Gardening, Like a Moss

Gardening, Like a Moss

Gardening like a moss involves moving heavy stumps, perseverance, and murderous thoughts towards bunny rabbits

Phase I

This raised gardening bed took a month to construct.  Collecting the rocks and piling them on top of each other wasn’t bad, but pouring the dirt on one wheelbarrow at a time was super time consuming.

First stage
First stage

The water bottles you see buried are my irrigation system  I poked holes in the bottom and sides, and then fill them to bring water to the underpart of the soil.  This is especially useful in Namibia where all moisture is sucked out of everything in 60 seconds or less.

Under Siege

I was planting along, everything was green and big and impressive and I was very proud.  THEN.  Two weeks ago I came home from a relaxing trip to Swakopmund (see pic below) to find every plant in my garden leveled.  All the leaves were gone and the stems were trimmed until they were maybe an inch above the soil.

Me and Angel
Me and Angel

I don’t have a picture because I was too busy freaking out for a week and watering in the dark so I didn’t have to look at the sad naked stems sticking out of the ground.  I was wracking my brain to think of who I could’ve pissed off enough to do something so monstrous, when I saw a bunny hop over the thorn bushes into the garden.  Turns out when a bunny (or in this case the endangered Namibian scrub hare) eats your plants, it looks like someone cut the plants with scissors.

I beefed up my security system to include sticks, metal, drift wood, and other abandoned items around the hospital.  Thus far the enemy has not been able to breach the defenses, and my plants are recovering nicely.

The plants were much taller before 🙁

Bonus Garden

Wait a second, what is that plastic bottle structure in the background?  It’s a greenhouse that I’m using to grow Moringa trees.  There’s a real way to make plastic greenhouses that involves wood frames and concrete fasteners for the posts, but this is the cheaper less permanent version.

Greenhouse structure

Moringa trees are a great dietary supplement for malnourished children eating nothing but cornflour and water every day.  The leaves contain a lot of vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6 and even some protein.  I tried planting the trees directly into the ground at the houses of people whose children are malnourished, but the seeds didn’t sprout.  The Ministry of Forestry suggested I make a tree nursery, so I made this!

See that one in the back on the left? It’s growing!

So that’s my gardening saga thus far.  Here’s to tomato and basil season!

Meet the author / Weens


  • Barbara Damon

    I am very impressed. Learning how to work with nature is a very rewarding accomplishment. It’s nice to find a positive use for plastic water bottles.

    Was the Namibia landscape always so devoid of trees? Watched a special on PBS about the dust bowl in the midwest that was created by our mis-management of the prairie land. We now have a long way to go to have sustainable agriculture.

    I can also relate to the frustration over the scrub hare. In Vermont I had to try and outwit the woodchuck who waited until my sunflowers had four leaves before he leveled them.

    • weens

      Thanks! I really like it as a hobby.

      I don’t think the deforestation is that extensive, but it’s definitely happening. They have a whole department devoted to tree/bush removal to reduce crime (so the criminals can’t hide in the bushes). The charcoal industry is also using a lot of trees. Also no new trees are growing because the drought has been for about five years now. There are already huge dust storms, I’m sure it’ll only get worse.

  • Joy Donohue

    Hi Christine,

    Completely fascinating and so resourceful of you. Great job with the 3 Ps too: persistence, perseverance and patience. Amazing. Can’t wait to see you soon. Love, Joy

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