Categories
garden

What tree is this?

Another call for help, another mystery tree.  This tree is growing in my neighbour’s garden.  It has masses of creme-coloured flowers with a citrus/vanilla scent, which naturally the bees love.

Anybody recognise it?

What tree is this?
What tree is this?
Categories
garden

Fungi

I went down to Clansdale on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast last weekend.   In the garden of the house we had rented was a dead tree and on the trunk this amazing fungi was growing.

Normally I would just appreciate it for its beauty but I had recently been reading Pitta Joffe’s Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants and its function is pretty beautiful as well.  Fungi help to break down wood and mulch, releasing mineral nutrients back into the soil!

Fun guy
Fun guy
Categories
garden

Garden Essentials: Green Bin

This green bin is essential for any garden.  You can get them from most hardware shops and some nurseries for about R600.

I’ve always had a compost heap but this bin keeps any food waste away from the monkeys and the heat it generates speeds up the composting process.  I put grass cuttings, weeds and any organic waste from the kitchen into and in a few months it turns into good quality compost.

I’m now thinking of investing in an earthworm farm, which I think creates compost in only a couple of weeks and provides micronutrients that you don’t get from compost.  Any thoughts?

The Green Bin
The Green Bin
Categories
food garden

Organic Gardening Workshops

At the moment I am not growing any food (apart from Spekboom I guess) but I would like to start a small vegetable/herb garden.  I am also interested in organic gardening but don’t really know much about it.

I came across these courses offered by Dovehouse Organic Farms and think I may attend one.  Has anyone gone to them?  Anyone want to come with me?

From their promotional material:

The aim of these courses is to introduce the learners to the subjects and to provide the learners with the necessary hands on skills to implement the techniques for themselves. Course manuals are supplied with each workshop.

Categories
garden soil

The importance of feeding your soil (or why not to rake)

When we first move into our house we inherited a gardener who was very old-school in his methods.  His idea of a job well done was a cleanly-raked garden with all the leaves, twigs and plant matter bagged for the Municipality to collect.  As a consequence of this, the soil was sandy, red in colour and pretty much lifeless (see the before shot).

Over the past few years we have weened him off this way of thinking and replaced it will the mantra that everything that falls off the trees and plants should end up in the soil.  Each time I trim back the shrubs or thin out some plants, the off-cuts also end up on the ground.  Slowly the soil has changed back to a brown, moist, earthy colour and has started to smell, well, like nature (see the after shot).  I have started to notice loads more insects inhabiting the garden and I’m sure, just below the surface, are a million and one worms.

I’m reading Pitta Joffe’s Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants and she has section where she calls for the protection of our soil. She writes:

“Don’t sweep up and then proceed to throw away fallen leaves, dried and faded flowers, fruits, small twigs, etc.  Apart from the fact that this is a totally misdirected use of energy, it is also the equivalent to throwing away bags of compost … Mulch is nature’s way of feeding plants, conserving moisture and protecting the soil surface and structure.”

The soil before the intervention.
The soil before the intervention.

The leaves we didn't rake up.
The leaves we didn't and won't rake up.