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Diggers Rest Self-sufficiency; Eco gardening tips; Casbah Raw Carrots
August 04, 2011

August 2011 Issue #71


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

1) Self-sufficiency
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Casbah Raw Carrots

By seeking goodness, being good, and affirming good, you see this world as a garden of beauty.
~ Paramahansa Yogandanda


Holy basil! My sister, my lovely sister who always said that she could never be a gardener because it's not natural to bend over and stick your b.. to the heavens, now wants to join her earthy (her description) little sister — me.

She's like many people — worrying about the state of the world, and feels it would be good to have part of her lawn in veggies, protected of course from the marauding bands of starving, GM poisoned, chemically high, financially stressed masses.

"What's this no dig-idea then?" she asks. I tell her... gently saying that no-dig doesn't actually mean totally no-work... Hmmm, I feel a lot of work coming on for me during my next visit up her way!

Alleloch what? Allelochemics, that's what

Here's a melodic word that sounds like it should be yodeled from the hilltops — allelochemics. It's actually the study of the effects of plant excretions on one another. Ah ha, companion planting I hear you yodel. Yes, and the latest updated information on this fascinating subject is here for you to read: Companion Planting

The proof is in the coffee

Come mid morning and I'm hanging out for my once-a-day java... mmmm. Do I work better for it? Do plants grow better for a coffee fix? You'd better believe it! See Dean's experiment... thanks Dean. Take a break here: Coffee grounds for garden.

Eco gardening tips

  • Spread the self-sufficiency magic:
    Adding on from my sister's incredulous phone call I mention above; there are many people who want to be more self-sufficient and grow their own. But from my experience the greatest barrier is that most people don't know where to start. So don't be afraid to offer hints or help as you'll probably find that's just all they need to get going... that's what they're looking for, without realising it.

    A winner for the beginner is a winner for you, because it makes stronger, caring communities.

  • Cabbage tree leaves:
    Cabbage tree leaves for kindling Cordyline australis seems to endlessly drop its long tough leaves. My friend Helen says one of her pocket money tasks on the farm she was raised on, was to gather the cabbage tree leaves, fold over and put them in bundles of about a dozen and tie with another leaf. They were perfect for kindling.

  • More on tough leaves:
    Tough fibrous leaves such as from Cabbage trees take ages to rot in compost especially with 'compost happens' cold compost. Worm farms are no good... but put a damp pile on the ground under other HEAVY material, say old sacks/carpet/paper and boards etc, and they soon decay into black gold nicely.

Casbah Raw Carrots

Healthy, raw and with a flavour that goes well with most meals.


  • 3 carrots (about 400 gms), scrubbed clean
  • 1 orange
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or flat leaved parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste (a good tspn of all three)


  1. Juice orange. Grate carrots, put in salad bowl, pour over orange juice and leave to soak whilst you make the dressing..
  2. Whisk up all the other ingredients together in a small bowl then pour over carrots and orange juice. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Preparation: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4 people

Note: Some tasty variations are: Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower or pine nuts. Add 3 salty kalamata olives, cut into halves.

Happy gardening,

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