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Diggers Rest – Combination catastrophes; Eco gardening tips; Armenian Aubergine (Eggplant) Dish.
November 30, 2009

December 2009 Issue #51


What fun that you and I both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.

1) Combination catastrophes
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Armenian Aubergine (Eggplant) Dish

'Just living is not enough,' said the butterfly, 'one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.' ~ Hans Christian Anderson

Greet your neighbours (or neighbors)

As it's the greeting season, with Thanksgiving in US and Christmas around the world, make friends with others in your area. Take a stroll and if you like a plant or admire a garden, make yourself known and ask the owner about their plant or garden, how they grow things, and maybe a cutting. People love to receive compliments and give advice. You might get a few garden tours and make some good friends and at least get to know your neighbours better.

Combination catastrophes

Organic gardening should be all about enjoying nature, not working against it... in other words it's best to accentuate the positive side - especially if you are coaxing others to change their ways.

But sometimes it's worth highlighting the negative side of toxic chemicals and in this case here's a timely reminder. At the Université de Caen in France, and now documented by the US Environmental Health Journal Vol 113, researchers found disturbing evidence that pesticides are far more dangerous than acknowledged by authorities.

The problem arises with chemical tests done in isolation. But in reality, toxic effects are often magnified when combinations of chemicals come together. Soil, water, birds, insects, animals and us are all at the mercy of these 'cocktails'.

In fact with chemical mixes, toxicity concentrations have been proved to increase even 10 times more than the supplied safety data for individual chemicals. Also medical mayhem is becoming more commonplace with drug combinations where a person's total exposure to a number of drugs is the important factor and can cause serious reactions.

More reason to avoid drugs, manufactured pesticides and other chemicals in the home and garden.

Eco gardening tips

  • Popularity contest winners:
    New to vegetable gardening? If you're not sure what to grow, here's a guide. According to research there are 10 all time popular vegetables that gardeners like to grow.

    Ms Tomato and Mr Spring Onion take top honors. Runners-up are silver beet and rainbow chard, beetroot, carrots, capsicum, combo lettuces, rocket lettuce, basil and eggplant. Beauty and muscles are yours too when you plant and eat these 10 easy to grow, healthy vegetables.

  • Watering:
    Best done with trickle or soak hoses but that's often difficult with some gardens when their plants are higgly piggly all over the place (like mine!).

    If you hand water or use a sprinkler, put a jar or can about 7cm (2 ½") in diameter, on the ground and when it's collected about 2 ½ cm (1") of water, then your garden's had enough.

  • Birdbaths:
    I love watching the birds in my birdbath and if I know it's going to rain, I clean out the birdbath so it will then fill up with fresh rainwater.

    To clean, all I do is grab a handful of dried leaves or whatever rough garden material nearby and use that to scrub out the algae and any mess. Reminds me of my camping days when we did the dishes by rubbing sand over them before dipping them in the sea or lake for a rinse – spotless!

    Another tip, which I have just discovered and will try, is to put a few sprigs of mint in the water of the birdbath to prevent algae forming.

Here's a wicked little dish to impress. It's healthy and a bit different than the usual fare. Use as a dip, spread or as a sort of dollop salad to accompany a main meal ingredient.

Armenian Aubergine (Eggplant) Dish

  • 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped smallish
  • 1 medium onion, any sort, chopped finely
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ⅓ of a green pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tblns olive oil
  • 2 Tblns apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice into the aubergine to break the skin and nearly divide into quarters.
  2. Grill or bake until soft, peel off skin when cool enough, then mash.
  3. Mix in oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together tomato, onion, parsley and pepper, then put on top of aubergine mash to serve as salad, or mix through to serve as dip or topping on vegetables or meat.

Preparation: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Happy gardening and Happy Christmas to all


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