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Diggers Rest – Slow down; Eco gardening tips; Homemade Harissa
February 14, 2014

February 2014 Issue #102


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

1) Slow down
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Homemade Harissa

kitten in hammock

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets
us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace."

~ May Sarton

Eco gardening tips

  • Bees abuzz:
    If you have the space, renting or buying your own hive is becoming more popular. Best to join your nearest Beekeepers Association. They will advise and set you up with everything you need for a fascinating and rewarding hobby and a little honey factory.

    Bees are interesting to watch as they go about their daily tasks. When the time comes for honey extraction, you will be delighted with your own batch of delicious honey.

    Bees take very little time and money and they'll earn their keep by pollinating your fruit and veggie flowers… necessary to give you abundant produce.

  • Tomato blight:
    For Southern Hemisphere tomato growers, around February on is when signs of blight may appear. However, it's never happened to me and I grow tomatoes every year.

    Even if you get blight don't panic — it creeps upwards slowly, starting with yellowed and spotty lower leaves, then bits of affected stem. The fruit rarely gets blight, so your tomatoes will keep growing and ripening as fast as they can.

    When the end is nigh and particularly if you have large softish fruit prone to rot, then pick everything and ripen indoors.

    I always strip lower leaves off tomato plants as they grow and most leaves that block sun from ripening fruit further up the stem. For more tips, you can't go wrong with this tomato bible for year after year success: How to Grow Superb Tomatoes

  • Phytoremediation... what?
    The beautiful sunflower is one of the few phytoremediation plants that can eliminate pollutants from soil. If you know or suspect your soil is contaminated with heavy metals, such as lead or cadmium... grow some sunflowers.

    The mustard family, pigweed and hemp are some more plants with the ability to accumulate toxins, including pesticides and oil wastes. You will need time to grow these plants, but it may be cheaper than replacing toxic soil.

    Remember not to compost the phytoremediation plants and dispose of them safely where they won't contaminate your soil again.

Online Garden Planning Tool

Some things you just have to have!

If you'd like to simplify your gardening by knowing when, what and how to plant, I'm willing to bet this garden planner will be a hit with you, like it is with me.

"The free trial for a month won me over and now I definitely can see the usefulness of this planner.
Thank you Megan for recommending this, getting excited looking at all the possibilities I have for my veg patch now."

Eileen R.

Homemade Harissa

Easy to make with a few natural ingredients. Delicious added to soups, or as topping for rice, vegetables, meat; or as a marinade; or add more olive oil and use as a dip.


  • About 1 dozen red chillies
  • 300g cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • Good handful of coriander sprigs (or 1 tsp dried powder)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Remove stems and seeds from chillies. If using dried chillies, soak for 30 minutes first, then drain.
  • Using a food processor, blend chillies, coriander, olive oil and garlic.
  • Add cottage cheese, cumin, ground caraway seeds and salt and blend to form a smooth paste.
  • Will keep in airtight container in fridge for at least a month. Drizzling olive oil on top helps to keep it fresh.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Happy gardening

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