food garden

Melon Pears

I planted a melon pear earlier this year. It was about 10 cm high. It is now more than 30 cm and has plenty of fruit. I am waiting for the fruit to develop light purple stripes and turn soft before I pick them. They taste a lot like spanspek. The plant can be multiplied by taking and planting slips.

Elaine Fike….Hillcrest

food garden indigenous

Indigenous Raspberries?

Raspberries05Do you know if there is an indigenous raspberry plant?

I was given about 5 raspberry bushes which i was told are indigenous, but I cannot find any information on them. The bush doesn’t grow very tall (about waist height), and the raspberries are a different red to the ones I have seen in stores, and they have a very perfume like flavour, which is lovely.

I am now growing them, but would like information about them.



food garden

Broad beans / Boerbone

These large beans are also known as fava beans. In South Africa they are called Boerbone. I love growing broad beans because they are not really available in grocery stores. Broad beans are one of the first vegetables ready for harvest in the spring. The fresh, green taste of the beans is similar to asparagus, peas and leeks and suits this season perfectly. Parmesan and mint are good companions. Use the beans in omelettes, quiche and salads. The younger, smaller beans can be eaten with the pod, but if they are bigger they are used as shelling beans.



Plant broad bean seeds or seedlings in autumn to harvest in early spring.Remember to put sticks in next to the plant. Tie the plant to the sticks as it grows to prevent the tall, floppy stems from breaking. When small bean pods start appearing at the bottom of the stem, you need to pinch out the growing tips at the top of the stems. The plant will put its energy into former more beans instead of growing taller and taller.


My broad beans have been growing through this long, wet and stormy winter and are ready for harvest now. Pick the beans when the pod feels full. Use scissors to cut the pods of the plant, to avoid damaging the stems. Open the pods to find the beans sitting snuggly in their foamelite packaging. The smaller beans can be used without peeling. Boil the bigger beans for a minute or two and the skins will slip of easily. When the plants are finished, cut of the stems and dig the roots back in to provide nitrogen to the soil.

Jamie Oliver’s Broad Bean and Pea Pesto

  • Smash a small handful of mint in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add 2 handfuls of cooked peas and broad beans and mash into a rough paste.
  • Squeeze in some lemon juice.
  • Now add a large handful of parmesan.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to make the paste moist. Lastly add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve on toasted bread.

Samantha van Riet

food sustainability water

Vertical, hydroponic at the V & A Waterfront

Outside Moyo at the Waterfront is a really interesting urban farm, with vertical racks growing fresh greens fed hydroponically by waste from a fish farm. Well worth a visit!


food garden

Food Security Boost for Mitchell’s Plain Community

Event to Draw in New Gardeners – 31 August 2013

Going beyond the outdoor classroom, and into the community itself; ecological literacy organisation SEED is bringing hope and resilience to a growing group of Mitchell’s Plain households struggling with poverty and unemployment. The SEED Food Freedom Project teaches people how to grow their own food. SEED is inviting the community and the people of greater Cape Town to put the spotlight on home food gardens with a Food Freedom Activation Day from 9h30-13h30 on 31 August 2013 at the Rocklands Abundance Centre at the Rocklands Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain.

The Food Freedom Activation Day promises live music, live street murals, interactive learning stations that teach about container gardening, propagation and climate change and a chance for community members to sign up to join the project and start their own food gardens. It’s also an opportunity for would-be volunteers to sign up and assist SEED’s food revolution plan and for visitors to tour the centre. The Food Freedom project took root in 2012, when SEED set out to convert a group of homes in the Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain neighbourhood into sustainable units – which included the implementation of sustainable food systems. Eleven homes are now operating thriving food security systems and two are set up as models of sustainable homes with grey water systems, orchard systems, rain tanks, trellising, solar panels and home food garden systems.

These original food gardeners have now formed the Rockland’s Committee, and will now, with thanks to further funding from Wesbank, work with SEED to bring sustainable food systems to 100 homes in the area. Says SEED Director, Leigh Brown, “SEED takes a long term view on food security. We know that early ecological education is key to unlocking the self-sufficiency of whole communities but we are at a point where food security is so threatened and our communities so despondent that there is an urgent need to escalate food systems into home gardens. We are answering to this need by creating human ecosystems; gardeners who can share with and assist a new group of food garden growers.” The Food Freedom programme also sees the launch of an alternative currency system (aptly named seeds). Rocklands committee members are paid in seed currency to support other homes with food gardens and to build the Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre nursery and compost capacity. Seeds are redeemed for cash as well as garden inputs. The program also mentors the gardeners with start-up workshops and ongoing training.

Follow SEED on and @SEED_Community on Twitter SEEDS Food Freedom Activation Day is open to all. To find out more about the event, please call 021 391 5316 SEED’S Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre was a winner in the Deustche Bank Urban Age Awards and has been shortlisted for inclusion in the World Design Capital 2014 programme.