The basis of the beautiful veggie circles rests in the philosophy of permaculture. It is about designing, implementing and maintaining permanent natural systems to cultivate land, plants, animals and people and to foster mutually beneficial and thus sustainable relationships between them.
The ethical foundation of permaculture is:
- Care of the Earth Reducing our impact on the environment and allowing all life forms to prosper and multiply.
- Care for People Caring for people starts with ourselves and include care for our families, neighbours, local and wider communities.
- Fair Share Setting limits to consumption and redistributing surplus to allow for abundance to flow.
On arrival at the proposed land it is studied and there is a ritual of communication with the space which includes asking permission to grow vegetables on it. If a feeling of hesitation is perceived, then the process is not started. Love in a Bowl has a very strong belief that the land is a fundamental part of the circle of life and there needs to be an agreement of participation. However peculiar this may seem, it surely is a valid point of reference when looking at the success of the program.
On the welcome of the land, the first step is to draw large circles onto the land which then get opened up with hoes, hands and shovels. It is then studied to establish the stage of life of the soil, at which point soil and compost will be added and turned into the ground to make it receptive to seedlings. Then a slow kneading process begins to really get the soil properly mixed with all the new nourishment and components for growth. There are absolutely no synthetic poisonous or chemical products administered – it is all totally natural.
Everything comes from Hout Bay whether it is someone’s “waste’ or good soil moved from one part to another. The vegetable circles are made up of all this goodness that starts in Hout Bay and ends in Hout Bay – a true circle of life. Combined this creates a beautiful soil.
Then the seedlings of 24 different vegetables and herbs are planted into the soil.The circles range from a diameter of 12 metres to 18 metres. Average of 200 square metres per circle.
In the centre of the circle we place one sprinkler that created a circular spray making the ground very moist to aid in the growing process.
Some of the vegetables are once off vegetables like a carrot, which after 3 months are harvested and that’s the end.
The aubergines, spinach in contrast are harvested off one single plant over a 12 month period. When their time is up, the roots which are full of nutrients for the next batch of seedling are massaged into the soil to enhance the nutrient rich soil. The next batch of seedling which are planted will be totally different vegetable variety like a cabbage for instance, which has never been grown in that patch of soil before. Each of the large vegetables and herbs circles have been 5 and 12 different vegetable varieties. A beautiful space showcasing the diversity of nature.
Organic vegetables grow by mimicking nature. They do not need the intervention of poisonous chemicals to survive and thrive. The beauty of the circles is that the more diversity of vegetables and herbs that are in the circle the stronger it becomes in defence against a single pest that will try to destroy it.
The lessons that can be drawn from this is that society can actually be the same. If everyone looks the same and thinks the same this weakens the group. We need diversity of thought, people, gender, history and cultures. The more complex we are the better it will be for our future and strength as a community.
Hout Bay is trying to say, we are strong in terms of nature and our social web.
This is what our veggie circles are – the complete statement of our future. A demonstration of being one community that celebrates diversity so we can walk into a futurere together with great strength.
Everyone’s contribution ends up being a beetroot, a carrot, a pepper and spinach. More importantly it also enhances social and spiritual strength.