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Grow it yourself challenge
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Posted by Danville Park Girls' High School, South Africa on 8 September 2019
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Harvesting spinach
Harvesting spinach

The Environmental Monitors and members of Environmental Society researched how to plant vegetables using permaculture techniques. The dangers of pesticides and artificial fertilizers were also highlighted. We planted spinach seedlings only (we know this is not ideal, but from previous experience this is what grew best and our mischievous monkeys at school also do not have a liking for spinach).  Marigolds were planted amongst the vegetables to act as a natural insect replant. In order to prevent evaporation of water from the soil we also learned to place hay or grass clippings on top of the soil. This would cut down on the amount of water needed by the plants. We also made all sorts of suggestions about containers to grow vegetables in.

Whenever possible, rain water from one of our rain water tanks nearby was used for watering. Environmental Monitors were put in charge of looking after the gardens on a roster basis. When the spinach was ready, it was harvested and donated to the Domino feeding scheme. We support this scheme every Thursday by making sandwiches. So the spinach was sent with the sandwiches.      

We also tried germinating and growing a number of indigenous seeds this year from seeds collected in the Danville gardens. These were initially planted in egg boxes. They were later transplanted to coke bottles cut in half. Unfortunately the only seeds we had success with were the agapanthus seeds. These will eventually be planted out in the school gardens. We are presently trying to grow cycad seeds. Apparently they can take up to 3 months to germinate, so we are patiently waiting to see signs of life.    

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