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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Organic vegetable garden.

Two weeks ago I decided to start a small vegetable garden. The theory is that with a garden the size of a normal house door you can produce enough vegetables to feed a family of four. Well my garden is about the size of three doors, so in theory I could feed three families. This garden will actually feed two households, myself, and my housekeeper, Maria's family of six people. As you use up your vegetables you replace the plants. 

A huge amount of compost was dug into the soil. I also bought several large bags of "kraal manure", (kraal is Afrikaans for cattle pen), and several bags of chicken manure. The kraal and chicken manure was well composted. Also added some agricultural lime and bone meal, quite a bit of the former as the soil is quite acidic, and a slow release, organic fertilizer. The day after the soil was prepared we had three days of soft penetrating rain, almost 2 inches. 

For insecticide I will used Epsom salts dissolved in water, about five teaspoons in five litres of water, then poured over the plants with a watering can. Seems to have the same effect on the insects as it has on humans. They eat part of a plant with this solution on, and well, they just gotta go.

Click on photos to enlarge.

General view of the vegetable garden.

Row of lettuce, (rocket) and cabbages. The lettuce will be ready in a week or two, rocket can be picked a leaf at a time. The cabbage will give me several coleslaws.

Three rows of spinach, (Swiss chard), can also be picked a leaf at a time and will produce for the rest of the summer.

A row of tomatoes, about seven plants, a row of green peppers, and a row of brinjols, also known as egg plant in South Africa, nice in stews and curries, several ways of preparing this vegetable. Not quite sure about the spelling of "brinjols", or what it's known as elsewhere in the world.

The picture above shows my irrigation system. The water comes out of the farm dam below the house, pumped up to a small reservoir about 200 meters from the garden, then to a tap in the garden. Very low pressure, literally  drip irrigation and each plant is watered individually, so it runs almost 24/7. The beauty of this water is has no chlorine or other chemicals.

Around the edge of the garden, on two sides, I planted these "wild" onions, a sort of cross between, chives, spring onions and shallots. These onions seem to grow without much help. The whole plant can be used, from the bulbs, to the leaves. Pull up a whole bunch, replant one of the bulbs, and it grows again. Lovely in salads, soups, and stews. 

This is what the plant in the photo above will eventually look like. I keep these on the garden table just outside the front door. Several plants in this small pot. You can see where I've cut off leaves to use in salads, etc..

I need to put in a row of green beans, and some carrots  and on the compost heap I'll plant butter nuts and gem squash,then I have all the basics covered. 


Jo said...

Glad I found the link, Phil! I love your veg garden. Stanley has started a "shamba" (garden) under wall below my flower garden in front of my house! We can only plant root vege and although we're risking lettuce. The monkeys break off flowers and eat the small veg like butternut, beans, tomatoes as they appear. Blighters! Love Jo

Desiree said...

What a wonderful hobby, Phillip! Growing your own adibles is so rewarding, provided you have enough sun. The start you've given your garden is marvellous. All that compost, manure and chicken poop, plus bonemeal will make those baby seedlings leap into adulthood. I hope you'll be sharing the progress with us regularly. I am limited to just a few planters for growing my little crops, so I feel quite envious of your nicely sized lot.

Desiree said...


Kay L. Davies said...

I'm really impressed. I can see I'm going to have to give up what I call gardening, because it doesn't look anything like this.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Joyful said...

Hi Phil, so nice to see your garden. We have a very small garden but so far not much success in being home to tend the garden when it is required. Perhaps next year. But like Jo, we have the birds and squirrels eating at the first sign of growth. Next year I have to figure out how to cover it so that doesn't happen. Good luck with the garden! It's great knowing where your food comes from.

Gorges Smythe said...

I ATTEMPTED to grow a few tomatos and Indian corn this year and harvested exactly one tomato. I hope you do better!

The Ninety Percenter said...

Nice work Phillip! Well done on keeping it organic. I keep a small garden on our front patio, but it's much smaller. Just a few essentials: peppers, tomatoes, and some herbs. Not enough to feed a family. I will try the epsom salt insecticide next year.

digital scale said...

Nice writing, I read this twice. thanks