Real World Gardener La Niña and Changing Weather in the Kitchen Garden

March 20th, 2021

 THE KITCHEN GARDEN

La Niña and your produce garden

Torrential rain is lashing the east coast of Australia as a write this while the west coast of enjoys a hot spell. Without sounding too dramatic, we’re starting off the kitchen garden segment with a topic about how the changing weather patterns are affecting the vegetable garden. At the moment Australia is in the grip of La Niña, a complex weather pattern, that bought rain for much of summer and now is causing flooding in many areas.
Last year's summer was quite different with bushfires in most parts of Australia.

Rainy%2Bin%2Bmy%2Bgarden.jpg
Torrential rain driven by La Niña in my garden.

We’re not so much spruiking climate change, but really it’s more about what you the gardener can do to mitigate problems in the veggie patch because of climate events like La Niña.

This summer, the produce garden is seeing cooler temperatures during the day, increased humidity, and higher night temperatures because of the consistent cloud cover.

For those gardeners on clay soil, the soil is staying damp even during the drier periods. Veggies do not like their roots in constant water.

For those gardeners who haven't prepared their gardens for these events, they may find collar rot around citrus and other fungal problems in the kitchen garden.

The answer for clay soil in produce gardens is build raised beds. Not only does this improve drainage, but saves all that bending to ground level.

Powdery mildew is a problem with all gardens in humid weather, particularly when the crops are coming to their end of their production.

Toni recommends using a bi-carbonate spray to change the pH of the leaf surface so that the fungus cannot thrive. This is only a preventative measure. Once the mildew takes hold.

Bicarb soda recipe:
1/2 teaspoon of sodium bi-carbonate
450ml water
couple of drops of vegetable oil to help emulsify it.

Spray both leaf surfaces well until run-off. Re-apply after rain.

Other problems can be fruit not ripening such as tomatoes staying green because of the lack of sunny days.

Dwarf beans are all descended from climbing beans when they perceive low light levels they will begin throwing out tendrils and revert to climbing beans. This can be just a run of cloudy days or overshadowing by trees or a neighbouring building.

Let’s find out-I'm talking with Toni Salter, the Veggie Lady. www.theveggielady.com 

Real World Gardener Mulled Wine and Jelly in Spice It Up

February 25th, 2021

SPICE IT UP

Mulled Wine and Mulled Wine Jelly

Are you missing the Christmas spirit? In Australia it was mostly too hot around Christmas time to partake in mulled wine. Winter isn't that far away, and for some people, Christmas in July is a thing.

That would include mulled wine.
Right now though, you could make some mulled wine jelly to relive some of that Christmas cheer which just seems like a faded memory.

You may have heard of the spices that go to make mulled wine, a traditional drink in the northern hemisphere at that time of year.
But here in Australia, it’s too hot, so what else can we do with these spices?

Traditional mulled wine spices contain allspice berries (ground), cassia bark (Asia version of cinnamon), ginger, dried orange peel, and cloves.

Mulled%2Bwine.jpg

 

METHOD: Mulled Wine
In a saucepan 
POUR 1 bottle of red wine
ADD1 cup of brown sugar,
ADD 1 fresh lime
ADD 1 fresh quartered orange.
ADD2-3 tablespoons of mulling spices.
SIMMER gently for 30-40 minutes DO NOT BOIL
STRAIN: into a jug and serve while warm.
If you’re keen to experiment with your own recipe, then use real vanilla pods, cinnamon quills, fresh citrus and star anise at the very least.

Apart from mulled wine jelly, and mulled wine fizz, there’s also mulled wine glazed ham. So experiment away. Listen to the podcast to find out more.

I’m talking with Ian Hemphill from herb and spice expert from www.herbies.com.au
PLAY: Mulled wine jelly_9th December 2020
If you have any questions about spices in mulled wine spice mix, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Fermenting Vegetables part 2 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

FERMENTATION PART 2

Dry Fermentation Process: we're doing a cabbage.
The whole leaf on top of the shredded cabbage is the 'plug.'
Leave some headroom in the jar so the fermenting process doesn't bubble over.
The cabbage should start bubbling which is the fermentation process.

fermenting%2Bcabbage.jpg
LEAVE it out of the fridge but in a cool spot such as a tiled floor.
WAIT ten days then taste it. Before this time it doesn't taste very nice.
You can leave it longer if you like.
PROBLEMS:
White yeast growing on the surface needs to be removed otherwise it will spoil the flavour.
If you see mould, throw it out and start again.
Once you like the flavour, put it in the fridge, it will slow the fermenting process.
Let's find out more.
 

Real World Gardener Vegetable Fermentation part 1 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

 THE ART OF VEGETABLE FERMENTATION

Have you ever wanted to ferment vegetables but thought it was a bit too hard?
Perhaps you’re an avid fermenter but need to know more.
In this new segment I find out that it’s actually easy to start fermenting.

Holly describes herself as an 'old fermenter.'

Sauerkraut_Jar.jpg
Jokes aside, what's the first thing you need to know before you start fermenting any vegetable.
Do you need high end equipment?
Let’s find out more.
 
Fermenting is a process that happens in the absence of air.
It turns out that a clip lock jar or a glass jar with a screw top lid would suffice. Or you can use a plastic jar.
NOTE: the lid needs to have a coating on it which most would have if they were on jars that were bought with food in them. These jars are perfect for re-purposing for fermenting.
Cabbages and other root vegetables are ideal for fermenting.
METHOD:
PICK a cabbage that is heavy for it's size, preferably an organic one.
Should be dense and tightly packet.
STRIP off outer leaves.
CUT the cabbage into four and cut the heart out of it.
SHRED your cabbage finely, Holly likes it between 3-5mm in width so it has some crunchy.
If your ferment comes out mushy then air has entered into the process.
ADD 20gms of fine ground sea-salt to every kilo of cabbage.
RUB sea salt into cabbage until it releases moisture-make sure it's vigorous , releasing plenty of liquid.
There should be enough liquid to completely submerge the cabbage in the jar.
STUFF into a jar and cover with the liquid.
PLACE one of the previously discarded whole leaves on top of the shredded cabbage in the jar.
I’m talking with Holly Davis, whole food chef, and educator.
PLAY: Fermentation Part 1_25th November 2020

Real World Gardener Save Water with Ollas in the Good Earth

October 30th, 2020

 THE GOOD EARTH

What About Ollas?

 

Gardeners already know how to save water in the garden because dry times can happen at any time of the year, not just summer.
Saving water in the garden could be anything from mulching to using drip irrigation and creating wicking beds.
Ollas2.jpg

The whole idea is to make water last longer in your garden, whether it is from rain or using garden hoses.
Tip: Make sure your soil can absorb a lot water.

Check if it is water repellant (hydrophobic).
 
Add a lot of organic matter to improve the water holding capacity.
 If you're using dripper hoses, cover them with mulch so the eater doesn't evaporate rapidly.
But did you know that ollas have been used to irrigate gardens for thousands of years?
You might be now thinking what are ollas exactly?
Let’s find out.
I’ve am talking with Margaret Mossakowska sustainability educator at moss house of 
www.mosshouse.com.au
Ollas reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation, especially in hot dry climates.
The tip is, ollas are buried in the soil before you do your planting.
When planning your garden, know that water leaving the olla is approximately equal to the radius of the olla.
If you have a particularly large garden, you will need a larger olla or several small ollas spaced evenly.
If you have questions or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Crop Rotation with the Veggie Lady

September 18th, 2020

 CROP ROTATION with The Veggie Lady

You may have heard of crop rotation but perhaps relegated it to the basket where moon planting and biodynamics reside.
But did you know that crop rotation isn’t something that gardeners should scoff at because of it’s importance in the life-cycle of plants and insects.

Crop-rotation.jpg

In fact it’s a really important strategy that organic gardeners use. 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking withToni Salter the veggie lady of www.theveggielady.com 
Toni only changes crops once every 12 months but uses a 4 bed rotation system. Changeover is usually spring.

Group 4 groups together so you're planting the same thing in the same place only every 4 years.
You can do it based on the plants families.
Toni likes to put it into whether it's a leaf crop, a flowering crop or a root crop.
  • This system divides per type of vegetable
Root crops-onions and garlic.
Leaf  and legumes together-leeks and spring onions, brassicas,
Flowering crops are split further into two beds
Backyard%2Bveggies.jpg

 

Bed 1 is tomato, capscium and chilli plants
Bed 2-cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin and corn
Bed 3 root crops-carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions and garlic
Bed 4 leafy crops-beans, lettuces.
  • Start with a 4 bed rotation.
  • That means you’re only planting the same thing in the same place every four years. 
  • So you will be growing four different types of crops in each garden bed. 
  • Toni divides it into leaf and legumes in one bed, then, flowering crops are split into two beds-tomato family in one, and all the rest into the other. 
  • Finally root crops like carrots, beetroots, onions and garlic. 

If you have questions for Toni about crop rotation or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

PO 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Creating You Own Madras Curry in Spice It Up

August 19th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Making your own Madras Curry

During winter our favourite foods are those slow cooked casseroles, but you may not have realised that curries, are in fact a form of slow cooked casserole. 
The main difference is that they’re usually got a lot more spices in them and they aren’t necessarily spicey hot. 

chili-collection-colors-curry.jpg
Ian says " a lot of people forget that in effect, a curry is a casserole with a distinct number and type of spices."
If you think about it, that's perfectly true, because curries tend to have cheaper cuts of meat that need simmering for a couple of hours, just as you would a casserole.
But because curries hail from countries where the spice trade was high in importance, those countries cuisine, reflect  the spices that they produced.
I'm talking with herb and spice guru, Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 
Let’s find out.. 

PLAY: Madras curries pt 1_5th August 2020 
Curries need not always be hot as in 
Ian’s tip is “You can actually start to make a curry by making a sweet spice blend.” 

  • Start with cinnamon, add, allspice, cloves, ground coriander seed.
  • Then add turmeric and cummin, paprika, some chilli (a little or a lot).
  • And this is basically a madras style curry.
  • When all these are blended together, you can't go wrong.
  • If you're wondering what proportions, first smell the individual spices. 
  • If they smell strong, such as ground cloves, then add only a small portion.
  • You can also add some dried curry leaves from your curry tree-fry some until they're crispy and save to use as a garnish after cooking.1-Curry%2BLeaf%2Btree.jpgMurraya koenigii
If they smell mild, add more, such as coriander, up to 1 tablespoon, and cummin, about 2 teaspoons.
The trick is balance of flavours. One thing is to not overdo the cloves, pepper and chilli.
  • Another tip is roasting spices is not always necessary, particularly if you’re making a vegetable curry.
  • If you'r curry blend is a little too hot for your liking, you can tone it down by stirring some greek yoghurt through it.

If you have any for Ian about spices or herbs or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

O 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Australian Mint Bush in Plant of the Week

June 26th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Prostanthera lasianthos and other species. Australian Mint Bush

It smells like mint but is it? The leaves are round or sometimes oval or even pointy. 

It’s even in the same family as common mint: Lamiaceae
Australia does have a wide variety of endemic mint bushes.

There are 90 species all of which originate somewhere in the bush,  but how well does it do in your garden? 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Prostanthera comes from the Greek for an appendage because inside the flowers are small spur-like appendages on the anthers. 
These minty plants are bushy, evergreen shrubs, usually with strongly aromatic leaves.

Heaps of purple flowers covers the soft leaves all through spring and early summer, attracting butterflies and small insect-eating birds. 

did you know?

  • Mint bushes often wilt when they badly need a water, particular in the summer months.Because of this, they are excellent "indicator" plant for the rest of the garden.
 
Prostanthera lasianthos


Some of the varieties available are:

Prostanthera lasianthos is quick growing and in good conditions may reach 8-10 metres. Tolerates heavy shade as well as full sun.

  1. ovalifoliahas very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Prune back by about one third to keep that bushy habit. Suitable for full sun or semi shade.
  2. rotundifolia- Very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Needs pruning back by about one third every year to keep a bushy habit. Can grow in sun or semi shade. Prostanthera_lasianthos_flowers.jpg

The leaves are round while growing as a compact shrub that reaches a height of one and a half metres in our garden.  The flowers are over one centimetre wide and mauve to purple

Plant it along a pathway so you get the benefit of brushing past the fragrant leaves. 

Good pot plant also. Feed with a good native fertiliser, watering in afterwards to avoid leaf or root burn. 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Talking with Josh Byrne on Gardening beyond Isolation

June 26th, 2020

GARDENING IN ISOLATION AND BEYOND

 

Australians are turning to gardening in droves during the pandemic but there are pitfalls for new gardeners.

Help is at hand of course, and there are ways to keep gardening evening when things return to normal and gardeners may have less time to devote to their plants.

Let’s find out all about what to do.1.2_Josh_Byrne_A4_Print.jpg

I'm talking with Josh Byrne, presenter for Gardening Australia TV presenterand environmental scientist.

PLAY: Josh Byrne & Plant Pals_17th June 2020

 

I asked Josh these questions:-

Q1. What are the benefits of gardening? (it’s good to get another voice to mention these-often say it already on my radio show.)

A: Good fun, a great hobby that makes you feel good and great for mental health.

Q2. How much space do you really need to have a garden?

A:All depends on what you want to grow.

 All you need is a balcony with a bit of sun.

Urban block gardens can grow a fair percentage of the fruits and vegetables that you can consume.

Q3. Who are the new, novice and emerging gardeners of 2020?

A:People in the 25-35 age group, the millenials, who are spending more time at home.

Q4What are some of the common mistakes this new band of gardeners might make?  (eg, choosing the wrong plant for the location, sowing seed in the wrong season-I noticed the one nursery chain had out summer seedlings only last week).

A: Novice gardeners might put a plant in the wrong spot, or buy annual vegetables, either seeds or seedlings for growing at the wrong time of year. Overwatering or underwatering might cause plant death early.

Q5. It’s easy to get disheartened after a couple of failures, for example seed raising, plants getting eaten by bugs. What’s your advice?

Josh suggests, read the back of the seed packet or the instructions on the plant label.

Ask horticulturists at your local garden centre. There is also plenty of gardening blogs and gardening websites that can help with your gardening question.

Q6. When things get back to more like they used to be, what are the tips/suggestions to keep on gardening?

Don't forget about your plants just because your routine gets back to normal. Keep going now that you have a taste for it. If you hit a bit of a snag, don't worry, keep going and not be disheartened.

Q7. Tell me about Plant Pals. How did it come about?

Greenlife Industry Australia, the peak body for the production, supply and retail of greenlife has launched Plant Pals, an initiative designed to connect new, novice and emerging gardeners with greenlife experts.Plant Pals is a new campaign to keep Australians engaged in gardening as life slowly returns to normal following COVID-19 lockdowns. It's really about making sure gardeners both new and old are getting plenty of support in their gardening journey. Linking gardeners with plant suppliers, expert advice, blogs and podcasts.  Click on the link PLANT PALS

Q8. For those who haven’t started gardening, how can we get them interested? (perhaps join a community garden?)

Perhaps join a community garden, because they're a great place to connect with other like people in the local community. Vist local parks and botanic gardens to get more exposure to plants in wonderful settings.

 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Tips and Mistakes When Starting A vegetable Garden

June 19th, 2020

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER part 2

I would imagine, most listeners Real World Gardener radio show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening?

This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Wrong Fertiliser?

Compost is king says Toni. The  compost helps the plants take up any nutrients that are in the soil.

Synthetic fertiliser can 'dump' in one load if temperatures increase above their optimum level.

  • The right fertiliser is dependant on the plants that you're growingVegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania

Leafy crops like high nitrogen fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure.

Tomatoes and other fruiting crops, especially beans and peas, won't do so well with producing fruit if you only add nitrogenous fertilisers.

Keep up the liquid feeding of your vegetable garden.

  • Planting in the Wrong Season?

Bear in mind there are different climatic zones in Australia so you need to look at the right climate for where you're living.

Why is your Basil dying at the end of Autumn? That's what it's meant to do.

Cool season planting: peas, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks lettuce,

Warm season planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, chillies, basil

  • Crop Rotation

Failing to observe crop rotation will mean a build up pests and disease that attack that crop.

I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people everywhere to grow organic produce in their own backyard. As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. Catch her on www.theveggielady.com

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