We were recently invited to attend an Urban Gardening Course through Curiosity Campus. Offering “convenient learning about cutting-edge topics and need-to-know skills“, we were particularly interested in this topic.
We started our vegetable and herb planter almost immediately after we moved into our flat two years ago, and have sadly not paid too much attention to it since. We water it, and try and keep everything alive – but we sound learned that this wasn’t enough.
An intimate glass with Tarryn Rice, a permaculture expert, the class was held at Oude Moulen Eco Village in Pinelands. We started with a ‘theory’ class – learning everything from how to build a planter box, the foundations of permaculture (permanent + agriculture), and a practical exercise of where in our flats / homes a planter would be best suited, and what to plant in it.
After the theory – which had us all jotting down useful notes and tips – we headed outside into the almost-drizzle to get started on our container gardens. It was also our first time at Oude Moulen and we were surprised at the little eco-wonderland we discovered. Horses, chickens, a nursery and coffee shop – we’re definitely going to return for a more leisurely wander around the grounds.
Due to the slightly miserable weather, we headed into one of the sheds to get started on our container gardens. After lining our containers and filling them with nutrient-rich potting soil, we started with our lettuce, spring onions, coriander, thyme and marigolds, choosing where to place them all in the container.
From the outset, I was particularly terrified of the coriander – as we’d tried to grow it before, with no success. We mentioned this to Tarryn, saying that whenever it was slightly warm, it would just give up and die. She pointed out the obvious – put it somewhere less sunny. Two weeks later, it’s still alive. It’s amazing how easily we ignore the obvious sometimes.
The biggest take out from the morning was acknowledging how easily we take, but so seldom put anything back. We’ll pick spinach and herbs, eat it – but then forget to put anything back in the system. From this, the point was reiterated that this all forms part of a system, and that nothing should leave it. Dead leaves, unused bits of vegetables and even weeds, should be added back to the system. From this, we’ve also reinvigorated our Bokashi in an effort to give our poor planter a little more love.
We went home with a container garden each (you can read Luke’s blog post about the morning here) and a renewed respect and excitement for our attempt at a green balcony. This was two weeks ago, and our lettuces are already much bigger, thyme going strong – and coriander is alive!
You can view upcoming Curiosity Campus workshops here.