Welcome to Starshine Organics – a journal about our urban homesteading project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
About two years ago, we decided that we would like to have our own vegetable patch in the garden, and after sowing the first batch of cabbage, lettuce, tomato, and cauliflower, we were quite pleased with the resulting harvest! However, crop number two was a total failure, and I guess the first lesson learned is that food does not just get created out of nothing, and even food needs food to grow.
It is almost embarrassing just how simple this basic truth is, but the quality of the crop has everything to do with the quality and the nutrient quotient of the of the soil it’s in!! Our first crop was good, because we were sowing in virgin soil, but by the time the second crop was germinating, all the nutrients had been depleted by the previous crop. That’s when we started learning about feeding the soil first,and this blog will serve as our journey along this wonderful voyage of discovery!
Our first realization was that the soil needs to be fed all the time, and that nature has a wonderful cyclic method of feeding itself, and we have no choice but to be an intrinsic part of that cycle! All that nature asks is that we return whatever we don’t use back to her, and from that she will provide us with all of the good stuff we need on a daily basis to thrive.
At this point I would like to qualify that I will be approaching this blog from a creationist point of view, and that the basic premise of the content here is based on creation as opposed to evolution. Creation implies a Creator, and it is to the Great Creator God, that this blog is dedicated.
So when any reference is made to “nature” or “mother nature”, or anything similar,and where any intrinsic intelligence is seemingly attributed to these references, or implied, it is to be understood that all of creation and its systems are subject to the grand design of God.
I would also like to mention, and refer visitors to, the source of inspiration for this project we have undertaken: Urban Homestead
The first thing we realized was that we needed to establish and maintain a constant source of food (compost) for the plants in the garden, and at face value, that did seem a bit daunting, but it was not long before we realized that we could hardly keep up with the processing of all the raw material that was available for the compost bins:
• grass cuttings from mowing the lawn
• leaf rakings
• egg shells
• fruit and vegetable peelings and offcuts from the kitchen table
• old newspapers and egg boxes
• …and the list just goes on and on
Other great composting raw material is horse, cattle or sheep manure, or even
chicken manure, if you can source any of this for free – remember the whole idea is to spend as little money as possible on growing your own food, or else you defeat the whole object of the exercise!
We were fortunate enough to be given a whole stack of packaging palates by one of Daleen’s clients, and from these were were able to knock together several compost bins, in which to start preparing the compost for the garden.
Pics: Compost bins – work in progress:
As you can see from the above, one really does not have to spend much on getting
going, and I definitely focused on function above form – you just want to create
some space where the raw material can be kept compact, dark and moist, so that
nature can get on with reducing it to plant food (compost).
Well, this was the beginning of our serious urban homesteading – WATCH THIS SPACE as we share this journey with you!