Our green home

A misty solar day.

Our green home is a series of blogs printed in the Witness newspaper. It covers subjects as diverse as harvesting rainwater and sunshine to making compost heaps and growing lima beans.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Our green home

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 28th August, 2019.

By Bernard Preston

Starting on the green journey can be daunting but it is made one step at a time, beginning at where you are.

That could be a need for more vegetable protein in your diet because you have had a scare in the family and you are cutting back on red meat.

Then you would want to start with growing green beans and peas, and learning how to make hummus.

Or perhaps you are getting repeated infections and want to know how to increase the antioxidant vitamins for your well-being.

I am not a vegetarian myself but we come with that in our family background, so growing lettuce and rocket, and herbs like parsley is where we personally began.

Recycling the waste from our home is something that all those who have a love and respect for the planet should be doing. Do you want a habitable, pristine place in the sun for your offspring?

In short, start where you are, rather than the first blog you read.

Our green home

Our green home covers all the blogs published in the media over the last five years. We will set it up in categories.


The chief causes of blindness are macular degeneration and glaucoma; both are very difficult for the individual to detect until it's already too late. It is estimated that 5-10 million Americans are needlessly blind, and many more partially sighted, simply because of a deficiency of two phytochemicals.

Enjoy your greens for your eye's sake.


Protein forms the building blocks of our bodies made up of more than twenty so-called amino acids; nine of them are 'essential'. If we do not get them from our food we get a serious disease called kwashiorkor. It's a terminal condition of malnutrition.

All of them are found in meat so omnivores have no need for concern. However, vegans have to be very sure that they get an adequate supply of all of these essential amino acids from legumes which are the main plant source of protein, to which we would add seeds and nuts.

Broad beans

Broad bean pods

Broad beans are the first on our list, firstly because they have the highest protein content of all legumes, and secondly as they are only edible if harvested and enjoyed freshly picked.

Since they are difficult to obtain, we make a call for some to become broad bean entrepreneurs who are able to supply those suffering from Parkinson's disease; they are one of the very few natural sources of L-dopa.

I am yet to meet someone who doesn't love freshly picked green peas or climbing beans from the garden. They have pride of place, not least because they supply nitrogen to the soil, obviating the need for inorganic fertilisers.


Summer garden kale.

Ask any gardener and they will tell you that greens that have been freshly picked are vastly different to those harvested and sold several days later in the supermarket.

Eat your greens is plea to those who wish to miss the chief causes of blindness, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Compost heaps in late winter are most easily worked before the spring rains when the humus is light and dry.


You will see many salads being advertised as free of lettuce, simply because folk abhor wilted and stale greens. Unfortunately they usually substitute with a refined starch like rice which is very fattening.

Little patches is our first blog showing a way to grow lettuce and other greens.


Corn and beans provide a wonderful balance to the diet in many countries. But once those mealies have been refined, they are simply empty calories, a junk food of the highest order, and not fit for human consumption.

A mealie a day provides some thoughts on why stuntedness in South Africa is so prevalent.

This page is in development and will take several weeks to complete.

Solar power

Harnessing solar power from the Mr Golden Sun as our grandchildren call him is very large topic at this site. In countries with an unreliable grid that means batteries for storing that energy.

Lithium batteries

Lithium batteries at our green home.

Lithium batteries are in 2019 the best way to store electrical energy. There are many new types coming on to the market but they at this stage are still more expensive and less proven.

These are astonishingly good; we are waiting for several consecutive wet days to see how they cope before going off the grid.

The total unreliability of the grid in Hilton gave rise this story. Drama on Town Hill.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are the future but they remain very expensive and not many are available in South Africa.

Harvesting rainwater

Whilst it is true that rainwater in industrial areas will absorbe some pollutants, nothing compares with the micro-particles of plastics that are found in our municipal and many bottled waters.

It's hard to believe but the average American consumes 5g of plastic from the water he drinks every week; that is the weight of a credit card.

Harvesting rainwater isn't rocket science; we have found that storing it in an underground reservoir is the best way.

Hot water is best obtained via a solar geyser.


Planet Earth is dire need of beekeepers, both hobbyists and those who wish to make it into a commercial venture. The startup costs are relatively small and the return immediate.

With one in four mouthfuls pollinated by our little friends, who will save the bees is a question every human should be asking.

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friend, or book and food junkie. Or, better still, Face Book or Twitter it. 


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa



What's this site about?

Bernard Preston books

A family affair by Bernard Preston comes after the trilogy that starts with Frog in my Throat.
Femoral nerve AP Xray from one of Bernard Preston's books.

Bernie's choice foods

Cooking green beans Bernard Preston passion

Bernie's bread

Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

Bernie's garden

green beans and granadillas Bernard Preston

Bernie's bees

Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

Bernie's chickens

Chickens for free range eggs.

Bernie's solar

Residential solar panels at Bernard Preston's home

Bernie's rainwater harvest

Harvesting rainwater to a reservoir in the garden means a steady supply that is unpolluted by environmental toxins.