How an edible eco pool can help you create a green ecosystem in your backyard
Natural pools are aesthetically pleasing – and they promote sustainability, health and wellness in your home.
A natural eco pool is a beautiful extension of your backyard that regulates itself without the need for expensive systems or harmful chemicals. Natural pools are kept clean and bacteria-free by gently circulating water through a living ecosystem of aquatic plants.
In the case of edible eco pools, plants that are edible and safe for human consumption, such as waterblommetjies, can be used to filtrate the water. The water can even be used for drinking or irrigation.
RECIPE TO TRY: Waterblommetjie tempura
Plant-powered eco pools are so much more than just a pool – it becomes a part of a home’s landscaping, and promotes sustainability and overall wellbeing. We caught up with Mira Weiner – blogger, recipe developer, McGregor local and proud owner of an edible eco pool.
How does a natural eco pool contribute to sustainability and personal wellness in your home?
Natural pools have zero chemicals, which makes them healthier for your body, the ecosystem surrounding them and the overall environment. Watching the process of creating a living space with a community of plants that started its own ecosystem was an incredible experience. The pool attracts dragonflies, butterflies, bees and more; it really made me respect Mother Nature and her incredible natural system of design and function. Living harmoniously with the earth is a privilege to be a part of and something that so needs to be more respected in the world. If we only left nature untouched, and respected and observed it, the world would be a better place for us all.
What are the benefits of having a green space in your backyard?
There are so many benefits to this incredible eco pool including:
- It nurtures, heals and energises your mind and body.
- Natural pools blend in with nature and make beautiful water features.
- They’re not just aesthetically pleasing but they also provide an eco-friendly space for plants, animals and humans to live harmoniously.
- As the seasons change so does the weather and having a natural pool is low-maintenance, energy-efficient and more economical to maintain.
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What advice can you give to beginners about building or converting chlorine-based pools into a natural edible one?
I am not going to pretend to know the answer to this as I think it’s important to do extensive research or find someone with the knowledge and expertise to help with this. We had an incredible plant wizard, Lyle Krimchanski, consult on this project from the start. Originally, we first thought of doing an ozone pool as we didn’t want to go the chemical route, but once we found out about natural eco pools and did more research about how we could grow food to help contribute to cleaning the water, we were sold! The pool is alive and the life forms that are in the natural pool space, including the plants, bacteria and little visiting creatures, all help to keep the pool clean. It’s absolute magic!”
Are there any specific low-maintenance edible plants you’d recommend starting out with?
This has been an interesting journey and we have certainly learnt so much! Originally, we planted Swiss chard, different lettuces, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber, mint, basil, garlic chives, lemongrass, ginger and turmeric. We created this gorgeous space in the heart of the intense McGregor summer, which often exceeds 40°C. So given that, the plants did well, but I think the ones that thrived the most were definitely the herbs like mint, basil and lemongrass as well as the ginger and turmeric. We are going to keep experimenting through the seasons and see what else we can grow!
What herbs/edible plants can you grow in an edible natural pool?
We don’t know of anyone else who has created an edible eco pool. There are lots of natural pools but we aren’t aware of edible plants that others have tried planting, so this was definitely a (great!) experiment. We want to see what else we can grow during the seasons. When the weather is cooler, watercress is still high on my list to try. I think it would work really well.
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RECIPE TO TRY: Exotic watercress salad
What do you enjoy most about your edible natural pool?
I am absolutely in love with this space and the incredible joy that it brings to us daily. It provides so much beautiful energy to our home as a special water feature, swimming pool and, most importantly, as a reminder to live in harmony with the earth. Imagine a world in which we lived in harmony with nature and were not at war with it. A world where we collectively come together to protect the health of humanity and this planet that we are blessed to call home. If we could see life as a community, just like this eco pool, and truly understand that we are all connected as human beings on this Earth. As a passionate plant-based advocate and creative cook, I believe we can change the world through our kitchens. One kitchen at a time. Our edible eco pool has become part of my life’s legacy – to inspire people to eat more plants and, in doing so, to spread kindness and compassion.