeds.”
Each day after school Sibo watered the bed,
“I wonder how long it will take” she said.
“For these little guys to wake up and show,
How wonderfully big they are going to grow?”
plants - how
do you do?
And grow they did, slowly, day by day.
Every afternoon Sibo would say
“Hello little plants – how do you do?
I enjoy it so much looking after you.”
The beans grew first, really fast and strong.
The stalks needed staking they got so long
And one fine day after nice rainy showers
The beans produced some little white flowers.
The herbs for her mother also grew well.
The Basil and Thyme were beginning to smell.
And although the lettuce was a bit slow
At long last it had started to grow.
Each flower turned into a cute little bean.
They clung to the stakes with tendrils of green.
The radishes flourished and peeped out their heads,
Which were coloured in stunning pinky brown reds.
The worms ate some leaves and Sibo got cross.
She yelled out loud, “You’ll see who is boss.”
But then she thought, “I suppose it is fair
That they too should have their share.”
She loved being outside in the sun
Weeding the patch when her homework was done,
Listening to birds tweeting up in the air,
Flying around with never a care.
Sibo plucked her first bean with glee
Oh! How she wished that the Earthman could see.
It was most delicious, tasty and sweet
In fact it was a crunchy green treat.
The radishes too, tasted quite nice
And went well in salad, with chicken and rice.
Sibo couldn’t believe how the time had flown
And now they were eating what she had grown.
I wish the
There were lots of beans, so she took them to class.
“Oh yuck!” moaned Wayne. “That’s like eating grass.”
“They taste great”, said Sibo. “Go on, have a chew.”
And he had to admit that it was, indeed, true.
She gave some to her teacher who was very proud
And said “Well done Sibo” in class, right out loud.
And all the other kids just wanted to know,
How could they also make a veggie bed grow?
Have you ever…
found an earthworm in your garden and thought “Eeeergh gross?” Well,
think again. Worms are actually great little workers and are very useful in
the garden. They aerate the soil which maintains its structure and fertility.
They also bring vital nutrients to the surface and help with drainage. Last, but
not least, they are a source of food for all sorts of birds and other creatures
like moles and frogs. So, next time you find a worm in your garden, say “Hey –
thanks little guy!”
Planning your veggie patch takes quite a lot of thought. Veggies like a sunny
piece of ground that gets at least four or five hours of sun a day, especially in the
winter months. Make sure you plant taller crops, like tomatoes at the southern
side of your bed, so that they do not cast shade on the other vegetables that
are smaller. Remember, to grow great veggies they need to be watered
When you buy seeds – check out the back of the pack to see what time
of the year they should be planted. Don’t plant things at the wrong
time of year – you will be disappointed when they just don’t
grow nicely. Things like cherry tomatoes, carrots, beans and
radishes are really easy to grow and taste great.
Basil plants help keep the flies away? A nifty idea is to have a pot in the kitchen with
basil in it – not only does it keep your kitchen fly free but tastes great in a salad too.
Ginny would like to acknowledge:
Food Gardens Foundation
Tel: (011) 880-5956
Hey! Visit my website at:
Sibo and the Veggie Bed
Sibo’s adventures continue and this time
in her own garden. Reading the paper
one day she learns how to plant her
own vegetables. With her father’s help,
she sets about making a veggie bed
eventually supplying the household with
delicious and nutritious vegetables.
Let’s change our mind-set
and start caring for the earth…
just like Sibo and her friends.
Published in South Africa by Lets Look (Pty) Ltd.
30 Verbenia Street, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria 0081, Gauteng, South Africa.
Tel: +27(0)12 361 2329/3854 Fax: +27(0)12 361 8060.
E.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • Website: www.wallcharts.biz
Titles in this series include:
Sibo Makes a Difference
Sibo and the Veggie Bed
Sibo Saves Water
Sibo and the Sea
Sibo in Space
Sibo Tackles Trash
Sibo Thinks Positively
Sibo Sizes Things Up
Sibo Likes Life
Sibo Mixes Things Up
Sibo Saves a Stray
Sibo Fights Malaria
Sibo Looks Right
Sibo on the Move
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© Copyright reserved Lets Look 2008.
© Text Copyright Ginny Stone