Saturday Spot: Gardening with Matt Allison…

After three years of a thriving keyhole garden we had a serious crop fail!!! Not only did our plants fail to thrive but they were eaten alive. Followed by a young man in a plaster cast for weeks and no trips out into the garden to grub around, for obvious reason. It was time to get some garden inspiration. When I heard that the Matt Allison was getting a new vegetable garden growing for the Foodbarn Deli up the road I knew it was time for us to make a visit and get some professional inspiration!!!


And just who is Matt Allison, he is an urban farmer, and a dad and a blogger in Cape Town!!! You all know that we live with a Jamie Oliver fan and I was browsing around as one does and discovered his first blog: I’m no Jamie Oliver… Only to discover that he had has a new fabulous design/garden/project/lovely to look at blog called: Curate This Space. Here he is in action…


And this is what he had to say:

Planting Thoughts started in 2010 when Matt Allison began growing food at home in planters as part of the growing global urban farming movement. Currently we manage, service and farm over an acre of arable land on various urban farms around the greater Cape Town area. The produce we grow is made available to local communities through our CSA, providing both the public and local eateries with fresh, seasonally grown food. We also offer opportunities to bring urbanites closer to their food through our volunteer program and offer support to consumers and chefs alike through a range of educational workshops. To keep up to date with what we are doing follow us on Twitter or Facebook.


So we asked him a couple of questions:

  1. Was there a trigger in your life that got you gardening or were you always a gardener?
  2. Yes, when our young son Nathan was born I started to evaluate our eating habits now that I’d be responsible for another life other than my wife’s and mine. We started eating healthier meals, which led to growing our own food.

  3. If you had to eat one genre of food forever what would it be?
  4. Gosh, that’s a tough one! I’d probably choose Italian food, it’s simple, rustic and they let the ingredients speak for themselves.

  5. Is there one book that stands out from all the other books in your life?
  6. I’m constantly reading and taking in new knowledge, but I guess in relation to our current change of life choices with regards to food, Michael Pollan’s ‘The Omnivores Dilema’.

  7. You are what you eat. Do you prefer chili or chocolate?
  8. Both! Covering a fillet steak.

  9. If you could take a month off, anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  10. Probably somewhere in rural Scandinavia living in a cottage in the woods amongst the birch trees.

  11. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall… What’s your favorite and why?
  12. For planting Summer because of the selection of vegetables, but Winter for that ‘stay at home with a roaring fire with family’ feeling.

  13. If you suddenly had an afternoon free to do whatever you liked what would you do?
  14. Rifle through the goods at a car boot or thrift store.


    And the se7en + 1th question… should be a gardening question:

  15. If someone only had time and space for a “one pot farm” then what would you suggest they plant?
  16. Lettuces, Asian greens and herbs like basil, thyme, chives and marjoram.

Meanwhile, we looked and learnt…


Se7en + 1 gardening tips my gang learnt and popped into their journals:

  1. Feed your garden with compost and good garden soil.
  2. Rotate your crops often.
  3. Plant together: corn (and sunflowers)/beans/squash – these are called the three sisters.
  4. Don’t plant your plants too close together.
  5. Some plants are seasonal.
  6. Keep the chickens out of your vegetable garden.
  7. Wear comfy clothes, it is hot work gardening – even on cold days.
  8. And the se7en + 1th tip…

  9. The only way to keep bugs at bay is to be vigilant.

matt allison001

We were totally inspired by all the hard work…

And the rows of planting…

And we wish them all the best with their gardening adventure up the road… which is on a much larger scale than our own!!!


Thanks again to Matt Allison for his time and patience and willingness to share his knowledge with my team of potential farmers!!! And of course we are all fired up and inspired to get our Winter Vegi garden into action!!!

6 Replies to “Saturday Spot: Gardening with Matt Allison…”

  1. Thanks for sharing the day with us and I’m glad the kids had fun and were so astute in taking notes! I hope its encouraged them to start up a winter garden.

  2. Hay Matt, Thanks for a great day out!!! Lots of tips and lots of enthusiasm over here!!! We just need a little less rain!!! Thanks, we can’t wait to see your garden growing in a couple of weeks time!!! Have a great week!!!

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