Compost – food for a garden, created from organic matter. Make compost from kitchen waste such as vegetable leaves, left over foods, egg shells, coffee grinds and more. Add sand, soil and garden matter such as dried leaves, flower heads, bark. Mix it all together and let it stand and brew. Add compost to your soil before and during planting and you will reap a rich harvest.
What did we Learn about Compost?
- How are we helping the earth by composting? Less rubbish goes to the landfills and compost creates healthy soil.
- How do healthy food scraps contribute to healthy soil? They contain nutrients and vitamins. They help plants grow just like they help our bodies grow and be healthy.
- How are we helping our bodies by eating foods that can be composted? Only certain healthy foods should be composted. Healthy foods have vitamins and nutrients that we need to be healthy. If it is easy to break down in the compost, it is easier for our bodies to digest.
Greens – Nitrogen Rich:
• Fruits and vegetable scraps• Bread and grains• Coffee grounds • Coffee filters• Green garden waste• Paper tea bags with the staple removed
Browns – Carbon Rich:
• Nut shells• Sawdust from untreated wood• Hay and straw• Yard trimmings (e.g., leaves, branches, twigs) • Wood chips• Leaves• Shredded newspaper
What not to add to the compost pile:
• Aluminium, tin or other metal• Glass• Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) & eggs• Fats, grease, lard, or oils• Greasy or oily foods• Meat or seafood scraps• Pet wastes• Plastic• Stickers from fruits or vegetables (to prevent litter)• Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides• Roots of perennial weeds• Coal or charcoal ash• Treated or painted wood
Earth Kids Visited Jardim
And learned how to make kelp tea. Jardim owner, Angela Gomes, told the kids all about her compost activators:
- Comfrey Tea in a big bin with water – allow to ferment
- Kelp Tea in a big bin with water – allow to ferment
This takes 3 – 4 months. Horse manure is another compost activator and can be mixed into composts with the tea for best effects.
Grow Vegetables the Gomez Way
Did you know that Asparagus takes about 5 years to be enjoyed as a vegetable? And that we should rather eat organic garlic as imported garlic cloves are treated to stay healthy and stay “fresh” longer?!
- Pick snails by hand and give them to ducks and chickens.
- Use a greenhouse for seed germination – warm and light and free from insects.
- Let plants go to seed – they then grow better next season. Use the seeds.
- Let land stand fallow for a season to allow the soil to rejuvenate.
- Layering a garden takes 7 years if you do it properly. Raised beds are good.
Shade Vegetables for Winter
We want bugs in our gardens! We want interesting and imperfect vegetables! Perfection reeks of something contrived? These veges grow well in Cape Town in winter:
- Lettuce, black kale, flat leaf kale, curly kale, pak choi
- Beans and peas – need trellises which can be created by hand, as part of gardening project
- Potatoes in tyres.
Use Permaculture Principles
Nasturtiums attract bugs to them so are good when planted on the edges. Peppers and chillies are the same family and grow well together.
Make use of ALL space you have.
Jerusalem artichokes, spekboom – great edible features to have in your garden and don’t forget the medicinal plants! These can be interspersed with edible plants and are worth studying. Get yourself a good book and start reading up now on medicinal plants, companion planting and permaculture