Rose Geranium Based Drinks in the Kitchen Garden

December 24th, 2021

KITCHEN GARDEN

Rose Geranium 

Scientific name: Pelargonium graveolens

Family: Geraniaceae

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Rose geranium leaves (photo Corinne Mossati)

 

Personally I’m a fan of scented plants whether it’s the flowers or the leaves.
I just love to inhale their perfume either by sniffing the flowers or touching the leaves.

This next plant, the rose geranium, is not just your ordinary scented geranium because of its many uses.

Sure you can get by just inhaling the perfume after crushing the leaves but why not think about it’s culinary uses, especially in festive drinks. 

First let's talk about the plant.

Rose geraniums are quick growing especially in the warmest months of the year.

Expect this to be a small bush of 1-2-1.5meters with leaves that are soft to the touch, slight hairy and deeply incised as pictured on the right. 

Rose geraniums grow best in full sun but can tolerate part shade. Also frost and drought tolerant.

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Rose Geranium spritzer (photo Corinne Mossati)  

Keep pruning the leaves to make your rose geranium plant into a tidy compact form, otherwise it will tend to flop over and sprawl a bit.

Don't throw away the cuttings or prunings as all geraniums root easily and quickly. 

Just cut a piece or stem of about 5cm long, first removing the bottom two-thirds of leaves. Pop this piece into seed raising mix in a small pot or you can even place cuttings in water.

Rooted cuttings soon grow into plants that make great gifts to give to friends.

But don't waste those leaves, because what better way to use them, than making a rose geranium syrup to pour over ice-cream or a rose geranium spritzer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start off with making a rose geranium syrup.

All you need is 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of chopped rose geranium leaves.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati, founder and editor of Gourmantic Garden and Cocktails and Bars  Corinne has provided the links to the recipes below.

Rose Geranium Syrup recipe http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/rose-geranium-syrup-recipe/

Rose Geranium Spritzer http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/rose-geranium-spritzer/

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Festive Drinks with Pineapple Sage in the Kitchen Garden

December 18th, 2021

 KITCHEN GARDEN

Festive Drinks with Pineapple Sage

I talk with Corinne Mossati about this wonderful culinary sage that is so useful in festive drinks.

You may be growing some lovely salvias in your garden but not realise that one of them in particular, can make a luscious and revitalising drink, just right for the festive season. 

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is in the Lamiaceae or mint family.

Found growing naturally in forests quite high up but does well along the east coast of Australia.

A fast growing small shrub to 1.5m, that suits most regions of Australia with large leaves that are, distinctly veined and a bright lime-green in colour.

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Salvia elegans-pineapple sage

Grow it in reasonably rich soil that has a good water holding capacity to keep it moving along during the warmest months of the year. Best in full sun.

Tip prune whenever you pass to keep your pineapple sage more compact and lush.

Flowers occur mainly in winter but will spot flower most of the year.

Let’s find out.

PLAY: Festive drinks with pineapple sage_8th December 202

That was Corinne Mossati founder and editor of the gourmantic garden and cocktails and bars websites.

Not only the leaves, but the flowers can be used to make drinks or flavour honey.

For a small 200ml jar, fill it up with pineapple sage flowers and then pour in the honey. Leave it to steep for one month and give it a give it a little stir every so often.

You can also use the flowers as garnish in salad, and because they have a pineapple flavour, they’ll make a fantastic addition to fruit salads, and sorbets.

Corinne's Tip:When you are working with aromatic plants, place the leaf on your palm, give it a little slap to release the volatile oils, before you garnish your cocktail, then inhale the aroma as you sip your drink.

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Corinne's Pineapple Sage Cocktail

Here are the links to the recipes Corinne mentions in the podcast:

 The Sage Cuban: Pineapple Sage Cocktail: http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/the-sage-cuban-pineapple-sage-cocktail/

Pineapple Sage Flower Honey: http://www.thegourmanticgarden.com/pineapple-sage-flower-honey/

Simple Syrup: http://www.cocktailsandbars.com/how-to-make-simple-syrup/

If you have any feedback why not write in or email www.realworldgardener.com

Dill versus Fennel: What‘s the Difference in Spice it Up

December 18th, 2021

 SPICE IT UP

Dill versus Fennel

How well do you know your herbs?
Have you ever used fresh dill in any recipes?
Perhaps a dill sauce, with smoked salmon or in a potato salad, but what about fennel.?
Those feathery fronds of dill, have a similar smell to fennel, so can they be used interchangeably? Dill is pictured here but it looks similar to the feather fronds of fennel doesn't it?

So how can you tell the difference between dill and fennel fronds?

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Fennel bulb and frond

Dill fronds are slightly finer and a darker green than fennel fronds.

Dill has a higher anise or licorice note when you crush the leaf.

Fennel has the same level of anethol (active enzyme) but tends to be sweeter.

  • Seeds or both dill and fennel are used in cooking and are referred to as a spice.
  • Seed flavour profiles differ from the fresh plant. 
  • Dill fronds are sometimes referred to as 'dill weed' in recipes.

    Dill seeds are used a lot in pickles, but don’t have magical properties.

    Ian’s great tip was when using fennel seeds, dry roast them which by the way gives satay sauce that special flavour.

    • My favourite use of fennel seeds is in home-made sausage rolls.  

    I mix 150 grams of beef mince with 300gms of pork mince, 1 grated carrot, 1 grated potato (raw), w teaspoons of chopped sage leaves, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds,  salt and pepper to season. Divide mixture onto puff pastry sheets and roll up with join side down onto baking trays. Bake for 15 minutes at 220 C until golden.

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Dill or Fennel flowers?

Let’s find out by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 

If you have any feedback email 

realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 

 

Grafting Techniques part 2 on The Good Earth

November 25th, 2021

GRAFTING TECHNIQUES Part 2

side%2Bgraft%2Bcitrus.jpg
Approach grafting is an alternative method for citrus.

In part 1 of grafting techniques Margaret Mossakowska and I talked about how growing from a tree such as an orange or lemon from seed isn’t all that successful unless you graft it onto hardy rootstock.

In this segment, we refresh some of those points and take you onto more grafting techniques.

There are many types of grafting that are available to be used, some more complex or more exacting than others.

My Take On Grafting

Cleft grafting I find is quite straight forward and easy to get right. 

I've tried grafting Camellia reticulata scions onto Camellia sasanqua rootstock with a 100% success rate.  Camellia reticulata has huge flowers, a feature I wanted growing in my garden.

Camellia 'Red Crystal' is a cross between C.reticulata ‘Crimson Robe’ and C. japonica ‘Wildfire,’ however, both are slow growing. and don't grow so fast in temperate Sydney.

I find this is a faster alternative, plus Camellia sasanquas are very hardy and less prone to root rot.

Camellia%2BRed%2BCrystal.jpg
Camellia 'Red Crystal'

 

  • Grafting citrus is essential in Australia because the table citrus that we love to eat are not native to Australia, and so are prone to many diseases. 

The grafted union in most cases needs to be above the ground. There is one exception and that is with lilacs(Syringia vulgaris.). Lilacs tend to sucker if grown on their own rootstock so they are grafted onto privet rootstocks.

 

Things to Watch Out For.

Once you've successfully grafted your desired planted, whether it's a citrus or camellia or some other favourite, there's still room for failure.
  • At first the graft union may seem all fine and dandy, but  if you see shoots from below the graft union, you may have a problem Houston.
  • Shoots from below the graft union could signal failure of the graft and the rootstock is trying to take over.
  • Keep on rubbing off these shoots and hopefully it's only a minor abberration.
  • If this persists, you may find the top part or scion is slowly dying, so time to start all over.
Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au
If you’ve never tried grafting, make sure you get the right tools before you start.

You’ll also need the correct root stock.

If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Grafting Ctirus a Technique in The Good Earth

November 25th, 2021

 THE GOOD EARTH

Grafting Techniques part 1 & 2

If you’ve ever grown a tree from it’s seed, such as an orange lemon or avocado, you probably were disappointed by the result. 
I daresay, that firstly, it took a long time for it to fruit, and when it did, it was nothing like the fruit that the seed came from. 
After all apart from the novelty factor of  being able to grow a tree from a tiny seed, the time involved isn't really worth the effort. So what to do instead?
lemon%2Btree.jpg
Lemon tree
  • Switch to grafting methods.
Grafting is a method that would vastly improve the result all round but the word itself sounds terrifying if not complicated! 
There is after all the possibility that you'll end up slicing of the tip of your finger with the super sharp budding knife, or at the very least drawn blood from the deep wound that resulted from a slip of the wrist. 
I confess to having done that.

 

Practice makes perfect and I would recommend wearing gloves before attempting to do any type of grafting.

So What is Grafting?

drawing%2Bscion_rootstock.jpgGrafting is a swag of techniques that involves having a root stock that is happily growing in the ground or in a pot, whose upper part you will cut off completely.
Next, you attach a scion, a piece of plant whose features you really like, such as fruit size and flavour.
  • The scion has to be a particular size and be related botanically speaking to the rootstock. That means you can't graft an apple onto citrus rootstock, because apples are in the family 'rosaceae' and citrus are in the plant family 'rutaceae.'
 
There are of course plenty of other reasons why you want to try your hand at grafting.
Some of these are to improve disease resistance such as for roses or fruit trees or dwarfing.
Dwarf  trees are the result of grafting a scion from a tree of full size fruit onto dwarfing root stock.
 
 
celft%2Bgraft%2Bw%2Bscion.jpg
  • Margaret describes cleft grafting where the scion's base is cut as a 'V' and inserted into the same length slit into the rootstock. The cambium (green wood) of each must be aligned.

TIP:If you’ve never tried grafting, make sure you get the right tools before you start.

You’ll also need the correct root stock.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au

 

Small Space Gardening in the Kitchen Garden

November 7th, 2021

SMALL SPACE GARDENING-COURTYARD STYLE

Modern day gardens are much smaller than they used to be.

Many gardeners and would be gardeners, hanker for a produce filled garden with as many different edibles  as befits their lifestyle.
If you you only have a small space such as a paved courtyard or even just a balcony, but don’t know what to do next, this next segment will spur you onto creating your own oasis, without digging up the stones or pavers. 

Be inspired

  • Corinne has managed to squeeze in over 200 plants into a small paved courtyard-that doesn't even include duplicates of plants.
  • A good start is with recycling crates from your local council, to give you an idea of what works for you. Alternatively, plant into lots of containers that can be moved around to follow the sun.Then venture into raised garden beds.
Henley%2BGreen%2Bgarden.jpg

Making the right choice

  • Before any planting, determine the movement of the sun in your small space and  and note down the hours of sunlight and shade in each part of your small space/courtyard.
  • Choose those edibles that like all day full sun for those spots that get 6 hours plus of sunlight such as tomatoes.
  • Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, rocket, Swiss chard and kale, don't mind a bit of shade throughout the day if your have only 3-4 hours of sunlight. 
  • If you only have morning sun then choose vegetables such as carrots, celery, and dwarf beans.
  • For those spots with morning shade and afternoon sun, the choice is climbing cucumbers, climbing peas and beans. 
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Soil prep is key for Corinne.

  • Cucumbers_growing_on_a_string_lattice_structure.jpg
    Grow cucumbers on a lattice made of string.

     The raised garden beds are made up with homemade compost, worm castings and bought in compost and other organic material.

Think of vertical spaces

  • Think about growing vines like cucumbers and zucchinis and even nasturtiums, vertically.

 
Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati drinks writer and founder of the gourmantic garden website. 

Don’t be put off by lack of space you may have because no space is too small to have plants, even if it’s just herbs on the kitchen windowsill.

If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Appleberry is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 5

Scientific Name: Billardiera scandens

Common Name: Appleberry
Family: Pittosporaceae
Native Habitat: found mainly along the east coast in a variety of commnityes such as coastal heath and sclerophyll forest.
Description:A twining climber or groundcover.. Pale lance shaped green leaves have wavy margins.
Height-Width: 1.5 x3 m
Flowering: September to December. Pendulous bell-shaped flowers on branch tips, similar to correa flowers.
Billardiera%2Bscandens%2Bflowers%2BDavid%2BMidgley.jpg
Appleberry flowers. photo courtesy David Midgley
Billardiera%2Bscandens%2Bfruits.jpg
Appleberry fruit
Fruiting: Oblong berries appear on the bush in summer while the plant continues to flower. At first green to purple that turn yellow when ripe. Taste is similar to green kiwi fruit. Size is similar to sultana grapes. (Those that are elongated having been treated with gibberelins.)
Position: Full sun or part shade. Will become more sparse in shade.
Attributes: Long flowering and fruiting period. Requires watering and regular pruning in cultivation.
  • Suitable for container growing. Regular tip pruning in this situation will result in a small shrubby plant.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been focussing on bush tucker plants, some of which you may not have heard of before.
The appleberry is no exception because even though it can be found in national parks, most people would walk by and not realise that it’s a bush tucker plant.

For Sydneysiders, it can be found in Lane Cove National Park.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I’m talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant officianado and expert.

There are many bush tucker plant nurseries that supply these plants online and are able to post out to most areas of Australia.

If you have any questions or feedback or have some information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

NZ Spinach is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 4

Scientific Name: Tetragonia tetragoniodes

Common Name:Warrigal Greens

Family: Aizoaceae

Native Habitat: fcoastal areas, sandy shorelines or inland rivers and salt marshes

Description:A ground cover that can act like a dune stabiliser.

Height-Width: 2 x 2 m

Flowering: tiny inconsipicuous flowers Spring and Summer

Fruiting:Juicy fruit produced in clusters.

Position: Full sun or part shade.

Attributes: Dry tolerant once established.

  • There are many bush tucker plants that are not that well known and this is another one of them.

 

Warrigal_greens.jpg
Warrigal greens

These greens can be a spinach substitute, and although one of the names is NZ Spinach, here in Australia, we prefer to call them Warrigal greens.

High in oxalic acid so need to be blanched for 1 minute before using raw in salads.  

  • If you’re anywhere near a sandy beach, look out for NZ spinach growing somewhere not to far from the shoreline. 
  • Yet another bush tucker plant that should be grown more.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

Murnong Yam is Plant of the Week

November 6th, 2021

Murnong%2BYam1.jpg

PLANT OF THE WEEK Number 3

Scientific Name: Microseris Lanceolata

Common Name:Murnong Yam

Family:Asteraceae

 
Yam Daisy

Native Habitat: found in a wide range of habitats in Australia: these inlcude mallee, slerophyll and sub-alpine communities.

Description:-Strappy, linear green leaves above underground tubers that emerge after rain in Autumn.

Height-Width: 30cm x 30cm

Flowering: yellow daisy flowers in spring-autumn.

Fruiting:fluffy seedheads (known as achenes), similar to dandelion seedhead.

Position: Full sun and part shade. 

Attributes: Dry tolerant once established and can grow in sandy soil.

There are many bush tucker plants that are not that well known and this is another one of them.

  • Yam daisy plant can be hard to identify in the wild because it looks like a lot of other yellow daisy plants, including dandelions and flatweed, also called cats ears.
  • The main differences: flat weed has a rosette of hairy, wavy-edged leaves that sit flat on the ground, while murnong has upright lance-shaped leaves. 
  • Murnong flower stems have a curved, drooping top as the bud develops, then straighten as it opens, whereas flatweeds and dandelions are upright as the bud is forming. The white tubers are nutritious and sweet tasting They can be eaten raw or baked, mixed with other vegetables or turned into a paste for dessert.
  • It is possible to buy the seeds of yam daisy plant online.
  • To find out more listen to the podcast. I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley horticulturist

Australian Native Raspberry in Plant of the Week

November 4th, 2021

 PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name: Rubus parvifolia

Common Name:Native raspberry
Native Habitat: found mainly along the east coast in rainforest or coast heath communities.
Description:A scrambling vine or shrub the shoots from underground rhizomes with hooked thorns to help it climb. 
Height-Width: 2 x 2 m
Flowering: December to April
Fruiting:Juicy fruit produced in clusters.
Position: Full sun or part shade.
Attributes: Dry tolerant once established.

 

Rubus_parvifolius.JPG
Rubus parvifolia

Not all fruiting vines or canes come from the northern hemisphere, Australia has quite a lot of its own.
These plants have similar fruits and are easier to grow than there northern counterparts so why are we growing them more? 

My experience is observing one such plant in Sydney Botanic gardens, scrambling on a stream bank near the Palm House. This plant is part of the native garden along with banksias, grass trees, lomandras, carpobrotus and many others, including a peppermint gum.

The habit of rubus species is to keep suckering and spreading, much like the non-native blackberry bushes, so take care where exactly you plant it in your garden.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

I'm talking with horticulturist and native plant afficionado, Adrian O’Malley 

PLAY : Rubus parvifolius_25th August 2021

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