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Mobile garden


A farm is an inevitable fusion of production and a collection of junk with an unknown use sometime in the undeterminable future. After completing the frame work of our timber house, there was a collection of off cuts which in true farming style were stored in the shed till some stage in the future. A month ago while rummaging around for something I happened upon some lengths of fascia board and contemplated what I could do with them. Our deck had been half completed and was in desperate need for some decoration. And then the light went on – why not make a few flower boxes. Perfect. So out with the Triton work bench, rotary saw, router and some jetting nails and new project was born.

I managed to build three boxes 1m long. The profile was flat bottomed with a 45 degree slope. A bag of potting soil and a collection of plugs completed the setting. And presto, an instant garden and a little less clutter in the store. In fact, the project was a success – my parents wanted some for their home. Knocking another one up made a personal present for some friends moving into to a new house.

As you know following my blog, we have been suffering a severe drought (George only has water reserves till the first of February 2010), so last week when we started getting severe winds on a daily basis, at first we just battened down. But slowly the flowers in the boxes on the deck started getting shredded, and then leaning over. Today I discovered the wonderful mobility of flower boxes. When at 09h00 the wind started again, enough was enough and I just carried the boxes round to the lea of the house. And what a transformation to the place – it felt as if we had had a make over to the house and the garden. It is almost tempting to shuffle the boxes around on a weekly basis.

On a more permanent note, the veggie patch is coming on well. Situated in the lea of the wind behind the house the spinach, tomatoes and radishes are responding well to the ‘bottle feeding’ system I implemented on the 17th November, namely burying a 2 litre plastic bottle with perforations up the side upright in the soil so that water could be poured into the bottle. The water then is released deep down in the ground and is not subject to evaporation. The bottle for the tomatoes is no longer visible, so quick has their growth been and the spinach has quadrupled in the same time.

Down the road a bull broke through a fence and spent the night wandering along the gravel road that services our area. Seeing that I was in the process of preparing some beds for Coriander, Thyme and lettuces, it was a perfect opportunity to collect the cow pats the bull deposited. This material is a perfect way to enrich the soil and increase the organic content. 8 years ago when I produced tomatoes commercially I grew them in wind tunnels and filled each bag with a mix of cattle manure and soil. Even now locals from the village that I sold the tomatoes ask what I did to produce such taisty tomatoes – simple, pure BS, was my standard reply.

Organic farming is about farming with micro-organisms. Indeed our very existence is due to the bacterial content of the top 15cm of soil. Slash and burn agriculture in tropical forests owes it’s three years of success not to the nutrients of the soil (there is very little) but to the bacterial content of the soil and the humus. Three years later once the micro organisms have been depleted, production drops off and the farmers either have to two choices – move on and clear a new patch or add fertiliser. If they opt for the latter the produce is never as healthy as in the first few years due to the lack of vital micro organisms.

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They are lovely

4 Dec, 2009


good use of offcuts. well done. and i like the idea of moving them to suit the weather conditions.

4 Dec, 2009


Thanks for the photos. I might have a go!

4 Dec, 2009

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