Saturday 10 September 2011

Colourful Spring Flower Salad

It is Spring here on the Adelaide Plains, there are flowers everywhere and trees are bursting with beautiful blossoms.

We are still having lots of rain and it is cold at night so our Kale is still growing well and the lemon tree is bursting with large juicy lemons.

The cows, sheep and goats in the paddocks near us are enjoying munching away on lush green pastures.

Nasturtiums are making a colourful display in the garden. Eating nasturtiums helps prevent hay fever as well as making a colourful tasty salad. 

Salad for Buddha House-1

Borage flowers, pineapple sage flowers, garlic chive flowers, brassica flowers and calendula petals are all edible flowers. With all these gorgeous colours I am sure they all contain wonderful healing properties.

When you let your herbs and veggies go to seed they just reappear next year and the joy of fresh seasonal produce is a pure delight.

September is a lovely month here in Adelaide, check out the Australian Open Garden Scheme if you want to visit some amazing gardens.

Happy Gardening and enjoy your greens and flowers.

Thursday 1 September 2011

World Kitchen Garden Day 2011 at Glandore Community Garden

Last Sunday we all gathered at the beautiful Glandore Community Garden for an enjoyable World Kitchen Garden Day afternoon.

When we arrived plot holders were busy working in their plots.

Harry was busy working on the wood fired pizza oven which will be is going to have a mosaic added soon.

Everyone chatted about what excess produce they had bought along as well as something they had cooked from their country of origin.

Produce to share included Lebanese cress, bunches of coriander, Jerusalem artichokes, lima bean seeds, plum jams, chilli jams, lemons, fennel, chillies and a lot of different potted up plants.

There were lots of seeds to share and a favourite seed we saved this year was chervil which is a lovely herb we are picking at the moment.

We had an apple amaranth cake from Argentina, Indian Spinach and onion fritters, Irish pumpkin dip, German lemon cake, Middle eastern Humus, French Cheese and Biscuits, German raspberry muffins, Spicy Orange Muffins and an Aussie multicultural creation of brightly coloured Nasturtium flowers filled with humus and topped with sweet chilli jam.

Daniel (from Gardening Australia fame) told us all about an Orchid show he had just entered in and his Mum said he was being very modest and had won 2nd prize in his Category.

Thank you everyone who came and shared their knowledge, kitchen garden food and kitchen garden produce with us.

We look forward to World Kitchen Garden Day 2011.

World Kitchen Garden Day 20111

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Spring workshops at Nirvana



Sunday, September 18th 8.30am – 4.30pm $120

One day course to introduce the practical concepts of the biodynamic methods to farmers & gardeners. The biodynamic method is a modern organic approach that creates a holistic approach to building healthy soil, plants, animals & humans. Includes notes, biodynamic preparations, lunch & teas.







Sunday, October 2nd 9.00 -12.30 $50

Practical guide to establishing & maintaining a productive & healthy vegetable garden. Our climate offers many opportunities to grow food for your table all year round. Discover what plants to grow, and when. Practical tips & ideas.






compost cover


Sunday,  October 9th 9.00 -12.30 $50

Reduce water use by learning the principles of composting & mulching, techniques & materials used & how they can be used most effectively on your garden or farm.





planting cal.cover


Sunday, October 16th 9.00 -12.30 $50

Working with the rhythms of nature can develop your skills in fine tuning your garden and can add a new dimension to your gardening experience.






. orchard


Sunday, October 23rd 9.00 -12.30 pm. $50

Practical guide to growing fruits, nuts & berries. Establishing, maintenance, ground covers, soils.





poultry cover


Sunday October 30th 9.00 – 12 30 $50

All you need to know about getting started with poultry. Includes breed selection, housing, feeding, breeding, pests.






Sunday, November 6th 9am 4pm $120

The ideal way to recycle your garden prunings .A introduction to natural fibre weaving. Includes techniques, suitable plants & other materials to make baskets, fences & trellises. Includes all materials, lunch & teas.




All courses are held at NIRVANA ORGANIC FARM


UBD 157:G7. Exit from SE Freeway at Stirling, turn right at roundabout & travel 3.5 km.

The courses are practical, ‘hands on’ conducted by experienced biodynamic/organic farmers, Deb & Quentin. Their successful small holding has been run under BIO-DYNAMIC principles since 1983.

The 4.5 ha property provides the ideal classroom filled with practical examples of how goals can be achieved & gives inspiration into this GARDEN QUALITY FARMING to both gardeners & farmers alike.


DEB OR QUENTIN PHONE/ (08) 8339 2519

Friday 15 July 2011

World Kitchen Garden Day

World Kitchen Garden Day is an annual, decentralized celebration of food produced on a human-scale. It is recognized each year on the 4th Sunday of August.  It is an opportunity for people around the world to gather in their gardens with friends, family, and members of their local community to celebrate the multiple pleasures and benefits of home-grown, hand-made foods.

World Kitchen Garden Day - 28 August 2011

Here is the logo.... when you organise a get together you can download it and use it to attract attention.

How people celebrate International Kitchen Garden Day and with whom is up to them. Some choose to do so in public ways with large gatherings of friends and neighbours, whereas others opt for a more intimate celebration with close family. Here are a few ideas for some activities you might consider organizing depending on the level of involvement you would like to have:

-a walking tour of gardens in your area
-a kitchen garden or local agriculture potluck
-a kitchen garden taste-test
-a harvest or planting party
-a benefit for a local food/gardening charity
-a kitchen garden "teach in"
-a single food theme party
-an activity at a local farm

See what they are organising in India at Urban Leaves ....

where this young lad was worried about his pet snail eating his spinach leaves, at a recent celebration in the garden!






lady libertyIn the USA its all about freedom.... freedom to grow food where you want to.... you won't believe this video.... it makes me feel sick to think that growing vegetables can be a finable offense!!

You can watch the video and read more here

Sunday 5 June 2011

If only every Suburb had a Community Garden and a Kitchen Gardeners Swap Meet.

Batty's Garden-8Allie & Steve's Visit-146
Many people today are striving hard to fit into today's culture.
Many of us vegetable gardeners feel a little out of place at social gatherings. We would much prefer to be in our gardens, pruning, planting, weeding, picking or preserving our produce.
Our to do list is endless, sorting seeds, making sauerkraut, pickling olives, transplanting seedlings, propagating cuttings and there is always pruning to be done.
I meet very few gardeners who are not keen to talk about what they have been growing or how the weather is affecting their garden.
So we have this group of home gardeners who meet together every few months and we always have a good time.
When we meet to swap seeds, excess produce and ideas, we also share part of our lives with each other.
We may meet for just a couple of hours but friendships are formed, phone numbers exchanged and the promises are made to share produce as it ripens and matures.
Someone has chokos to share, someone else has excess chillies, another has apples and firewood, the list goes on and on.
Cuttings and prunings, excess seedlings, potted plants are brought and given away.
Cuttings of herbs, curry leaves and berries, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and cardamom plants are divided and shared.
Variety is being added to people's gardens, new plants and ideas are being introduced.
People are taking things home to grow, things they had never heard about before. New flavours are introduced and as people try new things and use them at home, their palates change and they look forward to trying new and interesting plants.
Chesnuts-2Beef, Beans & Basil-7Curry Leaf Tree-2
And so for a few short hours people are introduced to new things, new ideas and new challenges.
If we lived in any rural area in any other country it would be a natural thing to save seeds and share with neighbours. But in Australia the majority of people are buying their fruit and veggies from large supermarkets or fruit stores. These unknown, mass farms are often using many harmful chemical sprays and fertilizers to achieve a perfect looking product, which looks good but lacks the flavour and nutritional value of organically grown produce.
Our priorities in life should be healthy pure rain water, fresh clean air, viable seed, local, organically grown food and a healthy lifestyle.
Lasagne-1Seedlings & Purple Chilli-3Brown Rice, Besan & Chive Cakes
A lifestyle which includes rest and relaxation, time to spend with others, time to share a simple meal or wander around a friend's garden.
When you live in a city you see people constantly rushing around, driving children from one paid activity to another. Children who have been in child care all day are seen throwing tantrums in shopping malls and supermarkets as their hassled parents fill supermarket trollies with chemical laden foods, coloured beverages and other sugar laden sauces, cereals, sweets and cookies.
I guess I am just getting to be a grumpy old granny, but to those of us who grew up in the forties or fifties we remember a much different world.
Seedsaver Maggie-20Seedsaver Maggie-5Colours of Autumn-14
Most families grew their own vegetables, had chickens for eggs and chicken for a special occasion.
There was no television, people sat and chatted about their day, listened to the radio or read books, played cards or board games.
All the neighbourhood children played cricket on the road, there were fewer cars and people rode their bikes, walked or caught public transport.
Anyone remember going to work in an old steam train?
I did. I caught the train from Liverpool Station to Central station in Sydney. A group of us teenagers met in the same compartment each day and played cards or just chatted.
Now the people I see walking the streets are plugged into their  iphones or ipods and don't even look at anyone.
Time is money now, so people rush everywhere, drive like maniacs and have no concern for anyone but themselves.
So it is with great pleasure that I look forward to when our garden group meets again.
Our dream would be for every suburb to have a Community Garden and every Community Garden to have such groups meeting several times a year.
   Seedlings & Purple Chilli-1Colours of Autumn-7

Saturday 28 May 2011

Brilliantly Coloured Autumn Fruits and Leaves on the Adelaide Plains

Colours of Autumn-2

It is Autumn in Adelaide South Australia, nearly winter.

Here are some of the gorgeous coloured fruits we are enjoying at the moment.

Soft juicy beautiful flavoured persimmons we bought at the last Rare Fruit Society meeting.

Beautiful mauve and purple lilly pillys we forage from local trees. They are large and juicy and we love eating them straight from the trees.

The last of our excel figs  not as sweet as they were a month ago but still yummy.

Beautiful jewel red pomegranate seeds just from our tree. Once again we just love these seeds.

Peoples citrus trees are covered with mandarins, oranges, grapefruit and lemons almost ready to eat and make delicious marmalades from.

As we take Niki and our grandson for walks it is wonderful to see brilliant trees covered with vibrant yellow, orange and golden leaves, red and purple coloured vines, rainbow coloured flowers and bushes, bright yellow and pale pink roses and bright green grass after the wonderful rain we have had.

Autumn leaves are being raked and thrown under bushes for mulch or added to compost heaps.

There are loads of birds around I guess they come down from the Adelaide Hills which are 5 minutes drive away but heaps cooler than here on the plains.

Our winter green garden is starting to produce Asian greens, rapa and all the wonderful herbs we add to our meals.

We still have capsicums and chillies ripening, lovely bunches of parsley and rocket.

No longer am I sad that tomatoes have disappeared because Autumn and winter has replaced them with exquisite flavours, new recipes to try and enjoy.

Monday 9 May 2011

Kookaburra in our Liquid Amber Tree

Yesterday there was a choir of kookaburras in a nearby tree laughing their heads off.

By the time we got our camera out they were silent and flew off except for one lone kookaburra who sat silent in our aged liquid amber tree, just pondering and enjoying the moment, on a quiet sunny autumn afternoon in Adelaide.


Kookaburra in the Liquid Amber Tree

Sunday 8 May 2011

Sunningdale Farm Open Day Today - Australia’s Open Garden Scheme



Sunningdale Farm is open today as part of South Australia's Open Garden Scheme.  Mosquito Hill Rd, Mount Compass
10am-4.30pm.  $6.00

It is a lovely drive to Mt Compass and a lovely organic farm to visit.

Kate visited Sunningdale Farm open day in 2007, here is what she wrote -

Anne Duguid is a gardener after my own heart. Plants are allowed to come up and grow where they like and vegs and flowers co-exist happily together, making a carpet of intricate detail and fascination at every turn. The house is on a rise and is surrounded by a ring of garden so that every door of the house opens onto vegetables, herbs and flowers. They include such companion plants as parsley, yarrow, tansy, coreopsis, fever few, cosmos, leeks and buddleias which attract ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, beetles, wasps, bees etc.
Beyond the house are 190 rolling acres of organic / biodynamic vealer calves. Beyond this you can see the Murray and the lakes. Picturesque is inadequate to describe the property. The drive in is through scrub in which they have identified 45 varieties of birds. There is a trail mown through the bush for walking and, after the recent rains, everything is lush and green . Anne is a lovely person and very welcoming. Together with her husband Phil they run the property. If they have another open day I would suggest you go and soak it up.
The drive to Mt Compass via Hahndorf is beautiful after the rain and there are great venison hamburgers to be had at a cafe in Mt Compass ! A lovely mothers' day.

Chaiselongue from the blog Olives & Artichokes has a good post  'Why do we garden?'. Check it out.

Happy Autumn Gardening and Happy Mothers Day.


Labels: Biodynamics, Food for health, Garden, Visits

Sunday 10 April 2011

Goodbye Tomatoes, see you next Summer!

With only a few tomatoes left on our vines it is hard to say goodbye to fresh home grown tomatoes until next summer.

Here are a few pictures of some of our favourite tomatoes, Black Krim self seeded, Eva Purple Ball from select organic seeds, tomato Riesentraube from Eden seeds, Pomodoro Red Cherry from Franchi seeds.

Black Krim Self Seeded-7More Tomatoes-11



We also had lots of other self sown tomatoes appear in our garden. We have 5 underground worm farms throughout our veggie patch.

All our veggie scraps and some paper scraps go on these bins and the red wrigglers happily munch away. One a year when the worm farm (which is a large bucket with holes) is getting full we extract the worm castings. Then we dig the castings into the earth just before planting. So a lot of seed is spread through out the garden as we do this. But that is another story.

Back to tomatoes, we have had delicious tasty tomatoes with each meal for months but soon it will be time to pull out the vines to make room for winter greens.

We have lots of Asian greens, rapa, mustard greens, spring onions and broccoli seedlings to plant out.

At the moment we are still having lovely sunny Autumn days and mild evenings but I guess winter is coming soon.

Here are some more meals  we prepared using tomatoes and fresh basil this summer.

Bruschetta with mozzarella and olives, Spanish Chicken casserole with chillies and cherry tomatoes

Bruschetta-2     Spanish Chicken-10

Sunday 3 April 2011

The Magic of Seeds

A few weeks ago I spent a lot of time processing dried seeds from their pods which we had saved from last winter and summer.

What a treat to see escaped seeds sprouting everywhere in the back yard including sprouting in the cracks on the old BBQ table and stools.

I must have saved thousands of seeds and now to see them germinating so well, MAGIC!

Growing in the Cracks-2

Growing in the Cracks-9

Sunday 27 March 2011

Avocado, Basil, Rocket and Tomato Bruschetta


Summer on a plate! To make this yummy bruschetta first plant some seeds.

Watch them germinate, water and care for your plants for several weeks until finally you have beautiful tomatoes, basil and rocket.

Harvest your creations and mix them together with some cracked pepper and a drizzle of local olive oil.

Toast some Paolo’s Grain Sour Dough, rub it with fresh garlic and top with your garden creation.

More to say? No just munch away!

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Seed and Produce Swap Days

We have been very fortunate to have 2 great Seed Swaps at Glandore Community Garden recently.

We have had lots of new young gardeners join in as well as all the older folks who have been growing food for decades.

There is nothing like getting together with like minded folks and sharing produce, seeds and home made afternoon tea.

It is very easy to arrange seed swaps, just look for a community garden close to where you live.

Find some gardeners who want to save seed and swap produce with each other.

Make a time to do this and you will find it is lots of fun.

This is a collage of our February gathering.

Note : Bob took these photos and said Daniel and Harry were discussing tomatoes, what a great photo!.


Seedy Sunday at Glandore


Last weeks gathering was also an absolute delight as everyone chatted about what they had brought and were planning to grow in winter.


Seedy Saturday at Glandore

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Bird’s Eye View


Bird's Nest & Raindrops

This friendly family of pigeons live in the Jacaranda tree in our garden.

They forage in the garden, and wander around our lawn.

It is wonderful to have a veggie garden for all creatures to share and enjoy.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Basilico Olio

Basilico Olio-7

Basilico Olio or basil oil is a great colourful oil to spoon over sliced tomatoes or to add to freshly boiled pasta or rice.

It is also great drizzled over freshly baked pizza, tomato and onion bruschetta or sliced cucumber salad.

It is a great way to prepare surplus basil and keeps for several days in the fridge.

It is made by plunging a couple of handfuls of fresh basil leaves into some boiling water then draining them quickly and then plunging the leaves into iced water for a few seconds. Remove the leaves and pat them dry with a clean cloth.

Place the leaves in a food processer and chop them adding a good quality olive oil , sufficient to make the mix pourable.

To make the oil more flavoursome add a pinch of salt, some sliced chilli and some freshly sliced basil just before service.

We are still having lovely warm weather here in Adelaide. We still have fresh basil although our tomatoes and cucumbers are nearly finished.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our tomato season and now look forward to yummy peppers, spring onions and small lettuce that are growing well at the moment.

We only have a small garden so we cannot grow everything we would like too but luckily we have an Organic Store called Doof Doof within walking distance and Hayden grows amazing veggies. At the moment we are enjoying his corn, eggplants, zucchini and lettuce.

I love fresh organic fruit and vegetables and we are lucky here in Adelaide to have lots of organic growers close by.

Happy gardening everyone.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Local Fish and Chips, Garden Salad and Baked Excel Figs for Dessert

Dinner tonight all cooked by the gardener not the cook!  Pretty delicious!

Thanks Julie for the potatoes.

Local Food-4



Local Food-12

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Summer Tomatoes – Yum!

Our Tomatoes

I think home grown tomatoes are most kitchen gardeners favourite vegetable.

We have tomatoes from seeds we germinated and a lot of self seeded tomatoes which just appeared in our garden when we spread out the contents of our worm farms.

We eat the tomatoes as a snack straight from the vine, with our basil and rocket salads, add them to frittatas and just freeze them whole to be cooked with onion and thyme in autumn when the vines have wilted.

We are having warm humid weather in Adelaide at the moment and new tomato self sown seedlings are appearing in the garden.

March will be warm so I expect we shall have tomatoes and fresh basil for a while yet.

The delicious pinkish tomato is called Eva Purple Ball, it is a gorgeous looking tomato.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Crunchy Summer Green Bean Salad

Green Bean Salad-7

Summer crunch for lunch, straight from our garden.  Blanched green beans, green peppers, tomatoes and crispy red onions tossed with fresh garden herbs, olive oil and cider vinegar. YUM!

Makes all the seed saving, nurturing of seedlings, preparing garden beds, planting and watering worth the time and effort.   

Monday 31 January 2011

Spicy Summer Veggie Frittata

Summer Indian Fritata-1

Summer here means ripening tomatoes, chillies and fresh beans. So with todays harvest we made a delicious frittata.

Sauté a little sliced red onion, add some turmeric, paprika, red chilli and garam marsala.

Add some lightly blanched, sliced green beans and freshly sliced tomatoes.

Add some seasoned beaten eggs. Add to a lightly oiled, heated pan. Sprinkle with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Cook over a medium heat then finish under the grill.

A great quick, delicious, healthy meal.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Our New and Improved, Shade Structure made completely from Recycled Materials

New & Improved Shade House-2

We usually drape shade cloth from our trees when Adelaide temperatures heat up to 40 degrees Celsius.

So with 42 degrees forecast for tomorrow, this morning was spent erecting an efficient shade structure.

Last week a friend dropped off a 3 metre by 4 metre gazebo frame destined for the tip.

After a bit of experimenting with the pieces we eventually had the gazebo frame in place to provide support for the shade cloth over our unusually shaped veggie garden.

Well at the end of the day I can say our veggies were protected from the scorching sun.  Bees still feasted on the flowering plants, there was good air circulation and tomatoes ripened in the warm shade.

Our usual system was clumsy, hard to get under and far too humid.

This new and improved version is fantastic, we just hope it does not leave the Plains here for a flight to the Hills if the famous Adelaide gully winds pick up.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Cucumber Gazpacho

Cucumber Gazpacho-11

Summer garden produce is finally ripening in our garden.

We are starting to pick tomatoes and today picked 2 Richmond green cucumbers.

So along with some fresh basil, garlic, chives, mint, red chilli, parsley, salt, pepper and a little water we blended 6 tomatoes and our peeled cucumber into this delicious cold soup which I have called cucumber gazpacho because of the delicious fresh cucumber it had.

All the herbs and veggies were freshly picked and we enjoyed the soup sitting in the garden watching heaps of bees enjoying flowering herbs and busily pollinating the plants in our garden.

LOVE!!! Summer so far!

Friday 21 January 2011

Middle Eastern Spicy Chickpea Salad


Batty's Garden-58

Today we had lunch with some friends so I made this delicious salad.

I always use organic dried chick peas, soak them overnight, drain them and then simmer them in fresh water until tender then drain them.

When cooked I sprinkle the chickpeas with salt, cracked black pepper and a little paprika and olive oil.

For this recipe I heated a couple of Tablespoons of Middle Eastern spice mix in a little oil to infuse the flavours.

I added this to the chick peas with some finely sliced red onions, the juice of 2 lemons, some chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, a dollop of tahini, a handful each of chopped mint and parsley, more black pepper, paprika and crushed garlic.

I served it on a bed of wild rocket.

It is great to have all these lovely herbs in the garden to flavour your food.

Most folks brought summer produce from their gardens including eggplant dip, zucchini fritters, tomato and basil salad and cold rolls filled with home grown veggies and herbs.

All these dishes make delicious, healthy, summer salads or vegetarian mains.

I was going to say I love summer garden produce, but then I love winter produce just as much. Whatever season it is there is always something to make flavourful meals with when you grow lots of vegetables & herbs in your garden.