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Diggers Rest - Favourite things, Eco gardening tips, Country casserole
October 31, 2007
A free monthly resource from the wonderful world of gardening; giving you tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!

November 2007 Issue #26


What fun that you and I both love the topic of gardening. Thanks for joining me on this adventure! Feedback is welcome, just click on reply.

1) Favourite things
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Country casserole

Favourite Things

I'm moving house, in fact I'm moving countries. I don't recommend it for sanity's sake. So far I've given away just over half of my 96 pot plants. I'd like to sell some because they are so amazing and in gorgeous pots, but somehow great friends go with great plants... how could I even think of asking for money.

Plants are like children really. They grow up and they grow on you... in fact they both wrap around your ankles and trip you up. Plants can run rampant, so can kids. Both can be soooo slow. They constantly change and get too big for their beds. They're always hungry and thirsty. They cost in all ways, but they repay 100 times over. They strain your back and exhaust your energy. There always seems to be dirt somewhere. Neglect them and they sulk or misbehave. They both love ladybugs. Both can develop spots overnight. We call them similar names... hello pumpkin, how are you little blossom, hi buttercup, my sweetpea...

And most of all they fit this wonderful quote I read from a mother once - "In life, children bring you the highest highs and the lowest lows." So true, and with our plants too, don't you agree!

Eco Gardening Tips

  • Giant herbs... that's actually what bananas are, and if you've got a place with mildish climate and no strong winds, bananas should grow well there. Bananas don't produce viable seeds and are propagated from the new suckers sent out from the underground rhizome or even part of the rhizome or corm itself. Whether you grow your own or buy bananas, you can make delicious dried, chewy treats with a dehydrator or oven. See our page Dehydrating Vegetables.
  • Keeping snug as a bug in a rug. We appreciate an extra blanket in winter and so do your plants, especially your perennial veggies. A thick blanket of mulch protects roots from suffering in horrible freezing weather. Some areas may only get the odd cold spell in-between mild weather and there again, mulch will protect your plants from the expansion and contraction of the earth around your plants.
  • Bird scare. Where I live overlooking a bay, some of the boats have life-sized plastic owls or hawks dangling from their masts. This scares away seagulls and stops them from landing and making a mess. It works in the garden too, if certain birds are really being a nuisance. If you can't buy a fake bird, draw and cut out a lifelike outline of a hawk on some stiff cardboard, oil or paint to waterproof it, then tie up above your fruit trees, on a pole or washing line, or where you need it.

Country Casserole

I served this up for my book club night accompanied by raw shredded cabbage. Satisfying and tasty, it filled us up more than enough.

- 1kg lamb, cubed either from boned leg or shoulder
- 3 large onions
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 medium turnips
- 300g green or broad beans
- 1 kg small potatoes
- 400g tomatoes or 1 tin
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 2 tblspns wholemeal or brown rice flour
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 heaped tblspn chopped thyme, or 1 heaped tspn dried thyme
- 1 heaped tblspn mixed herbs like sage and oregano, or tspn dried mixed herbs
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 cups stock, or water with 2 tspns each soy sauce and tomato paste or sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil or butter for frying

1. Heat oil in casserole pot or pan, add chopped onions, and stir until golden and remove.
2. Brown lamb in same pot, sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour, stir over medium heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add chopped garlic, herbs and liquid and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaves.
4. Chop veggies except for beans and peas and add with cooked onions to casserole.
5. Add more liquid if necessary, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
6. Add sliced beans and peas, simmer until everything is cooked and meat is tender.
7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves: 6 or more
Preparation and cooking time: About 2 hours

Happy gardening!


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