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Diggers Rest – Chips trivia; Eco gardening tips; Home-made Mustard
January 19, 2017

January 2017 Issue #137


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

1) Chips trivia
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Home-made Mustard

Some vegetable trivia for you...

How does the junk food industry make chips quickly?

Ah ha... the potato is put into a giant pressure cooker and boiled at a pressure of 15 atmospheres. Any moisture under the skin of the spud would love to expand and turn into steam, but the 15 atmospheres of external pressure does not allow this to happen.

But when the external pressure is abruptly released, the water under the skin expends and the skin explodes off the potato like a hand grenade.

This naked shell-shocked potato then goes into a pipe with water flowing through it at 80 kph. The potato then commits hari-kari, plunging itself onto a set of knife blades turning itself into a bunch of skinny chips! (From 'Please Explain" by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki)


Eco gardening tips

  • Pallet pick-up
    Many people find it hard to do heavy or tiring work in the garden. Ditto with anything much that requires construction (that's me). If you don't want plastic compost bins but don't have any materials lying around such as concrete blocks or bits of old fence or grandad's antique fire guard etc... here's an idea:

    Get some discarded pallets at the dump or try local manufacturing and transport firms, and knock them together. Four or five are all you need for one bin. Hire or borrow a trailer, get a local hungry student and Bob's your uncle!

    Here in NZ we have 'Student Job Search' full of students looking for work. Pay is basic rate, but you can pay more if you like, and give them some veggies to take back to their student flat to augment their junk food diet (not always, but I see what I see).

  • Tomato cuttings
    That's right... tomatoes come in 'determinate' or bush type, or the lanky 'indeterminate' type. Unless you want vast amounts of crowded leaves, snip or snap off the laterals (side shoots) of indeterminate plants. Poke them in soil and wowee... new roots and free plants.

    Wait until these laterals have grown to about 10cm long and a little firm, pot them up and keep watered. They will grow fast and fruit earlier than if you had sown seeds.

    Read good advice here on tomato growing.

    Only two things that money can't buy; that's true love and homegrown tomatoes (John Denver)

  • Heirloom rainbows
    Heirloom seeds — know that you are ensuring the survival of varieties that have been around for hundreds of years. No need to stick with supermarket type sizes and colours. Expand your horizons and tastes. Try a rainbow of colours and an exciting range of shapes for most vegetables! You'll love them; feast your eyes and order from here Heirloom Seeds

    Chew on this — it is important to educate ourselves and others. Reduce and minimize supermarket purchases. (I also mean health food stores when I say "supermarket", not everything sold there is "healthy" either.) Plant more heirloom gardens. Think of them as "victory" gardens. Forage, and become a very discriminating shopper. When you are responsible for your own food, you know what you are eating.

Growing veg planner

A week by week and zone by zone growing system

Want to know what vegetables to plant?

Want to know when to plant them?

The GroVeg Garden Planner is your answer. Click here for a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!

Home-made Mustard

Start with the basics of mustard, water and salt, then experiment from there.


  • ½ cup mustard powder
  • ½ cup water
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Optional: fresh parsley, chopped; fresh basil, chopped; lemon or lime zest; 1 to 2 tablespoons of your choice of vinegar.


  • Mix mustard powder, water and salt until smooth.
  • Stir in any or all the optional ingredients and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before using. Store leftovers in fridge for a week or so.

Preparation: 5-10 minutes.

Live, love and garden.

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