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Diggers Rest – The good and bad of oxalates; Eco gardening tips; California Guacamole
August 13, 2014

August 2014 Issue #108


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

1) The good and bad of oxalates
2) Eco gardening tips
3) California Guacamole

Macdonalds fast food unatural

A reader sent me this picture — bet we've all had at least one Macca's over the years... even yours truly.

Raring to know, raring to grow

Gardeners love to share, advise, and are eager to learn. Need help? The Gardening FAQ section is the place where the earthy, beautiful people hang out... raring to know and grow. I enjoy hearing from my readers and so do all the thousands of gardeners who follow this website!

Here are a few questions looking for answers that you might have?
What's eating my beetroot tops
Sad, slow zucchinis and squash
How to protect seedlings from ants

Eco gardening tips

  • The good and bad of oxalates:
    Due to a spinach recipe I had in a previous newsletter, I received an interesting email about the oxalates/oxalic acid in spinach. Yes our native NZ spinach (Kokihi), also known as Sea spinach and Warrigal spinach in Australia is high in oxalates, and so are rhubarb leaves and the oxalis weed.

    But many vegetables and other foods, like nuts, have oxalates in them and just like some foods have small amounts of arsenic in them, it doesn't mean these anti-nutrients are remotely near levels to harm you with normal eating of them.

    In fact eating a diet rich in vegetables has so many good nutrients in it, they overwhelmingly cancel out the anti-nutrients and usually renders them harmless.

    The best idea, — and one I follow — is to vary your vegetables so that you don't eat or make green smoothies with the same greens for weeks on end. If chard is rampant in your garden, use it for a few days or weeks, then change to cabbage for a while and intersperse this with other vegetable varieties. This way you benefit from the different nutrients in each vegetable and avoid any possible overloading of anti-nutrients... you get the idea.

  • Wastage:
    Another little fact about leafy veggies is that the tough outer leaves have a tiny bit more oxalates than the inner leaves. Same goes for spray residue on the outer leaves of non-organic shop bought veggies... but you grow your own of course, silly me!

    Growing your own produce means sometimes you have too much, and sometimes not enough. Mostly though gardeners have told me they feel a tad guilty if they can't eat or give away all their produce.

    If you've grown too many veggies, relax and know that:

    • Putting veggies in compost is a very good use for them
    • Getting a few chickens is a very good use for them
    • Taking veggies to neighbours or friends when you visit is a very good use for them
    • The fact that you 'earthed' yourself with nature and experienced the benefits of sun/rain/exercise/learning, is very good regardless.

  • Bullied spuds:
    The poor old spud is getting a bit of flack these days. Its glycemic spike is not good for carb watchers and people are encouraged to swap for the likes of sweet potato. But all together now... we love spuds. So have them sometimes, and sometimes mix half 'n half with sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips or cauliflower etc. All these veggies roast, boil and mash well together.

    Did you know that taking into account how much water is used to produce various crops, a serving of potatoes uses 25% of the water required for a serving of pasta and 4% of water required for rice.

    Easy to grow, for expert advice go to Growing potatoes.

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


California Guacamole

Truly the best guacamole I've made.
Thanks to the California Avocado Commission for this recipe.


  • 2 large ripe avocados, seeded and peeled
  • ½ cup finely crumbled, chilled, fresh white goat cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped, toasted pistachio nuts
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped


  • Coarsely mash (don't puree) avocados.
  • Fold in remaining ingredients.

Note: Makes a delicious vegetarian dish served over steamed or roasted potatoes and other vegetables

Preparation: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Happy gardening

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