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Diggers Rest, Issue #006 -- Grow GREAT Potatoes, July Gardening
July 13, 2005
A free monthly resource of gardening tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!

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July 13, 2005 Issue #06


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) What's NEW on the site?
2) Grow GREAT Potatoes
3) In the garden this month
4) Recipe: Chinese Fried Vegetables

What's NEW On The Site?

I've mostly spent the month cleaning up a few things on the site and adding more photographs.

From the feedback I've received, it seems deer are a real problem for those gardeners that have them.

I don't, but I've added a special page of tips for those who do. Check it out at repel deer.

Growing GREAT Potatoes

Potatoes are so easy to grow in the no dig, organic way. They are one of the top three of vegetables grown at home due to their popularity and versatility.

Boil 'em, mash 'em, fry 'em, bake 'em. It's hard to go wrong with this staple in the diet.

They're also a great source of vitamins, minerals and iron. Most of the goodness lies just beneath the surface of the skin though, so try to keep at least some of the skin intact when preparing for cooking.

To the growing!

Purchase some seed potatoes from a nursery. You can use potatoes from the supermarket, but seed potatoes will bring better yields. You can 'chit' them first (allowing them to start to grow) before planting, simply by placing them in a sunny spot.

Place your seed potatoes directly on the ground about 30cm (12-14 inches) apart. Cover them with a 50/50 blend of straw with old manure, blood and bone and compost. Water generously.

In a couple of weeks, the tops will emerge through the straw. As they grow, keep topping them up with the enriched straw blend, making sure the tubers don't get exposed to sunlight. This can turn them green and make them toxic.

Potatoes take 14-16 weeks to mature. When they flower, they are getting close to maturity. When the plants begin to die back and yellow, the crop is ready for harvest.

The beauty with growing them under a straw mat is that you take the guess work out of the growing. You can actually lift the corner of the straw and see your potatoes developing. When you are close to harvest, you simply pull out some of the bigger ones for early eating, without killing off the plant.

On the ground, in your no dig garden bed or inside an old tire (for containment) these things will grow anywhere given the right conditions.

Whack some in. Very satisfying gardening!

In the Garden This Month

Northern Hemisphere:

This should be a busy time in your garden. Make sure your plants are kept well watered and fed. Feed every couple of weeks with a fertilizer, as vegetables do best when they grow fast.

Remove any weeds that gain a foothold in your garden. They will rob your plants of valuable water and nutrients.

Turn over your compost heap once a week. The air will help things break down quicker in the warmer weather.

Keep a close eye on container plants as they will dry out in the heat. This will seriously stress any potted vegetables you are growing.

Southern Hemisphere:

In many areas, it is still possible to plant winter vegetables. Temperate climates should be planting herbs, beetroot, carrot, onions, winter lettuce, peas, spinach and french beans.

If you want to grow asparagus, purchase 2 year old crowns and put them in the garden. It will take 12 months before you have anything to harvest, but the taste is worth the wait.

Broccoli heads should be harvested when young to encourage new growth.

Feature Recipe: Chinese Fried Vegetables

3-4 tablespoons of oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 inch cube of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red or green pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 cup of beansprouts
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
3-4 tablespoons of orange juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

With this dish, it's all in the preparation. The cooking takes just a few minutes.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the garlic, ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for one minute. Add the carrots and stir for another minute.

Add the peppers and cauliflower and stir for another 3 minutes. Add the beansprouts for another 1 minute.

Final flourish now...add the stock, orange juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. When vegetables are just tender, transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

You can add endless variations to this dish. Just make sure the longer cooking vegetables go in early.

How good is that?

Spend some time looking through the catalogue at

It's a hardware store that caters for those trying to shrink their ecological 'footprint' on the earth.

The products, mainly household and gardening implements are designed to work and most do not use electricity.

It's also a brilliant place to find unusual gifts for friends and family. And they supply worldwide.

Check it out. It's good fun.

Happy Gardening!

Judy Williams

Copyright J.L. Williams 2005

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