From Garden to Table
It was one of our visions to have seasonal vegetables planted and use them directly from the garden to the table. We just haven’t had the time to do so, but with this pandemic lockdown, we decided it is the appropriate time to get this project off the ground (or rather in the ground).
At our Educational Centre, we have beautiful gardens with plants like lavender, roses, and African daisies. A couple of months ago we received small Mountain tortoises that were illegally destined for the pet trade. We will rehabilitate and set them free on the reserve.
By feeding these rescued tortoises, we placed in one of the flower beds as a temporary enclosure, a tomato plant came up and grew to a beautiful specimen. We have harvested numerous delicious heirloom tomatoes from this plant, and it inspired us to convert this flower bed to a vegetable garden. It is the perfect spot for planting vegetables as it is an east facing raised bed. We transplanted most of the flowering plants to a new spot and kept the ornamental and delicious Cumquat and Calamondin trees.
We have installed water harvesting tanks when the building was erected. These tanks collect rainwater from the roofs, transported through gutters, and then the aid of the tanks in storing this water. Each tank has a tap to which we can connect a hosepipe and water the flower and vegetable beds.
After planting winter vegetables like brown onion, beetroot, celery, Portuguese cabbage, and frilly lettuces we added some parsley and African marigolds to aid in the control of possible bug visits.
Our approach is to grow everything as organically as possible. So, we are learning so much about companion planting and alternative ways of keeping unwanted creatures from the vegetables.
It has been 5 weeks from planting the seedlings and we have started enjoying the lettuce from the garden. We realise the importance of food production, especially in these trying times, and am looking forward to repurposing more of the flower beds to vegetable gardens. Nothing is as satisfying as to pick one’s own vegetables and enjoy them in the various dishes at our Bistro.