Category: Farm

Veggie Garden Club – August

At our latest veggie garden club meeting, we focused on soil, wicking beds and spring planting.

Each meeting is held at a different garden and this time we were kindly hosted by Pete and Germain of the Urban Farmers.

Urban Farmers container gardens

Lettuce growing in recycled plastic bottles.

Geodome chicken coop

The Urban Farmers brilliant geodome chicken coop.

Spring seedlings

Their seedlings for spring.

We started off the meeting by discussing what we will all be planting for our Spring gardens. And of course the essential baboon proofing – a lot of gardens have been raided recently and there is a great need to find low cost materials to create a secure cage system.

A few very interesting conversations included

  • Shade effects on growth of plants (inhibits growth)
  • Plant memory. If you plant your Spring veg too soon, they will get confused with the changing weather (hot and cold spells) leading up to consistent warm Spring weather. They will count the hot and cold conditions as seasonal changes and you will end up with premature bolting (going to seed).
  • Nitrogen needed in the soil for onions. Added to the soil this will help your onion crop grow bigger and faster and generally good for promoting leafy greens.
  • Soil improvement. For sandy coastal dune soil one should add compost (balance the alkalinity) and for sandy mountain soil one should add kaolin (balance the acidity) Getting the PH balance right is best for optimum growth. You can get a little PH soil testing kit to see how your soil is doing.
  • Compost. To make an excellent quality compost, make a huge pile of 50% horse manure and/or chicken manure and 50% straw.Cover with a plastic sheet and in 4-6 months time you will have a beautiful pile of ready to use compost.

Then Pete gave a great show and tell on wicking beds.

Here is a diagram for those of you unfamiliar with these water-wise container gardens, .

wicking bed image

Wicking bed

Wicking bed in the making…plastic lining attached.

square foot garden

Square foot gardening…seedlings planted up and ready to grow.

Franz suggested planting 16 lettuce plants in one square which would give yout 6 – 8 weeks of harvesting lettuce from your wicking bed garden, giving them space to grow as you harvest.

Wicking beds

Pete showed us some of the containers in the process of being built and told us how they work, above he is describing the 16 squares to plant in.If you are interested in these fantastic units for growing in but are not great with tools, you can contact them on their website or find them on their Facebook page to order one.

Pallet garden

There are many different sizes to choose from. For a mini version using the same capillary action they use plastic bottles cut in half and inverted as a mini wicking system, lined up in a neat pallet-shelf vertical garden.

wself watering wicking garden

The same idea can also be used in the ground.

And if you use the same ratio of 30cm of soil (1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite. 1/3 peat moss) under 6 cm of mulch in a normal garden bed, you would also have a great water wise garden and only need to do a long deep watering once a week.

Start with the basics and you can grow anything. Its all about your soil. 

Franz Muhl’s Vegetable seed sowing chart for the Cape Peninsula in August:

X – Optimal sowing time

x – Possible, depending on the seasonal weather

o -In the greenhouse or similar warm space

(D)irect or (T)ransplant * Final spacing-cm * Germination time-days * Maturation time-weeks * Heavy/Mod/Light feeder

Baby marrow – xxx       

D                   60-80 cm                 7-14days                     6weeks                               MF

Basil – ooo

T or D            20-30cm                  7-14days                     8-10weeks                          MF

Beetroot – xxx              

D                   8-12cm                    7-14days                     8-9weeks                            HF

Brinjal – ooo                

T                   40-50cm                  14-20days                    8-10weeks                          HF

Broccoli – xxxx             

T or D            30-40cm                  5-10days                     8-9weeks                            HF

Cabbage – xxxx           

T or D            40-50cm                  5-10days                     8-9weeks                             HF

Cauliflower – xxXX       

T or D            40-50cm                  5-10days                      8-10weeks                          HF

Carrot – xxXX              

D                    4-7cm                      7-10days                      8-10weeks                          LF

Celery – ooxx             

T                     30-40cm                  10-18days                    12-14weeks                        HF

Cucumber – xxxx        

D                     40-50cm                  7-14days                      8-10weeks                         MF

Kale – xxxx                 

T or D             40-50cm                   5-10days                      6-8weeks                           HF

Leek – xxxx                

T                     10-15cm                   6-14days                      8-10weeks                          MF

Lettuce – xxXX           

T or D             25-35cm                   3-7days                         8-10weeks                         LF

Pea – XXXX               

D                     4-5cm                       5-10days                       8-10weeks                         LF

Peppers – ooo          

T                     30-40cm                   14-20days                     9-11weeks                         HF

Potato – XXXX           

D                     30-40cm                   –                                    11-14weeks                       MF

Radish – XXXX          

D                     3-8cm                        3-5days                         3-4weeks                           HF         

Spring onion – xxXX   

T                    4-8cm                        6-14days                       8-10weeks                         LF

Squash – xxx             

D                    80-100cm                  7-14days                       2-15weeks                          MF                

Swiss chard – xxXX   

T or D             25-35cm                    7-14days                       8-10weeks                          MF      

Tomato – oooo         

T                     40-50cm                    5-10days                       7-10weeks                          MF

Happy planting everyone – Spring is almost here!

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Veggies and Composting in Spring

We have been working hard in our veggie gardens, getting them looking beautiful for our Forage, Harvest and Feast courses and as tasty as possible for us to eat from everyday – its a real working garden. Baby girl knows that if she find a packet and puts on her boots, she can get a tasty snack. “Peas!” she shouts, banging on the door. Its one of her first words. “More!” is another one.ImageSnack time!CompostHere is our rich, warm compost pile. When it gets turned over, you can see the steam billowing out.

Its beautiful. But its hard work. It’s really like having another pet.

You have to feed it and make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold and that it gets enough nutrients and oxygen. The optimum temperature for a compost pile is about 60 degrees so that the pathogens and weed seeds are inactivated. It gets nice and cosy like this because of all the microorganisms eating away at the degradable matter. Id love to finish off a stew or even a pot of rice in there one day!

But if you have a big old dry compost heap, it can even catch on fire in hot weather – seriously.

You can read all about it here. If you want something cute on compost Q and A, then check this out.

If it gets too cold, it will slow down the composting process and stop it doing its job. If it gets too hot, the poor little microbes die. We definitely don’t want that to happen, so we have to turn over the compost pile regularly. And if  the compost doesn’t get enough nutrients or air it wont work either.

I could go on for ever. There is so much more. But I don’t want to bore you with a big pile of know-you-know-what.

CabbagesPretty maids, I mean cabbages, all in a row

Broad beans and leeksBroad beans and Leeks

Veggie gardenCalendula, Lavender, Artemesia, Onions, Thyme, Lemon Pelargonium and Rosemary.

ArtichokesThe first beautiful Artichokes of the season

Veggie gardenCalendula, Borage, black Mustard and Swiss Chard

How many recipes have you got in your head now? I just have to see plants, any edible plants, and my mouth starts drooling with all the recipes going through my mind. You know the Matrix movie with all those green numbers and letters whizzing down the screen? It’s like that in my mind, except those numbers are all plant combos and recipes. Totally normal.

Protea cyneroidesI’ll end off with a photo of our stunning King Protea which flowers at the same time every year without fail, heralding the beginning of Spring.

Happy gardening!

Goat stalking!

Here is a little something to brighten up your day!…One of the hazards of veggie gardening 🙂

This happened after walking back from one of the Foraging courses with Martin and Riki from Curedeli

Life is never dull here at the nursery!

 

Experience Fynbos flavours at Good Hope Gardens Nursery

We are now offering fynbos flavour taste sensations and fynbos education all rolled into one tasty little package….read all about it here:

Enjoy the Flavours of Fynbos at Good Hope Gardens Nursery

Gael and Roushanna Gray invite you to join them at Good Hope Gardens Nursery to share and enjoy a seasonal organic veg and fynbos fusion food meal using fresh farm produce, indigenous herbs, roots and seeds foraged off their land and seaweed from rock pools along the Atlantic Ocean coast line. They will be sharing their knowledge of edible indigenous herbs and how to successfully grow them in your own gardens. A 10% discount will be available on all plants in the nursery including the edible and medicinal plant display.

Gael started the Good Hope Gardens Nursery over 25 years ago in its beautiful fynbos surrounds near Cape Point when indigenous plants were unpopular and exotics were the norm. She has done ground breaking work in introducing previously unused indigenous species into the horticultural trade and has a wealth of indigenous plant knowledge!

Roushanna has a passion for food having been brought up with an eclectic mix of Cape Malay cooking, Jewish and Christian traditional feasts, and Steiner school harvest festivals. She was inspired by the local edible indigenous plant availability and has been experimenting with the exciting flavours of the fynbos ever since moving to the nursery 7 years ago.

There are several organic vegetable gardens growing at the nursery as well as chickens, ducks, goats, sheep a pig and several beehives. Food is always a focus at the main farmhouse and something from the garden is always on the table at mealtimes. Friends and family are often over to share and enjoy the bounty of the land and indulge in the latest recipe.

Spaces are limited to 12 people max. To find out more info, costs or to book, please call us on 0217809299 or email us at fynbosplants@xsinet.co.za or roushanna@hotmail.com

The goods

Old Mac Gray had a farm…E I E I O

Is it a nursery? is it a farm? ..Its Good Hope Gardens!!!!

  Meet Noot-Noot, the best mouser in the Deep South, possibly the world.

Mr. Jackson, the meanest Billy in town.

  Pretty maids all in a row…our four baby milking goats, the very shy one is hiding in the shadows and the super shy one ran into the bushes.

Pollox the friendliest old foxdog ever.

Jokes. We don’t have elephants.

But we do have chickens, chicks, ducks, roosters, more dogs, another cat, and a host of wildlife that would be very upset if we didn’t mention them in this post. You will just have to come and meet them yourself next time you visit us!