Gardening tips - Prepare for Spring

    Nowadays, with the corporate job taking up so many waking hours, many home owners simply employ a garden service company to maintain their gardens, thereby ensuring that the precious hours after work and on weeekends are available for recreation and family time.

Unfortunately, by using these services their gardens are slowly being depleted of its natural nutrients. Garden service companies sweep up leaves off paving, clean out beds of all fallen leaves and twigs and remove all pruning and shaping refuse from the property.

"Unwanted" green refuse items are those of most value to a garden as their decompostion process returns the necessary macro and micro nutrients they absorbed from the soil back into the soil. It in itself, is a natural recycling program.

During the process of landscaping a garden, landscapers add compost to the soil to provide a rich environment for the newly planted plants to grow in. This is generally effective for between 1 - 2 years, depending on the quality and quantity of the original compost, the extent of watering and the regularity of garden services conducted. All too often the owner of the property is not aware of this and a visit back to the property 3 or 4 years after the garden has been landscaped illustrates just this in the lack of quality of plant and growth.

Our Spring gardening tip is to keep plants continually healthy by following a good soil enrichment process at least once every 2 or 3 years, depending on the quality and quantity of compost utilised. Earthworm compost or mushroom compost are two of the most enriched composts available.

With regular fertilisation of the garden and lawn (see our 2009 Spring Gardening tip), your garden will continue growing, flowering and producing wonders of nature for you to enjoy.

Composting regularly

The first green catamaran is local

If technology and sailing is your thing, then this comfortable, lightweight, performance leisure catamaran is definitely on the list of things to investigate. Not only does it allow the pleasure of sailing on the wide expanse of open ocean with the wind blowing the sails, but it also does not leave any carbon footprint on these beautiful waters by using the latest in marine and solar power technology.

This green concept is the brainchild of African Cats based in Durban and they have named this first version FASTCAT 445 'GREEN eMOTION'.

In March this year, Green eMotion (an appropriate name in that it is eco-friendly as well as has green phosphorescent paint on the hull) sailed over 6500 nautical miles on its final test run from Durban-Cape Town to Europe where it will be presented in La Rochelle (France) for the Grand Pavoir boatshow in September.

The amazing thing about this sailing vessel is that everything can be either solar and/or wind powered. The boat is equipped with a mast head mounted wind generator, 1.6 KW of solar panels and can also rely on the energy generation from both motors if needed.

The 6 solar panels on board charge into the propulsion batteries (1.6 Kw total or about 10 Kw per day) which is sufficient to keep the propulsion batteries charged. With the installed converter (from 152 volts to 24 volts) 100 amps per hour can be transferred into the house batteries. There is also a D400 wind generator that is wired to the house batteries, so assuming 100 watt per hour averages out of this 400 watt unit, 2.4 Kw per day would be obtained from the wind plus 7.5 KW from the solar panels or a total of 10 Kw per day.

All this power is plenty to keep the induction stove, the hot water heater and all other equipment going. Even on an overcast day there is still 34 Kw reserve in the batteries.

All energy consumers on board are chosen for minimal energy use; led lighting throughout the catamaran, water cooled fridge and freezer and induction cooking. Even the autopilot, chart plotter and tri-data instruments are chosen for minimal energy use.

It has a diesel generator on board for emergency use and in rare instances for tricky access through doldrums and harbour entrances.

Presently logged average speed without prop optimisation is 12 knots with 18 knots of wind at 150 degrees. Maximum speed on one motor is 5.8 knots and on 2 motors 8.4 knots per hour.

When batteries are fully charged or high speed is required (eg: a race) the use of "The GREEN-MOTION system" (an electric and fossil free drive system that is unique for its electric Motogens that retract from the water) eliminate the drag from the propulsion system and this increases the speed of the vessel between 5 - 15%.

See African Cats website and Green Motions website for more information on this amazing technological feat.

Green eMotion Catamaran

Mushroom compost is a good source of nutrients

Traditionally, composting meant to stockpile organic materials and let them stand for about a year or until the next planting season, at which time the materials would be ready for mixing into the soil. The appeal of this for traditional composters is that little working time or effort is required and the decompostion process fits in naturally with general agricultural practices.

However, with space being a high commodity in our day and age this is not a viable option for residential gardeners, hence, the production and sales of packaged compost growing dramatically over the last few decades.

The mushroom production industry is just one source of compost for avid gardeners and landscapers alike. These mushroom producers generate a lot of residual waste during their production process, and one way to reuse this waste is to recycle it into a composting product.

The mushroom waste generated during their growing and harvesting periods is stockpiled and with the proper mixture of water, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen is broken down by micro-organisms into smaller organic matter particles in a slow decomposition process.

Once this mushroom waste has fully decomposed, other materials like sand, lime and additional organic matter are added to the mix to provide the required density and nutrition plants require to flourish. The resulting product from this recycling process is mushroom compost.

There are many benefits to using mushroom compost in your garden:

  • Mushroom compost is a useful soil conditioner and acts as a natural pesticide for the soil.
  • It provides a rich growing medium, is a porous absorbent material that holds moisture and soluble minerals and provides support for strong plant growth.
  • Mushroom compost is an excellent source of humus, a good source of general nutrients (0.7% N, 0.3% P, 0.3% K) and has a full range of trace elements.
  • The mushroom production process requires sterilisation and therefore minimises the chances of weeds in the final product of mushroom compost.

Mushroom compost

A popular cafe in the town of peaceful town of Greyton

Situated in the beautiful and peaceful setting of picturesque Greyton under majestic oak trees, is the Oak & Vigne Cafe - a warm and vibey espresso, sandwich bar and delicatessen.

This cosy spot just off the main street of Greyton has a lovely selective menu that tickles the tastebuds and leaves mouths watering before the food is even on the table. Breakfasts are served before noon, sandwiches, nibbly bits, salads, main meals, cakes and deserts are all made with the loving touch and care that the small town of Greyton inspires.

Their deli has a range of fabulous home-made treats and locally grown vegetables to delight any person's tastebuds. They have a wide variety of drinks including a selection of Overberg Wines (Gabrielskloof, Andy Mitchell, Lismore, Lands End, Beaumont, Arumdale & Wildekrans to name but a few), crystal spring waters and yummy foods that include a selection of biscuits, meringues, dunk biscuits, jams and brownies and cheeses, breads, meats and salads. They even have wheat or dairy free products for those more healthy minded individuals.

They also offer (for holdiay goers) ready-made meals in a basket that can be delivered to the chosen weekend holiday abode - a braai basket, an oven dish or soup meal can be ordered.

But, this is not where it stops - they grow their own food in the garden behind, they host regular events, customised menus for special days like Mother's Day, wine tastings, and even bicycles can be rented through them.

Oak & Vigne Cafe also has its own "green scorecard" that they use as a benchmark to review and communicate how much wastage has been reduced, and how much efficiency has been increased.

Kitchen wastage Method %
Uncooked food Composted 60%
Cooked food Fed to local pigs 80%
Recycling Sorted and collected 50%

Resource Consumption

Reduced since


Electricity June 2009 10%
Water June 2009 0%

Local Purchasing



Kitchen Ingredients 150km radius
50km radius
Deli Products 150km Radius
50km radius
Wine 150km Radius
50km radius

With it's off-beat interior and colourful verandas this high profile Greyton icon has become a landmark in the Overberg, and is undeniably the social and cultural heart of Greyton. It has become a place where locals and visitors become acquainted, where the Cape Town social set mingle, and "people watching" is an important activity.

Contact number: 028 254 9037
Visit their cafe at 13 DS Botha street in Greyton or their website for more information.

Oak & Vigne

Hot News

New addition to the newsletter

Spring is just around the corner and sowing season is starting. We will bring to you each month a list of herbs and vegetables than can either be sown as seeds or can be planted in that corresponding month.

See our planting guide below.

Order your compost now!

You can now order your compost, potting soil, lawn dressing and/or bark to be delivered to your door in 50dm bags through Living Matter.

Ordering bags is so much more convenient than bakkie or truck loads, as the bags can be easily transported around the garden and the surplus bags neatly stored for convenient accessibility at any time.

Please email us your order form confirming the required details and we will process your order. Determine the quantity of compost required by calculating the area that requires composting in m2 (width x breadth).

Compost - R 32 per m2
Potting soil - R 32 per m2
Bark - R 36 per m2

Please note that a minimum order of 30m2 is required. Cape Town and immediate surrounds only.

Featured Plant

Coleonema Pulchellum

Coleonema Pulchellum
(Confetti bush - sunset gold)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous dense shrub to 1m with small white flowers.

Flowering time :

Winter/ Early Spring

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost resistance
  • Well drained soil

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

The Ladybird White 2009

Winery : Laibach
Winemaker : Francois van Zyl

Description :

White Blend = 68% Chardonnay, 23% Chenin Blanc, 9% Viognier

Aroma : Complex nose with dried grass and apricot most prominent.

Palate : Complexity and full bodied with some wood spice. Lush, creamy palate with some lingering sweet fruit.

Winemaking : Wine is organically grown and bottled under screw cap. No fixed recipes apart from no added yeast along with fantastic technology, blended with plain, simple passion, creativity and common sense.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser
    July's Teaser Answer :
    "Life begins after 40"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82