Gardening For a Greener Future

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Gardening For a Greener Future

With all the festivities behind us and the guests making their way back home, it is time to look forward to the New Year.  Getting stuck into the garden is one of the best ways to get rid of all the holiday pounds, whilst enjoying time in the sun.  For those of us returning from holiday it is a great time to get the garden looking at its best again.  With a lot of commentators predicting doom and gloom for the year, it is up to us to take some of our challenges and turning them into opportunities.



South Africa’s water situation is still looking bleak. Some parts of the country are caught in the grip of a severe drought that is affecting not only nature but also us humans.   Here are ways that we can get through the dry spells and still be able to enjoy our gardens:

  • Mulching is integral to saving water as any bit of exposed soil is going to lead to water waste and higher utility bills.
  • Selecting plants that are water wise and that can take the heat will pay for themselves through less plant losses, massive savings in water and less maintenance.
  • Water wise plants aren’t only restricted to indigenous plants, yet indigenous plants are definitely more likely to require less water. Still, consider plants like vibrant Vinca’s and Sedums that are just as water wise.
  • Planting in containers will allow you to move plants to shadier spots during a heatwave.
  • Harvesting rainwater and reusing water in the form of grey water will be one of our best ways to combat the drought and become more self-sustaining.

Attributed to Val Bourne

Grow Your Own Food

With the drought affecting our agricultural sectors, one can expect an increase in food prices. Food security is also becoming a bigger problem worldwide.  I believe that where we have gone wrong is that we have become too reliant on producers. These are often far away – which increases costs and carbon footprints. I suggest that the answer lies in urban farming.  Producing our own food in our urban centres will go a long way to restoring balance and bringing us closer to our food sources.

  • Growing your own food removes the need to import food at exorbitant prices (and at other costs to ourselves and the environment).
  • It allows you to save money spent on groceries and enjoy your food without all the chemicals.
  • You will be surprised at the enhanced flavours. After tasting the difference between a store bought tomato and one picked from your own garden, you will never go back to store bought.
  • Another significant benefit lies in the nutritional value of home grown food. Most store bought greens  are engineered food and treated with myriads of chemicals, hormones and refrigeration . (And no, a real tomato shouldn’t last four weeks in your fridge.)

Tackle Climate Change This Year

Spekboom is a little plant with a big heart
  • Portulacria afra is a fast growing succulent that can reach 2m tall in frost free areas.
  • They require little to no maintenance and work great in pots, beds and anywhere one can find the space.
  • Take part in the fight against climate change by making 2016 the year to grow Spekboom far and wide.
  • Spekboom has the amazing ability to change gears by using  only carbon dioxide and no water to grow. This is done through a process called “carbon sequestration” – making it a leader in the fight against climate change.
  • Vast areas can be planted and used as drought fodder for animals.
  • Do your part and plant a Spekboom today and remember to give cuttings to everyone.

 Be Conscious of What You Consume

Despite the world being swamped by commercialised indulgences, there is a movement that realises that we are losing our very humanity to this. We are at risk of becoming just another mass produced, reproduced, boxed, labelled, shelved, stacked and ready to be sold thing. One way of countering this dehumanisation is to become conscious of what we consume. Even if one’s behaviour doesn’t immediately change, just an awareness will start setting the wheels in motion. Although the answers are not always pleasant, begin by asking yourself a few simple questions when considering a purchase of any kind:

  • Do I really need this, or simply want this?
  • What impact will this purchase have on myself, others and the environment in the longer term?
  • Where was this made/produced and how did it get here?
  • Under which conditions was this made/produced?
  • Can this be recycled or re-used?

Don’t think that seemingly small and simple acts cannot make any difference. To misquote David Mitchell: “My life is but a drop in the ocean. Yet what is an ocean, but a collection of drops?”

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