HONEYVILLE FOOD GARDEN PROJECT
18th Sept 2011
The last 6 to 7 weeks have rushed by once again; the cycle keeps rolling on.
It has been an interesting period, slowly moving out of Winter into Spring, with some stunning days
and some days with very strong Westerley winds blowing through, with no rain over the last month.
Since my last input, an additional 70 tree holes were dug and prepared, with my back collapsing in the process. It is a kind of fight with Kikuyu grass, stones and some very “clay” sections.
Over the past number of weeks some casual labour has been brought in and this is really helping to speed up the process. To date a 102 mixed fruit trees have been planted. We are now in the process of starting to mulch the trees. As we are not using any herbicides it involves clearing Kikuyu a meter plus around the holes followed by laying down, for starters, a metre plus cardboard layer and then mulching with dried sweet potato runners which comes from the fields across the road, which later will get a layer of cow manure and more grass mulch. The immediate square metre around the stem is being planted with Comfrey, Yarrow and Wild garlic as well as sown with a mix of Clover Soya bean and Mustard seeds to create a living mulch. These are seed I just happened to have, so combinations will change over time. We are also in the process of ordering irrigation pipes and fittings. So to bring this project to the initial completed stage we still need to mulch, build protection structures and put the irrigation in place.
In the last write up we were still fighting with the Kikuyu and stones in the kraal garden. Things have moved on since then. The main pathway was dug out to 20 to30cm and filled with the smaller stones thus creating a drainage channel. So a point has been reached where part of the slog has been completed and we are busy with the more creative aspects garden design, bed preparation and planting. A large section of the layout of beds and pathways has been put in place. This includes 2 mandala circles including a 3rd circle in the higher corner which will be a seating, contemplative space. Bed preparation has started and we are almost ready to plant. This week we will be securing the boundaries to keep out dogs, horses, buck. We also planning to get an irrigation system in over the next 2 weeks. Seeds were sown in trays on the 1st Sept and have germinated well. We are running plus minus a month behind schedule with getting the garden planted so won’t have a very early crop.
A propagation structure is also being put in place. The greenhouse is being constructed from recycled timber, window frames and big glass sliding doors, so it is quite a snazzy, funky greenhouse which is almost completed. Attached to this is a latte shade house, all the material being harvested from the Eucalaptus forest. So it will really be fantastic when I can move into this space and start to play.
Less than a month ago when my back took a lot of strain, it felt like I was carrying the farm. It was a difficult period with low energy and always seeing and feeling that there is so much to be done. In the week of the 1st of Sept there was an energy shift and having additional labour has made the project exciting again. I am really looking forward to harvesting, eating and selling produce from the garden. I am also finally starting to connect to the broader community. Yesterday I had my first dip in the ocean this season, followed by my first participation in a drum circle in this part of the world, which is really great. There have been several people who have come to visit the farm to check it out as an option and it has been great to connect with them.
Til next time.
Trust all well on your side.
The first of two initial projects that are being focused on is the kraal garden, a mixed permaculture style food garden in the stoned wall kraal area.
Simba and I have cleared the kraal area of most surface stones. The area was ripped with the tractor and we are now busy hand digging it, clearing all the kikuyu and more stones that were loosened in the process. It is possibly another 1 to 2 weeks of work before we can mark out the layout of the design for planting.
The second project is the preparation of the holes for the fruit trees. The loader dug 50 holes, all of which have been prepared with manure, bone-meal and wood-ash. All of these sites are around the existing buildings. The aim is to plant up to 120 fruit trees. Simba has also been making pyramid structures to place over the young trees to protect them from buck etc.
Furthermore a site has also been levelled for the construction of a green-house and a latte shade-house.
The initial groundwork is labour intensive and it feels like progress is real slow, although I do think we have done pretty well so far.
Being out here in Nature time is a much slower rhythm than in the city, and it is taking time to adjust. Presently I am feeling very even keel. I think once we get to the layout, bed preparation and planting it will start to get much more exciting. Also looking forward to when the nursery structures are in place.
We have had 200mm plus rain in the last 36hrs which will slow things down, down, down.
Starting to settle in and looking forward to Spring.
Attached see some photos.
All the best,
HONEYVILLE FOOD GARDEN PROJECT 12th November, 2011
The first direct seed sowing into the kraal garden, took place on Sat,24th Sept.
Small areas of +- 1m2 were sown with different leaf and root crops in the Mandala circle.
It was time to acknowledge and celebrate after all the hard preparation work that had happened to get to this stage. So at sunset Simbe and I did just that, which included giving thanks and some drumming in the garden.
The next day I left to attend a 1 week Natural Farming workshop on a farm in Sedgefield facilitated by Tim Wigley and Ann Keating. It was great to be part of a group process with friends. Much information was shared and many new things were learned. One of the “practicals” we did was to create and plant a Banana circle which has subsequently been incorporated into the kraal garden.
Much planting happened in October, with all the seedlings which were sown into trays on the 1st Sept being transplanted into beds in the garden, as well as sowing of seeds of a variety of crops. Many herbs and berries that had been propagated and bought were also planted. A mini earthworm farm was set up. The completion of additional beds, mulching and pathways were done, as well as the installation of a micro sprinkler system.
Simbe focussed on making additional pyramid cage structures now totalling close on 100 for the fruit trees. Mulching is ongoing……. the trees are shooting profusely and looking good.
At the end of October, I went to Cape Town for 1 week to visit friends and source various seeds, herbs and some ornamentals for my cottage garden. Joseph, the “Sprout Man” who had been in the States earlier in the year brought back a wide range of heirloom seeds, which he shared with me to grow on for more seed production to spread in Southern Africa in time.
My time there was a week of lots of special connections with friends. I shared photos of developments on the farm, folks were very inspired by what they saw which was fantastic feedback.
On my return I was amazed at how the had really taken off and how healthy they are.
The Kraal garden garden is a mixed perennial and annual edible food garden with an element of market gardening. So there will be surplus for sale but in smaller quantities, thus really a side line in terms of income generation. We have made our first sale to a restaurant in Jeffreys Bay and need to find a few more outlets. Any ideas and Contacts welcome !
So now we are really at a point of starting to talk and research an income generating crop/s in the arena of medicinal plants. Two possibilities that have been mentioned are Kankerbos and Honeybush.
After a period of intense focus of setting up projects on the ground, it is time to focus upward and outward, in terms of marketing, networking and research.