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Natures Tickle Spot

Natures Tickle Spot

“How does a flower move”
When wind does not blow,
Stalk
Petals
Pollen
Released, sprinkled
Upon the ground below,
Does it dance for the sun
Energy
Food
Nourishment
From above and below
People ask
“How does a flower move”
“When wind does not blow”
“Simple”
Its worms tickling its
Gentle roots, many tickling in one go,
Its pollen falling is its laughter
Seeding the floor below
So when you see
Trees
Bushes
Flowers
Gyrating, moving with out wind,
Know its those naughty playful worms
Slithering, tickling there sensitive roots below..
Poetic T Oct 2014

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Worms

Worm farm

I never thought much about worms until I started gardening and have learnt that worms have an amazing ability to bring enormous fertility to the ground. These little invertebrates mix soil by moving up and down and wherever they go, eating organic matter like rotting plant material, manure, and deceased bodies and then depositing nutrient rich worm poo into the soil known as castings. Castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and eleven times more potassium than ordinary soil. While these blind but light sensitive worms squirm around, they loosen and aerate the soil which allows better penetration of water and also allows aerobic bacteria and oxygen to get to plant roots. Looser soils allows plants roots to penetrate deeper and access more resources as well as provide more draininge.

Earthworm’s bodies are coated with a sticky mucuous called coelomic fluid and this fluid mixed with the bacteria in their castings bind soil particles together forming soil aggregates. This prevents soil erosion and retains water. Healthy soil means healthy plants which are more resistant to diseases and garden pests. Worm castings hold nutrients so they are released slowly to plants and the nitrogen is also readily available.

One way to encourage these hard working composters is to mulch well, avoid herbicides and fungicides, and keep the soil moist. The thick layer of mulch will help loamy soil retain water well.  Worms don’t like acidic soil so ensure your soil pH is above 4.5 and avoid compacting the earth by providing walkways around your plants and keep tilling to an absolute minimum unless you really have to.

Another great idea is to start a worm farm and we will show you how to build a simple structure below. Worm farms turn kicthen waste into super compost without letting off greenhouse gases which saves the landfill and ultimately benefits the planet. There are some things to know before you provide a home to red wrigglers (Eisenia fetida) or redworms (Lumbricus rubellus). They are top level worms meaning they live in the top 30cm of soil. This means they will live near the top of your worm farm making them easier to feed.

They eat the equivalent of their body weight in a day thus providing the same amount of worm castings. Their environment should be kept withiin 15 degrees and 30 degrees. They can double their population every 6 – 8 weeks and they need bedding made from wet newspaper or wet shredded paper and cardboard. It’s also good to know that worm bins don’t smell so you can keep them indoors as well.

Did you know that the largest earthworm was found in South Africa in 1967 on the side of the road near King Williams Town and was close to 7 meters long?

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That Mayo

Vegan Mayo
When you taste That Mayo, you will know why it’s called That Mayo because That Mayo is in a complete class of it’s own. It’s not this mayo or merely a mayonnaise, it’s that mayo because it will be the best mayonnaise you will ever taste.

Once you try that mayo, no other mayonnaise will compare. Delicious is just not a good enough word to describe it so all we can say is try it for yourself and you can come up with your descriptive word for That Mayo.

Every lunch roll, picnic dipped veggie, hamburger and baked potato will be a gourmet’s treat with this condiment.

It’s outstanding, extraordinary and well… perfect in every way.

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Balsamic-Glazed Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello Mushrooms

Balsamic-Glazed Portobello Mushrooms
Serves 4
A splash of vinegar enhances these mushrooms to heavenly heights. Garlic adds a punch. The beauty is in the simplicity. Be careful not to overcook.

INGREDIENTS
3 medium-size portobello caps, sliced 5mm/ 1/4 in thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch salt
2 cloves garlic

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.
2. Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil until coated. Place in a pan in a single layer. Let cook for 5 minutes, until they start releasing moisture. Turn over and cook another 2 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar and salt; saute for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and saute for 3 more minutes. Tastes great warm, at room temperature, or chilled and used in a salad.

* To get the garlic as thin as possible use a straight razor blade to slice it.

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Unicorn Cafe October 2017 Update

 

I still can’t believe that it’s been a whole year since Unicorn Cafe was registered as a company. While we hoped to be able to set up shop in March 2017, the reality of growing a business brought us closer to earth. We still believe in the magic that this company will make and even though our dreams need more baking time, we are never letting them go.

We are still hunting for premises. Some say foot traffic is the most important point to consider when opening premises and while having a shop in a shiny mall seems absolutely fabulous, we are hesitant as malls have many rules and regulations. Some essential for health, safety and practicality but others are unnecessary and we don’t want to conform to quickly.

We know that those looking for real magic will know where we are and come to us. We are a creative and intellectual bunch and we want to fill our spaces with those that love to ask why? How? and Can we find a better way?

We could also raise some capital, let go of some shares to those with deep pockets (hoping for dividend payouts) but we would just be another company pleasing its shareholders while forgetting the ethics and principles of acquiring the things we need. Instead, we say profit is theft. While we want to grow and give you a magical community space, we don’t want to compromise our values. Therefore, we want to fund educational programs focusing on self sustainability and build our country from the bottom up and not from the top down.

In addition, it has been a year since I started planting seeds. I still feel like an amateur, however, when I look back and compare my success rates now to when I started, it is astounding how much I have learnt. My garden hasn’t replaced the grocery store’s fruit and vegetable section yet, but its been very giving despite my inexperience and terrible soil quality. Reading, persistence and optimism are rewarding still.

I recently attended a seed swapping event in Keurboom park and it dawned on me that this newsletter needs an events section. I realised that I learn valuable snippets of information when meeting like minded people and by sharing knowledge, we help each other grow so I will be sharing events that complement Unicorn Cafe values.

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Gardening Tips for September

September is the time to plant :

-Amaranth seeds
– Angelica seeds
– Basil seeds
– Beans – Pole/runner seeds
– Beetroot seeds
– Borage seeds
– Bronze Fennel seeds
– Cape Gooseberry seeds
– Capiscu,/Sweet Peppers seeds
– Carrot seeds
– Cauliflower seeds
-Celery seeds
– Chicory seeds
– Chives seeds
– Coriander seeds
– Corn Salad seeds
– Corn Maize seeds
– Cucumber seeds
– Dill seedlings
– Eggplant seeds
– Endive seeds
– Florence Fennel seeds
– French Taragon seedlings
– Ginger
– Jerusalem Artichoke seeds
– Leek seeds
– Lemon Balm seedlings
– Lettuce seeds
– Luffa seeds
– Melon/Cantaloupe seeds
– Mustard greens/Cress seeds
– NZ Spinach seeds
– Onion seeds
– Oregano seedlings
– Parsley seeds
– Parsnip seeds
– Potatoes
– Pumpkin seeds
– Radish seeds
– Rhubarb seeds
– Rocket seeds
– Rosemary
– Sage seeds
– Salsify seeds
– Shallot seedlings
– Spinach seeds
– Spring onion seeds
– Squash seeds
– Strawberry seedlings
– Strawberry plants
– Summer savoury seedlings
– Sunflower seeds
– Sweet Marjorum seedlings
– Swedes/Rutabagas seeds
– Sweet Potatoes
– Swiss Chard seeds
– Thyme seedlings
– Tomatillo seeds
– Tomato seeds
– Turnip seeds
– Watermelon seeds
– Winter savoury seedlings
– Zucchini/Courgette seeds

The summer seed list is long and now is the time to plant as much as you can. Water only when necessary and give moderate amounts to directly sown crops especially in heavier soils. If crops are overwatered, large seeds will rot before germinating and thickly sown crops could be victims to damping-off. You may loosen the soil carefully around perennial crops like globe artichokes, asparagus, rhubarb, and pole lima beans. Generous dressings of compost will prepare your plants for the summer ahead.

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COMMUNAL EFFORT

Communal effort or communal work is where the major goal is not personal but in the benefit of the community. The word Harambee appears in the Kenya coat of arms and translated this means ‘all pull together’ and there are many other translations for this word in many languanges and the importance of this concept is discussed.

The sum of what people can do together far outweighs what one can achieve individually and by embracing community effort, we can benefit individually too on many fronts.You acquire life skills and knowledge by engaging in community. Connecting and communicating with other individuals teaches us a lot about ourselves. We have an opportunity to grow from new experiences and we realise our strengths and weaknesses. We develop better interpersonal communication skills and learn how to share information in a more usable way. Being in different situations can help us discover hidden talents that may change our self worth. You may learn that you have good skills coping with a crisis or stressful situations. Perhaps you struggle to take charge and this experience helps develop skills in leadership, manage time better, work well with a team as well as finding solutions to real world problems with critical thinking.

Community work is a wonderful way to unite people from diverse backgrounds and be exposed to multiculturalism.  We also become aware of issues like social injustice and dispelling stereotypes and as we understand our community, we learn to foster more empathy and self efficacy. As we build bonds of trust and generate social weaves, we are also creating strong support networks with camaraderie and teamwork. We learn about functions and operation of government and local resources that are available to solve community needs. We also save resources by leaving more money to be available for local improvements. Volunteer work sometimes provides services to those who need it the most.

Volunteering is a great way to find work that suits you best because by working in different projects where team players have different roles, you get a better picture of where your interests lie. Volunteer work also looks good on a resume as this shows employers that you are a team player and that you have experience in work related skills. You may even be able to network with future employers and make contacts.

When people work together towards a common goal for the benefit of the community, self esteem improves and these people are more likely to get involved in current events and local affairs. The psychological effects are numerous. Volunteers experience overall life satisfaction and feel good about themselves  because of helping others. Community work decreases depression by interrupting usual tension-producing patterns and focusing on something other than oneself. Community is a strong support system for participants and often they can be physically healthy incorporating exercise like a beach or park cleanup.  Moods like optimism, joy & control over ones fate strengthen the immune system.  A human who tries to better himself and the planet earns the respect of those around.

,

Guerilla House

It’s time we value creative co-operations and collaboration. Let’s produce, promote and protect social networks and by being active members in your community, you will have a long lasting positive effect on society at large