Shelli NT’s garden quest

Shelli NT’s garden quest

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Something that you may not know about me is that I am actually a Reverse Perfectionist. For those of you that have never before heard this term, a Reverse Perfectionist is someone that wants something done perfectly, and if they feel that it will never be done to their high standards, they choose to do nothing!

And so I launched into the plans for my new veggie garden with slight trepidation, because I wanted it to both LOOK good and actually FUNCTION by providing real vegetables that we would actually eat and enjoy. But I didn’t want to set myself enormous goals that freaked me out so much that I would keep putting it off!

I was also slightly nervous at Steve’s enthusiasm about the rain water tank, because he immediately wanted to get the biggest and most effective rain water tank EVER that we could connect to our water mains and use for washing clothes and filling toilets! I wanted to start with something I could cope with and grow from there!

And so, I decided to take it one step at a time. Before I had even started with drawing the plans for the garden, I got in touch with JoJo Tanks and ordered the JoJo Slimline (I chose this particular tank because it holds a whopping 750 Litres of rainwater, but is small enough to blend into the garden.)

I then had to decide on a colour and loved the “Wintergrass” colour (which looks like wheat in the sunshine) because it is so close to the colour of my house! I also really liked some of the green colours available if you are placing your tank in front of a hedge or creeper.

At this point, Stephen was adamant that he was going to install the tank himself – because it just needs a level paved base to stand on, and a downpipe that is connected to your gutter. But to be honest, it seemed so much easier to use the installation company recommended by JoJo tanks who installed the tank in FIFTEEN MINUTES.


So now that the tank was installed (and it rained that night – I was so proud!), we just needed to get the veggie garden going. And while you can use your rainwater for just about anything (filling pools, washing cars, connect it to your water mains etc), I wanted to start with something new – planting a herb and veggie garden that I would water exclusively with rainwater.

Step one involved coming up with a PLAN – loads of landscaping companies will do the entire job for you, but I wanted to do the work myself! I phoned around and came up with a few options – some landscaping companies will charge about R2 000 (more than the cost of the JoJo tank!) to draw a plan that you can then follow yourself. You can also approach some of the landscaping colleges and pay for one of the newly qualified students to come and draw a design for you. They are so eager to use their new talents and will end up giving you far more attention than the “big guys”! (Turn to the back pages of Garden & Home magazine to see the ads for landscaping courses – then phone them and ask for recommendations!)

One of our major challenges was that the area we wanted to use sloped steeply downhill. Our house is next to a river, and the ground is really uneven on that side of the house. I didn’t want to go ahead and plant seedlings with the knowledge that all the water (and rain water when it rains) would head downhill while taking my good soil with it. Plants also need deep watering for their roots to grown downwards, and so I needed to find a way to contain the soil so that any water would be retained where the plants would need it.

Armed with my plan (which involved a seating area, fountain and gate to keep the dogs out), I approached a guy who had done some building work for me two years ago, and the process of building a retaining wall began. We had to raise the level of the ground by over 30cm on the one side, which resulted in a LOT of bricks and 10 cubic metres of soil to even it out!

On the up-side, all this hard landscaping meant that we were turning over the soil, digging up roots and stones, and filling it with a mixture of top soil (at the bottom) and SuperGro (at the top). SuperGro is the most AWESOME soil ever that I discovered during one of my searches online – it’s like compost on steroids! Anything planted in that soil would grow beautifully!

And so, after just over a week of levelling, topping up with sand and installing my new gate, we were ready to begin with the fun stuff – marking out the beds, laying the path, installing the fountain and planting! (More on that next week!)

Meanwhile, we were already testing the JoJo tank on our potted plants in the courtyard – it was already earning it’s keep!

MD JoJo Tanks

Here at JoJo we’re all tanked up about the enthusiasm readers have shown for rainwater harvesting and the JoJo Slimline™ rainwater-harvesting tank!

Here are some quick answers to the queries readers had last week:

  1. The average retail price of a JoJo Slimline (750Lt) is R1,772.00 including VAT.
  2. We are not aware of any restrictions on tank installations – be it 750Lt or 10 000Lt. However, if you are concerned, it is probably best to check with your local authority. But, whatever you do, ensure that your tank is placed on a firm, clean preferably concrete surface.
  3. JoJo Tanks are nationally available at all the major reputable hardware stores and chains such as Builder’s Warehouse, Builders Trade Depot, Builders Express, Mica, Built It and Cashbuild.

For further information follow the links alongside.

To see the pictures of Shelli’s garden click here.

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