Articles Posted in the Garden category

New adventures with vegetables

January 12, 2009
Posted in Garden

I’ve been growing veggies in a very haphazard way for a few years. Well, to be honest, I think things grow in my veg patch despite my attempts at gardening and not because of them; what survives seems to have either seeded itself there, or been planted and looked after by the man who comes once a week to keep my garden under control.

But this year I’ve decided to take my vegetable garden more seriously, because …

  • I want to grow food that’s free of pesticides and artificial fertilisers so that I know exactly what I’m feeding my kids.
  • I want to try to eat food that I know is locally grown and in season (to lower my carbon footprint) and what better way to do this than to grow it myself?
  • I want my children to know where their food comes – that brocolli does not appear miraculously from the heavens washed and in a microwavable plastic bag – and not to be squeamish about snails and worms or having to wash off a bit of soil.

Being able to grow food is an important skill that most of my generation seems to have lost. Fifty years ago a lot more people grew their own fruit and veg in urban gardens. Not so long ago I wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether cucumbers grew on trees or under the ground – which is just pathetic. Regaining that knowledge is important, I think, not only to help get us back in touch with nature but also to learn to lead less wasteful lives.

You’re welcome to join me on my gardening adventures: it’s always useful to be able to learn from other people’s mistakes. And, feel free to offer advice or ideas.

Happy New Year.


New carbon footprint calculator for cellphones launched by WWF

October 22, 2008
Posted in Green tips, Lifestyle

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has launched an easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator for cellphones in partnership with – the first of its kind in South Africa.

Called MyCO2Print, it is far simpler than the carbon footprint calculators on the web, says Carolyn Cramer of the WWF. “This is intentional. We wanted a tool which would enable South Africans to measure their carbon footprint in terms of travel and energy use and to try to improve it on a monthly basis.”

MyCO2 footrprint asks just five easy questions:

  • how many people there are in your household;
  • how many kilometres a month your household drives and in what kind of car (small, medium or large);
  • what’s your household air travel in kms;
  • how much you spend a month on electricity; and
  • how many kgs of gas you use.

It will then calculate how many kgs of carbon your household produces per month; how much carbon you as a member of that household contribute per month, which you can compare to an average user; and what your approximate cost to the environment is per month in rands. (This calculation is based on figures derived from the Stern Report, the WWF says.) Then it’ll tell you whether you’re doing well or not and offer a useful energy saving tip.

A very handy feature is that it remembers your data so next time you use the calculator you can compare your results, this is a quick and easy way to measure how lifestyle changes you and your family make benefit the environment.

The WWF hopes the MyCO2Print will appeal to young people in particular. “We envisage school teachers using it as a innovative tool in the classroom to educate on climate change and the environment,” says Cramer.

To try out the MyCO2Print calculator, sms CO2 to 34017. Your phone must be wap-enabled. SMSs are charged at R2.00.

Something to make vegans feel smug

August 27, 2008
Posted in Food

South Africa is a meat-eating nation. Only in Cape Town will you get away with cooking a butternut or vegetable sosaties on a braai – anywhere else, if there’s isn’t at least chops and wors, you’ll offend your guests. But, sadly, our meat-loving ways are not environmentally friendly.

AFP reports on a German study that says:
– A diet that includes meat produces about double the amount of greenhouse gases as a vegetarian diet (over a period of 12 months it’s the same as driving a mid-sized car 4,758km versus 2,427km, they say).
– Going vegan, which means giving up meat and dairy products, would cut the emissions dramatically (to the equivalent of driving 629km).
– If you’re a vegan and your food’s organic, your food footprint is even smaller (the equivalent of driving 281km).

Via :: The Star