#raised beds


My first garden is growing so well! I can’t wait to eat these

Congratulations on a job well done!

#raised beds #leafy greens

(via blackfemalebotanist)


I was very successful growing brassicas, Red Kuri Squash, Tomatoes (fertilised by leftover liquid coffee), and other crops in fermenting straw bales this year. Peppers were not successful in these gardens.

The bales provide nutrition, heat, and worm food as they break down, which extends the growing season and accelerates crop cycles. The resulting soil is light and fluffy, allowing for excellent root penetration. Ambient heat around the fermenting bales creates a microclimate, which allows me to keep growing cold-tolerant crops, even after frost.

My four main straw bale gardens were arranged in a long row, enclosed by a wattle fence I made out of red dogwood, coppiced in the local area.

After removing the summer crops, the bales were looking a little worse for wear, so I removed the bale twine, and manually compressed them by about 20cm (picture 2, above). I also added a top-dressing of more soil.

The result is, they have broken down into one long raised bed! I have planted it with my over-winter crops of broccoli romanesco, kale, and some short crops of pak choi and various salad greens. In the coldest parts of winter, I’ll easily be able to fit a row cover over the raised bed.

This was my first year growing in straw bale gardens, and I am thus far very happy with the result. I was glad I had the foresight to build a retaining wall around them, and my advice for folks looking to try these gardens would be to do the same. My two free-standing straw bales gardens will be cannabalised into mulch at the end of the season.

Read more: Straw Bale Gardens (USA / Canada / UK & Europe)


Pulled up the garden and sent in the clean up crew.

#chickens #raised beds #potager #gardens


Monday Nature-break: I’m pretty smitten with our mango tree right now, 22 years old, just past a bountiful fruiting and leaf-renewal, and the healthiest and prettiest it has ever been. I’m quite sure its new-found vigor is due to our placing a compost-rich, generously-watered raised bed of veggies right outside the tree’s canopy drip line, where its far-reaching roots drink up all the goodness.

That is the benefit of a permacultural “guild,” or polyculture planting!

Masterpost: Can't afford to buy things for your garden?

Here is a masterpost of ways to create the materials you need for a beautiful, organic, productive garden, by both re-directing household waste, and foraging in your local area. I use a lot of these tricks in my garden to make it almost completely free for me to continue growing new things, while expanding the workable area every year!

This basic guide covers free sources of:

  • Fertiliser
  • Soil and soil amendments
  • Mulch and weed barriers
  • Container gardens
  • Trellises
  • Paving
  • Greenhouses
  • Seeds and Plants

#garden hacks



New Chicken Tractor!  Fits over raised beds and contains two 3 month old Rhode Island Reds.

I like the idea of designing a chicken tractor to fit over raised beds! Might give this a try next spring!

#DIY #chickens #raised beds


About 4-5 months ago, I shared a few snap shots of my MIL’s newly installed garden beds. Everything was still frosty and barren in the Spring.Fast forward to now, we helped her bring in a pretty nice harvest this year.

And yes my MiL is really that tall; the woman is a Viking.

#harvest #raised beds


  1. Water tank: Filtered water is kept in the tank and slowly released into the breadbaskets below
  2. Vegetables growing in breadbasket: Breadbaskets filled with porous lava stoned are used to grow vegetables. The stones and vegetables roots trap the nutrients and filter the water which then flows into the fish tank below.
  3. Fish droppings enrich the water with nutrients for growing vegetables
  4. A variety of small vegetables can be grown such as swiss chard, cows peas, eggplants, sweet peppers, etc.
  5. Pump: A solar powered or had pump recycles the water to the top tank, ready for the cycle to start again.
  6. Chickens provide meat and eggs for consumption and/or for sale. Their droppings are captured and used to feed the fish.


This unique system integrates fish, poultry and vegetable farming using recycled water. It is designed to maximise the yield of each component, whilst minimising the amount of water required. Our research has shown that Haller’s aquaponics system uses only 2% of the water conventionally needed for the same vegetable production. This is particularly important in drought-prone areas in Africa.  Haller’s aquaponics system is also affordable, it is made with low cost materials that can be found locally.

We have made several changes to this initial design – in particular to the fish tanks.  A revised illustration is currently being worked on.

Video here

#aquaponics #upcycle #DIY