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Diggers Rest, Issue #002 -- Make your garden ZING!
March 10, 2005

A free monthly resource of gardening tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!

March 10, 2005 Issue #02


The no dig garden website is a venture into publishing on a topic I love. Thanks for joining me on the adventure! I'd love to have your feedback. Just reply to this newletter.

In this issue:

1) What's NEW on the site?
2) Grow the BEST tasting tomatoes
3) In the Garden this month
4) Cheesey Tom Pot Omelet

What's NEW On The Site?

We have not been idle this month. There are two new feature articles on the website.

Children love to garden and the no dig garden is a great garden for them because it can be built and planted out quickly. It is challenging enough to keep them entertained but quick enough not to lose them to something new.

But if your kids are too young for building a garden or you want something smaller to start them on, check out gardening for kids. It has a few projects they can become involved in that will give quick results and hopefully start them down the track to lifelong enjoyment of gardening.

I do have some wonderful photos to put up on the site. So far it's all text, text, text, but we'll get there...

Grow the BEST Tasting Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular home grown garden vegetable for good reason. They are easy to grow and will tolerate a wide variety of soil types.

They are also incredibly versatile. The methods described here will suit most tomato varieties. And what a variety! Big fleshy 'Ox Heart', sweet cherry-type 'Tom Thumbs', Grosse Lisse, Roma, the list goes on and on.

If you are starting your plants from seeds, put them in trays with a good quality seed raising mixture and cover lightly. Water very gently, perhaps using a spray bottle, so as not to disturb the seed.

They will germinate best in a temperature of low 20's Celsius (about 70F). In cooler climates start your seedlings indoors or use a cold frame.

Try to introduce them to periods of sunlight as quickly as possible to harden them off. You don't want them to be too spindly. Once they are large enough to handle, repot them into their own small containers of potting mix.

Water them in well, but gently. Make sure the containers drain well. Tomato plants hate to sit in water.

Small regular dressings of sulphate of potash will help your seedling form flowers and resist disease. Just a pinch a week watered in should do it.

In about 6 weeks, your tomato seedlings should be ready for the garden. If you are growing tall varieties, put your stakes in before the seedling so as not to damage the plants roots.

Tomatoes need full sun to grow. They also have plenty of fiberous roots just under the soil so don't allow them to dry out. But again, don't let them sit in water either. Water deeply to encourage deep root growth and mulch around the plant to protect the soil from drying out.

Every few weeks, water in another dressing of sulphate of potash. A couple of tablespoons per plant (under the mulch) should keep them happy.

Harvest your tomatoes when they are pink and bring them indoors. Temperature rather than sunlight is what allows them to ripen to their rosey red. Put them inside in a dry place OUT of the sun to ripen. Putting them on the windowsill or in the fridge will rob them of their full flavour.


In the Garden This Month

Northern Hemisphere:

Now is the time to think about getting your vegetable seedlings underway.

Calculate when you will be safe from frost and count back at least 6 weeks. If you are in a temperate zone you can get started now by using a cold frame. For those in colder climates, you will almost certainly have to wait another couple of weeks before getting your seeds started indoors.

Once started, keep your seedlings warm and introduce them to the sun for hardening off. You want strong, healthy seedlings for your garden.

If you are planning to grow potatoes, you will get better results if you 'chit' the potatoes first. This simply means allowing a potato you already have to sprout before you plant it.

Put it in a light, warm place, like a windowsill and allow nature to take its course.

Southern Hemisphere:

The heat is finally starting to go out of the day and cooler nights are on the way. In the tropics, the wet season will be ending soon and you should be getting your new season seedling underway.

Take a good long look at your garden bed and beef it up with fresh organic material. Any root crops you've been growing will be close to mature and should be lifted.

For those planting autumn vegetables, your seedlings should be underway. Check out the vegetables that are suitable to start for your climate at sowing guides. Virtually all climate zones can get in another season of salad greens in the warm autumn months ahead.

Feature Recipe: Cheesey Tom Pot Omelet

This is a quick and easy recipe English chef Ainsley Harriot prepared on one of his shows. It's probably easiest made if you have left over cooked new potatoes from the night before. It's quick and easy.

1/2C grated Edam or Mozzarella cheese
4 cherry tomatoes quatered
4 small cooked new potatoes sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
4 eggs
knob of butter
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the cheese, tomatoes, potatoes and chives in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and seasoning together.

Melt the butter and oil together in a fry pan and pour in the beaten egg. Using a fork, gather the cooked egg into the centre allowing the runny egg to run to the edges and cook. Cook over a low heat until just set.

Preheat the broiler to high. Roll up your omelet onto a warmed plate making sure the 'join' is underneath.

Slit along the top and spoon in the tomato and chive mixture. Place under the broiler for 1 minute to melt the cheese and warm the filling. Serve hot. It's great.

Happy Gardening!

Judy Williams

Copyright J.L. Williams 2005

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