The INDIGENOUS GARDEN began 15 years ago when Dr. Peter Huberts and I planned the framework for the indigenous garden. The alien trees were removed sequentially as the newer trees grew to take the space. I was not brave enough to remove all of them at once!! The result is that over 550 trees and shrubs have been planted. The garden was divided into 4 areas including, Highveld, lowveld, coastal and grassland (now forested over). The character of the soil has changed over the 15 years from very thin, sandy, dead and humus-free torich, naturally composted and living. The insects and birdlife are abundant with many birds breeding on the property.
The SUSTAINABLE, OFF-GRID, WATER SAVING and RENOVATION aspects also began long ago. I installed a gas stove followed by solar geysers. This made a huge difference to the electricity consumption. Next the water tanks to store waterwere installed. Then I made the huge step to install a solar PV system complete with inverters, etc., to achieve an off-grid status. The water re-structuring and enlivening Spyralyx system was installed on the mains inlet so it feeds both the house and garden. The various recycling and composting systems were implemented such as a Green Beanie for the kitchen waste sealed off at the ground so as not to encourage rats, worm farms, Bokashi bins and main compost heaps. This meant that my contribution to land fill dramatically reduced to almost nil. I did not have the expense of garden refuse removal any longer, I had reduced the need to buy compost and was able to make nutrient dense compost from which I grow nutrient dense food I eat.
The renovations to the home aimed to create a living space which was light, open, had a geometric shape and where one felt close and connected to nature. This architecture also allows for passive heating in winter and is heated with cost-effective a pellet burner in winter. The floor was removed to allow for insulation and underwater heated piping. The glass is coated with a low emission material to keep the heat in. All the building from the floor to the ceiling meets SANS regulations for ’Green Buildings’ . Harmless chemical-free household cleaning and body products are used to minimise exposure to toxic compounds.
The BIODYNAMIC & ORGANIC FOOD GARDEN really took off when I met Alan Rosenberg, a biodynamic agroecologist, who introduced me to the world of biodynamic farming. The soil and compost are enlivened with naturally occurring / organic volcanic rock dust, rock phosphate, kelp and effective micro-organisms. Harmless homemade preparations are used to control pests and only organic compost is used. The bee hives were installed due to me questioning the annual removal of bees which tried to build hives on the property and realising that the bees wanted to be here.
I hold SUSTAINABLE, BIODYNAMIC AND NUTRITION COURSES at my home. I also assist people in setting up their food gardens, indigenous gardens and consult with individuals/groups to streamline their personal nutrition to attain a higher level of health.