Craig arrived back in the village mid January – thanks to funding from Old Mutual he will be able to finish work he started on the garden and nursery projects back in 2006.

Here is his update: 

My immediate focus has been on designing two charts as planting guides for the mamas to enhance and coordinate their monthly plantings. There was a problem – not enough variety was being planted and they were losing sales. Both Noayini and Notembile, who run the nursery and kitchen garden, are excellent gardeners, but they are illiterate, so it was imperative that this guide be visual and easy to follow.  

The charts represent models of the garden and the nursery. They are made up of pictures that show the seedlings or seeds to be planted in each row and the numbers of each type to be planted per hole of the drip irrigation system. It is an easy to follow, unambiguous, visual guide.   

I introduced the charts to the ladies keeping fingers crossed that they would be well received and easily understood. Having worked in the village for some time I’ve had quite some experience with miscommunication. They seem, however, to have been quickly understood and well received. Both Noayini and Notembile are now planting on schedule. For the next few months I’ll be helping the ladies get into a rhythm of planting at the beginning of every month – think clockwork – and assisting them to follow the guides perfectly. 

Otherwise, the exciting news is that the Kid’s Gardening Competition is starting this Saturday! If you are in the area I do suggest you come down to the village – this is an awesome thing to witness – a hundred or more village kids receiving their allotted seedlings and rushing off to plant them that they can be the best gardeners. This one has been extended that the maximum age is now 16 years old. The prizes are again clothing vouchers – Dave’s brilliant idea – which links gardening with being cool in the popular imagination.  Big thanks to Liz Barrett and Aleeta Drummond for the funds which have enabled this competition to happen again. 

In the coming weeks I will be sorting out the drainage in the garden, but more on that in the next update.