Thursday, September 1, 2011

MUSHROOM MISSION AND MORE


Just blowing in the wind...

We all got onto the back of Tim's Bakkie (pick-up) and we went to visit an Organic farm called Peas on Earth. It was nice to meet other people in the area, doing similar things.

It is dry again at the moment, but that is not so strange, it is the end of winter (actually it is spring day today) and the rains should start soon.  Once you are aware of exactly where your water comes from, you are less willing to waste it.  I try and keep a fine balance between keeping my plants happy and not wasting water.

Something in the garden loves cabbage, everything seems to be fine, accept the poor cabbages. This created my first challenge in the sense of getting rid of or rather deterring whatever is eating them.  I tried the ash method; you simply sprinkle the fine ash from a dead fire in a circle around the individual plants and crawling insects (for whatever reason) does not cross that circle. It does seem to be working, there are no new bites today, so it must have been snails or worms; obviously a ring of ash is not going to stop a flying insect. This method is also very labor intensive, you have to sprinkle a new circle everyday.

I would also like to plant with the moon, meaning you mostly plant at new moon. It is new moon at the moment, but the soil is just to dry. So I have decided I will not be intimidated by the moon, I will plant when the rains are here and the plants are happy to be moved. We are preparing new beds at the moment.


One of the Rondawels (thatched hut) where the volunteers stay

Our community seems to be growing by the day. It has been a rather busy period, one of the old members (Kevan) is back, another three is expected back in the next month and we seem to have a steady stream of volunteers. We also received word that another couple, who comes for regular visits, are keen on joining the community on a permanent base. That will mean that there will be kids here again and I know that a lot of the people are missing the sound and presence of children. There use to be eight kids here at some stage.

We created a wish list at the last meeting, it is simply a list of what every individual considers important, for instance, Niki needs a new fence around her garden, the poles are old and the cows are just pushing them over and getting into her garden. The problem with cow is not so much that they eat your veggies, they just walk all over everything and destroy a lot of the plants in the process. Kevan also needs a fence; otherwise he cannot even start a garden.  We need a Trellis at the kitchen otherwise we will be cooking in there this summer, in more than one way…

The idea is that we will just tackle these projects as a group, but are not really getting around to this because most of the crowd is involved in setting up a mushroom growing industry, lab and all. I really hope this works for them, they are putting a lot of labor and love into the project, but it is taking longer than anticipated so everything else is pretty much at a standstill, accept for the garden. All in good time and projects like the mushroom mission (as I call it) are very important, because they create ways of creating income for individuals and for the farm.



Gervaise and Meduna in conversation

We did manage to plant 9 trees with companion plants this week, thanks to the help of our volunteers, Gervaise and a young American couple called Irene and Nicholas. We also discovered a small plantation of Yellow Wood trees; we took some out, because there were just too many of them to close together, most will die. It is never the less such an amazing sight, these tress are indigenous but rather rare at the moment because the wood from these trees makes amazing and expensive flooring and furniture. Great to see them making a serious comeback.


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