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Diggers Rest March Impulses! Eco gardening tips; Tomato Topping
March 09, 2011

March 2011 Issue #66


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

1) March impulses!
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Tomato Topping

Bird red breasted on snow branch

Global warming
    is never around
      when you need it.

Go those March impulses!

Way back in 1927, the US government encouraged city workers to "Get back to the future", and grow their own vegetables. An article appeared in the Los Angeles Times on March 16, 1927, giving helpful hints and ideas and said...

"The gardening season is here, and the gardening urge is upon everybody. The urge may not be translated into action, but psychologists long ago recognized that at this season of the year, normal human beings have an impulse to plant something and watch it grow. It seems to be concomitant with the ascending sap of trees, shrubs and other perennials."

So like those plants, follow your spring urge and start here: Building a garden

Garden gnomes

Last newsletter's picture of gnomes and me was taken in the beautiful garden city of Christchurch, NZ. Since then you may have heard about the devastating earthquake they had. The cathedral spire where we paid to climb up the old stone steps to the top is now rubble. We noted the steel strengthened in place in the cathedral and most of the other old heritage buildings in the city, but it just wasn't enough for the biggie nature threw at them.

But my gnome friends I'm pleased to say are safe and not gnomeless.

Bracken fern for mulch and sticks

Eco gardening tips

  • Common old bracken:
    Did you know that bracken is found in nearly every country of the world? Next time you see tall bracken fern stems by the side of the road, cut some and use the sticks as criss cross supports for climbers like peas and beans, and use the fronds for mulch.

  • Move over mulch:
    For those of you coming into spring, hold off adding deep mulch to your garden, to let the ground warm up with those first rays of sun (hopefully). Mulch is great to conserve moisture, keep your plants cooler on hot summer days, and keep the warmth in when the cold comes... but let the sun in first right now before you plant your tomatoes and other summer veggies.
  • Can one ever have too many tomatoes?
    My gardening friend Bill said, "I don't have time to make relish and chutney but I've got so many toms." Here in the Southern Hemisphere, tomatoes are in their abundance, so this is what I told Bill...

    All I do is wash a big bowl of tomatoes, cut them in half, throw into big pot with barely 1 cm water and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool a tad or add an ice-block or two if you wish, then vitamise and pour into jars, container or ice-cube trays, and freeze.

    So easy, no added seasonings needed. Allow 1 cm room for expansion in top of jars. This is very tasty and great to grab to add to meals many weeks or months down the track.

Tomato Topping

Sometimes I do make a tomato topping/relish of sorts. I cook it because what's not used with one meal will keep in fridge for several weeks. It's always yummy, fairly mild, and it's a bit of this and a bit of that — but here goes:


  • 1 kilo tomatoes
  • Handful (about -1 cup) basil
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 flat tspn honey
  • Chilli pepper (either a fresh chilli or several good shakes of ground chilli or flakes)
  • 1 tspn salt, with pepper to taste


  1. Chop tomatoes, tear or cut basil leaves and chop and crush garlic.
  2. Put all ingredients in pot and whilst stiring, bring to boil.
  3. Simmer with an occaissonal stir, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Approximately 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people as topping on meal (makes 2 jam jars full)

Happy gardening,
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