Gardens Galore Pt. 1: Zornow Garden, Take 4

16 May 2012

As readers of our blog, you are probably quite familiar with our attempts at gardening here in Swaziland. Well… we’ve done it again. After returning from our trip to Victoria Falls, we were excited to see that the Grade 6s had joined us down in the school’s garden area with their own plots. We were less excited to see the tragic results this increased foot traffic had on our two little plots.

Looking on the bright side, we took this opportunity to ask permission to move our garden up by the house. Though many of the teachers thought it rather silly because we were leaving the ‘protection’ of the school’s garden fence, it was eventually embraced. We chose the flattest area next to our house and staked out our plots. With excitement we began to dig. Almost immediately, we began hitting enormous rocks. They were everywhere which made preparing the plots quite a challenge. Though, because of my incredible upper body strength (and even more incredible stubbornness), we continued on. Using a pick-ax to destroy our opposition, we successfully prepared the beds and began transplanting the wounded survivors from our former plot.

Because we don’t have a fence, we decided to take a little insurance policy and find a way to deter any small mammals (including curious children) from intruding in our garden by digging up and breaking off portions of our incredibly paranoid flora (with huge spikes growing all over the branches). We’ve placed them along the perimeter of the garden and are hoping for the best :-).

We are so happy that circumstances allowed us to move the garden closer to the house. Though the walk was not far before, we can now just pop-out to harvest something in the middle of the cooking dinner or to quickly water before heading down to school in the morning. It is also just great to gaze at the garden.

About a week in and our seeds are just starting to emerge. So far we’ve planted Carrots, Beetroot, Kohlrabi, Cucumbers (a strange, but intriguing spherical variety), Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, Peppers, Spinach, Wild Garlic, Chives, Cilantro, Thyme, Dill, and Rocket. We’re also taking a shot with two berry climbers that we got in town. It is so exciting to go out every morning to check what new growth there is.

For those of you back home—this is the perfect time to start a garden, swing down to the store and buy a pack of seeds. For other volunteers in Swaziland – take Ruby’s article from May’s SoJo to heart and plant some lettuce…there really is no bad time to start a garden here in Swaziland.

In fact, as volunteers, it is incredible to see the ripple effect of us having a more visible garden going. Two teachers have since started their own gardens and we’ve helped a number of community members build on what they were already doing. One community member was talking about her garden and I asked what she was growing. She has some spinach, but that was the only type of seedling she was able to get. Since we were in need of some spinach, we set up a swap. We got some spinach seedlings and she got to diversify her garden a little with some extras from our garden.

All in all, we hope Garden 4.0 will continue to be a success and we look forward to eating (and sharing) the produce of our efforts.
-Oliver
Rebecca is currently reading naked. I mean ‘Naked’ by David Sedaris
Oliver is reading: Garden guides, Travel books, and ‘Self Esteem Games: 300 fun activities that make children feel good about themselves’
We are watching: Shark Tank: Season 1 (Oliver), Frasier: Season 1, and House: Season 6

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