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Diggers Rest - China in winter, Eco gardening tips, M's Curried Cracker Spread.
March 05, 2008
A free monthly resource from the wonderful world of gardening; giving you tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!

March 2008 Issue #30

Hello What fun that you and I both love the topic of gardening. Thanks for joining me on this adventure! Feedback is welcome, just click on reply.

1) China in winter
2) Eco gardening tips
3) M's Curried Cracker Spread

China in winter

I'm now back and thawed out from an amazing 2 weeks in Hangzhou, China. Snow everywhere and as it slowly melted, what sort of plants do you think emerged from the meticulously planted and landscaped parks and public spaces? Believe it or not — cabbages! Well, ornamental cabbages, kale and bok choy, from white to purple colors.

There were some pansies/violas, looking slightly frazzled after being buried, and some of the trees and bushes had their branches and tops broken from the weight of snow.

The Chinese are very industrious and tidy and were busy cleaning and clearing away the effects of this 50 year unusual storm. ............................................................................................

Speaking of cabbages, now is the time for many in the northern hemisphere to sow and plant their spring vegetables. Cabbages come in so many different varieties that they can be grown in summer or winter.

I'm about to try some heirloom seeds for a variety of cabbage called "Early Jersey Wakefield." It's described as medium sized, pointy headed and sweet. We're going into late summer here and apparently this should do well.

Here's all the information you need on getting your seeds and seedlings growing.

Eco Gardening Tips

  • Seed saving: Most seeds usually last at least 2 years if you keep them dry and cold. For prolonged life, seeds ideally should be sealed in a container in the fridge. Otherwise chose the coldest place you have and store with a sprig of rue, pennyroyal mint or garlic clove to repel fungi and microbes.
  • Sunshine: Six hours or more of sun per day is considered optimal for most vegetables to thrive, otherwise they can grow weak and be disease prone. Less sun and/or dappled sun has worked ok for me, but here's a general rule of thumb to follow:
    - Leafy veggies, such as lettuce and spinach, can tolerate the most shade
    - Root crops, such as radishes, don't mind part shade
    - Fruit type veggies like tomatoes, zucchinis, beans, cucumbers and peppers love to sunbathe.
  • Eco friendly printing ink: Printers can now use more earth friendly methods, the latest being waterless printing. This is good news for that good old standby of newspaper, in fact any paper, for using as a base for our no dig gardens and control of weeds.

    Even though soy-based inks or alcohol substitutes are considered 'green,' they usually contain a base of glycol ethers — a dangerous chemical for printers to handle. By printing waterless using linseed-based inks, no chemicals are used in the process.

M's Curried Cracker Spread

Fabulous and handy to have for lunch with a salad, or spread on crackers or use for a dip.

- 1 hard boiled egg (hot)
- 1 — 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 heaped tablespoon chopped chives or 1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon bought tomato sauce
- teaspoon curry powder — may need more (I add dash of chili powder also)
- teaspoon sugar (I use teaspoon xylitol powder — a natural sweetener)
- Salt & pepper

Peel shell off cooked egg whilst hot, or cool it then put back in boiling water to heat again. Whilst hot, mash egg thoroughly with fork on a large flat plate with the butter. Mash in other ingredients. Spread on cracker biscuits (about 15) or put in bowl for people to help themselves with crackers, bread or a salad. Use at room temp and keep covered in fridge until used. I usually taste it to get it right, adding bits more of salt and pepper, sometimes more sugar or curry etc until it seems perfect.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.
I tripled this quantity to add to the lunch table for 3 recently. It's always popular, takes minutes — the eggs can be boiled beforehand and heated later, and the ingredients are usually available to grab.

Happy gardening!


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