"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Getting going, getting growing... part 3

Wow - we only meant to go for Saturday and Sunday, but instead we had another unplanned four day weekend - but we had to get finished LOL

True to form it was blowing a gale as we started to erect the shade cloth roof. But, working from the wind direction made the process easier - the wind just spread the cloth out over the structure - the hardest thing was keep it from blowing away - into the neighbours land...
Fighting the wind to erect the roof...
We managed to get the roof on, and using some of the battens RMan got at the auction, we, firstly, used them to install some top side supports and then, secondly, we used them to give extra strength to the shade cloth on the walls.
Then came the door...  Bear in mind that RMan is not a carpenter, of any sorts. In fact I'd say he's more of a 'reluctant' handyman.  But what he has created is absolutely, ruddy marvellous!
Measuring for the door
I can't believe the thought, planning, effort (as well as an occasional bit of blue language when something didn't go exactly to plan), and physical output that he expended, to achieve this masterpiece :)  But he persevered and this is what he created!
We have left the excess shadecloth at the base of the structure.  Behind it, and under the lowest wooden cross brace I have jammed in rocks of all shapes and sizes.  In front of that is the excess shadecloth which has been wrapped in long (pretty heavy) gumpoles - the "extra" we ordered and didn't use.  This will hopefully prevent snakes from gaining access to the cooler interior - and boy -it's much, much cooler in there!  Eventually, we will dig a trench around the structure and bury the surplus shadecloth - that should make it impervious to snakes / slugs / etc.  It will be wonderful to be able to grow veggies without the need of any kind of pesticide.  Am I being too optimistic?  I hope not.  There is no reason why anything should gain access to the interior.  Certainly no flies, beetles, moths, locusts, grasshoppers or snakes.  Slugs, I'm not sure. We'll have to wait and see...
A perfect door :)  We still need to add a lock to
prevent uninvited visitors from helping themselves
and to stop the door from blowing in or outwards
in high wind.  For now it's secured with a piece
of wire LOL
I even had time yesterday afternoon to plant some seedlings (tomatoes - about 12 different plants), onions and basil inside - and beans, aubergines and borage outside.  I also sowed some carrot, lettuce(three different types) and rocket seeds in the internal well composted bed.
Finally, it was time to install the porous pipe... But that I'll tell you about in my next posting.

All in all, beating the wind, 33oC (92oF) temperature, and my, in comparison, pathetic assistance, we finally completed everything by 5.00pm yesterday. Driving back to town exhausted by physical effort and from the draining heat we were both elated and happy.  Finally - my shadecloth veggie patch is finished.

Thanks RMan - I'm blown away.  And I reckon it's fantastic :)


  1. I have no words...I am BLOWN AWAY. I'm so excited for you. BTW does R-Man make house calls? I could use him over here for sure!

  2. Wow that came out fantastic. I almost thought is was going to be a barn in the first picture. He did a wonderful job.

  3. Not a carpenter...really, fooled me. That is a beautiful shade house that should stand strong for many, many years as a place to grow your veggies. Congratulations on a job well done.

    Funny, you worry about snakes getting into the garden while I have been contemplating how to get them into the garden in order to keep the rodent populations in check. Different type of snakes though as the ones we have around here are not poisonous.

  4. I am green with envy. Sitting here just wishing I could be gardening, and we are expecting snow. Really sucks. Good job on the project.

  5. tami - Thanks - So am I. Completely gob smacked LOL

    Jane - I don't know how long a wooden barn would last in our climate. Would probably have to be constructed with bricks and cement :( Thank you - have passed on the compliments to RMan

    Mr H - LOL {blush} yeah - he's not too shabby.


    Our tabkrolletjie (snail eating snake) is welcome. But the cobra's and adders - NOT at all!

    John - Oh for some snow... Thanks :)

  6. Mad dog - Thanks guys :) I think so too!

  7. Shoo what a spot, I am sure your veggies are going to be very happy. If not, they can go grow outside... lol

  8. How completely wonderful! The promise of seeds sown and sprouts in the ground is like nothing else! Congratulations!!!

  9. African Bliss - Dunno - what with the wind, the locusts and the sheep and cows that get through (cut) fences, reckon outside growth may be more difficult ;)

    Frogdancer - Thanks :)

    Bee Girl - Welcome :) Thanks - hopefully the seedlings / seeds will be happy there - I'll only know on our next visit...

  10. Well Done Rman! Bet you and my Hubby could sympathize together over the chores your eco-crazy wives expect you to complete!

  11. Pest free gardening would be amazing!! I wonder if it will keep those bloody slugs out though? Fingers crossed for you :)

  12. Garden Girl - RMan says Thanks. Hmmm, the two of them getting together could also encourage them on a wee bit, I'm thinking LOL

    Tanya - I'll let you know if I find any... :)

  13. It's amazing the lengths gardeners take to pest/wind/sun proof our growing space. This looks fab!

    And .. thanks for the condolences over my 'friend' Holly.

  14. Mrs Mac - Anything to be able to grow and harvest crops without using insecticides :)


  15. Its great to see and read this post as I still have to get my shade cloth structure erected. One question I have is this - if insects cant get in, how are the plants pollinated?
    I know that this system works well so there must be an obvious answer - I would just like to know what it is?

  16. Slowvelder - I will plant only self pollinating crops (tomatoes) and things like lettuces, onions, rocket, etc. inside. Others that need the work of all those busy bees like beans, peas, etc will go outside :)

  17. wow Dani you must be over the moon, it looks amazing I'm so excited for you. I know you'll make brilliant use out of it!

    Just wondering, do you have any plans to move permanently to your land?

    astra x

  18. Astra - I am. Yup, we want to move there as soon as we sell our town house... :)


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