Category Archives: Seaweed
Imagine an icy turquoise sea, fresh salty breezes, a long white sandy beach and rock pools filled with food.
Yes. But wait – there’s more….
On a Saturday closest to the new or full moon (to ensure the lowest tide for optimal forage time) a group of like minded foodies, armed with permits, relevant equipment and new found sustainable harvesting techniques, all forage in a group along the inter tidal zone for their lunch.
Does this make you hungry for knowledge, keen to awaken your inner hunter-gatherer and try out some exciting new dishes?
Then join us on one of our Coastal Forages this summer. Here’s a look at what we got up to over the past few weekends…
We would love you to join us one one of these delicious experiences, details below…
Our half day Coastal Foraging course will introduce you to some of our local edible seaweed, explore the magical world of rock pools, meet like minded people, learn how to prepare your macro-algae and have a delicious feast!
We will start off the day meeting at Scarborough beach, and after an intro we will make our way down to the tidal pools where we will forage for edible seaweeds and mussels. This beautiful coastline is abundant with food! As we always forage sustainably, we will be focusing only on the seaweed that is prolific in the area, stressing how to treat the wildlife with respect. After our morning on the rocks, we will head to Gael’s Beach Cottage on foot with our foraged food to prepare and create an outdoor lunch feast. Notes include intro, identification, recipes and tide charts.
Price: R400 per person or R300 for a group of 4.
Bring: Beach gear, slip-slops or booties, your mussel license (essential – available at your nearest post office), cameras, water bottle, a sense of humour and an appetite! Also please bring your drink of choice for yourself to enjoy with the meal (beer, juice, spring water, wine etc whatever you prefer)
Saturday 21st Feb 10am – 2pm
Saturday 7th March 9am – 1pm
Saturday 21st March 9am – 1pm
April dates TBC
To book or for any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Two weekends ago we had our very first Veggie Garden Club meeting here at Good Hope Gardens Nursery. The goal is to come together as growers from the area and to discuss ideas, problems we encounter in our gardens, share seeds and recipes. There are a lot of food producers locally as well as those who would like to learn, and I thought it would be great if we could get together and share knowledge and inspiration. We had a nice turnout for the first meeting, some people could not make it, but we filled the big wooden table in the Forage and Harvest classroom where the first meeting was held. The meetings will happen once a month at different gardens each time. Lucky for us, Kate Higgs – a fantastic photographer – joined our group and quietly took these beautiful photos.
There were a few things from the garden on the table for inspiration/to munch on.
The group members varied from expert experienced permaculturists to those that had not yet started a veggie garden. Everyone had something interesting to contribute whether it was questions, answers, ideas, seeds or recipes.
Topics I had in mind that I wanted to cover were:
Crops, seeds, crop rotation and maintenance.
Topics that were discussed over the one and a half hours:
- Baboons: Baboons are one of the biggest problem a food gardener faces in our area. We spoke about how to baboon proof your garden, what materials to use (check out your local dump) and how to build the structures like geodomes, cages and fencing.
- Veg planting guide: A Western Cape planting guide was handed around and we looked at what would work specifically in our area, what seeds we should be planting into the ground, what seedlings we should be planting and what to plant into trays.
- Hints and tips: The more experienced growers shared some hints and tips:
- Carrots and coriander need 8 days to germinate – after planting directly into the ground, cover with wet newspaper or hessian and keep moist for 7 days. On the 8th day, remove the cover and hope for a sunny day…..you will find the seeds have germinated and the weeds will have grown long, thin and white along the ground, searching for the sun. Once the cover is removed, the sun will scorch these white weeds, leaving you with only what you want in the bed.
- Wild rocket VS normal rocket – Wild rocket likes shade in late summer, it doesn’t get bitter, it self seeds easily and has smaller leaves. Normal rocket is a heavy feeder and would prefer to grow individually throughout your garden so scatter them around rather than plant a patch of them.
- The taste of herbs are diminished by the shade so rather plant in a sunny spot.
- For sweet carrots you need lots of minerals in the soil so add some phosphorus and potassium for tastier carrots.
- We touched on seed saving, how to harvest seeds, how to store them and who had seeds to share.
- Soil improvement – in our area the soil is very sandy. Sandy soil is good for drainage but needs to be enriched. We spoke about what to add to your soil. Get some horse manure from your local stables and mix with straw, Keep it wet and covered and spread over the sandy soil.
- MULCH MULCH MULCH. Watch Back to Eden for information on why mulch is so great for your garden. If you are not religious and can get past the biblical references, stick with it to watch and see how much sense the “forest floor” theory makes. Also invest/borrow or hire a wood chipper to chip up whole trees (branches and leaves included) or branches that need pruning in your garden. You can also get wood chips from your local dump or recycling center. Mulch should be about 10-15cm deep on your beds.
- We had a little talk and diagram drawn out for us by Pete explaining how wicking beds work. These container beds are about 120cm wide made from plastic containers or lined pallets. They have water and solid objects like rocks and bottles in the bottom layer, covered by biddem cloth. Next is a 30cm layer of compost followed by 6cm of wood chip. The is an inlet pipe that leads down to the water tank and feeds the plants through capillary action, so you don’t water the plants, just very occasionally top up the tank. Also an outlet pipe for overflow. Great for those with small gardens, or wanting to grow veg if you only have a courtyard or balcony. Pete makes these to order if you are not a great with tools.
- We debated drip irrigation VS sprinkler/hose watering.
- Living near the Atlantic ocean we all have access to lots of seaweed. We spoke about using seaweed as a mulch or fertilizer. If you use undiluted seaweed your spinach can become more salty as a high content of salt in the soil will be absorbed by leafy greens.
- Hugelkultur was discussed and how we could/have implemented this in our own gardens.
- We shared recipes for leaves of the sweet potato and butternut. The first three shiny new leaves on a sweet potato vine can be used like spinach. Butternut and pumpkin leaves can be cooked with ground up raw peanuts in a coconut sauce and served on rice.
- A few of us had brought along some seeds to share – there was excitement and sparkling eyes as the seeds were passed around and we felt a bit like kids in a sweet shop.
What we should be planting now:
Seed Sowing Chart details by Franz Muhl.
Directly into the ground:
Beetroot. Final spacing: 8-12cm. Germination time: 7-14 days. Maturation time: 8-9weeks. Heavy feeder.
Radishes. Final spacing: 3-8cm. Germination time: 3-5days. Maturation time: 3-4weeks. Heavy feeder.
Carrots: Final spacing: 4-7cm. Germination time: 7-10 days. Maturation time: 8-10weeks. Light feeder.
Lettuce. Final spacing: 25-35cm. Germination time: 3-7days. Maturation time: 8-10weeks. Light feeder.
Coriander. Final spacing: 1cm. Germination time: 7days. Maturation time: 3-5weeks. Medium feeder.
Garlic. Final spacing: 8-12cm. Heavy feeder.
Peas. Final spacing: 4-5cm. Germination time: 5-10days. Maturation time: 8-10weeks. Light feeder.
You can also direct seed turnips, nasturtiums, swiss chard and kale.
Into seed trays:
Onions. Final spacing: 10-15cm. Germination time: 6-14days. Medium feeder.
Spring onions. Final spacing: 4-8cm. Germination time: 6-14days. Maturation time: 8-10weeks. Light feeder.
Kale: Final spacing: 40-50cm. Germination time: 5-10days. Maturation time: 6-10weeks. Heavy feeder.
Swiss chard. Final spacing: 25-35cm. Germination time: 7-14days. Maturation time: 8-10weeks. Medium feeder.
You can also plant lettuce into trays.
Seedlings into the grounds:
Broccoli. Final spacing: 30-40cm. Germination time: 5-10days. Maturation time: 8-9weeks. Heavy feeder.
For organic seedling, Harts Nursery is a great place to buy from.
So maybe if you live in the Deep South you will be tempted to join us next month or if you dont live in the area, you will be motivated to start your own veggie garden club. As you know, food is kind of important to us humans – we should all learn how to grow our own and teach our children at the same time.
Happy planting and happy eating!
On the 1st of Feb we had another really fun Coastal Forage.
Awesome people, fantastic conversation and scrumptious food!
Amongst all the awesome people on the course, Cape Nature botanist Rupert Koopman and his beautiful wife Florence De Vries also joined us. Florence took all the stunning photos in this post. Thank you!!!
The 1st of March and the 31st of March – both starting at 9am – are our next Coastal Forage dates.
Join us as we play like kids and eat like kings, and learn a little bit along the way too.
Contact email@example.com for more info or to book.
This weekend I made local wild food tasters for some Japanese seaweed scientists.
Wild mint and buchu brandy cocktails
Agar-agar mini milk-tart “boats” with candied kelp and Carissa flowers.
Hope this keeps you inspired – Have a totally wild week!
But scratch at the surface and discover we are all searching for a balance….
Yoga. Meditation. Detox. Me time. Time out. Book club. Fight club. Wine club? Outdoor festivals. Indoor exercise. Gardening. Chocolate. Hiking. Bach remedies. Extreme sports. Green juice. Journaling. Nut milk. Tantra. Scrapbooking. Sleep.
Happy, healthy, body mind and spirit.
Trying to get back to nature and live a lifestyle as organic and as healthy as we can. Back to basics, the Slow movement, reconnecting with our food, connecting with our community and being in the moment.
If you’re reading this, you have probably had too much screen time already today. Straighten your back, roll your shoulders and remember to go for a walk barefoot after reading this. Maybe just first quickly check your Facebook and your email.
And obviously have a glance at your phone. Oooh a new WhatsApp message!
Our lives are crazy. Things are so busy and exciting and tiring all at once and screen time is at an all high. A Pinterest board for groceries? No seriously now. Maybe they just lost their pen and paper.
So just chill out man. Like fully.
Come on a Coastal forage and have fun and meet great people and eat good food…..
A big thank you Loubie Rusch from Making Kos who took a break from creating her amazing food and joined us to snap all these amazing photos at our last Coastal Forage.
New 2014 Coastal Foraging dates:
Dates: Saturday the 1st of Feb – 10am
Saturday the 1st of March – 9am
Sunday the 31st of March – 9am
Price: R300 per person
The reason these courses are only once a month is because the dates and times are organized around the low tide at new moon (spring tides) to ensure maximum enjoyment in the rock pools as this is when the tide is out the furthest.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to book or have any questions and we will send you further details.
Hope you can join us!
For one of the desserts at our Coastal Foraging, I make an agar agar jelly treat. To do this you have to collect the red ribbon seaweed that grows on kelp fronds and boil it to extract the agar agar.
The romantic version of collecting the seaweed is on a beautiful summers day..blue skies and turquoise sea. A surfboard, a smile and a skip down the beach.
The reality is usually more like a sand-blasted walk down the beach through a howling south-easter, slipping on the porphyra strewn rocks to get to the water’s edge at low tide, holding on with your toes and getting soaked by waves trying to reach the kelp.
If you try and have a surf you could easily get smacked if the face with your board like I did today. Who needs botox right? Dear wind, please hit my lip on the other side now. Angelina Jolie roll over – this is a Deep South extreme makeover.
And if you have missed low tide, you better start looking for a limpet with a lot of red seaweed growing on its shell.
Today we got the romantic version….
Found a good bunch! Tough job hey. Gotta love these board meetings.
A little bit of everything here – red, brown and green seaweed to eat.
Watch out for our next blog post to see what we made…
Summer is here in full swing. And by full swing, I mean its full on windy. We have had a howling south-easter blowing for days. Causing havoc in the gardens, drying out the soil, whipping up our summer skirts, blowing sand in our faces and flattening out the surf. For days.
But the elements did not stopped us from having two more amazing Coastal Forages.
Gathering food along a windswept beach only made us even more hungry for the feast we prepared…
It was an even more blustery day for the second group…
A taste so fresh you have to eat it to believe it.
There was a satisfied silence as we tucked in around the table. Only punctuated every now and then by grunts and sighs of appreciation from the hungry hunters.
We will be repeating this Coastal forage course next year and would love you to come and join us.
Happy Summer living!