"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

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Water wise boundary decor

I started this blog posting back in July last year when we first started on this project...

RMan and a neighbour, E, used to do the installation and maintenance of the potable water system, and the reading of each individuals water meters in our smallholding communnity.  Even though there are 150-odd smallholdings in our area, we are not "formally" recognised by the local authorities as a "settlement" and are thus not entitled to "services".

Whilst travelling to do the water meter readings RMan spotted these plants growing at the entrance to once of the smallholdings.
I'm sorry I didn't get a pic of them in flower - they looked seriously impressive!
However, RMan did pick up some of the fallen flower buds / seed carriers.
No exactly sure how to propagate agaves,
 I just plonked the base of the "flower" into
 some potting soil and hoped for the best...

Not finding any info online on how to propagate agaves, I just plonked the bottoms into a pot of soil in effort to try and grow them, so that, if I am successful, we could then place them, together with some aloe plants, along the front (dirt road) fence of our property.  They may not look like much sans flowers, but they are certainly water-wise, and will help to distinguish our property from the others nearby.
Aloes with red flowers...
Isn't it funny how your tastes change.  Before we had our smallholding I used to think that these types of plants, and aloes, were damned ugly.  Now I understand why they are grown - for their hardiness, drought resistance, and striking feature qualities.
... and aloes with yellow flowers
Fast forward from July to March 2017 and this is actually what was planted along our boundary this week:

The successfully rooted Agave plants

Kei apple trees
Spekboom - propagated from our existing plants
Also, I understand that spekboom is excellent at
 carbon fixing - so, to help reduce our carbon footprint,
  I need to grow as many as I can, I reckon.

Home propagated lavender

NumNum bushes

Geraniums propagated from our existing plants

The boundary fence March 2017 - it looks like nothing at this
 point in time, but I have high hopes of a stunning boundary in
 years to come.
 We have planted groupings of 14 plants / section so it
 should make quite a feature - once they are all grown up... 
We have planted groupings of 14 identical plants per section, so in years to come it should, hopefully, look stunning! 😉

Three of the plants are edible (Kei apple, spekboom and numnum) and all are waterwise 😃  Which is just as well as our drought continues and we have had only 5.5mm ( .2 of an inch) of rain since the 12th February...😟

Although I have never served spekboom in a salad or soup for our personal consumption - yet - apparently, alpacas can also eat it.  Due to their carbon fixing properties I'd love to plant up a whole field of them...  (Don't tell RMan, but I think I'm going to surreptitiously get that going.)

You can read more about the history of South African agaves here.  It's a pity that neither RMan nor I drink tequila... ;)


Sol said...

Even though we live in England and water falls from the sky a lot, most of my ornamental plants have to survive on their own as I only water plants that produce food.

I love that you were able to propagate those agaves. I sold a few hydrangeas I propagated from a bush that was squashed by the builders. bonus money!

Hope you are well

Dani said...

Sol - That is exactly my philosophy - water only the productive plants.

I tried propagating hydrangeas but reckon the timing in the season was wrong. I will try again in the future though ;)

Diana Studer said...

for you from Texas
Agave bulbils

Dani said...

Diana - Thanks for the link. I managed to propagate them without using rooting hormone ;)

Lawrie said...

Hi Dani
I love your boundary, Spekboom is really nice in a salad (pick the younger leaves though). Another good water wise plant and has so many medicinal properties is the Moringa tree, it is really great, also in salads or dried! ;)
Love your blog.
Firefly farm adventures

Dani said...

Lawrie - I must try some spekboom :D

Tania said...

Most of these plants would grow well we we live Dani. I have aloes, spekboom (or as we call it jade or money tree), geraniums, and what we call pig face succulents, not sure of their botanical name (just looked it up; Carpobrotus glaucescens). I struggle to grow lavender, I am not sure why. Other people grow it around here. Might have to do some research regarding them.

Your plants are going to look really good once they grow :)


Dani said...

Tania - Hah - I think we have a similar plant to your carpobrotus glaucecens
https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/carpobed.htm When the flowers dry the remaining "pod" is broken open and eaten by a lot of indigenous people here.