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Article courtesy of Spatula Magazine By Yuppiechef

It is all too easy to buy herbs and vegetables from a squeaky clean supermarket and never count the cost of how they came to be. Last week, some of our Minichefs visited Soil For Life to flex their green fingers and get to grips with growing.
Soil For life is a Cape Town based charity that teaches and inspires people to grow their own vegetables (watch a video about the organisation).
A jostling crowd of Minichefs arrived at the sprawling Soil For life gardens for a bright and early organic adventure. First up, was a hands-on planting and potting workshop with some of the soft-spoken and earth-savvy Soil For Life guys.

Empty ice-cream containers and yoghurt cups were reincarnated as perky potted plants: filled by little hands with layers of rich, black soil and woodchips and plugged with sprightly brocolli, coriander and lettuce seedlings (grown on location and for sale at R2 each). Topped with a generous glug of murky worm-farm juice, their plants were good to go.
Next stop, was the buzzing and steamy Soil For Life compost heap, for a how-to lesson from Livingstone.

Livingstone used the analogy of baking a cake for building a ‘hot’ compost heap: gather the correct ingredients, add them in the correct quantities, stir every couple of weeks, bake and serve (download printable compost recipe).
Ingredients:
Dry/brown organic material – dry grass; leaves or shredded cardboard and newspaper
Wet/green organic material – wet grass; kitchen scraps; green garden trimmings
Water
Air
Wood ash – to combat acidity in the soil (from your fireplace, but not charcoal)
Method:
1. Choose a spot for your compost heap, 1m wide and up to 3m long.
2. Layer the dry/brown and the wet/green material giving a light watering and a small sprinkling of wood ash between the layers.
3. Cover with a blanket or hessian sack to keep in the moisture. The compost should heat up to about 60°C due to the biodegrading process and this will kill any seeds so that your compost does not produce weeds.
4. Turn the heap every 2 weeks to add air which will help the process.
5. Build the heap until 1m high.
6. Once all material is broken down, sieve, bag and use as required in the garden.
Delicious.
To wrap up, the team sat down to a happy picnic lunch under the trees – the first official Eat for the Earth fundraising lunch for World Environment day (proceeds going to Soil for Life). High five to Debbie Smith, for putting on such a spread.
Up for hosting a lunch on Sunday 5 June in your home to raise some money and help save the world?

Find out more (it’s as easy as pie).

For more information about Soil For Life, or to organise an outing, contact Pat Featherstone.

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