Monthly Archives: February 2016

February 28, 2016

Keeping Guinea Fowl

I think I am a bit different and not necessarily a follower. I am strong-willed enough to take a risk and go my own way. This may be why I have always wanted Guinea Fowl. I did my research and I kept hearing of stories about guinea fowl perching in trees at night and living quite happily until one day in a single file line walking to the driveway of their home and leaving. Yet this did not deter me. I wanted Guinea Fowl! Finally a friend had some keets (babies) and gave me two. Gerome and Gemma the Guinea Fowl came to me as teenagers.  They lived happily with the chickens until after some time they started harassing the rooster. I have read that they sometimes will not allow roosters feed or water. After a while the relations with the rooster and the Guineas seemed to be getting worse so I separated the chickens from the Guinea Fowl. It is like they wanted to be in charge of the hens and do not like the competition from the rooster.

Gerome and Gemma (Helmeted Guinea Fowl)

Gerome and Gemma (Helmeted Guinea Fowl)

continue reading

February 6, 2016

Hugelkultur Garden Bed

I have been doing some experimenting with different types of no dig garden beds lately. I had an area in my orchard which has been driving me crazy with kikuyu growth and not really suitable to plant more trees there. I am trying a new garden in this spot. I am yet to be convinced that I will be able to keep the kikuyu out of the bed but it is worth a try. The bed is also in full sun which gets very hot in summer and will quickly dry plants out.

So this new method of bed making is a German idea called Hugelkultur. My mother tells me hugel means mound or hill in German. I admit I just like saying the word Hugelkultur :). The method uses unwanted branches, logs and green waste from your garden. These are things that are usually too awkward to place on your compost heap.

You basically pile all your sticks and logs up in a mound and cover with soil and mulch to make your garden bed. As woody material takes a long time to break down the bed holds a lot of moisture. The mound provides air pockets for plant roots, good drainage and plenty of rich organic matter.  Vegetables will thrive on the decomposing material.   The beds can be very big if that is what you wish, the sides are usually at a 45 degree angle which is believed to reduce soil compaction. Not only are you placing waste material out of site you are also saving money as Hugelkultur is cheap to build.

My bed is only small but its going really well. Little lizards seem to love it and I have also seen a solitary stingless native bee fly into the wood area so I am hoping it has a nest in there.

1 047

Hugelkultur bed after two weeks from construction

How to build a Hugelkultur garden bed.
You will need:
Newspaper or cardboard
Sticks and logs
Dry grass or straw
Soil and or potting mix
A shovel

continue reading