Tuesday 27 February 2007

Hot Happy Days

Greetings to you all.

We have found the hot days a good time to pursue other interests other than gardening. With only a minimum time from 8pm or early morning watering and the use of shade cloth we have managed to produce just sufficient amounts of tomatoes, peppers, chillies, a few zucchini and lots of herbs which we add to all we eat. When the weather cools a bit we are going to give our bed a good feed and get started again . I am looking forward to fresh juicy spring onions , lots of parsley and herbs, bunches of kale, crisp lettuce & lots of different and unusual herbs for teas & infusions.

Having these plants fresh for picking gives us the basis of our new way of eating . The farmers market should provide the rest, ie fresh apples and pears (Kalangadoo) , free range eggs, beetroot, leeks and broccoli from the food forest stall. A little goats yoghurt and soft cheese and lots of carrots from Wilson's organics. With an organic chicken (for 2 people this makes heaps of meals (the carcass for stock; just add broccoli and herbs or greens) and the rest is lightly cooked in southern Indian style with fresh curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds, turmeric, Malaysian curry powder, lots of carrots and peas, onions, garlic, yum. Our other staples are brown rice, some dried beans or lentils, a fish or some grass fed red meat and a loaf of sprouted ancient grain loaf made at Pooraka (comes into Wilson's, Organics To Go or Real Organics on Thursdays). This bread is so good and filling and makes great toast.

All this data is included because it is the result of over a years investigating the questions of what are the best things to grow and eat to prevent disease and boost the immune system . Ref Diana's Seeds for Health gardening course (commencing again in April this year), all the naturopaths, raw foodies or herbalists we have heard talk at the natural health society, cancer care & the herb society . Cheers everyone, may it rain soon.


Tuesday 20 February 2007


As you are probably all finding, it is worth it to grow your own vegies. Despite the heat and the water problems vegetables soldier on and, at this time of the summer, are producing at their best. With both our sons away until next week we have been overloaded with some things and, on the whole, are self-sufficient in summer vegies. We only ever eat what is in season anyway (I will write on this one day) and only buy what I choose not to grow. For example, I don't bother any more with potatoes or onions (except spring onions) or carrots although some free purple carrot seeds I received from Diggers and grew has made me rethink this (another topic for another day).

I now have a cupboard full of bottled fruit and jams, plum sauce, red capsicums in olive oil as well as peach and date chutney. I feel I can begin to relax a little but my mother's pears are still bearing down on me - 2 types of nashi, packams and duchess and nearly all are completely free of coddling moth (another tale to be told here!). I have tried cooking the nashi but they never seem to soften which is fine if you like your fruit hot and crisp. What else can you do with nashi ?? By the way, 'nashi' is Japanese for 'pear' so don't call them nashi pears ! Nashi is also singular and plural, like fish, so don't say 'nashis'. (The only other thing I know about, besides gardening, is Japanese - I spent some years studying it, at uni and in Japan !)

This is a very boring piece of writing - funny how the words come sometimes and other times I struggle to put a sentence together. It would be exceedingly difficult to write articles for a living.
Please put an entry on the blog. I am sick of reading my own stuff ! Thanks go to Andrew for keeping up the side, it is great to read his snippets and see the photos. I crave input from other gardeners as I miss my weekly garden chat with my father who knew so much he thought he knew nothing.

Wednesday 7 February 2007


Imagine that 3 of your best friends call in to see you one morning and you spend some hours chatting and laughing together in the garden before enjoying some well-earned plum cake and good coffee under a shady tree. When they have gone you realise that all the weeds are gone from your vegie patch, errant beans are tied up, all the seeds that have dried on the bushes during summer have been collected and placed in named boxes and once again you can see the eggplants which were previously totally overrun by rampant pumpkin vines and which now follow a more orderly route.The boysenberry had sent prickly sinews out through the white netting that you hadn't got around to removing but now it was all clipped and freed of its chains. How did this happen while we were having such fun ? Were there fairies in the garden ? It is called a garden group and every keen gardener should have one.

We meet every Wed morning during school terms and today was my turn. I have been feeling rather unhappy with my mess of a garden this summer and things had only been getting worse as the days got hotter and I stayed inside bottling mountains of fruit from the gardens of various family members. Last week we went to Glenys' place at Carey Gully and did the same for her berry patch, uncovering 2 strange, very deep holes behind the raspberry patch. Her joy at having things staked and trimmed and her white netting removed from her raspberries was catching and it makes you feel good to help out someone who appreciates it all so much. Next week is Kathy's turn then Sally's and then Lou's.

If you possibly can, ask some fairies to your garden and then experience the pleasure of returning the favour and you too may be on the road to having your own garden group.

Friday 2 February 2007

Barb's Garden

What could be more pleasant on a summer's evening than wandering through someone else's veggie patch, delighting in the sights and colours, tastes and textures, with narry a weed to pull nor any responsibility at all, except to stroke one's chin, look wise and mutter indistinctly about the varieties on display?
So it was for me this week, when Barb invited me along to her backyard patch, just up the road and around the corner from home, and just five minutes away by bicycle.
The great long list of questions Barb had in her hand was a bit daunting, but didn't prove to be too tough. It did remind me of my own early stumblings in the veggie patch, though. Why are these leaves a funny colour? Why have the tomato leaves dried out? How big will this grow? This one doesn't seem to be growing! When should I have planted these?
Everything is a source of worry in those first few years, until the passing of the seasons gives one a certain sense of misplaced confidence.
After our marvellous tour, I congratulated Barb on a superb effort, and reminded her that garden's require and teach patience. It's a fast world out there, but Mother Nature moves along at her own gentle pace (unless she's growing weeds!)
Kate tells me to use Picasa to put all the photos I took up on our Blog site; I'll try that next.
Barb - you're doing real well.
As the Germans would say: - "Immer mit der Ruhe!" - always go quietly!