Monday, December 12, 2011

vegetable gardening service

A good vegetable gardening service pays attention to the soil in your garden, digging up whatever is presently there and then replacing the nutrients and soil constituents wherever necessary. If the gardener knows what he or she is doing this process will make the next stage, the sowing of seeds and planting of seedlings, that much more successful. If you are fortunate enough to be working with the Gro4U vegetable gardening service your garden will be regularly visited and an efficient watering scheme will be worked out.

There is great pleasure to be found in hiring a good crew to come and install your vegetable garden, it basically means that you get fresh tasty vegetables out of your garden without having to do any of the work yourself. You can learn though, in fact hiring a professional service like Gro4U is a great first step to becoming an expert on the subject of vegetable gardening. They don't mind sharing knowledge, in fact it's what the business is all about. Gro4U is a part of Positive Cycle. Positive Cycle is a determined and passionate effort to get people growing food plants. As much as possible, as often as can be achieved, in as many locations as they are allowed to.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gardening in Johannesburg

Gardening in Johannesburg seems to me to be almost a moral imperative. The act of growing plants is of course satisfying in itself but there is more to it than that. The distance that developed between human beings and the food they eat in the last several decades is a problem. The solution to the problem is to educate people about gardening. Johannesburg is an excellent place to start You could not find a better candidate city for a greening project. It is already considered to be the largest man made forested area in the world. The climate is also perfect. Positive Cycle runs several successful vegetable gardens in Johannesburg. It is wonderful to see how much satisfaction all different social classes of people can experience when they learn how to grow their own food organically. For some, it's the first time they have ever tasted real food straight from the earth.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vertical landscaping in Johannesburg.

Vertical landscaping is the latest catchphrase in the garden landscaping industry. Positive Cycle is not only creating living signs and installing tasty vegetable gardens (under the guise of Gro4U) but is now also unmaking some of the rules and starting a revolution in everybody's garden.Vertical landscaping is a way to take full advantage of the space you have available in your garden. The potential is virtually limitless. Take a look around your exterior space and just think how much more enjoyable the place would be if you could conceal unsightly walls with a vertical garden.

Vertical landscaping is all a part of the Positive Cycle dream of having a city covered in plant life, making the air fresh and bringing a new sense of peace to the whole of the city.

Living Signs in Johannesburg.

Positive Cycle is getting involved in making living signs. It's all a part of the inspiration to be a part of greening Johannesburg. We would like to see the whole city covered in vegetable gardens, vertical and otherwise. Imagine if there were nothing but food producing plants, vegetable gardens and living signs in Johannesburg. What a pleasure life in such a place would be. One would feel less guilty telling the beggars at the robots you didn't have any money for them if there were mangoes, pawpaws, tomatoes and other delicious produce all over the place. The ridiculous argument that the presence of fresh produce would encourage the rats is wrong headed because releasing owls and other predator species will control them . It is vital that human beings start thinking about nature in a positive way, that is to say we have to be conscious of the need to assist the eco system to develop and become complex. Adding to the system at every opportunity, rather than stripping down huge areas of land with the current industrial approach to agriculture.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening and living signs really get me excited. There is so much potential for this way of thinking. I would simply love to do more of these. Already done quite a few but the idea of persuading everyone to have a vertical garden in Johannesburg outside their home on the pavement would move this city into the next level of enlightenment as far as I am concerned. The concept is perfect for anyone with limited space and in a city like Johannesburg everyone's space is limited.Vertical gardens are definitely a part of the answer to many environmental problems. Imagine a world full of growing things. Beautiful and edible plants, reaching up toward the sky wherever you look.

Living Signs

My company, positive cycle, recently undertook to create a living sign. This was a little challenging but we pulled it off with flying colours. We made the sign in Durban but are looking forward to making many more in the not too distant future. There certainly is no shortage of inquiries for living signs in Johannesburg.. We feel very proud of our work, all of us at positive cycle, after all how many conservationists get to make a living sign that says the words, 'go with green'? We worked through the night every evening for several days and all our hard work and planning paid off. Living signs make a real impact for any business.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Growing Carrots.

Carrots have the reputation of being among the easiest vegetables to grow. Growing carrots in Johannesburg is pretty much as simple as sowing them although it is wise to remember a few handy pointers.

  • Loose sandy soil is preferable.
  • Very rich soil will make your carrots hairy.
  • The looser the soil the easier it is for your carrots to grow.
  • If you think the carrots are ready to harvest brush away some of the sand from the carrot top and push a finger down the side of the carrot. If the vegetables extend beyond the tip of your finger then the carrot is likely ready after its twelve week growing cycle.
Carrots are an excellent source of dietary fiber and, you guessed it, carotene.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Growing chilli peppers.

Not everyone is a born farmer, but one way of encouraging people to grow vegetables is to get them started with a chilli plant.
Chillis like sheltered but brightly lit spots with high humidity and temperature. Growing chili peppers in a green house is pretty much ideal and that is how this bumper crop of chilis pictured left came about. Obviously, there is more to a successful chilli harvest than only light, humidity and temperature. Starting out with an ideal soil mixture is very important too.
You can use the chilli peppers when they are still green, or let them ripen to full colour for a fiery feast.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vegetable gardening in Johannesburg

Vegetable gardening in Johannesburg may not sound like a normal career to people out there but that is exactly what I am doing. From my home in humble old Auckland Park, Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa I am slowly but surely beginning a process to green the earth. I am planting at schools, private homes and businesses all over Gauteng. Certainly keeping myself busy. It seems that everyone wants to learn about vegetable gardening the organic way. To that end I am working on a book, that's aside from all this blogging.  no that's not where you will find the book, at least not yet, but you can read all about Positive Cycle and the amazing work we do.

Vegetable gardening in Johannesburg

I found this gigantic brown mushroom while gardening in Johannesburg.

Anyone gardening in Johannesburg who sees this in their garden can be very glad indeed.
Mushrooms are a bit like canaries in mines, they won't be around if the conditions are not good.
Mushrooms help to break down organic material like wood into usable molecules (phosphorous,potassium and nitrogen for starters) for plant roots to absorb and turn into strong healthy vegetables.
If mushrooms are present it means you have achieved nutrient rich soil of stable moisture and temperature levels and you can expect everything else to start growing like a monster too.
Little tricks of the trade like this are what make gardening so very stimulating. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who says vegetable gardening in Johannesburg is ugly?
The Positive Cycle vegetable garden in Johannesburg is one of the most beautiful out and guess what, it is mainly edible.

Organic gardening in Johannesburg.

Spring has well and truly sprung and doing my rounds of the organic gardening in Johannesburg and surrounds that I oversee is proving hot and thirsty work. This is the time of year when not only gardeners, but their worst enemies the pest species are thrilled at all the growth in the vegetable garden.Strawberries will be attacked by sap beetles if you give them half a chance and watch the moisture levels because predicting the temperature and wind is not so easy as we heat up toward summer. I often think how wonderful it is that organic gardening is becoming so very popular in Johannesburg. Not only is Johannesburg the largest man made forest, it might just be on its way to becoming the largest urban farm too.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Preparing for planting season

What to do in August

The month of August is the last month of winter and is more windy than most other months. On the up side, the days have been getting longer since mid June. The temperatures are steadily rising as we approach summer which means we can prepare for spring planting.

What preparations should be done?

Firstly vegetable beds, can be prepared with a bucket of compost per square metre and other ingredients can be added to feed the soil. This will increase your soil life this should be worked in to the top 20cm of soil. Healthy soil equals health plants and will reduce pests. Ingredients that are beneficial to add are slow release and will have a long-effect. Soil life is responsible for breaking down the natural ingredients and making it available to plants.

Volcanic rock dust has many minerals associate with feeding micro-organisms, as well as rock phosphate. Both of these when broken down is extremely essential for healthy plant growth. Rock phosphate is a macro nutrient (Phosphorus P). Nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) are also macros, and can also be added. Potassium is in a concentrated form in wood ash. An excellent source of nitrogen can be found in aged horse and cow manures. Using pelleted chicken manure makes is extremely easy to add. Bone meal adds calcium and phosphorus and lime lowers the pH and adds calcium and possibly magnesium as well depending on lime type used.

PS. beware that "just adding any amount" of any of the above can be detrimental so ensure you know what you are doing. A good way to know what to add is to get the soil tested and follow the advice report.

Plant seeds in trays, starting them off indoors, they will take about two weeks to germinate, then allow them to grow indoors for another week. Timing is perfect because by then the last average frost date should have pasted. After the last average frost date, the newly emerged seedlings can be moved out doors, but you should introduce them over a period of a week to allow them to adapt to the climatic conditions, by increasing the time they spend outside each day.

Now you can start adding extremely small doses, every second time you water (start at 1/16th of recipe increasing towards ¼ strength) of kelp extract to their water, which will assist, in strengthening the seedling getting it ready for planting out in to the garden. You also need to reduce watering from three times a day down to once every two days.

When you plant your seedlings out, it is an excellent idea to water the hole first to ensure the roots are stimulated to grow down to depths where they are protected from the effects of the sun drying the soil during the heat of the day. Remember to water start watering them twice daily from the first day in the ground, and gradually decrease to twice weekly over the first two weeks.

After two weeks, you can start feeding the plants again if you want to increase their performance. Start off with quarter strength dilution and increase dosages slowly over the next two months, feeding schedule of every two weeks. Beware, when you feed your plants, you are encouraging pests to visit, and join in on the feast.

Things to plant in trays and pots for planting season are:

Aubergine, Canteloupe, Cucumbers, Peppers(sweet & hot), Tomato.

Artichoke(small pots) Broccoli, Cabbage, Celeriac, Celery, Leeks, Marrows(small pots), Potato, Salsify, Sweet peas, Spinach (Swiss chard and bright lights), Squash(small pots), Sweet corn, Sweet potato, Zucchini - babymarrow(small pots).

Dill, Fennel, Lettuce, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Sweet basil.

See next article for what you can plant in the ground in September.