Thursday, December 15, 2016

Volunteers working hard

Margot et Anthony (French) and Jan playing soccer in the beautiful  light. Max and the 2 dogs are on the sidelines.

Champagne for my birthday braai and a game to cheer on. Another Tough day in Africa.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Compost heaps in place and potatoes

I have been trying to find ways to be more efficient in my work. The distance from my main compost heap in the food forest to my small seed garden is about 50m.  It seems silly to pull out weeds from the seed garden and wheel them all the way down only to bring it all the way back up the hill once it's ready as compost.
So here's my solution so far. I clear a bed and build a small square compost heap at one end with all the right layers- green - brown- manure- urine etc. I leave it about a week to get started, all the while collecting more composting materials.





Next I put my seed potatoes on top of the flattened pile.

I put a big scoop of readymade compost on each potato. Then I build the next few layers of the heap over the top ending with a thin layer of grass cuttings or hessian. Water next of course.
I keep watering every 2 days and as the leaves emerge, add more layers of dry grass cuttings- more as mulch than anything else. Probably wood shavings or leaf litter would be fine too. Do this every time the leaves grow out a bit more just leaving the top few exposed. Stop the process when the heap is thigh high or when you think the plant is at its peak. Just guess. It's not science, it's an experiment.

My experiment is not complete yet as the original bed is not quite ready to harvest. I will update when it's done in a few weeks.
Potatoes grow new roots which become tubers at each stem node which is underground.  In theory, if you keep building up vertically, the plant will have clusters of potatoes growing all the way up the stem where it's covered. It works well in a tyre stack so why not like this too.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Transplanting sweet red onions

Yesterday the moon was in the perfect position to plant. I quickly transplanted a patch of sweet Red Creole onion seedlings. These sell in the shops for R26-45/ kg. Ridiculous if you consider they grow just as well as any other onion. Best grow your own. I will probably sow wild rocket or coriander seeds in between the onions in a couple of weeks.  Double the harvest from this small bed.

Night time temperatures have still not been in the double digits consistently yet. This means no seeds in the ground yet. Best to stick to trays for another few weeks until it warms up properly.