Jane's Delicious Garden Blog

Whirlwind week

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the September 14th, 2009

A crazy, romantic friend has decided to get married in Italy so we are leaving tomorrow to go to the Amalfi Coast. My ‘to do’ list is gradually being done. One of the things that has been adding to my busyness recently is the VEG project. Vegetables for Egoli Gas (VEG) began when I was asked by Simon at Egoli Gas if I could help install veggie gardens at their head office premises in Milpark. A few staff members had been growing some veggies here and there and he wanted to allocate one area for these aspiring veggie gardeners and help them grow more vegetables. I had recently returned from filming in Zimbabwe, where I had seen the success of the SCC’s (Swedish Co-operative Centre) smallholder farmer programme in action. Their method of study circles to spread information, mobilise farmers and create enthusiasm was core to the project’s success. I suggested to Simon that instead of me helping install vegetable gardens, why didn’t we see how many people were interested and rather use the study circle approach. This way I would not only be teaching how to grow veg, but also providing them with the tools to spread the information to their families and communities. He loved this idea and the project soon snowballed.

Instead of just a few guys who were planting some mealies and pumpkins on a spare patch, we had more than 30 people who wanted to learn how to grow vegetables. And more came from the management sector than from ops. What had started as an idea to help a few people with some vegetables, has turned into a very successful corporate and team building exercise. I have been holding a series of workshops with the team leaders and providing them with the material they need to pass the information on to their teams via study circles.

On Saturday members of the project gathered with their families to start clearing the land – nothing like a morning spent clearing dusty black jacks and monster bug weed to bond a team. A couple of sponsors have come on board to help them start their garden: Neutrog are providing organic fertiliser, Mayford are giving packets of seeds and a huge pile of organic compost is already on site, donated by Earth to Earth.

Before any clearing started:


After the clearing:


Clearing in progress:


Families helping:


Hard work!


With some of the team leaders:


Everybody was delighted to discover raised beds under all the growth. They even found a few carrots and onions – somebody has been here before us!


Discussing finer points of compost:


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