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Diggers Rest – Much mulch; Eco gardening tips; Eggplant Ciabatta
May 19, 2017

May 2017 Issue #141


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

1) Much mulch
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Eggplant Ciabatta

Field trial comparing mulches.

Eco gardening tips

  • Mind that mulch
    Putting mulch too close to veggie plants can sometimes cause a rot problem, so leave a little gap. For bigger plants, particularly trees, one of the problems a pile of mulch around a tree trunk can cause is girdling of the roots. This is when roots wind around in a clump instead of branching out normally, which usually shortens the plant's life. Deep mulch can stop water and air from reaching roots, so they grow up and wind around seeking these.

  • Many mulches
    That's right, there are many different mulches, but let's simplify them and say there are soft, hard and inbetween. All mulches help suppress weeds and control temperature extremes. Fine mulch, like grass clippings and sawdust, are good in shallow layers, otherwise they can block the flow of water and air into the soil. Hard mulches like bark, don't absorb moisture and take forever to rot down and provide any nutrients. The perfect inbetween mulch is... drum roll... woodchips. Here's more reading on mulch.

  • The good and the bad
    The bad is that in the southern hemisphere, mostly the temperatures are dropping. The good is that pests go hidey-ho, and the last of your summer produce doesn't wilt in the searing sun.

    The garden beckons on these pleasant autumn/fall days. It's a good time to rejuvenate soil, empty your compost bins, and spread mulch such as wood chips or grass clippings so they can rot down ready for spring planting. If space allows you to rest an area, sow a green nitrogen crop like mustards, lupins, legumes, barley, rye, or what you can get locally.

Growing veg planner

A week by week and zone by zone growing system

Want to know: WHAT vegetables to plant; WHEN to plant them; and WHERE to plant them?

The GroVeg Garden Planner is your answer. Click here to read more and sign up for a FREE TRIAL!

Eggplant Ciabatta

Friend Shirley said, "Put this on top of that, then this, then that, then top with this..." and here's a winner appetizer!

Eggplant ciabatta


  • 1 ciabatta bread loaf, long and skinny
  • 1 eggplant (called aubergine to some)
  • 150gms feta cheese, ormore to your liking
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • several fresh thyme sprigs.


  • Slice ciabatta loaf into 15mm rounds and put on oven tray.
  • Slice eggplant into rounds 1cm thick and put on bread slices.
  • Dice the feta cheese and put 2-4 pieces on top of each eggplant.
  • Drizzle each round sparingly with melted honey, then scatter thyme leaves over the top.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes at 170 deg.

Preparation: 15 minutes.

Cooking: 20-30 minutes.

Serves: 4-6 people as nibbles.

Live, love and garden.

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