A dream coming true.

Since I moved to my farm one of my priorities has been to become as self-sustainable as possible. Last winter I attempted growing some vegetables. I only had one bed and although I got some rocket, tomatoes and a few leeks I fought an ongoing battle with heat, hippos, buck and a zillion creepy crawlies (and my cat who thought it was his giant litter box).

In our climate it is ideal to have a cool or shaded house to grow veggies.  I have been lucky enough to have been able to trade some old fence poles and fencing with a local farmer and friend Alf. He is building me a shade-cloth house.  The work began on Saturday and should be finished in the next week or two.  Just in time for me to start as our main growing season which starts in February, going right through our winter and into spring. Not much grows between November and January when we have our hottest months.

Here are a few pictures of the veggie house going up.  90% of the resources used to build it are recycled which fits into my plans perfectly.  Now I just have to find 50 old broken plastic crates as I will be using them as beds. I have to line them with old shade cloth too so I am also searching for bits and pieces from local farmers.

As you can see, it looks like a big cloth tent.  It is stitched onto the frame.  We just need to get the sides up and the gate put in and it will be ready for service.  At last I can begin growing my food in earnest.

15 thoughts on “A dream coming true.

  1. Trust me – a shade cloth veggie house works a treat! We hit 35oC + for 3 – 4 months of summer! Apparently, my spinach is so big my neighbour wants to call the cops and mention that there are some h-u-g-e- “forbidden” plants growing on our plot. Nope, we do NOT partake of that weed – it’s just my neighbours sense of humour.🙂

    And, if you pair the shadecloth veggie house with lots of compost and some porous pipe (made from recycled tyres), you’ll have a low water consumption, mega producing winner!

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      • Jackie – Not sure if it’s local – give Tina a call / drop her a mail and she’ll let you know. But the benefits of saving water outweigh the transport footprint for me. Without water we have nothing…

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  2. So happy for you. We’re not able to grow much here on our island as there is only a couple inches of soil on top of the rock. So we try to container garden but we still have to fence it to keep the deer out. Enjoy getting your hands dirty!

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  3. Will lettuce and other summer crops like summer squashes do well in these shade veggie houses? We battle so in the extreme humid summer months at the coast too (Durban area)

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    • The squashes should be ok but they take up so much space – I just grow them in winter instead outside of the shade house. I am going to give lettuce a try but I believe it may still be difficult – I just use other leaves like rocket and baby spinach – it’s a lot easier. Will let you know how it goes. I will be planting the ones where you can harvest a leaf at a time instead of a whole head.

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  4. Jackie, a friend of mine had huge success using old car tyres for growing veggies in – using the shade cloth idea as well, but putting the tyres down as different “beds” – it kept it very moist with the water collecting inside etc… just a thought… it worked like a bomb for him.

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