Back to Back Issues Page
Squishy stuff; Eco gardening tips; Curried Cauli and Chickpeas
July 16, 2015

July 2015 Issue #119


What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.

1) Squishy stuff
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Curried Cauli and Chickpeas

Scissors in plastic packaging

I've just bought myself a new clip-on external webcam because my internal one went kaput. I love my new little bit of plastic that lets me Skype around the world.

Did I tell you it's about the size of a big thumb? So why did it come in a brick sized box with another layer of hard plastic underneath, a mounting stand... wait, not finished yet... and a little black plastic twisty to hold the mounting to the back of the box?

I guess it's all to do with display and marketing, but even so, that's a lot of packaging for a wee thumbie thingie!

Raring to grow

The FAQ section is the place where the beautiful people hang out... earthy and raring to grow.

I get many questions—and I love getting them, but most need a photo or two. I'm pretty cool, but sadly I'm not magic... I do not know for example 'why your plants are not growing/fruiting/smiling/talking ... unless you give more info and a PHOTO please!

Eco gardening tips

  • Squishy stuff
    In response to hundreds of reader inquiries—well, at least 6—I'm going to mention babies' nappies/diapers, and whether you can use the water crystals or gel from them for plants. I first wrote about this in reply to a reader who asked if this gel was suitable for retaining water in their strawbale garden. Here are a few thoughts to consider:

    It is a water absorbing polymer, and it may contain dioxin. The diaper polymers are a set shape which, as they expand, can cause delicate roots a problem, whereas water crystals from garden shops are random sizes similar to soil particles to accommodate plants roots roving around.

    Many water crystals used for plants are made of corn starch. These natural polymers biodegrade in about 10 years. However, even though natural, there is so much of it now in landfills, that apparently it is causing problems, such as poisonous gasses accumulating… and all the other issues to do with large amounts of waste in one spot.

  • Cell phones and dirt don't mix
    I'll admit sometimes plastic is handy, like with this tip. There you are blissfully gardening and ring, ring… your cell phone goes off in your pocket, so fumble, mess...

    Instead, if you need to take your phone gardening, you can still use it if you seal it up in a sandwich/ziplock bag and protect it from water and dirt. Handy tip for the beach too.

  • Spiders are just hungry
    All spiders are poisonous, but most of them only a teensy bit. The worst ones are SO poisonous that... well don't ask, but don't look under your bed... just kidding.

    When a spider bites, its venom has one main purpose (other than to paralize), and that is to liquefy its victim. Spiders can only digest liquid, so when a blundering moth or fly gets caught in its web the spider quickly wraps it up in web silk, then with a bite or two it turns the insides—organs, tissues etc, into mush and partakes of a nice meal of soup!

    If humans get bitten by a nasty spider, they find the surrounding skin and tissue dies off. Really this is just the spider trying to turn you into a meal.

    Read our updated page here about Spiders and beneficial garden insects.

Online Garden Planning Tool

Sure you can... have an awesome garden!

If you'd like to simplify your gardening by knowing when, what and how to plant, I'm willing to bet this garden planner will be a hit with you, like it is with me.

"I know WHEN to plant, I know WHAT to plant, as well as a load of tips and tricks! I'm now into my 2nd year of this planner, and like an excited kid. I'm experimenting with some of the suggested veges for my area, will let you know how I go. One happy vege grower in LA."
Timor Arundle

Curried Cauli and Chickpeas

Originally toddler's meal, but all kids and grown-ups like it too. Blend it up further for babies.


  • ½ medium cauliflower broken into florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 can chickpeas with liquid drained off
  • 1 cup water or ½ cup water and ½ cup stock
  • ½ tsp curry powder.


  • Bring water/stock to boil in pot, then add cauliflower and chickpeas.
  • Put lid on and simmer on low heat for up to 10 minutes until cauli is soft.
  • Add curry powder and mash with fork or masher to desired consistency.

Note: This basic recipe is open to all sorts of souping up:

- Sprinkle herbs on top to serve
- Make into patties: Mix in a beaten egg, salt and pepper to taste, more curry powder and Tbln flour or more of panko breadcrumb for a crunchy taste. Shape into patties and medium fry in pan until golden, or bake on tray in moderate oven (approx. 175 C (350 F)) for 15-20 minutes.

Preparation: 15-20 minutes

Cooking: 10 minutes

Makes: 3 cups

Happy gardening

Back to Back Issues Page