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Diggers Rest – Mulch materials and benefits; Eco gardening tips; Kale 'n Spuds
June 13, 2014

June 2014 Issue #106


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

1) Mulch materials and benefits
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Kale 'n Spuds

Red cabbage artwork

Mother earth will give you her paintings if you give her love and care.

Wood chips for free
I'm over in Hornsby just north of Sydney, Australia at the moment, staying with son Toby and family. They've bought a house and the section is like a huge weed covered sand pit. What isn't sand there are large sandstone rocks — tunning to look at and fun for kids to climb.

The savior of the garden is going to be compost of course and a bonanza supply of free woodchips I've discovered down the road at a light industrial area.

It seems these factories contract commercial landscapers to do their road strips and yards. In turn these landscapers order a load of woodchips delivered to said premises. They rarely use it all and have to take away the surplus. When asked they are delighted for someone to remove the spare material, such as woodchips... and sometimes soil.

Have a read of the comprehensive section on woodchips and other mulch at Mulch materials and benefits

Eco gardening tips

  • Give bugs a swim:
    Stink bugs or shield bugs on citrus or fruit trees often drop off when you are trying to catch them. Put a bowl or bucket of a small amount of water on the ground under the branches where you are searching under and over the leaves and you will be surprised how many bugs you catch.

  • Shake those caterpillars:
    Like stink and shield bugs, caterpillars often drop off when disturbed. So if you're searching on your cabbages et al for who's responsible for holes, give a final shake or gentle brush over the leaves with your hands and you will often soon find one or two little caterpillars wriggling on the ground below.
  • Pummel your kale:
    Kale can be eaten cooked or raw, although many people find it more digestible cooked (see recipe below).

    If using kale raw, you can tenderize the leaves first by giving them a massage using any or all of salt, oil or vinegar. You can have this as a kale salad or combine with other ingredients, such as avocado, tomatoes, grated carrot and radish.

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.

"All signed up and so excited. Wife and I didn't wait for end of freebie trial, we could see how perfect it was for us and we wanted to plan the whole year and convert another lawn area into production!"
Owen Pearse

Kale 'n Spuds

You can't go wrong with this sort of satisfying and healthy food.


  • 3 large or 5 smaller kale leaves
  • 4 large potatoes (or half potatoes and half sweet potatoes)
  • 1 Tbln butter or coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mustard, pickled onions and gherkins.


  • Chop kale finely and steam until tender
  • Chop potatoes into large chunks and steam until cooked
  • Mash potatoes, add butter or oil, then mix in kale
  • Season with salt and pepper, add more butter or oil if desired, and serve with mustard, pickled onions and gherkins on the side.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 12 minutes

Serves: 4 as side dish

Happy gardening

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