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Diggers Rest – Compost piles are like people; Eco gardening tips; Beetroot Fritters
April 08, 2010

April 2010 Issue #55


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

1) Compost piles are like people
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Beetroot Fritters

A birdy with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill.
Cocked his shining eye and said
'Ain't you shamed, you sleepy head?'

~ Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses

Compost piles are like people...

Some live in shiny new homes, some in recycled constructions, and some are homeless. Some are late developers, some steam ahead. Some are deep and meaningful, some are shallow. Some are dry, some really drippy. Some seethe with life, some slumber. Some are pale, some dark. Some are rich, some poor. Some are green around the ears, some are wise and mature. Some fume, some smell, some steam, some leak, some are sweet, some are sour. A few are early failures, but most eventually make a go of it, get old…
...and go back into the brown crumbly earth.

Eco gardening tips

  • Squeak free:
    Those of us who are going into autumn have felt the air a bit cooler especially at night. The mice in your garden, under the house, back of the shed or over the fence, (yep, there's mice in all neighbourhoods), also notice the change of seasons. They see your house as a large, warm, fast food joint, so they wriggle in somewhere.

    Peanut butter is the proven way to bait a mice trap. Send them on their way with their fave last meal. Sorry, but they do die instantaneously with a trap.

  • Perennial plant care:
    You may have dormant or perennial plants that are waiting to be planted — maybe some herbs given to you or you divided up your rhubarb, or some ornamentals like roses — and they are bare-rooted or with minimal soil?

    If your soil is frozen or you're too wussy to venture out into the cold/rain/sleet/wind, then keep the plants in a cold place (not freezing), such as a shed or garage, and pack damp torn newspaper around the roots to stop them drying out. It's better than a bucket of water which can go stale.

    Try not to let them get warm otherwise they will start to grow, and then you will then have to plant them out carefully to protect the new growth.

  • Bean thinking...
    I didn't get to grow beans this last summer, but friends kept bringing me theirs. So much so, I froze some — you can too. So lovely in winter soups and stews.

    Top 'n tail them, put into boiling water and time for 2 minutes. I use a perforated rice cooking colander thing to make it easy to plunge in and out. In the meantime fill up big bowl or sink with cold water and put in ice-cubes if possible. Put blanched beans into this cold bath, swirl a bit, remove, drain well and put into freezer bags or containers with lids.

    Here's lots more information about Preserving vegetables

    Beetroot Fritters

    This recipe from is so nice. Makes a change from grated beetroot salad and roast beetroot. These fritters are even nice cold for lunch the next day.


    • ˝ cup of grated beetroot
    • ˝ a cup of grated carrot
    • 10 capers, drained (or several chopped olives, sundried tomatoes, or use 1 tspn salt)
    • 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
    • 1 Tbsp cornflour, (or any flour like chickpea flour, brown rice flour)
    • 1 large egg
    • Oil for frying


    1. Heat oil in frying pan.
    2. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl and spoon it into the pan to make four fritters.
    3. Fry until golden on one side (2-3 minutes on a medium heat).
    4. Flip over and fry until golden on the other side.
    5. Turn off the heat and allow to rest in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

    Preparation: 15 minutes
    Serves: 1-2 people

    Happy gardening,


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