On the 4th September 2014 the Operations Managers gathered on the I Can! Hebron Nguni Farm near Howick, as part of a team building initiative. Gumboots were pulled on, sunscreen applied and with a determination to be commended, assisted agricultural learners to put up our first vegetable tunnel on the farm.
The event was coordinated by our colleagues from Angel Projects (take a look at their website: email@example.com) who patiently taught us which pole to attach and how to hang the netting correctly.
The soil for the vegetables had been previously prepared by firstly ripping the dry ground, using a tractor and then irrigating this area in preparation for our spades and forks. Compost from the farm’s fertile compost heap (recycled organic matter from the farm) was used to add nutrients into the soil. Although most of us found the work to be physically demanding, we all took turns with the shovel and before long the ground was ready!
The vegetable tunnels are 10m X 4m in size and are manufactured from galvanized steel pipes and shade cloth. Luckily you don’t need a degree in engineering; a few 10mm spanners and a hefty sense of humour did the trick!
A big variety of vegetables can be grown in a tunnel. The tunnel is big enough for a thousand spinach plants and 700 cabbage plants. We chose to plant mainly nutritious spinach plants, as this vegetable will be cared for and eventually eaten by the skills program learners who assisted us.
Did you know?
Only 10 (ten) percent of the water used in an open garden are used in the tunnel. The turnover out of the tunnel is approx. 8 (eight) times more than that of an open garden. The lifespan of the tunnel is 7-8 years.
At the end of this very hot day we returned to our homes in our various provinces tired, but with a feeling that we had achieved something very special that will continue to give the gift of food to the needy for a long time to come.
Thank you to I Can! for sponsoring this wonderful event and thank you to Angel Projects for the brilliant team building initiative.
Special Projects Manager