Wednesday 30 July 2008

A small journey of Ting

Hello seedsavers!

I'm one of the lucky new members of the Hills and Plains Seedsavers. I think I should write something to introduce myself.

My name is Ting. I grew up in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. Taiwan is an island somewhere between Japan and the Philippines. It's about half the size of Tasmania, but we have a bit more population than Australia.

I was a typical city kid, most of the time I lived in an apartment. I had no clue where my food or tap water came from, or where all the waste went. I have memory of the paddy farms near our house, wild fields, and playing in the clean small stream. However the environment changed very rapidly since I was10. Maybe because we had to produce everything “made in Taiwan” or “made in ROC” to satisfy world's crazy consumerism. For a long time now, the stream near our apartment was no longer clean, and skyscrapers are all over the place. There are subways, expressways, cablecars. You could probably find McDonalds every 2 km.

When I finished my law degree at University, I translated several books in 10 months, and I saved some money. Then I packed my backpack and headed to South America. It was a grand journey for me. I was immersed in the colourful peoples and cultures. It was amazing.

I was lucky, just as usual, I met an artist who lives in a small town in the middle of Argentina. Guille, his name; Merlo, the lovely small town. He invited me to stay with him, and I did, for 2 months. He is an artist. He has a beautiful stall in the handicraft market in the town centre. I was helping in the market. From sunblock to shoes, from paper to earrings, you name it, you could find it somewhere in the market, people would make them by hand.

It was the first time I realised that some people have a garden in their backyard and harvested food from it. People would collect fruits and make them into jams or dry them! We visited friends who live on the hill. There is only a trail to the house. We walked to their house which they built on their own from local materials. On the way, we collected mushrooms for dinner. We had a shower under a small waterfall. A bathroom is a luxury not here yet. They have a very productive veggie gardens, some rabbits and an orchard. We had hand made noodles and mushroom sauces for dinner. Everything was beautiful.

One year later, I went back to Taipei. I translated another book for 6 months, and I bought a bicycle and a ticket to Bangkok. I started my first cycle tour. On the way, I met a Kiwi guy, who is very tall, very hairy, but at least he is on a bike. His name is Olly, and he is now my partner-in-crime. That's why now I am here in Adelaide, leaving my parents and friends in Taiwan behind.

In 2005, Olly went to Adelaide to work and I followed his footsteps. We rent a house only 2 km from Olly's work in the north west of the city centre. The old Greek landlords are very generous to let us grow veggies in the garden, even though she thought I am too lazy to weed, put ugly mulch on the bare soil and don't use the trash bins that she has to pay the city council for.

Life was a bit difficult in the beginning. Travelling is different from living. Everything was new to me here. I didn't have any friends. And I couldn't speak or understand English well. I wanted to start a vegetable garden, but I knew almost nothing about it. I complained we didn't have big enough land, and I wanted to live in the countryside. I tried to read those gardening-related books from libraries, but books just made me fall asleep very quickly. I made a trip down to far away Tasmania to wwoof, wishing I could learn something more practical.

In the winter of 2007, Olly and I left the country for our trip from Beijing to Paris on our home-made recumbent bikes, which we planed 3 years ago when we met.(

After one year, I came back to Adelaide. I started gardening right away in April 2008. Maybe because of the help of the rain, I found that this time was much easier. After few months, I have reduced my bills on fruit and veggies 2/3. I think this month would be even less. Mainly thanks to friend's neighbour's mandarin tree, vigorous silverbeets, spinach, and stingingy nettles in the garden, and vegetables from friends, like Maggie, Deb and all other kitchen gardeners.

Now I know learning is a life long habit, it's a slow progress. Only when after few years has gone and you look back, you find you have gone a long way. Now I more enjoy living on our small rental property in an industrial suburb. Olly likes his job and it's great that he could cycle safely to work everyday. Even it's small, it still has a lot of possibilities!

Final words:

Thank you to the bloggers of Hills and Plains seedsavers. You helped me find a lot of like-minded people and groups locally and internationally!

Our roof garden in Taipei. I had a worm farm in a bathtub.

Farmers in Taiwan usually live in villages and go out to the fields.

A Shou-Ming Natural Farming farm I wwoofed in the north of Taipei.

Weeding in a pineapple Shou-Ming Natural Farming farm in the east of Taiwan.

In the middle of
betel nut trunk is very tender delicious shoot.

The backyard of our rental house in Adelaide when we moved in in 2005.

In April of 2008, I came back since I left here one year ago. Olly has planted some vegetables.

After 3 months, it started to produce abundant foods.

Broccoli Vert Romanesco took awhile to grow. It has been feeding us, white flies, snails, slugs and caterpillars. Good on you!

Edible Chrysanthemums. Delicious! Typical vegetable in winter hot pot dish in Taiwan.

Beautiful Sunking sunflower flowers in winter.

Capsicums are a bit small in winter.

Zucchini has wrinkle in winter.

Eggplant is super small in winter.

Hope potatoes will survive after so many frosts lately.

Broad beans everywhere.

Frost came to my garden on 24, 25 and 28 of July.

Daikon Radish are thriving.

I love Daikon. They produce almost a meter long of food in small space. The root are good for soup stock, rice cakes, pickling, drying. And the leaves are definitely delicious and nutritious!

Stir fry radish leaves is definitely delicious. I'll write the recipe later.

Olly grafts
2 apricot scions on plum trees. We also planted an apple rootstock with 2 variety: Top-King of Tompkin, and Pitmaston Pineapple. Maybe I'll stay here long enough to harvest them.

For me, Adelaide is a City of Sunshine. I could still sundry my food in winter on the window sill.

Daikon Radish.

Mandarin skins

Happy Birthday Kate.

About this time last year Kate was adding a counter to this blog , so she started with 1.
Today as I glance at the bottom of the page there have been 23, 721 hits.
I was going to do a summary of the year past but with 337 posts it would take me far to long.
Now we have many blog friends in many countries, we share stories and gardening tales and Kate is going to travel and meet some of you and garden with you.
You do a great job keeping the blog alive.
And if you as a reader have time slip back and have a look at some July, August last year and see what we were all up to.
Enjoy last years Willow pruning day at Deb's then our KGI day at Deb's as well as her Fairy mulch of camellias and her most popular post about the value of wood ash.
Andrew was talking about the Murray River.
Chook was waiting for Peter's arrival and posted an article about how gardening relieves depression.
Kate was talking about everything and I had discovered silvanberries.
Keep warm or cool depending where you are.

Tuesday 29 July 2008


Lately it has been cold enough to freeze various parts of the body, here in Adelaide, but to those of you used to snow and ice our temperatures will make you roll around on the floor laughing. Our coldest day was probably a max of 10C, with most of the daylight part hovering around 8C. Now that is mighty cold here and I have heard people from Scotland saying they have never been so cold as when they were in Adelaide. Let me give you some examples of why this might be so....

Some of you will have read 'The Aussie Summer gardener' and know about the quintessential piece of Australian clothing for summer...the Stubbies Shorts. They are still available after decades of catering to the workmen and women who grace the local streets, leaning on their spades having a smoke, while their 25km/hour signs cripple the traffic flow and increase blood pressure amongst the motorists. Others who wear them are the lawn mowers and the builders, visible in every deli at midday as they buy their 600ml of Farmers Union Iced Coffee and a pie with sauce.

But, in Adelaide, such rugged types sport these stylish garments year round, giving no heed to the icy wind blowing off the Antarctic nor to the splash of cold mud sent up the legs by passing trucks and vans in winter. Moreover, the houses of Adelaide are sometimes devoid of any sort of heating because the occupants rely entirely on the warmth generated by pint after pint of cold beer providing a layer of fat known as the beer-pot to keep them warm.

We Adelaideans think nothing of running through the rain in winter without an umbrella or jacket and some under-25's like to show their midriff at the same time. Loving the sea as I do I always, every week, walk defiantly in the shallows there with my jeans rolled, my feet numb after the first few minutes. We all agree that 10C is not that cold so we will not accept that actually, when it is raining and the wind is truly coming off the south pole, it is bloody freezing here.

My winter heating consists of firewood which we grow ourselves and use when dry, so long as we get the timing right for the cutting of the trees, which is rare lately. Anyway I arrive home from somewhere, and by the time I say hello to the chooks, pull out a couple of weeds in the vegie garden and look over to the sea from my special spot, I am chilled to the bone and race inside to get by the fire.....only to find I forgot to stoke it up before I left home and it is nearly out. I know that if I dump my stuff in the front hall, grab the wheelbarrow from near the front door and hurry to the wood heap I might just get a load of wood inside before it rains again or I freeze to death!

I lift the barrow up a couple of steps to shorten the route to the wood heap, hurry along the long and winding path, lift up the tarp, throw into the wheelbarrow a range of sizes of wood which usually requires me to stumble up over a pile of the smaller wood because just out of reach I can see a few pieces that would be perfect. Back to the front door and into the tiled front hall with the full wheelbarrow I go. Then I transfer half the wood into an indoor trolley and roll it through the house, down 3 steps and to the fireplace where it is unloaded next to the fireplace. Then the second load is brought in, the wheelbarrow taken back outside, the trolley put away....

...And guess what? I am so hot I have to take off my jumper! Sometimes I don't even light the fire then at all! Instead of a cup of tea by a raging fire I settle for a glass of water in the kitchen and go right ahead with something else. The answer to keeping warm in winter is activity and lots of it.....and the experts say that wood is not an efficient way of heating...well it sure is if you have to cut it, stack it, collect it and bring it in yourself and if you do, you can be sure that you will be just as happy in your stubbies whether it be summer or winter, in Adelaide!

Sunday 27 July 2008


One may well wonder what on earth I am going to write about my mother-in-law, seeing as how they seem to have a bad name, but I have another story to tell all together which will shed a much softer light on the species!

Every week Roger's mother comes to dinner and has done so since we moved here in 1990. The first thing she does as she gets out of her car is check on the vegetable garden, along side of which she parks. She always notices things and always says lovely things, never commenting on the odd spade she may have had to drive around or the overgrown weeds that need removing. As she walks, now with her stick, to the front door she is always the first to notice the scent of something flowering or the bright colour of a flower off to one side of the garden which wasn't out last week.

We all sit around before dinner and talk about the week and I show her things I have picked that she may not have eaten before and she will always try anything and nearly always enjoys the new tastes, such as the Chinese Seashells or a carob pod, or sweet potato leaves in a salad or yacon bulbs sliced up to have with cheese.

At this time she asks me for this week's homework! By this she means that she wants me to print out a few things that I have written for the blog during the preceding week that she then takes home and reads at her leisure. And read them she does and she likes also to read the comments people make and then we talk about it all the next week. Sometimes I don't give them to her until just before she leaves because otherwise she can't keep her eyes off them and starts reading them while I am trying to talk to her, avid as she is to see what's been happening in my mind and in the world of blog since last week!

She always knows what's the latest in world politics and news, recently published books, new restaurants, and latest trends in all sorts of things. Even our boys are amazed at what Granma knows about new venues or visiting bands. And the best thing of all is that she thinks she is lucky to have a daughter-in-law like me..... funny because really I don't do nearly enough for her. But what she likes is the chance to discuss things, knowing that all of us will say what we think, that we all have opinions and no-one ever minds how robust the debate gets, because at the end of the day we are all friends and can laugh at ourselves.

When I was a child I don't remember discussing world news or views much and I now feel very lucky to have a mother-in-law who brought up her children to know about the world around them and that we can now pass this on to our own children. She is 80 now but her thinking is more up to date than most people half her age. Lots of women these days aren't as lucky as I am to have a mother-in-law like mine and when I grow up (??) I want to be just like her in many ways.

I asked her about writing this last week and she said "Fine, but don't give me that one to read, give me something interesting." But maybe I will sneak a copy of it into her basket and let her bask in her own glory a little.....

Friday 25 July 2008



When the day starts with a trip to the market you can be sure it has the greatest chance of turning up something to write about and today was no exception. Lately we have had a few people join our seedsavers group after enjoying reading stuff on the blog and this morning I set off for the market ready to have coffee with Tina, who I had never met. In our brief exchange of details I said "Just look for the lady with the blue trolley, at Zuma's at 10.30." So along she came, heading straight for my trolley and by the smile on her face I knew we were going to have a lovely chat. Anyway, she was coming to the market specifically because of my ravings about it on the blog so she couldn't be all bad!

imageWe were still there nearly 2 hours later and I was horrendously late for helping prune Deb's willow house. The funny thing was that we just seemed like reflections in a time warp, she being quite a bit younger than me and with a young child, and I felt very comfortable talking with her about everything from seeds and growing food to bringing up children and making the most of your life. In two hours I swear we covered more ground than a lot of people do after years of knowing each other. She is right into the wicking bed system that Scarecrow writes about and is lucky enough to have a dad who has helped her get a vegetable garden going. I am sure that Tina is going to fit right in with the rest of us and I am looking forward to introducing her to everyone on KGI day August 24th at Deb's.image

After racing home and getting changed I went to Deb's for the annual pruning of the willow house. When I arrived they were all finishing lunch - hot soup on the campfire and one of Deb's fabulous bread rolls so of course, being always hungry, I headed straight for the food! Maggie, Bob, Jill, Ting and Chris were there helping Deb and a lot of progress had already been made. Mary had been there earlier and I was sorry to have missed her.


Chris was amazing at taking to the roof like a bird, pruning and weaving the long canes into position.

Maggie was tying some of the prunings into bundles because Deb uses them to weave into baskets and fences and all sorts of lovely things like Ian from A Kitchen Garden in France wrote about recently.image

There are lots more photos here.

And here is a link to an idea for using living structures for children to play in at The National Botanic garden in Wales, as recommended by Chaise Longue in the comments below.

I think as a group we should set aside a day next year to get this job completely done for Deb because it is a really lovely way to spend some time together doing something so satisfying and for people so generous as Deb and Quentin.....and I promise I won't be late!

While I was sitting having a cup of tea in front of the fire and uploading the photos from the camera, Roger brought in a huge load of firewood and heated up the dinner....very nice.

Fridays are good. Get them fast and then take them slow....

Thursday 24 July 2008

Peter Cundall's last Gardening Australia


A special Gardening Australia program celebrating the glorious career of Peter Cundall as he presents his last ever episode of this enduring program.

Pete’s Patch Principles
In his final Pete’s Patch, Peter explains the principles behind his organic gardening philosophy and talks about how his crop rotation system works.

National Memorial Walk
Pete returns to visit his old regiment at the Ennogarrah Army base in Brisbane which has been planted with 1000 native trees as a memorial to the soldiers of the Royal Australian Regiment who died in combat overseas. Pete meets the group of volunteers from the regiment’s Queensland branch calling themselves Dad’s Army who are dedicated to maintaining this memorial park. He meets some new friends and visits the ghosts of some old ones.

Tributes to Pete
The Gardening Australia presenters pay tribute to Pete.

Ask It Solve It
Pete solves viewers’ gardening problems.

ABC1 Sat 6:30pm, Sun 1:00pm ABC2 Mon 4:00pm

Willow House Pruning

Pruning the Willow House

It’s time to prune the willow house ready for the next season and have it looking good by Kitchen Garden Day.
So weather permitting on Friday 25th July from 11am to 3pm I’ll be hosting a working bee to get the process underway. Seedsavers are welcome to come and help.
Park at house and we can go from there.
If the weather is bad(actually rain is good) we can reschedule it to Saturday.
For more details phone Deb 8339 2519

Tuesday 22 July 2008


Sometimes we can just get too caught up in everyday life and forget to step back and review how things are going. Now that both our boys live away from home you would think I would use more of my time to think about a range of different things but, like most others, I just seem to get stuck on thinking about the same old things. This last weekend both Alex and Hugh came home for a visit, overlapping for a couple of hours but mostly we spent time with them separately. And one of the wonderful things about having a visit from an adult 'child' is that they bring a whole fresh outlook on your life and theirs. They keep you young.

(Alex....long, long ago!)

One of the first things on their lips is.... "have you got some of that cheese / bread / dip / olives / etc/ etc that I like?" Of course we have because we know they are coming and it is there just where they expect it to be even if it hasn't been there ever since their last visit. Sometimes they are only home for 5 minutes and say they have to go out soon with friends and can we open a bottle of red wine to have with the cheeses before they go?......3 hours later they are still here and have stayed for dinner and their girlfriend has come and everything is lovely. They are happy to be with us again.

At 5am on Monday Alex had to leave in a taxi for the airport and I was in the kitchen for a last minute word or two. : "It's been good to be home, Mum." he said and I know he meant it because I could see it in his face. Then he was gone...but later there was an SMS as he got on the plane.....thanks Alex, you're one hell of a son.

Hugh looked in the fridge and asked if he could take all the salad stuff home. Of course he could, and when he said he could eat all that in 2 days I went out into the garden and picked another 3 tons of all the various leaves and salad herbs I could find and gave them all to him.....he will be back next week for more, I hope the garden grows fast this week! And the most amazing thing is that Hugh thanked me for making him wash the dishes for years as a teenager, and for showing him how to cook and iron and do ordinary things that kids these days don't seem to learn from their mothers. Now he can use all the things he has hidden away in his head, to help him succeed where his peers sometimes are struggling just to look after themselves. He thanked me for just being there, for every one of those 20 years. Now that is all a mother could ever want to hear!

They both read the blog just about every day and will no doubt read this and I hope they do because no matter what amazing things they do in their lives, I want them to know that, whenever they come home, I will be there and I will give them my undivided attention for as long as they want it...or until I can't stay awake any longer!!

(Hugh, with Alex's girlfriend Jing Jing on Christmas day)

What has this to do with a seedsavers' blog? Everything. It is about giving time to living, about slowing down and seeing wonderful things like seeds germinating and watching those tiny children's hands grow into the strong and loving hands of wonderful young men. It is about sharing your bounty and caring about the earth and passing on that nurturing spirit to those around you, even when they often don't seem to be noticing, as teenagers, because it all dissolves into them and becomes a core part of them and one day it blossoms before your eyes.

I stayed home and spent my energy and enthusiasm on our children and I think it was the best investment I ever made. Even when most women were out working and couldn't understand why I wasn't too, I knew what I was doing...always the one living outside the square. They always wore second hand clothes and we drove old cars and went on camping holidays but we did it together...all of it...and it has paid off a millionfold, for all of us.


Monday 21 July 2008


On Wednesday at our seedsavers get together, Mary brought a large jar full of a brown liquid and a container of awful, lumpy things like pale brown pieces of liver, slithering and sliding through a brown liquid. When it was her turn to speak she told us all about this amazing concoction from the Ural mountains of Russia and she passed around glasses of the tea for us to try. Here is the gist of the story...

Cancer researchers in Russia gathered data and plotted maps of the incidence of cancers in various areas of Russia. There were 2 areas which stood out noticeably as having virtually no cancer at all, despite having the same living conditions and polluted environmental conditions and recording the same, enormous amount of vodka being drunk as elsewhere. On visiting the areas they found that every family has a store of the kombucha tea brewing in a corner and that every member of the community drank it daily. Tests were of course carried out and it was discovered that this symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria, fed by organic black tea and sugar, contains a potent detoxifying substance called glucuronic acid (as well as acetic acid and lactic acid) which acts as a dramatic immune system booster and body detoxifier.
Mary kindly shared her supply and now we all have a piece growing in our own homes and in a few days we will be able to strain off the slightly fizzy, fermented tea to drink and then, like with a sourdough starter, we will feed it and nurture it as it feeds and nurtures us, adding ourselves into the equation of the symbiotic relationship. Thanks Mary. Maybe it will help some of us live long and happy lives.

Sunday 20 July 2008


Last Wednesday Mary brought along some taro rhizomes she grew in her garden, (not a damp spot) down Port Adelaide way, to share. There was a bit of confusion as to wether the leaves where edible or not, so this is what I’ve found out from my book ‘Growing your own FOOD BEARING PLANTS in Australia’ by Selby Gouldstone.
Taro Colocasia antiquorum esculenta
‘A small lily-like plant universally cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics for its edible, tuberous, starch-rich rhizome, and the large, fleshy leaves which are also edible when young and thoroughly boiled. Taro likes rich, damp soil and is commonly planted along the edge of small rivulets or swampy, boggy places. An excellent potato substitute taro can be either boiled or roasted. It is also delicious when fried in a little vegetable oil, particularly y over an open fire outdoors.
Readily propagated by division. Within one season the tubers should be ready for eating.’


Click on the link below to see my itinerary for the inaugural Voyage of the Vegetable Vagabond!

I am so grateful to the people who have invited me to stay with them and to others who have helped me with suggestions of other places to visit and things to do, especially through France. And, of course, to Patrick for organising the bloggers get-together in Oxford which was the thing that made me start out on the idea of visiting vegetables gardeners in all parts of the world.

It is going to be wonderful to garden in so many locations and to meet so many lovely people and I only hope I don't fall too far short of your expectations!

Who knows, this may be the start of other such trips by other bloggers and maybe also the first of several for me, the original vegetable vagabond. I would love to begin planning an Australian one - The Vegetable Vagabond Goes Native!

This link will be accessible in the list of Australian sites in the side bar:

Adelaide - Vegetable Vagabond


The other day on Landline I watched a great piece about potato growing in the Andes, in Peru. Here are some people taking full advantage of creative thinking so secure their food supplies into the future. It is a beautiful exposé of a life we rarely see. But also it features work done by the International Potato Centre, in Lima where they are preserving the biodiversity of thousands of potatoes with the idea of using potatoes as the food security crop of the future, for the world's poor, taking the place of wheat and rice and corn.

Please watch the clip by clicking on the video link on this Landline site, and fast forwarding a few seconds to the beginning of the segment on the Andes.

The gist of the whole how many times have I used that phrase on this blog??...I do like to read stuff and then talk about the gist.....anyway, the gist of it is that while wheat, corn and rice are traded globally potatoes are not. They are generally grown fairly locally and are not a global commodity.Therefore the prices are not affected by global pressures such as rising transport costs, international shortages or massive crop failures due to disasters etc. Moreover, there are still thousands of varieties being grown worldwide and they are a very diverse plant, with just about everywhere being able to grow potatoes of one sort of another.

This Landline segment is an acknowledgement that globalisation is not in the best interests of the poor (or anyone else), as I see it. People need to grow food and be able to supplement this with other locally grown food. Sure, if humanitarian aid is required, they need to receive it but there are so many other, smaller, more beneficial options and the global market just is not the solution. Potatoes provide an opportunity for sidestepping grains as the staple they have become in recent times (another topic for another day soon...) in favour of a nutritious vegetable grown by the people who need it most.
There is another interesting piece here, from the Cusco potato conference which I found on the excellent Bioversity International site.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Willow house

I've finally got around to posting a story about the willow house.


imagea soft, silver silence

trees splashed with a sprinkling of sunlight


a gentle warmth melts away the night


Thursday 17 July 2008


The question is - how can a group of people spend 3 hours talking about their gardens and what seeds / plants / produce etc they have brought from it to share with the others?

The answer is - when they are the Hills and Plains Seedsavers.We gather in the straw bale house and swap our goodies and eat lots of home-made food and talk, one after the other, about what we brought, what we have been doing in the garden and anything else of relevance.

I didn't take any notes because I didn't want to miss anything while writing, but now wish I had. Everyone...every single person there....had something interesting and often wonderfully entertaining or fascinating to say. We also had 3 new members.....and that reminds me I still have their $5 lifetime membership fees in my pocket.....anyway, they joined in as though we were old friends. Jan is decorating a spare ceramic toilet bowl which she plans to plant with herbs and put in her front garden! Ting, from Taiwan, brought us some delicious stinging nettle rice cakes and will put the recipe on here when I get around to sending her an invitation to post. Judy is digging up her front lawn and planting fruit trees...and so it goes on.

Cath brought a bucket full to the brim with yacon corms plus the purple roots to plant and a gorgeous basket that someone had creatively made suitable for carrying gardening tools; Deb brought a basket of assorted citrusand other things; Kath of the broccoli fame, brought spinach and other seedlings and Mary brought something altogether unusual and I will write a separate thing about it but the gist of it is that it is a type of disgusting looking fungus that multiplies when you feed it black tea and sugar.


You soak a small piece of the fungus in the sweet tea for a week durng which time it grows bigger and bigger and then drink the liquid for unbelievable health benefits, the most potent being its ability to fight cancers as discovered in a Russian village.....I will put the photos of this on a separate post.

Outside in the community garden it is a picture postcard type of place and all the vegetables are looking as good as the broccoli in this photo.

You could not hope to meet a nicer, more enthusiastic bunch of crazy food gardeners anywhere!
There are lots more photos here.

Being crazy food gardeners is good. Meet one soon and catch some of their enthusiasm!


Suggestion for Spring Gathering

‘Plants create Soil’
Understanding soil ,humus compost ,organic matter and mulch.
Here is my suggestion for Sept or October gathering, I can conduct this at Nirvana Organic Farm . We have many soil types from gravel to peat we can study. It would be a hands on exploration of soil, how to develop the right soil for you garden and orchard.
I thought a Wednesday afternoon would be good but open to suggestions
If you are interested please put a comment on this post and I will take it from there.

Know your Soil,know what it is ,how it works and how to improve it so you get quality food.

Pruning the Willow House

It’s time to prune the willow house ready for the next season and have it looking good by Kitchen Garden Day.
So weather permitting on Friday 25th July from 11am to 3pm I’ll be hosting a working bee to get the process underway. Seedsavers are welcome to come and help.
Park at house and we can go from there.
If the weather is bad(actually rain is good) we can reschedule it to Saturday.
For more details phone Deb 8339 2519

Tuesday 15 July 2008


Well, not actually raining in the kitchen, although it did once, a few years ago!

I decided the olives were ready to put into jars with a mixture of oil, vinegar, water and a bit of salt, after about 2 weeks of soaking in water (which I changed every day)

I made the syrup and strained the limoncello into a vodka bottle.
It will be ready in a couple of weeks.

I made a cake to share with a hugly bear!