Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gardens and water wisdom:Hydro ecologically sound gardens in Gauteng.

The idea of sustainability is sometimes obscured by all of the rhetoric one encounters on a journey to stop hurting the earth and start helping it. That's what we all want to do after all right? We want to learn how to not do any harm and start fixing what we messed up. Well charity begins at home as the saying goes.
If you grew up in the city, your water has been arriving in a pipe, and leaving in a pipe after you have used it. One pipe for 'grey' water and one for 'black' water. Grey water refers to the water a household produces that has been mixed with soap and soiled by dishes, clothing and human washing. Black water refers to the water used in the toilet to carry away effluent. Both types account for a massive water wastage. That water does not need to be transported away, and if it isn't, it can be used to water food gardens. Obviously this is more than simply a matter of unplugging the drains and letting them start flowing into the soil around your home. That will make a mess to say the least. Doing the necessary preparation of the soil and the shape and lay of the land as well as the life present, both microbial and macro biological life like plants is essential. If you do your homework, it quickly becomes clear that cleaning water with natural systems is not only desirable, but perfectly possible as well.

There is an excellent illustration of the principles involved in cleaning water with biological resources in use at the Johannesburg Zoo, where soiled water from the streets of Johannesburg enters the system on one side of the zoo, is run through a system of natural filtration including but not limited to the reed beds which add oxygen and start cleaning the water at the cellular level.Our own effort is pictured below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Cube Tasting Kitchen, Parktown Girls and a really great little food production system.

Parktown Girls is a really great school. This is a well known fact if you are an old Johanessburger (to be held distinct from old Johannians, who of course are keener on St Johns, another fine old Johannesburg school.
And Because they are one of Johannesburgs finest old educational institutions they are of course right on top of the task of keeping up to date with modern environmental concerns.

They're keen on showing the girls attending their school just what is involved in growing food the healthy way. The project goes further than that though, since this particular school veggie garden has some swanky connections. They're going to be supplying their produce to the Cube Tasting Kitchen in Parktown North. So a lesson in microeconomics then too. Actually I mustn't sound patronising, these days microeconomic enterprises of this nature are turning into what an old school entrepreneur might have called 'a regular little cash cow'.

Fact is, people pay high prices for quality organic produce and anyone prepared to do the research, learnhow and then plan and execute a food growing project can actually become self sustaining at least, if not really very profitable, quite rapidly. It is all about having just the right know how at your fingertips and that last sentence is what Positive Cycle is all about. In a nutshell: Positive Cycle strives to ensure access to quality bio dynamic know how. In a world full of GMO, unlikely corporate promises and growing global food insecurity, knowing how to get the earth to produce a varied and healthy crop is becoming more valuable each and every day.