Back to Back Issues Page
Diggers Rest – Christmas; Eco gardening tips; Cauliflower Roast Temptation
December 19, 2020

December 2020 Issue #184


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

1) Christmas
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Cauliflower Roast Temptation

xmas tree cake

This imaginative cake comes with no instructions sorry, but if you're a clever cook, give it a go.

Eco gardening tips

  • Christmas tree care
    If you've got a real cut tree, put it in a bucket of water and top up each day if needed. Try not to put your tree near any heat source or direct hot sun. Ignore the myths about adding sugar, molasses, aspirin or commercial products—tests prove they don't prolong a tree's longevity. Depending on which variety (pines, firs or spruces) your cut tree should last from 3 to 6 weeks before it starts to seriously shed drying needles.

  • Pots are hot
    Yes, pots are perfect for small dwellings and time poor people. Container gardening—to use its proper description—has many advantages, apart from being enjoyable of course. Here are a couple:

    • You can arrange your pots in groups or all in one place, which makes it easier to water.
    • You can put your pots on wheel bases and move them around. This is useful to bring them in from the cold and even keep many plants alive that would normally die down in winter. Veggie examples are: tomatoes, basil and peppers.

    Read more on Container plant care.

  • Let there be light
    Gardeners the world over will never agree when is the best time to prune this, that or t'other. Use your own common sense and if you want more sun, then go ahead and prune the jolly overhanging branches. Or if you want a nicer shape to a plant, grab your secauters or loppers and get stuck in...winter or summer. Of course, don't prune when plants are in full bloom or fruit and avoid birdies nesting time please.

    I've proved generally that it makes no difference, no matter whose advice you take. Remember... if you wait for supposedly the right time to prune/shape/cut back... then said plant can grow another meter whilst you're making a cup of tea!

Christmas tree lights


Cauliflower Roast Temptation

Roast Cauliflower

Makes an impressive vegetarian meal for Christmas or special dinner. Easy, cheap—and did I say speedy.



  • 1 whole cauliflower, big or small depending on diners
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sumac (delicious, or substitute with Za'atar or lemon zest)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped, such as mint, parsley and dill, to serve
  • Pomegranate seeds for serving.
Kumara/sweet potato mash
  • 6-8 large kumara, preferably golden, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste.


  1. Steam or boil kumara in pot with a little water until soft. Drain, keeping about 2 tablespoons of water. Mash kumara and cooking water roughly and let cool.
  2. Put kumara in food processor with garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil. Gently lower whole cauliflower into water, top side down, and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from water with large tongs and leave to cool in a colander for 10 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower cools, prepare the topping by whisking together fennel seeds, cumin, sumac, paprika, chilli flakes, lemon, olive oil and tomato paste.
  5. Place cauliflower top side up in a greased roasting dish and brush with half of the spice mixture. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, remove and cover with remaining mixture as well as garlic. Return to oven for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Serve cauliflower on kumara mash, pouring any liquids from the roasting dish over the cauliflower. Top with herbs, pomegranate seeds and a sprinkle of flakey sea salt.

Preparation time: Approximately 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approximately 20 minutes
Serves: 4-8

Live, love and garden
See you next year, roll on 2021

Back to Back Issues Page