March 2010 Issue #54
What fun that you and I both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Share your bounty
2) Eco gardening tips
"My garden is a well trained wilderness"
Share your bounty
My son Giles is a teacher and sometimes takes his surplus garden bounty to the staff room. I've also seen the odd box of citrus or fejoas in season left by people by their gate with a notice to "Help yourself."
So if you get a bit of passing traffic and you've exhausted your family, friends and any chickens with surplus zucchinis and other goodies, why not leave a box of stuff outside your place with a "Free" notice? Otherwise re-cycle into the compost to be eaten indirectly at a later stage!
Eco gardening tips
- Baby care:
Treat your seedlings like a new baby. When you transplant them, (seedlings, not baby although sometimes you might have a fleeting thought to put them down the back of the garden!) make sure you keep as much soil on the roots as possible by having damp soil so that it will cling to the roots.
Those packs of 6 little flimsy plastic pots of veggies annoy me so much because it's hard to tip them upside down and get the plants out without some disarrangement of soil and roots... but damp soil will help. Don't set your seedlings back a minute by careless handling.
- Soil structure:
A local TV program shows a retirement village successfully growing their own veggies by just using their worm farm juice to fertilise their plots.
In case you think this is the answer to easy gardening goodness, be aware that your soil is probably not perfect. By this I mean that you could have cloggy clay soil, or the opposite with sand. Only if you start off with a perfect soil structure, can you get away with liquid fertiliser for a few years.
Adding organic matter to your garden, such as compost, manures, decayed mulches and crop residues provides plant food, breaks up clay soils or bulks out sandy soils.
In addition, it improves the water holding capacity of the soil. In dry times, plants are helped to resist drought, thereby producing better crops. It is estimated that a 5% increase in soil organic matter quadruples the soils ability to hold and store water.
- Coffee anyone?
I'm an addict I confess. Well one cup, single shot a day does me. I DO grab the free coffee grounds from local café sometimes and tip them into the compost bin or on my garden.
But a word of warning... put the coffee grounds on the ground, don't gaily scatter over veggies — because they stick, and I mean STICK and are near impossible to rinse off. Trust me I know, my lettuces looked like choccy, spotty mutants. Read here about: Suitability of Coffee Grounds for Garden
It's often called Gremolata and it's a useful Italian condiment traditionally used as a fish topping. Make up a small jar full and dollop it on most foods including fish, meat, vegetarian dishes, stews and salads, to give them a tasty lift. Here's a few tips on growing lemons also.
- Zest (finely grated peel) of one large lemon
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp crushed and chopped garlic
- 1 tspn olive oil (optional, helps tone down garlic)
Simply mix all ingredients together. Keeps well in fridge for several weeks.
Preparation: 10 minutes