Monday, April 28, 2008

All the little seedlings standing in a row

Today we planted our seedlings into the barrels in our back yard as well as tarragon in the bed near the pool.

We are going to have to thin out the tree where the tarragon is for more light but it is a sunny bed.

And then David and I planted up the bed we prepared yesterday. We are going to have to make collars for the cut worms and snails tomorrow for tonight we hope that a ring of sharp stones will keep them safe.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Team Work

Today was a big clear out day involving chopping down trees and taking out stumps...needless to say we are all a bit achey!

This is what the area looked like before:

This is what it looked like during operations:

And at the end...ready for planting tomorrow:

Jessie's garden

Our oldest daughter took Friday morning after school work to prepare her area. She pulled out old plants and repotted some garlic we had growing there and mixed in to barrows of compost...yes the compost pile is going down. We had visited the nursery to get some punnets the day before as they had a buy 5 get one free special on their veggies.

We have chosen some new things that I have not grown before - fennel, globe artichokes and brussel sprouts. She also planted some seeds - peas, spinach and beet.

Progress this week

Our biggest light bulb moment this week was that by recylcing properly we have reduced our rubbish out put by half!

I do not like the mess in my kitchen though between visits to the recylcing centre so I am going to get some sort of waterproof containers to stack outside so that the place where I have the boxes now can be used for germinating seed which I plan to start next week.

The other nice thing that happened is that our wormery is giving our LOTS of liquid fertilizer. So we are premixing that and putting it in a seperate fridge. A friend was looking for some fertilizer for her pots to my son sold her a bottle of the stuff. Little entrepreneur!

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's's's good!

Today our compost arrived...the steam was coming off it as they piled shovels full in the allocated area.

It was way more than what we expected (I mean who really knows how much 2 cubic metres is in reality?) but I know that we will use it up in a jiffy!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An update

Well, we have had a busy weekend what with adding a new puppy to our family...actually, the puppy is 9 months but he is new to our home. In amongst this my son has stapled the chicken mesh to the base of the compost heap and has been sawing off the ends of two pallets so they stand even.

Our tyres are all ready and waiting for their soil and seed potatoes. The tyres were free from Super Quick as they cannot recyle rubber - I feel we have done our bit for the rubbish dumps of this world by taking 9 tyres from them. The seed potatoes are on order from Fruit 'n Veg City if they can get them.

But I think the thing that makes me feel like we are moving forward the most is that we were able to buy 4 large half wine barrels to start the actual planting. So our son has prepared the bottoms with drainage chips (they had pre-drilled holes otherwise he would have had to do that too) and we will add the soil tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Before and after

Our compost area is now cleared and ready for a 2M3 delivery on Monday of organic compost to get us started. We will add our own leaves, grass etc to the pile in the future. So here's our "after" picture...the before one is further down.

We use most of our peels for our wormery but often we have too many for the worms to cycle so these will add up here too.

The other thing that my son has been working on is a more efficient way to store our items to go to recyling. He has simply taken 4 boxes and and made labels for us all to seperate and then he will take it to the centre weekly which is just a few doors away from us.

That's all for today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our work so far

So far we have found out a few things as well as made a bit of progress on our rubble pile. My 11 year old son has cleared all the non usable items for us to dispose of where it is appropriate and now we have these lovely wooden pallets which we will re-use to make the compost heaps sides.

I also found out that we are not allowed to connect a water barrel to our downpipes in the Western Province so that we can collect rainwater...what a pity.

Tomorrow I will post photos of the compost area...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The reason we bought this home

We moved back to Cape Town almost 6 years ago and the reason we bought this home was it's beautiful (but small) garden. I loved the pathway to the door, the old cottage style windows, the lovely shade in the garden, the birds that were visiting...just sharing!

Long term plan

This area is where we will have to do the most work as we have a huge established Stinkwood that dominates this front garden. There is also extensive root matting which makes it very difficult to dig and plant anything.

I am hoping to be able to keep our has lived a long life - and it gives us oxygen :-) but the Clivia's will have to go to a new home and the creeper must come off the wall as I think berries will grow well there.

Herb and salad area

We have been growing herbs and salads here for the last few years...after a good dose of compost and a little rest we will probably rotate the same things here as it is handy being just outside of our kitchen.

We planted a granadilla here about 2 years ago but with the winds here it never thrived.

Potted veggies

We are going to focus on this back area where we get the most sun (all day). So even though it is paved we are going to do as much planting of veggies in containers as possible.

Compost area

The picture here is the area that I hope to have my future compost heap. The rubble is from a recent renovation. My son (11) will be making the retaining structure to keep the huge amounts of leaves and lawn cuttings along with other household waste.

To do list

Yesterday I sat and started out what I fear is going to be a rather long to do list for our urban homestead...

Check municipal by-laws about keeping chickens.
Get rid of rubble from our recent renovations.
Get my son to make an enclosure for our compost heap.
Find out where to buy non-GM seed.
Work out how to get my grey water from washing machine to my garden.
Order pots for container veggies (must be non-concrete pots)
Set up more reliable recycling system to reduce rubbish

Well that's it for now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why it all started description says that we are starting out on our urban homesteading adventure...the reason? I happened onto the Youtube video Home Grown this weekend and it was an anwser to a life long goal.

We live on a small plot in South Africa and I have always been saying "Oneday when I have a farm/larger plot/small holding..." but now after seeing this concept of urban homesteads I know we can make a go of growing our own food.

I am so excited as I have always tried to grow best attempt was 6 raised beds in our previous home where we ate all our salads from as well as herbs...but I have never looked at converting my whole garden into something edible.

We have a small garden as most of the plot is house...and the plants that are already here are well established with a huge Stinkwood tree casting shade over the majority of the front I do have some obstacles to overcome.

We are a homeschooling family so this will become a project for us along with lots of other things we need to implement so that we can be more "green".

What we have been doing for the last few years is recylcing and just recently we bought a wormery to convert all our peels into liquid fertilizer which is already working beautifully...thus starts our journey....