Join our #spekboomchallenge
Plant a Spekboom in 2020! Not just one but 10, that is the challenge!
Global warming and carbon emissions are slowly killing us. We can, however, make a difference! The Spekboom can absorb Carbon and it is also easy to cultivate.
The Bulletin would like to challenge everyone in the Govan Mbeki Municipal area to take up this challenge. Purchase one plant from the nurseries in GMM and start your own project. Challenge everybody that you can!
The Bulletin partnered with Garden Terrace to ensure that the Spekboom is as affordable as possible. Please visit them next to Lake Umuzi in Kiewiet Street and purchase your own Spekboom.
The Bulletin will have a photo album on our FB page so that you can post photos of your Spekboom.
The #spekboomchallenge originated from Boplaas Vineyard in Calitzdorp. The following is taken from their website www.boplaas.co.za: “Boplaas has always been conservation-minded. Now we’ve stepped up our drive and pledged to establish one million plants of the Portulacaria afra succulent variety – commonly known as the spekboom – before 2025.
The world is at a tipping point and we should do everything in our power to avoid a global climate catastrophe. The spekboom that is indigenous to the Klein Karoo area is a carbon miracle worker. Spekboom, for the amount of water it uses, is the most efficient carbon sequester in the world. The humble spekboom can gobble up between 4 and 10 tons of carbon per hectare per year. But it needs our help. According to the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, the world currently produces 1 331 tons/sec CO2. Our goal at Boplaas is to escalate plantation of the spekboom through strategic partnerships and as a wider aim to spread awareness. We want to encourage its cultivation in private gardens, on estates and on farms. It’s not an impossible task – the spekboom is great at adapting to its surroundings and can flourish almost anywhere. It makes wonderful hedges and beautiful shrubs; and, can be planted in fields, flowerbeds and pots.
Boplaas has over 2 200 hectares of veld under conservation where the variety occurs naturally. In addition to planting more, this project will actively distribute spekboom cuttings from our Calitzdorp farm and our wine tasting room in Klein Brak River on the Garden Route.
We will also distribute information on how further cuttings can be made and the best way to plant them. The spekboom requires very little maintenance and can survive with only the most minimal amounts of water.
If we can get 1 000 people to plant 100 plants, that’s 100 000 spekboom shrubs helping us fight global climate change.”
Spekboom – Wonder plant?
Global warming is here to stay! Our air quality is deteriorating at an alarming rate… but never fear when the Spekboom is near! There were a lot of debates regarding the qualities of the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) in the media lately and The Bulletin decided to highlight some of its features.
Whether you call it a Spekboom, Elephant’s Food or Pork Bush, this incredible plant with its bright green, circular leaves should be planted in every South African garden (and maybe even every garden around the world). Here’s why:
- It improves the quality of the air we breathe and helps fight climate change.
Spekboom (aka Portulacaria afra) is a succulent that helps fight air pollution. It has the ability to ‘sequester’ or capture four to ten tons of carbon per hectare! Essentially, it acts as a carbon sponge, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and turning it into plant matter. Excess carbon in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming, so the more carbon we can remove from the air and return to the ground, the better.
- The Spekboom is a proudly South African plant.
The Spekboom is indigenous to the Eastern Cape where South African elephants consider the plant a delicacy.
- It’s water wise.
No time to water your garden? The Spekboom is a water-wise plant that’s ideal for low-maintenance gardens. This drought-resistant plant can survive on just 250 – 350mm of water a year!
- Suitable for all seasons and weather conditions.
The Spekboom has a photosynthetic mechanism which allows it to adapt to both rainforest-like conditions and semi-arid conditions, making it incredibly adaptable and suited to almost any garden.
- It’s easy to grow.
The Spekboom is easily propagated, which is great news for budget gardeners. Simply cut or break off a piece of a Spekboom, let it dry out for one or two days and then stick it in the ground. Give it a little water every few days and you’ll soon have a new Spekboom plant of your own. Make sure you don’t give it too much water or it will rot.
- The Spekboom is a really versatile plant.
Whether you are looking for a plant that can be turned into a hedge or a bonsai, or used as groundcover or a large bush, the Spekboom can do it all. It responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy screen or hedge. Some varieties grow low to the ground and others reach as high as 2 metres!
- You can even eat it.
We’re not suggesting you chow down on a plate of Spekboom, but it is edible and apparently has a light, citrussy flavour. If you ever find yourself hiking through the Karoo, you can suck on a leaf – they are traditionally used to treat exhaustion and dehydration.
Monique Warner – All4Women