giy - grow it yourself

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plant a tree and make a difference

Submitted by Green Lily on Wed, 2011-12-14 14:31.

With COP17 and news stories of climate change bearing down on us, some of us may be feeling a little helpless of late. Some may be feeling as though they single-handedly want to solve the climate crisis. In this instance, it may be wise to remember the maxim: many hands make light work. One way in which we can all contribute to mitigating climate change and slowing biodiversity loss is by joining or establishing social groups to plant trees and other plants.

Some reports pin the average tree as absorbing 1 ton of carbon over it's 100 year lifespan, with most of that carbon being sequestered between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Planting now is essentially an investment in some serious carbon sequestration between 2030 and 2050 - and we are sure to be needing it even more desperately by then.

Co-benefits


creating paradise in your garden

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Tue, 2011-11-29 09:23.

Jenny Louw talks paradise gardens at Erin Hall as part of the series of Superfoods free talks.

Jenny Louw: horticulturist, garden designer and writerJenny Louw: horticulturist, garden designer and writer

Jenny Louw is the owner of a wonderful farm garden in Constantia that boasts a lush assortment of vegetables, fruits, flowers, birds, bugs and, of all things, weeds. She shares with us her passion for ‘toiling the soil’, emphasising that we too can succeed in creating our own garden paradise.

Picking and eating food straight from our own garden is a sensual experience that cannot be compared to buying food from the supermarket,’ Jenny believes.

A week or so ago she told an audience of around 300 about her dream of beautiful jungle cities, emphasising that bio-diversity is the key to creating a paradise.

Nature is my most truthful teacher,’ she explains. ‘I have learnt to embrace every caterpillar, every aphid as a respected part of my garden.


feathered friends & lucrative layers: part II

Submitted by JimmySprout on Mon, 2011-11-28 11:42.

National Geographic: OrpingtonNational Geographic: Orpington

Previously we gave you 10 great reasons to look into keeping your own urban chickens.

Now we take a look at some suitable home-range breeds, where to get them, and what you can expect to pay.


feathered friends & lucrative layers

Submitted by JimmySprout on Wed, 2011-11-09 13:20.

10 great reasons to unleash your inner chicken farmer!

Buff RedsBuff Reds

No farm is really a farm without a few hens scratching through loose hay in the yard and the iconic rooster crowing to the sunrise upon his picket-fence pedestal… It just wouldn’t be right! Although most farms are a far cry from what they used to be (you only need to type CAFO or chicken farm into Google to confirm this), the chicken still does, and has always represented the quintessential farm. There is something simple, sunny and inviting about chickens wandering a property in search of something tasty. But chickens need not be a feature of faraway farmlands and way-out rural regions - the urban chicken has earned its rightful place within the city limits of many capitals around the world.

So why are chickens such good urban companions, and why should we keep them in suburbia? Here are 10 great reasons!


your street cape town winners

Submitted by incoming on Tue, 2011-11-08 14:58.

Let Us Grow, A Your Street CT WinnerLet Us Grow, A Your Street CT WinnerLast week the Your Street seven finalists were invited to present their proposals on how to enhance an aspect of city life using design to the jury that included representatives from Design Indaba, the local design sector as well as from the City of Cape Town.

Here are the four winners of the Your Street Cape Town Challenge, sharing between them R250 000 to implement their proposals.

Acre Road, Kensington: A community-based design solution to improve the lives of the Acre Road community using low-cost facilities to cater for positive community activities. R100 000: Lorena Pasquini, Caitlynne Francis, Mark Henning and Hannah Williams.

Violet’s Walk: A clearly marked


organic at heart - the alternative eater's dream

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Tue, 2011-11-01 10:36.

A wonderful mosaic stands at the doorA wonderful mosaic stands at the door

In the quiet Cape Town suburb of Plumstead a listed national monument building houses a vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant that specialises in fresh and fantastic lunch buffets.

Michelle Carelse, the owner of Organic at Heart, took us for a walk around the kitchen garden - a space that was car park only 8 months back, now a thriving veg patch - where we discuss companion planting, worm-composting and the joys of eating as fresh as the last pick.

‘I like the idea of sustainable living,’ says Michelle. ‘This garden inspires people to start their own vegetable gardens. It’s not difficult to start growing your own herbs and salads – if everybody could just grow a little bit we could be well on our way to becoming a more self-sufficient society.’


get journaling about your veg patch

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-06-20 09:44.

How often have you scribbled a quick note about what's happening in your garden on the back of seed packets, calendar pages, or even nifty little cards you've designed, only to lose them as swiftly? I bet you may even have bought a graph book for your designs, with the notes scribbled eligibly over the grid?

And all of this done in great faith that your stumbling upon a gardening journal, in which you could keep these scribbles, was just around the corner; a visit to the bookshop away.

It was these very erratic methods of journaling that led Barbara and Christine of the www.thegardeningblog.co.za to design a journal that they could use. Enchanted with the result they decided to make the journal available to other gardeners in similar positions of note dithering.


city gardens - send us your pictures

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-06-07 09:49.

This set of city garden pictures, captured by artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg, records the rise of community gardening in post-industrial locations, as residents attempt to 'bind the community together and improve their environments'.

Send us your pictures so that we can compile similar for South African city gardens to sprouts[@]urbansprout.co.za

Or post it on our facebook page.

Images can be of community gardens, rooftop gardens, pavement gardens, your own veggie garden at home, container gardens, pond gardens, windowsill gardens! If you're into gardening (vegetable, indigenous, exotic, whatever) and live in one of SA's great cities (extended metropolitan area's too!) then share your photo!


awesome permaculture poster series by afristar

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2011-05-11 11:48.

Afristar (along with Seed and funding partners) have produced a great series of 13 permaculture posters that every household, school or greening ngo should definitely not be without.

The posters cover key permaculture concepts or techniques, from making compost, keeping worms, recycling greywater et. al to talking stick circles! The illustration is superbly detailed, eye catching yet conveys the message simply - a picture tells a thousand words.

The posters are free to social welfare and educational organisations, otherwise they cost R 60 each incl postage. The planting calendars are available in a laminated retail version for R 80 incl postage.

Check out the entire set of posters on flickr or facebook.

Here is the list of posters available (comments by urban sprout). Contact Afristar for more details.

Companion planting
Lists the good companions (plants that have a positive effect, like increasing the yield or deterring pests) and bad


volunteer and get to experience a biodynamic farm - firsthand

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-01-24 10:27.

Taking a gap year? And want to learn all there is to know about working on a biodynamic cheese farm?

We are a small mixed (mainly cheese-making and dairy goods) biodynamic farm in the Western Cape, South Africa. We are looking for one or two volunteers or apprentices to come and work on our farm for six months or more.

The 800ha farm is situated in a remote beautiful valley in majestic mountains. Most of the farm is indigenous bush and streams. We farm +/- 15ha. We have 45 goats in milk, 25 young female kids, 1 billy goat, 4 Jersey milk cows, a small beef heard with an Nguni bull, a sow with 7 young pigs and a new litter of 9. We also have 4 horses, 2 beehives, a 0.1ha vegetable garden, +/- 8ha gravity irrigated pastures, +/- 7ha wild grasses pasture and a dam.