from the earth

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hout bay green faire this saturday!

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-10-27 08:46

Hout Bay Green Faire - Sat 29 Oct 10amHout Bay Green Faire - Sat 29 Oct 10am

One of our favourite events on the green calendar. The Hout Bay Green Faire 2011 has something for everyone. You'll be able to find information and products for greening your lifestyle and lowering your ecological footprint, gifts and entertainment for the kids and yummy local and organic food, plus a whole lot more. An authentic green exhibition in the open air! (remember sunscreen, depending on weather).

There is a REALLY COOL line up of talks on the day, view the Hout Bay Green Faire Programme here.

Some highlights include:
Sue Visser showing you how to make and use probiotics for garden and human health.

Andy Le May on sustainability as the new norm the "realisation that what each of us does is essential in forging the world we want our kids to live in.”

Anthea Torr providing insight into living in peace and harmony to heal ourselves and the planet.

Rod Tritton uncovering some mind-expanding mysteries in his new book Exploring Mystery, Changing History, Taking Responsibility

Tony Budden on the process


the intrepid bee-keeper

Submitted by sproutscout on Wed, 2011-10-05 11:36

Peter Clarke demonstrating different types of honeyPeter Clarke demonstrating different types of honey

“It’s been my experience that beekeepers grow old”, says 90 year old Peter Clarke to the crazy folk who have decided to attend his bee-keeping course. He can’t explain why it happens, all the stings , all the goodness of propolis and raw honey, but most of the beekeepers Clarke knows live well into their 90s. And thus he introduced to us one of the many things we could look forward to by the end of the class in May next year.

For now I’ll tell a story to illustrate a few safety tips. I think this should be the beginning of every beekeeping course – though my class learned these lessons the hard experiential way. This is the story of our first ever ‘suit-up’, after weeks of talking and learning about it – our first ever interaction with the bees:


happy birthday greenpop!

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-09-08 08:51

greenpop one year old this monthgreenpop one year old this monthIt's amazing what can be achieved in a year, just received this in from the Greenpop team:

Dear volunteer - legend - person we love,

Greenpop turned 1 last week on 1 September and we would like to say a gigantic THANK YOU for your support during our first year. We couldn't have done it without you and we're so grateful.

We can't believe it's been 1 year and so much has happened.
In the last 12 months, Greenpop has:

  • planted just over 7000 trees at more than 100 beneficiary locations
  • hosted 2 successful Education Days in collaboration with SANBI and Kirstenbosch for our beneficiary ground staff and teachers
  • started up a grey water system which sees school children watering and caring for their trees
  • had 723 volunteers signing up through our website
  • been chosen as one of the winners of the International
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city gardens - send us your pictures

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-06-07 09:49

This set of city garden pictures, captured by artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg, records the rise of community gardening in post-industrial locations, as residents attempt to 'bind the community together and improve their environments'.

Send us your pictures so that we can compile similar for South African city gardens to sprouts[@]urbansprout.co.za

Or post it on our facebook page.

Images can be of community gardens, rooftop gardens, pavement gardens, your own veggie garden at home, container gardens, pond gardens, windowsill gardens! If you're into gardening (vegetable, indigenous, exotic, whatever) and live in one of SA's great cities (extended metropolitan area's too!) then share your photo!


mad about makana mead

Submitted by sproutscout on Mon, 2011-05-16 09:09

The welcome sign at iQhilika MeaderyThe welcome sign at iQhilika Meadery

In an old abandoned power station on the outskirts of Grahamstown, a wacky scientist has something brewing in his lab. With a touch of technology used to modify an age-old recipe, the concoction is set to solve problems of sustainability, biodiversity, unemployment, and help us have a good time while we do so. It is something quite undeniably magical that comes in the form of a bottle of honey mead.

The iQhilika Meadery (named for the isiXhosa mead) in Grahamstown was started ten years ago as a part of Dr Garth Cambray’s PhD research project, and now produces about 15 000 bottles of mead a year. I spoke to Cambray about mead, constructive economics and the innovative systems at iQhilika…

Mead production in decline
Mead is an age-old recipe of fermenting honey to make wine. With the declining bee populations in Europe, mead production in


cat mint: ecstasy for cats

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-03-10 11:39

whiskers, locked on cat mintwhiskers, locked on cat mintWe have a neighbourhood cat (Whiskers) that loves to frequent our garden and increasingly, our home. She's a juvenile kitty and quite entertaining at the best of times. This morning though, she was seriously amped, intoxicated by the Cat Mint I bought for her over the weekend.

Is this stuff legal for cats? Should there be any limit to the amount we give her? She's going crazy for it.

Too late. The Cat Mint is gone it's been totally ravaged, plucked from the pot it was bought in, nibbled, chewed and digested. She looks fine but is behaving weirdly... eyes have a far off gaze, rolling on her back, licking my fingers...

The Catnip wikipedia article makes interesting reading:
Catnip and catmints are mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, not only domestic cats but big cats also (lions, tigers, leopards, etc.) When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, or heavily salivate. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or

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Food for thought

Submitted by sproutnewb on Wed, 2011-02-23 11:33

Did you know that 26 apples grown in 1997 collectively contain the same nutritional content as 1 apple grown in 1914? This is one of many shocking facts presented in the “Super foods for radiant health” talk which I attended last night. The talk was given by a company called Super foods which was started by Peter and Beryn Daniel who are both UK-trained, Raw Food Chefs working towards raising raw food consciousness in South Africa.

“I can’t live on rabbit food!”


spider, spider burning bright...

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-02-07 12:37

This incredible pic was taken the other night in our garden, with an ordinary 'point and click' digital camera. She's one of a series of rather big, scary-looking eight-legged creatures that come out at night above our vegetable garden to spin their webs.

We're grateful for them though, as they keep the bugs at bay...


a bountiful garden

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-01-11 10:16

our tomato crop has been incredible this year...


grow to live review

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2010-08-26 10:47

Grow to Live: By Pat FeatherstoneGrow to Live: By Pat FeatherstoneGrow to Live: A simple guide to growing your own good, clean food is a book that every South African food gardener, whether novice or not, needs to have on their bookshelf. I've become quite a collector of gardening books and there are some really informative books out there. Some were written in the 80's and 90's, or earlier, when it was fashionable to nuke your vegetables with every herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and other -icide known. You were advised to routinely spray with the likes of Malathion, Karbaspray, Metasystox and other chemical weapons of mass destruction. And you had to know all about applying the right proportion of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) ala 2:3:2, 2:3:4, 3:2:1 or whatever. Well, following this advice would lead to a 5:4:3:2:1 explosion and the death of life in your garden.

So now you know what the book is not about, enter Grow to Live. This is a book that will make your heart soar as an organic gardener. The book distills the considerable knowledge


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