“Every home must have a garden” declares Ntombenhle Mtambo passionately. Not content with turning her tiny back yard into a food forest, Ntombenhle has been pestering the uMngeni Municipality for the past 8 years to allow her to use a vacant plot, which residents have been using as a dumping site, for a food garden. This is a collection of photos taken between August and December 2014 of the progress made on the corner of Mhlongo and Stadium Roads in Mpophomeni.
Volunteers began by clearing the rubbish from the site
eish, so much buried plastic!
Once the fence was up, real gardening could start. Thanks Hilton and Howick Rotary for sponsoring the fence.
“This is so important,” Ntombenhle says, “Everyone should have the ability to afford a healthy lifestyle. In this garden we will share skills and teach people to recycle all the things they think are waste.”
The first swales is marked and dug
More beds and swales spread across the site
Everyone is learning as they work.
Seedlings are gathered from gardens at home
and planting the beds begins.
How wonderful the gardens are already taking shape. Ntombenhle, your enthusiasm is contagious. I shall be sure to remember you next time we are harvesting seedlings from the Khula Shanti gardens. Also, remember to get some sunflowers in – they are such HAPPY plants and grow well alongside mielies. Very proud of you, well done.” Carol Segal Khula Shanti Food Gardens
“Wonderful work, hope we can work with this remarkable group into 2015. African Conservation Trust will definitely be contacting them! Well done, now to spread the virus of gardening for food!” Francois du Toit African Conservation Trust
Trees and shrubs for windbreaks and shelter are planted.
“This is fantastic Ntombenhle and team. Well done on your perseverance and hard work. I can’t wait to come and visit your garden and contribute my two cents worth of plants.” Karen Zunckel KZN Sustainability Forum
Compost and cardboard is collected from around the township and people are encouraged to donate grass clippings to use as mulch.
Then work starts on the other side of the garden – more clearing, more swales, more beds…
“Congratulations to everyone who is working so hard to grow food in Mpophomeni! You are all an inspiration. I hope to stop by and see for myself what you have done. A dream becoming reality.” Christeen Grant, Boston
The herb spiral is marked out
The nursery is started and before you know it, passers by are stopping to buy seedlings.
Trees are labelled
Pedestrians stop to read the signs.
Everything starts to grow!
The garden gets greener every week!
Radishes are the first crop we can eat.
We can already harvest and sell greens!
Hope, Maxwell and Skhumbuzo are our garden champions – volunteering every day whatever the weather.
We need to keep watering in the summer heat. Luckily, the small stream keeps flowing strongly.
Mulch is essential to help keep the soil cool.
The sunflowers are reaching for the sky!
The green beans are climbing the old fence!
The radishes are so big now, we don’t know what to do with them!
Ntombenhle concludes “This piece of land is going to bring lots of fun, unity in the community, new skills and challenges. I can see a bright future if the community roll up their sleeves and learn to make money out of waste and gardening.”
Come and see for yourself what is happening on the corner of Mhlongo and Stadium Roads in Mpophomeni. Or like us on facebook.com/MpopConserve