A free monthly resource from the wonderful world of gardening; giving you tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!
February Issue #41
What fun that you and I both love the topic of gardening. Thanks for joining me on this adventure. For any questions or feedback, just click on reply on the top toolbar of this email.
1) Wheelie bins"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view."
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Fruit and Buttermilk Scones
~~ H. Fred Ale
Are those green plastic garbage/rubbish bins called wheelie bins all over the world I wonder?
Well, wheelie bins are great to plant strawberries in. The local council has old, cracked ones to give away. Get them to cut some holes in one, or take it to a mechanic and ask... and you've got yourself a lovely, big strawberry planter.
Wheel it into the sun and if necessary out of the frost at nights.
The garbo, kicking up a din,
Yelled "Where's yer bin?
Hey! Where's yer bin?"
The man replied "I's bin away.
I only got 'ome yesterday."
"No! The thing ya put ya garbage in.
Where's ya WHEELIE bin?"
The householder went very pale
And said "I's weally bin in jail."
And talking about bins — follow the guidelines to make good compost here, with or without a compost bin.
I love getting your emails. I'm sorry I haven't been able to answer them all the last month or so. People ask me some very thoughtful and intriguing questions… and I'm sure other readers would be interested in the solutions to these queries.
So what I plan to do is set up a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section and answer these starting with the next newsletter. Even better, I will also have a section on the website where readers can post comments and suggestions, and myself and others can reply!
Winter areas: In the depths of winter it's not a bad time to start planning and preparing for next season. That's why keeping a gardening journal is handy — what's worked or not before. Some of you can sow seeds indoors or under glass from now on ready for spring planting. Check your journal ...or our sowing guides.
Summer areas: It's summertime and the livin' is easy... and hot. So don't let your plants down by not watering enough. Morning is a good time, then make sure you have mulch-a-plenty so that on those searing days your garden doesn't bake and thirsty plants like lettuces don't suffer. In fact lettuces like a bit of shade so plant them next to tall plants, fence or in a shadier part of garden.
Eco gardening tips
- Spare the spiders:
Being summer where I live, I'm making lots of smoothies. Sometimes half and half veggies and fruit. I've got into the habit of picking the green leaves from the garden, washing quickly, then leaving it all on the bench for a few minutes before putting in the blender.
What for? More often than not, a slightly bedraggled little spider makes its way to the top of a leaf, and clings on wondering what's happened to its home. It gets a new home out the back door, that's what.
Grow your own seedlings for fun and thrift, BUT if you don't have the space or time, be sure to only buy real humdingers. Pass up the scrawny, wilted, yellowed seedlings, and especially don't buy anything that doesn't have at least 3-4 good adult leaves above the baby leaves.
Poor or small seedlings take weeks to get going after transplanting and may even go straight to seed as if to say, I'm too upset from moving home, I'll just breed and let others carry on.
- Monarch butterflies:
From gaily striped caterpillars to stunning butterflies, the monarch loves swan plants. Trouble is, they decimate it, chomping through the leaves like piranhas. Here's a tip... feed them with cut up strips of raw pumpkin. It works well, although they still turn and eat some leaves each day between the fresh strips of pumpkin. Here are some pictures from my garden to show how I did it:
These scones are the best. Simply the best. Better than all the rest. You'll never want an ordinary scone again after you've had one of these.
Fruit and Buttermilk Scones
- 1 medium/large tart apple
- 1 cup dried dates (about 12) soaked in boiling water 10 minutes
- ½ cup grated carrot (optional)
- 150g (1 cup + 2 Tblspns) wholemeal flour
- 130g plain flour (1 cup + 1 desertspn)
- 1 teaspn baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 50g (4 Tblspns) demarara sugar (and extra for sprinkling)
- 75g (6 Tblspns) butter, chilled and chopped up
- 140 mil (¾ cup) approximately buttermilk (some for brushing)
- Peel and core apple. Cut apple and dates into 1cm chunks.
- Using a food processor (or by hand if necessary), blend the flours, soda and sugar.
- Add butter and process to fine crumbs.
- Add buttermilk slowly with blender running until the mixture becomes a soft, but not sticky dough.
- On a floured surface knead fruit and carrot bits into the dough with floured hands.
- Shape into 3 balls, put onto baking sheet on oven tray or greased and floured oven tray and pat down to three rounds of about 35cm each.
- Score each into 4 wedges with sharp knife, brush with buttermilk or milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 220 °C (425 °F) for approximately 20-25 minutes. They should be firm to the touch and a nice golden colour.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Makes 12 scones