Guerrilla House holds workshops and facilitates spaces for volunteering and learning simultaneously. We have attended their workshops on low-tech mushroom growing and biodegradable soap making. They also offer workshops on permaculture, grey water systems, growing your own food and more. Their interactive approach to teaching makes the workshops fun and inspiring. We highly recommend them and you can find their Facebook page here
It is the time to plant:
– Angelica seeds
– Broad Beans seeds
– Beetroot seedlings
– Cabbage seedlings
– Carrots seeds
– Cauliflower seeds
– Celery seeds
– Chinese Cabbage seedlings
– Chives seeds
– Collard seedlings
– Dill seedlings
– Horseradish seeds
– Kale seedlings
– Lettuce seeds
– Mint seeds
– Mizuna seeds
– Mustard green seeds
– Onion seeds
– Oregano seedlings
– Parsley seeds
– Potato seeds
– Radish seeds
– Rocket seeds
– Spring Onion seedlings
– Swedes/Rutabagas seeds
– Sweet marjoram seedlings
– Swiss Chard seedlings
– Thyme seeds
– Turnip seeds
Support peas with twigs, branches or twine and give a light side dressing or liquid fertiliser.
Not Crazy about using Bone Meal or Blood Meal?
There are various alternatives to enrich your soil with phosphorus.
Make your own compost: This is the cheapest and easiest way to feed your plants and it’s a great way to recycle kitchen scraps.
Alfalfa Meal, Flax Seed Meal, Cotton Seed Meal and Soy Meal are all packed with nitrogen.
Kelp extract – It’s packed with micronutrients. (You may want to double-check the ingredients before you buy as some companies mix this up with other products like fish.)
Green manures/nitrogen-fixing plants – Wheat, oats, rye, vetch, or clover are fast growing plants and can be grown and worked into the soil before planting your seeds/seedlings. These crops can absorb nutrients that would otherwise be leached, and these nutrients are then returned to the soil when the crop is tilled under.
Epsom salts : An excellent source of magnesium, it encourages green foliage.
Seaweed – Fresh, liquid or meal , it has lots of potassium and other trace elements.
Beneficial Microorganisms – Beneficial microorganisms work harmoniously with plants to increase nutrient availability in the soil, root formation and insect resistance.
Vermiculture or Vermicastings – Worm castings increase soil fertility and structure.
Mulching suppresses weeds and creates an excellent environment for worms. It also feeds the soil as it breaks down.
Compost teas are nitrogen rich.
Organic Planting Recipe
When planting anything from annuals to trees, you can use this recipe made in a bucket.
Briefly dip the roots of each plant into it, or spray it onto the root ball.
Mix the first 3 ingredients in one pail and after dipping the plant, rub the fungi onto the roots separately.
Amounts will change depending on the product you buy. Make sure you get products allowed in organic gardening and follow the instructions on the label.
Water – 3.8 liters
Sea Minerals – 5 Tbsp
Liquid seaweed – 5 Tbsp
Endo/Ectomycorrhizal Fungi – 5 ml per plant
With the drought heavily upon us in the Western Cape, alternative water sources are becoming more important than ever. Grey water is water collected after showering, bathing, using basins, and washing dishes or clothes. (It does not include water from the toilet, which is called black water.)
If you grow your own food, this grey water could be used to water your fruit trees and vegetables.
Growing veggies using household grey water simply makes sense. It saves water in the long run and, with a bit of knowledge about composting, crop rotation, rainwater collection and other gardening topics, you could be well on your way to becoming self-sustainable. Apart from saving money, you’ll also avoid supporting monocrop farming which destroys arable landand and places a heavy burden on water resources.
Grey water contains nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, and plants can produce a higher yield if grey water is substituted for normal municipal water. Soapy water can also repel pests like aphids.
It is important to remember to use biodegradable products as many cleaning products can damage or kill your plants. Aside from containing harmful chemicals that can harm humans, animals and plants, many cleaning products on the shelves of supermarkets have also been tested on animals. It makes sense to diversify our shopping habits and look into more sustainable solutions in the way we live our lives on a daily basis.
There are companies that install grey water systems and these can cost anything from R2 000 to R10 000. We have found that the most affordable and easiest option is to purchase a WaterWarrior for + – R110. This is a fitting which connects your drain outlet pipe to a 25mm hosepipe. You can then let the water run straight into your garden. Most drain outlet pipes are 50mm or 40mm in diameter. The WaterWarrior connects to a 50mm drain outlet pipe. However, a 40mm connector ring can be purchased for 40mm outlet pipes.
- WaterWarrior (and a connecting ring if you have 40mm outlet pipes)
- Plumbing tape
- 25mm garden hose or irrigation pipe
For more instructions on how they are installed, you can watch this video
- Use grey water within 24 hours. Pathogens can develop if it is stored too long
- Use biodegradable, environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Don’t use fabric softener, half a cup of vinegar is the best substitute .
- Oily water is not good for soil so rinsing pots and pans in a little hot water first is beneficial
- Don’t use water from washing nappies or clothes soiled by faeces
- Don’t use grey water if anyone in the house is suffering from an infectious disease
Our packaging policy is inspired by Lauren Singer. We find her zero waste lifestyle truly inspirational and although we can’t ship products without packaging, we do use compostable containers. We’ve also adopted the old milk bottle system – using jars that you can bring back for refills.
I came across Lauren’s story a couple of years ago and some of you may have watched her TED Talk or read about her before. The jar she is holding in the picture contains all the trash she produced in three years. Crazy, don’t you think? It seems impossible, but here she is, saying it’s doable. Small changes in the right direction make for an excellent start. Lauren is an environmental studies graduate from New York University and former sustainability manager at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
She has also inspired us to develop our own range of house brand cleaning products that are biodegradable and make grey water suitable for watering your plants. This includes washing powder, hard soap, liquid soap and dishwashing liquid, to mention a few. These products are still in the process of being listed on our website, but if you would like to place an order, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get on it right away.
We also stock FreshBags – durable, lightweight, reusable bags that you can use to pack and weigh loose fruit and veg at the supermarket. They’re a great alternative to the single-use plastic bags found in the fruit and veg sections of most everyday grocery stores.
NEW STOCK: FreshBags (approximately 26cm x 24cm) are made from a lightweight nylon mesh.
You can use them for weighing loose fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, and they are fully reusable. Did you know that the bags on a roll in the fruit and veg section of regular grocery stores are usually not recycled in this area? They are far more likely to end up in a landfill. Unfortunately, there is no giant vacuum that can suck our garbage into an alternate dimension, but you can order your FreshBags from email@example.com for R60 each.