GREEN FINGERS: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Task Team Co-ordinator Bev Mattheus demonstrates one of her greening projects to staff members at the Chamber during a recent staff meeting
GB:What made you decide to “go green”?
BM: The last drought that we experienced, and having to carry buckets of water for the garden made me decide to go green to make it easier. The exposure from the various Task Teams and Renewable Energy Task Team also piqued my interest in the subject.
GB:How did your project start?
BM:My husband and I installed tanks off of every possible roof that we could, to catch rain water. We also started using old vegetable peels and fruit peels for the worm farm, to create fertiliser.I used an old bath, and lifted the one side up so that the liquid would run out towards the tap and be caught in a bucket for the fertiliser.
GB:What benefits have you experienced with your greening project?
BM:We have less waste to throw out in black bags and refuge bins.We make our own compost with the help of the worms, both in a solid state and liquid state.The results are good, and we have more plants in less space.
GB:What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a similar project?
BM:Do some research on the various types of worms, as these are not your usual earth worms.Once you have done the research, buy the worms and get some containers with holes underneath to drain the liquid fertiliser. You can also buy “worm farms” from stores selling plastic, which are containers with plugs/holes underneath for the liquid fertiliser.Don’t worry about any odours, if you follow all the tips and instructions on how to use vegetable and fruit peels, then there will not be any smell from the containers at all.
GB:How much space is needed for this project?
BM:You don’t need much space at all. You can stack the worm farm containers up against a wall.
GB:What other greening projects do you have?
BM:We also have a grey water system in place.All bath/shower water and sink water, excluding the kitchen sink, is stored in an underground tank. Once this tank reaches its capacity it sprays out onto the garden. We do not use the kitchen sink water, purely because of oil as well as dishwashing liquids.
GB:How long have you been busy with the project?
BM:I have been working with the worms for around seven years now, and we have had the grey water system in place for two and a half years.
GB:How did you find out about the worms and their uses?
BM:I attended a Chelsea Flower Expo at a local nursery, and there was a stand with the worms, and that is where I got all my information from and decided to start my own project.