Mr T Pot sounds more like a character from a Beatrix Potter story than a farm worker from Mooi River. However, our Mr T Pot has a wonderful tale to tell about cabbages and kale.
Last year, the Midlands Meander Education Project received funding from Thatu UK to assist Carshalton School get their food garden growing well and able to provide fresh, organic veggies to supplement the school feeding scheme.
Mr Nathi Majola, principal of the school, observed that the community surrounding the school also needed help to grow food and asked MMAEP facilitator, Jessica Dreamtime if she would mind inspiring them as well.
Jessica and Mary Mlambo from Dovehouse Organic Farm, enthusiastically set about this task, reminding the community of the ways their grandparents had grown food sustainably – with inter planting, crop rotation and making use of manure and weeds as fertilizer.
Although his garden at Carshalton is small, Mr T Pot (Scelo Dlamini) is feeding his family nourishing vegetables all year round – quite a feat in the challenging and cold Mooi River Climate. At the moment, his garden is crammed with huge pumpkins, lots of healthy looking spinach, a few tomatoes, chives, cabbage and beans. He has a larger piece of land back home in Centacow and has applied permaculture principles to improve the yield there too. He makes manure teas, mulches, rotates his crops and plants companion plants like comfrey and bulbine.
Jessica said after visiting his garden recently:
‘Mr T Pot is one of the most humble men I know. His garden is small but always full of food. When we started working with him last year he didn’t even have a fence. He made a fence of string and didn’t let anything stop him.’
School Principal, Nathi Majola commented:
‘What you have done is amazing. There is a competition in the community to have the best garden and everyone is working at it. We don’t think anyone will steal the vegetables in our school garden now.’
Like all good stories, this one too has a happy (and healthy) ending.