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Diggers Rest -Gift giving, Eco gardening tips, Recipe: Spicy salad
December 05, 2006
A free monthly resource of gardening tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!
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December 5, 2006 Issue #18


The no dig garden website is a venture into publishing on a topic I love. Thanks for joining me on the adventure! I'd love to have your feedback.
Just reply to this newletter.

In this issue:

1) Garden gift giving
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Recipe: Spicy Chorizo salad

A Note of Thanks

Just a quick note before we start about the newletter. I haven't done one in a couple of months (it's okay if you didn't notice!) because I decided a short rest was in order. But a funny thing happened.

While I was not writing any new material or preparing a newsletter, the traffic on the site tripled. Yup. Not doubled, tripled. I'm trying not to take that as a sign that it's better if I don't write...

So just a thank you to those who have passed on the link, those who have kept visiting, those who have hung in there and not cancelled their subscription.

I'm back and feeling r-e-a-l-l-y dangerous! Let's get growing!

Garden Gift Giving

We are nearing the gift giving season again and there are only two types of people in the world. Those who are gardeners and those who aren't.

For those who are, the gift potential is fantastic. Plants, garden accessories or a basket of seeds are obvious starters. One gift that is hard to go wrong with is a quality set of hand gardening tools.

The basic hand gardening tool set consist of a trowel, hand fork, cultivator and secateurs. Buy them separately, buy them together, but buy them with the following guidelines in mind.

  • The trowel and hand fork are key players in the kit. Don't go for the least expensive brand here because they will let you down. They virtually always bend and break off with the work required. Try to get something sturdy and servicable as they should last a lifetime.

  • The cultivator is a two sided tool. On one side of the head is a mini spade shaped end and on the other is a fork shaped end. This tool is incredibly useful for digging holes, raking aside mulch or leaves, pulling up weeds. I have a cultivator with an 18 inch long handle on it and I never venture into the garden without it. It is brilliant.

  • Good quality secateurs are an essential tool for even a casual gardener. No need to go into the very high cost tools here as you can spend well over $100 for a set. Something mid-range $30-$50 is fine with a couple of provisos. Firstly, always use and purchase the curved beak shaped secateurs. They allow for a cleaner cut on the stem and don't bruise the plant, and two, you should be able to sharpen and replace your secateur blades as required.

  • For more handy hints see garden tools on the site.

    Gifts for those who are not gardeners are just as easy. Continue with the conversion efforts by presenting them with baskets of fresh produce or preserves from your garden, beautiful baked items from home grown ingredients, small started plants in colourful containers or serve them some home made coriander pesto.

    Happy gift giving!

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    Eco Gardening Tips

  • Pansy seeds planted around your onions will increase their yield and prevent weeds from coming up. To keep them flowering dead head the old flowers to make way for new.
  • You can protect your fruit trees from pests by smearing petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on a full section of the trunk. It won't harm the tree and the pests won't walk across it.
  • For potted plants, recycle old kitchen or bath sponges by cutting them into small pieces and mix with the potting mix. The sponges will absorb excess water but keep the soil moist for longer. It's a great alternative to peat moss or soil moisture aids for smaller projects.

  • Feature Recipe: Spicy Chorizo Salad

    The blend of spicy sausage, sharp tomato and crunchy bean is an absolute winner in any weather!

    Good, ripe tomatoes and a combination of small, roma and cherry tomatoes will add a nice variation to the taste and texture.

    600g small ripe tomatoes
    300g small green beans
    2 spicy chorizo sausages
    100g baby rocket leaves
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    Salt and pepper

    Cherry tomatoes should be cut in half, larger tomatoes into large chunks and tossed together with olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper and set aside.

    Blanch the beans by topping (just the tops, not the bottoms) and cooking in simmering salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain and set aside.

    Slice the chorizo thinly on a diagonal and fry in a non stick frying pan until scorched and sizzling.

    Remove chorizo from the pan and keep warm. Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer in the chorizo juices for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the green beans to warm through.

    Spread rocket leaves on four serving plates and spoon the tomatoes and beans on top. Scatter the chorizo and drizzle with any pan juices left. Serve immediately. Serves 4

    Happy gardening!

    Judy Williams

    Copyright J.L. Williams 2006

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