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URBAN ECO: Laetitia’s Self-Watering vegetable garden.

Our miniature sausage dog Rory can be a moody little bug*er, but it was definitely more than sulking this time – so we took him to one of our local vets, Laetitia Gaudeux.

B2 came with me, holding him on her lap for much needed calm and support – I love that little guy, he is my tiny soul-mate, so he was not the only one feeling anxious.

Thank God Laetitia was able to sort him out relatively easily with anti-biotics for an infection, and acupuncture over a few weeks for a slipped disc – and while we were there that day I was chatting to Laetitia about how I was blogging about trying to be eco-friendly in the 21st century.

I hadn’t been expecting much in return, it was really just an attempt to get my mind off Rory while she was treating him so that I didn’t cry, but Laetitia turned out to be an absolute power-house of information. 

First of all, she showed us her vegetable patch, and how she made a little self-watering garden – and we were transfixed by its’ beautiful simplicity. 

I’m a city kid who grew up buying plastic-clad broccoli, so when B2 had asked me a while back to help her grow vegetables at her home in Oodi, I had no idea where to start.

This garden supplied enough to keep Laetitia and her family in salad and greens, without the need for buying any at the shops – at all. She had been buying a bag of lettuce about every three days at P20 a bag, and rape every day at P5 a bag, so growing her own was saving her around P350 a month, plus she said it tasted so much nicer.

We asked how she watered it, and she said she didn’t! She just had a small pipe coming out of the bathroom, and had dug little trenches so that the garden watered itself every time they used the bath or shower.

   ‘Don’t you worry about the soaps and shampoos going into the food?’ I asked.


Because everything she uses is 100% bio-degradable – soap, shampoo, deodorant, washing powder, fabric softeners, cleaners, the lot!

Being a vet, with her practice attached to her home, cleanliness is even more important for her than for the average family, so the products she uses meet industrial standards. She uses the same ones that they use in 5 star eco-friendly safari lodges, and she buys in bulk to make everything more economical. (eg: An all purpose cleaner once diluted works out at about one pula a bottle.)

I wondered what was so bad about normal washing powders? The trouble is that many are mixed with fillers.

If you put some washing powder into a glass of water, you will find that most times, it does not completely dissolve, because it is cut with ground up quartz, or plastic micro-beads. 

This means that customers buy more, use more and spend more. I do not blame a person for wanting to make money, but the beads trash your washing machine/borehole – and are really bad for nature. They get into the food chain, and into the livers and digestive systems of Wild Life.

Wait a minute! ‘We’ are wild-life, and just because we live in the city, does not mean we want little plastic micro-beads running around our all-important biological bodies. 

I tried out their washing powder and fabric softener (which smells amazing) and can say that it’s the best we have ever used.

If you want to try it, you can call Guido at VodaClean on 390 4955. They are now situated opposite Spa Aracacia Mall, Phakalane, and are open to selling smaller sizes, or to people taking their own containers in to re-fill.

Laetitia casually broke off a piece of a plant called Spek-boom, or Pork Bush (so-called here) as we were leaving, and said to B2 that she could feed it to her chickens, and that is was a ‘really good plant to have around.’

Try super-plant. This is an indigenous plant that sucks up vast amounts of CO2, massively helpful for taking toxins, such as car fumes – out of the air, so that it is safe to breath.

On the way home, B2 and I discussed re-creating the self-watering vegetable garden at her home in Oodi, where she had the perfect plot, and later, I picked up Andrea’s red wrigglers, happy in their up-cycled ice-cream container.

O – M – G! The Green Hornet picks them up as easily as potato chips! I think I will keep admiring them from a distance for now ; )

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