Our green garden

Our green garden is just one family's journey to grow organic-food. It is a series of blogs printed in the local newspaper, the Witness over a period of years.

Many years ago when told by a friend with a serious malignancy that her doctor said it is no longer if but when we will get cancer, we decided it was time to start growing our own fruit and vegetables; with no poisonous-sprays and using only natural fertilisers.

It has been an epic-journey, fascinated by the dictum of Hippocrates in which he states "let your food be your medicine;" is a life largely without pain and drugs really possible? Yes, sirree, it certainly is; much to big pharma's discontent.

Curly leaf kale is good for the eyes.

One of our everlasting kale plants is at least five-years old; whilst the leaves are much smaller now it provides us with fresh, organic greens every single day.

"The average elderly patient is taking more than five prescription medications; the mean nursing-home person is being given seven drugs daily."

- HSC Live

The Greens

Our green gardens will of course all be quite different in many respects. They will reflect our own particular issues and needs to improve our well-being; and in fact our personalities. Some will be neat and tidy; others will have crooked rows with a continuing war against a profusion of weeds.

Some will have serfs who do much of the physical-work. Other gardeners don't mind cracked feet and broken fingernails; and will weed and barrow the compost themselves.

My own issue was a seriously lazy colon. I still have strong recollections of enemas as a child; and a life-long struggle with constipation with all its attendant difficulties. Yes, prunes helped as did beetroot, two of my mainstays; but eventually I discovery that greens at least twice, and preferably three times a day would sort out all my problems.

Now visits to the toilet are no more than two or three minute affairs; I am regular as clockwork. I cannot overemphasize what a relief it has been; literally a life-changer. It's all thanks to the fibre and perhaps other phytonutrients in our greens and other food growing in our garden.

Chronic constipation is one of the risk factors of Parkinson's Disease; being constantly gummed up for so many years has left me with a worrying tremor in my right hand. Luckily the L-dopa from our broad beans keeps it well under control; the only plant with pharmaceutical amounts of the nutrient.

A huge scary rectal-bleed that lasted several weeks was the final push. Now we have Eggs Hilton for breakfast, a salad for lunch and often kale or broccoli for supper; end of problem.

Completely over the top I hear you thinking but a whole lot better than bad news after yet another battle with MoviPrep Sebastian Vettle's exhaust. Those of you who have had a colonoscopy will know what I am talking about.

There were other unexpected benefits such as a visit to the optician. After a long examination, he remarked, "you eat a lot of greens, don't you?" I was astonished; how on earth did he know, just by looking in my eyes?

Eat your greens is a plea to those who wish to avoid two of the chief causes of blindness in old-age.


Fully capped natural honeycomb.

Making sure we get good honey is part of our strategy; this page is about the natural crystallisation process that occurs in supersaturated solutions.

Crystallised and creamed honey may look the same in the jar but really they are quite different; the latter is lovely but could be adulterated with high-fructose corn syrup. No food company or bottler today is to be completely trusted; buyer beware.

Who will save the bees is an oft heard cry; one in four mouthfuls of our food is pollinated by them. It's up to each of us to do our small bit for insects in general; otherwise our grandchildren will starve.

Here are five reasons why you should perhaps consider starting beekeeping. It fits totally in with our Cyan Zone philosophy; caring for self and the planet.


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.

Summer garden kale is rich in phytonutrients and prebiotic fibre for the gazillions of friendly bugs in the colon.

The chief causes of blindness are macular degeneration and glaucoma[1]; both are very difficult for the individual to detect until it is already too late. It is estimated that 5 to 10 million Americans are needlessly unable to see and many more are partially-sighted; simply because of a deficiency of two phytonutrients. Do you know what they are?

Enjoy your greens for your eyes' sake.

Actually it now appears that L-dopa is also important for our eyes; the only ready natural source is by growing broad beans.

The chief cause of blindness in children is a vitamin A deficiency. This astonishing butternut harvest, rich in beta-carotene would emphatically prevent it[2].

Butternut prevents a beta-carotene deficiency and likely blindness.

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

Dig for dignity is our cry.

You cannot grow vegetables like these without irrigation. The frustration in South Africa is the grave shortage of water and electricity services.

It is borne out by the oft-heard cry, where is our water?

Is it the state's job to supply water or should we be harvesting the rain and storing it in tanks? And underground reservoirs that will keep it icy-cold.


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

Little garden patches show the way to growing lettuce and other greens.

A plain salad can be a little boring; there is no better way to spice it up than with something like shallots. If you plant sprouting onions in your green garden you will never be disappointed.


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 is 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 grains, seeds and nuts.

The broad bean is the only plant-based protein fount that contains all nine "essential" amino acids; it is absolutely vital we consume them daily. It is also the only natural source of L dopa, the precursor of the happy hormone. The risk factors of Parkinson's Disease are so important to consider; the prevalence is growing in leaps and bounds, far beyond expectations.

Our homemade hummus with lemon pulp is a staple in our family; we enjoy it virtually every day with a fresh, green salad.

Midwinter lightning and hail also bring nitrogen for our plants; unless the destruction is great, the improvement in the greenery is almost immediate. The rain with dissolved nitrates is most welcome in the midst of the long dry-season.

How I look forward to the broad-bean season; it means a great reduction in the tremor in my right hand. It's all about dopamine.

We are on the lookout for broad bean entrepreneurs who will grow seedlings to supply the ever increasing number of people suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Freezing broad beans for the whole year is part of our philosophy of sustainable food.

Of course we have many other beans and peas growing too for vegetable protein; we have modeled our green home on the Blue Zone people where meat is certainly not eaten daily. Vigorous, strong longevity is the norm in these five parts of the world.

But it was only after I started keeping chickens that I realised that my wife is a racist.


Old potatoes make good seed.

There is much controversy these days about how obese starches make us; it is partly true, but also completely false.

How can that be? It's a half truth. It is the refined carbohydrates that make us fat and give us type-2 diabetes, not whole starches.

So I have no hesitation of recommending that you plant old potatoes, especially if they have gone soft; or are starting to sprout in your green garden. New spuds are a treat and have a much lower glycemic-index than those from cold storage; they are high in resistant starch that is not digested producing glucose.

One of the end of winter chores is to get holes dug with plenty of compost and we like to stake our potatoes. Keeping the haulm off the ground makes it simpler to heap them up; and they are easier to find once the plant has died back. The chats will go in once the danger of frost is over.

These confessions of a waste-picker tell where the seed potatoes came from.

The magnificent mealie is a staple for three-months in the summer, providing a whole grain and more nutritious starch. It's the refined carbs that do so much damage to our blood vessels.

Carbs galore considers the confusions and contradictions around starches in these times with keto diets being the rave.


Plant sprouting onions.

The onion family is rich in three very important phytochemicals that researchers have shown help prevent disease and promote wellness; and they taste pretty darn good. Our climate here is not ideal but we have had great success when we plant sprouting onions.

Fruit all year round

Cape gooseberries.

Fresh fruit all year round is one of the great blessings from our green garden. Obviously not to be had in Chicago or Klimmen in the Netherlands where we lived for many years but in the temperate climate of the Midlands of South Africa there are mulberries, avocados and citrus; and a dozen others to be enjoyed.


Serious hunger is a serious threat to many parts of the world since the pandemic; people are out of work. It will not be long before society is faced with the prospect of civil unrest on a scale not seen for a long time.

Whilst food prices in South Africa scream ever upwards it's more than possible to grow a mountain of nutritious fruit and veggies in your own garden.

And despite many of the restrictions having been lifted, the problem is getting worse not better. Even fewer buses carrying folk to work are running.

“Hunger is not a natural phenomenon. It is a man-made tragedy. People do not starve because there is not enough food to eat. They are famished because the system which delivers it from the fields to our plates is broken.”

- Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Our green garden supplies us with a pile of food; it is incredible just how much we are able to share with others. Can you imagine trying to eat 150 butternut or thousands of peppadews?

Let's talk about hunger and not be ostriches and think it will not affect us. Today, even if all the supermarkets were to close, with some bartering with fellow gardeners and farmers, we would survive.

Just this week a third of a ton of non-GM maize will be arriving; our honey will be part of the trade. There should be enough unrefined starch for both us and the hens for a whole year, counting on another mealie crop next summer.

"The United Nations tallies up that around 235 million people worldwide needed humanitarian aid last year, and that this number is predicted to rise to 274 M by the end of 2022. Globally, that’s one in 28 people. Hunger is rampant and spreading."

- Green Times

This prediction was made before the start of hostilities in the bread basket of Eastern Europe.

Chew your food thoroughly; sugars are produced much earlier stimulating the production of the hormone called leptin. It signals to the brain when you've had enough.

Spring time

Spring is a season of joy; it's a time to sow, waiting for Piet to return from Central Africa for the first mealies. A host of seeds from butternut and greens, to peppers and perhaps something new this year are just waiting for you to pop them into your green garden.

By summer you will have so much food to eat and share that it will astonish you.


Indigenous spekboom.

Trees give to our green garden something immeasurable, but sacred; it's indefinable but you notice it the moment your enter a property that has none. We have two that are very old, a Liquid Amber and a Tulip; both are nearing one-hundred by my best reckoning.

And of course a great many smaller trees. Two years ago we made the decision to joint the carpet South Africa with Spekboom movement; this little gem is indigenous, and produces apparently a great abundance of nectar for the bees.

Worm farms

Worm farms are really just an accelerated compost heap; with nothing else to do in the confined space other than eat and copulate they proliferate at an incredible rate.

Water is the greatest enemy of the worm farm; a secure lid is vital.

Our green garden

Our green garden is completely dependent on compost heaps and worm farms for fertiliser and rainwater harvesting for irrigation. I never realised until years later that our parents were teaching their children to fish, without our even knowing it.

Worm farms and the black plague takes us back to the importance of dealing with our garbage thoroughly.

We do all the hard work; lucky enough not to have a gardener.

Coffee grounds are wonderful in your compost heap; they are very rich in nitrogen.

These musings from the summer vegetable garden bring great tidings; not just a wonderful feast but also a thankful heart to God. The table is laden with good food and my cup runneth over with Catawba grape honey mead.


Green gardening is very difficult without a reliable source of cheap water under pressure. Our solution was to build an underground tank. Another alternative is to turn your swimming pool into a reservoir.

The extraordinary rise in the price of water in South Africa has meant that maintaining swimming pools is no longer viable for many homeowners.

Pesticide residues

Vegetables and fruit with highest pesticide residues should put the wind up all of us.

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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa