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Diggers Rest -Grow Sweet Potato, Eco gardening tips and a savory snack cake.
February 03, 2007
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February 6, 2007 Issue #19

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In this issue:

1) Growing sweet potatoes
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Recipe: Savory Broccoli Cake



Growing Sweet Potato

Is it just my life or is chaos theory being realised everywhere? We - must - focus - on - the - vegetables! Here we go...

Underrated but highly nutritious and easy to grow, try growing sweet potatoes this year.

This is a wonderful tuber vegetable that is full of vitamins and they're very easy to grow.

Sweet potatoes need a long frost free growing season, so they are not suitable for all climates. Sweet potatoes take about 5 months to grow and mature, but if you're in the right climate, they're worth it.

The sweet potato vine will take up quite a bit of space in your garden and needs a light friable soil, so the no dig garden is perfect.

Plants are started from cuttings. The best way to get cuttings is to plant a few bought sweet potatoes in a sunny corner of your garden or a moist box of sand and keep it damp. When tubers shoot, allow the shoots to grow to 15 cm or so, then just snip them off and plant them as cuttings in the space you've prepared.

18 to 24 plants will provide for a family of 4. Cuttings should be placed 40-50 cm apart and 5-7 cm deep. Additional fertiliser can help but never give one that is nitrogen rich. That will grow the vine at the expense of the tubers Instead sprinkle a little sulphate of potash occassionally to keep them at their best.

When the plant has turned completely yellow at the end of the season, the tubers are ready to be lifted. Leave them in the sun to dry for a few days to cure then store in a cool, dry, airy place in sacks.

Sweet potato has a firm skin and when cut the flesh dries to a creamy white colour. Absolutely perfect for roasting.


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Eco Gardening Tips

  • Peppermint grown in containers will help control the white cabbage butterfly. The peppermint needs to be in containers to control its growth but that also allows it to be moved around the garden.
  • Pennyroyal mint will repel mosquitoes if rubbed onto the skin.
  • Another natural way to repel flies and mosquitoes is to rub a half onion on your body. Okay, it's likely to repel just about everything including your loved ones...but whatever works, right?





  • Feature Recipe: Savory Broccoli Cake

    800g broccoli
    500g unsalted butter
    550g sifted plain flour
    100g castor sugar
    7 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    pinch of cayenne pepper
    teaspoon of curry powder and
    1/2 teaspoon of salt

    This is a savory cake to have as a breakfast or snack food. This recipe will make two loafs.

    Preheat oven to 180C and butter two 25cm loaf tins. Line the tins with baking paper.

    Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch them (cook for 3 minutes in boiling water then cool under cold water, drain).

    Beat the butter until creamy and then beat in the castor sugar. Slowly, one at a time, add the eggs and beat them into the mixture.

    Mix together the baking powder and spices (turmeric, cayenne pepper, curry powder and salt) and add to the butter mixture.

    Sift plain flour into the mixture and mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the two loaf tins. Then add the broccoli by pushing the florets into the mixture by hand. Ensure all the florets are covered by the batter before baking.

    Bake the tins for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out cleanly from the centre. Cool the cakes in the tins. Once cooled, remove from tins, slice and top with whatever you fancy.


    Happy gardening!

    Judy Williams

    Copyright J.L. Williams 2007

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