Our mission of green agriculture began the first time we set foot on our property here in Henley on Klip, years ago now.
There is no explaining what it is about our village, perhaps it is the tall trees and the immaculately maintained gardens, or maybe it’s something a bit more.
Maybe we found home, our home, our Plaas.
Our mission statement was not clear for several years, we moved to Durban briefly and lost track of time for a few seasonless years in the misty hills of Hillcrest. Though one thing we never forgot, the liberation of standing in a place in this wide dark world and proclaiming it as our own.
When we came back the mission became clearer, day by day we saw more clearly the direction we will take our Plaas, our home.
Our plans are big, but we started small after all we believe in organic growth.
One of the things we experience at this point in our life is this imperceptible consciousness of purpose. It is creepy sometimes. We will need a great amount of water, we have a borehole. We need a greenhouse fast, to protect our plants from winter, we have a stoep. We need a whole bunch of bricks and paint, left to us by the previous owners of the property.
One of the first things you will hear when you say you want to start farming, ‘kry ‘n tonnel’, or ‘get a greenhouse’. Make a safe space for the plants and cultivate them year-round. There is a bit more to a greenhouse /tunnel than meets the eye.
Speaking now as a newly converted expert, instead of a true expert, here are a few things about greenhouses.
We will be using it primarily to guard against the wind, frost and other awful cold-related problems. So, however, you construct a greenhouse, whether you begin professionally, or do what we did – which is literally convert half your stoep into Seedling city, the aim is to protect the plants from frost.
But you do not want to suffocate your babies, make sure you open the space daily and water consistently. Heat will build-up, this is a given.
Our construction was a bit slapdash, but it served us well. We finally got our stoep back the other day, after Mister Dolla and Baby Dolla put up our very own tunnel.
There are many situations life will throw at you, things you cannot prepare for and will not be able to prepare for. Nevertheless, when it comes to farming be methodical, be prepared.
Mister Dollas and Ma Dolla studied every day. Reading blog posts and watching hours of Youtube, they searched for information and gathered all they need.
Make sure where, how and when you put the tunnel.
We measured and prepared the area. The purpose of the tunnel will determine the preparation. In our case, the tunnel will serve as a nursery.
It is a two-person job, it requires patience and time. The devil is in the detail.
The actual construction of the tunnel does not require an engineering background, but we suggest assembling on the spot, for moving the construction is tricky, though again this depends on personal preference and space available.
The hardest part for us was actually moving our stoep greenhouse to our tunnel.
The temperature in the tunnel rises higher than it did on the stoep, and you must keep a close eye on your plants and ventilate the tunnel.
We are excited about all the opportunities the tunnel represents and to share it with you, as with anything worthwhile it requires consistent care.
Happy planting from Dollas and Mister Dollas, whether you purchase your own tunnel, or plant a single herb, we wish you good luck.