organic gardening

Blogging again?…


Blogging again…


It has been a long while since I last wrote. Many things have happened in the silent time, a knee replacement and tooth extraction being the most recent disruptions in my normally peaceful farm life.


The need to share information and thoughts is probably the strongest desire that has prompted my return to writing. So, what do I want to share? Well, let me see…


I’m a research junkie and the World Wide Web is my library and sometimes my university. I particularly love watching tutorials on painting and can while away many an hour in an “art class”. On the very rare occasion that I watch television, it will either be RT for news and documentaries, and the ubiquitous food channels. And Graham Norton. I love a good laugh.


My sphere of interest includes organic vegetable and companion gardening, herbs, healthy cooking, raw food (particularly in smoothies) and a slow carb, real food lifestyle which encompasses a fair amount of low carb vegetarian food. No, I am not a vegetarian and neither am I on diet. I’m an omnivore who chooses to eat free range and grass-pastured meat, and grass-pastured beef is not always easy to find. For that reason I choose to eat more vegetarian meals than meat meals. Free range chicken is happily available as are free range eggs, and I do love salmon and dorado (mahi-mahi) and I try to eat fish twice a week. Good old hake is still on the menu and I love stir-frying it with some quinoa, onions, garlic, broccoli and some wilted kale or chard. These days I am somewhat choosy about the fish I eat because of the mercury content and the dangers of radiation as a result of the nuclear fallout riding on the sea currents from Fukushima.


Which brings me to another deep love of mine. Mother Earth. We have been so disrespectful of Gaia and it saddens me big time. On my mountain farm I sit in Mother Nature’s lap and she enfolds me just as a mother holds her child. Her vibration pulses all around and through me. I cannot ignore her. I can only love and respect her and treat her right. Teach your children well people. Teach them to respect the Mother and all her abundance. Teach them the language of kindness. Show them love, and show them how to love our awesome planet.


OK, so those are my thoughts on food and nature today. As I write more I will share recipes, gardening tips, art and more.


Who knows what tomorrow’s musings might bring…




Vegetables, and more vegetables…


Probably the most difficult things for me to make sure I eat are good old green (and other colour) vegetables. When presented with them, I am all too keen to eat their green goodness but somehow the preparation of them for my consumption leaves something to be desired. I love wilted spinach with lemon juice and ground black pepper, and broccoli soup is delicious, while grated courgette pancakes are always welcome. Salads filled with organic foods from the garden are a treat, but the problem is that it all takes a little time and a bread sandwich is so very easy! Even rice cakes with avocado are easier than green pancakes! OK, avo is green but not always available.


So. Green smoothies and juices are in. At least I will know that I am getting in my essential five fruit and vegetables.




The buck are eating my organically grown kale, chard and spinach while the monkeys are destroying my young onions and tomatoes, so drastic measures are necessary! I have one lone pak choy plant that has braved all assaults, including some vicious black frost that annihilated my young aubergine plants and the prolific green pepper plants that have been giving me some beauties for a few months now. My baby seedlings survived under cover and are my pride and joy and the hope of my future green juices. I am now going to be growing a variety of greens in big pots on the stoep which will give them enough shelter to grow into gorgeous green super foods.


Growing your own food is like printing your own money, so bug off you bokkies and you meddling monkeys! Take your hands off my bank!



Green Stuff Blog entries…

Heirloom Seeds….

Recently I received my package of heirloom seeds from Living Seeds. What excitement! I now have seeds of a huge variety of weird tomatoes and some strange beans, carrots, corn (strawberry popcorn!) and peppers. As July draws to a close I plan my planting for the spring season. Waiting in the wings are also some curious strips of paper with seeds inside, ready to be planted as is, paper and all. It’s from a company called Reel Gardening. Really clever stuff. The strip of colour at the top needs to stick out of the ground. Instructions are written in seven of our official languages.

The moon is still waning, so it is a good time for below ground vegetables ~ the beetroot that I love, carrots and onions as well. Tomorrow will be a good day to go and buy a few seed trays, some good compost and to get some sand from the river bed nearby. Vermiculite is in a bag waiting to join the fun, to hold in the much needed moisture.
Until July 25, 2011 04:34 PST (Pacific Standard Time) the moon will be in Taurus. That is a good time for sowing and planting trees, bushes, hedges and root vegetables. Also good for setting up a compost heap while the moon is waning. We can combat pests in the soil as well and if you have flowers with poorly formed roots, you can fertilise them.
On the 25th, the moon enters Gemini at 04:34PM PST and then things change again. Good for planting creeping and climbing plants, planting and sowing flowers and sorting out pests again.
So there we are, work to be done! Roll on morning…
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baby spinach in my salad…

What a delight to have such fresh baby spinach in my garden and now the nasturtiums are blooming so the flowers will join the leaves and herbs from the garden and the pots and end up in my salads. The coriander is looking so good and it tasted wonderful in the salad tonight.

The tomato plants are strong and the leeks are reaching for the sky. Lovely stuff.

Today was spent weeding and putting down compost. The pavement garden is putting on its beautiful mantle and will soon be filled with purple and white flowers. This part of the garden is in the North corner and these are the feng shui colours for this area. Also gold, silver and blue. The wild sage with its purple flowers is a beautiful addition. Their new growth has started and so we will prune the old stems to allow for the lush rebirth.

The new seedlings arrive next week. Red lettuce, friseé, Italian parsley, pansies, violas, violets – all for our beautiful salads. The basil is ready for the pesto and we shall be planting new chili seeds next week for the chili coriander pesto.

Growing your own herbs and vegetables must be one of the most rewarding things to do.

Grow babies grow!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Planted our first for autumn…

The baby spinach is already in the salad – beautiful baby leaves. The tomato plants are strong and there are probably too many and the leeks are growing well. The coriander is just longing to join up with the chillies to make our delicious chili coriander pesto and the basil is looking wonderful. Unfortunately the peppers and brinjals did not come up so I have ordered some seedlings of the same as well as loose leaf lettuce, red and butter. There are also edible flower seedlings on the way – creeping violet, pansies and violas. Nasturtiums are coming up in my circular herb garden and the roses are beginning to look really good after some feeding with our home made compost. Next month is pruning month and I am looking forward to giving the girls their “haircuts”!

There are new lettuce seeds to be planted but as it is now waning moon I will plant only a few and wait for waxing moon to plant more. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference there might be. Now is the time for underground vegetables to be planted so we will be planting sweet potato, onions, carrots and red skin potatoes if I can find any.
I love watching the little babies grow! It is so exciting to know that it is all healthy stuff.
Grow babies grow!!!
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vegetables among the roses…

Today was a good day in the garden. Ice-cream bushes were planted for a hedge along the diamond mesh fence between us and the park. Well, it’s cheaper than building a wall and those bushes grow fast and thick. They just need watching, and they need regular clipping. They make millions of babies, so one can really make a thick hedge. I believe it is also called fire and ice, and snowbush. The Latin name is Breynia disticha ‘roseo-picta’.

Ice cream bush / Snowbush / Foliage flower

It really does grow like a weed and it will take over if it is not tamed. I love it though because it has some colour other than green, and I do love pink:)
The rose bed has been denuded of daisy lawn ground cover (another ground cover that grows like a weed and must be watched like a hawk…) and fed some good home-grown compost. It will be watered well for the next week and any weeds that come up will be dug in. We will be planting vegetables and herbs among the roses after the new moon on the 3rd of April. That will be a good time to plant above ground vegetables and I am so looking forward to fresh lettuces. Mulching is a good practice, it keeps weeds down and retains the moisture in the soil. We use dry grass and even cardboard if necessary.
Here is a list of what to plant now in South Africa, probably Australia as well. I got this from one of my favourite organic gardening sites
Climbing and bush beans, beetroot, eggplant (brinjal), cabbage, carrot, chillies, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, marrow, leek, pumpkin, radish, squash, Swiss chard, spinach, sweet corn, tomato and turnip.
If you have a fence, you can grow vine plants up it, such as cucumber and marrow…and tomatoes. I have even seen pumpkins growing up a diamond mesh fence. I am going to give cucumbers a go, although it will have to be on an inner fence. The warthogs visit the little park next to our property and they have been known to dig their way under the fence to get to my butternut squash. They then proceeded to eat all the flowers!
Monday is a good day to buy fresh seed, organic where possible. This GM Foods thing is scary.
Feeding a rose and veggie garden is of tantamount importance. I realised not long ago that I was not giving the plants enough nutrition and I am now going to start a worm farm and make up some fermented plant extract (FPE) with some EM (effective micro-organisms), herb clippings, grass clippings and even weeds. Fill a drum with water, EM and the plant clippings and steep for 2 weeks, stirring every few days, and then feed the garden this FPE tea. The plants will love it. I will also be using Nitrosol and Seagro as they are organic fertilisers. Roses are gross feeders and will love the tea…and the lettuces won’t complain either.
I foresee a beautiful, edible rose garden.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Off to the farm…

Just off to go and see how the farm is doing, if the roof is on between the two cabins and if the one long-drop loo has been bolstered with some planks since the erosion from the summer rains.

I shall be taking a few cuttings to the farm so see how they fare with little water and perhaps a lot of mist. There is much to be done there but this weekend it is a true rest time for us. Just one night to visit the mountains and breathe in the fresh cool air.

Full moon was gorgeous in the beginning of the evening but clouds came and covered the Lady and only her golden glow gave her presence away.

Have a good weekend in the light of the moon. I send good energies to all. Especially in Japan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Growing a Fence and Digging a Trench…

Now that it looks like we are likely to get neighbours again, I have been wondering what to do with the diamond mesh fence between the two properties at the back of the kitchen. Further down, the fence is being covered with Star Jasmine creeper and very pretty it is too. It will be awesome when the creeper completely covers the fence. It is an evergreen plant and the only things it drops are the sweet smelling flowers when they are spent. It almost looks like confetti on the ground, blissfully bride-like.

Where the perimeter is still bare and open, we have started planting the ice-cream bush (also known as fire and ice) both sides of the fence. It will not need much water and the ground looks very healthy, rich and dark and sufficiently crumbly. Before too long the green fence will start growing. The bush grows thick and does well with regular clipping.
On the side of the house a trench has been dug along the fence line and filled with rocks. This is to disperse the torrential rain water that comes rushing through the yard in summer. The trench will lead the water to the gardens at the back. It is a great way to use the stones that came out of a demolished garden wall.
The paw paw tree is bearing fruit. What a delight. The lemons on the three trees are plump and filling up with juice, ready for a new batch of home-made lemonade. The sweet potatoes are waiting to be planted after full moon and I shall plant one packet of lettuce seed tomorrow at full moon, as well as coriander. These will grow in big pots outside my kitchen door. They are ready and waiting.
There is room in the back garden for about two more fruit trees. Choices, choices! I fancy a litchi tree and a creamy Hass avocado tree. Kiwi fruit grows well in the mountains as do blueberries.
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lettuces and Roses…

While walking round our garden, planning and dreaming, I saw a gorgeous vision of lettuces growing amongst the roses. This is an organic place with loads of herbs in the rose garden. It is so sensible to plant the lettuce there. The garlic chives repel the aphids, the creeping oregano is a natural mulch, while the yarrow edging helps along any ailing plant nearby. The rosemary has been thriving amongst the roses for a number of years and the rose geranium puts out her perfume on our fence for stray snakes that may just wander by.

The African sun beats down on the lawns in the middle of the day, but the afternoon is softened by the shade of the big mango and the two great Hardekool trees. The garden was thirsty today. Soon there will be drip irrigation and a greywater system to help the garden along. Water will one day be our most valuable commodity and we need to collect it and respect it.
Lately it has been hot and humid, just when we were expecting the evenings to cool down. We need to hold on for a little while to plant the lettuces, but soon, soon I will be planting a variety of loose leaf lettuce and Roma tomatoes among the roses.
Roses like food. That much I have discovered. They are gross feeders. Deep watering a couple of days a week and good organic food. They like that. You can make your own compost just about anywhere. Watch this space for an article on how. Link to my website to find articles on herbs and organic gardening. It’s under construction right now but will soon be open for viewing…soon!
The moon is growing, it’s nearly full. Two more days. Time for a last ditch sowing of lettuce before she is at her zenith. Time to start collecting seed for below ground vegetables to plant when the moon starts to wane. Lunar planting is something I have been doing for a number of years and I do believe there is something in it. More coming on that as I go along.

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