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Diggers Rest Real gnomes; Eco gardening tips; Roasted Brussels Sprouts
February 08, 2011

February 2011 Issue #65


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

1) Real gnomes
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If nothing ever changed there'd be no butterflies.

Vegetarian carterpillars

Oops, last newsletter I mentioned "carterpillars". My surname is Carter, so Birgitt from South Australia emailed me to wonder if it was an eccentric member of my family.

Maybe it is me and I am really a "carterpillar"... wriggling out of work to go into the garden. And I eat more than large holes in the veggies too!

And if you want to help or be helped with REAL garden pests, go to: Garden Pests and Diseases

Garden gnomes

Last week at a Buskers' Festival I found some REAL gnomes. I'm glad to see there's always someone sillier than me! That's me in the middle.

There's a lot written on the mythology and origin of gnomes, but I like this version from a Mr Ray:

"The Swedish-German origin of the word "gnome" stood for "gardening naturally over mother earth". "Each gnome had a name, they were first made to look after all the birds and animals and each one had his job."

Eco gardening tips

  • Invest in a fence:
    The old saying about paying peanuts will only get you monkeys, could be used for gardening... but in this case you might get the likes of raccoons, birds, rats, possums, deer and dogs.

    It just might pay to pay more and put up a good fence, especially if you are starting out; wanting to guarantee you can feed your family from the garden; and/or have some hard-to-deter critters around.

    If it's feasible, invest in a fence now instead of makeshift solutions and a fingers crossed attitude.

    Did you know that Australia's longest fence to keep out dingos is 5,531 kilometers (3,436 miles)!

  • Yes, we have no bananas:
    But we've got banana boxes, haven't we? Put a spud or two on the ground or slightly buried. Put a banana box on top, bottom side down with the small oblong gap over the spuds. Put enough soil or compost in the box to cover potatoes, and as the plants grow, mound up compost and mulch inside the box.

    Tomatoes can have similar treatment. Plant your tomato plant through the gap in the banana box on the ground. As the plant grows, remove the bottom leaves and mound up soil,compost or mulch around the stem inside the box. Roots will develop from the stem which will make the plant stronger and help it take up nutrients.

  • Garden generalisations
  • Handy to know: Generally thick or tough-leaved plants, such as brassicas, NZ spinach, herbs like oregano and sage, need less water than thinner-leaved plants, like lettuce.

    Also large, darker leafy plants such as silverbeet and spinach, don't mind some shade, whereas most herbs, plants with smaller leaves and fruit bearing plants like tomatoes and vines need lots of sun.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Who knew how delicious Brussels sprouts could be this way? It makes a nice change from steaming them. Try them next time you've got the oven on.


  • 6-8 Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp oil or butter for roasting (enough to cover pan)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil or butter (to drizzle on later)
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 150C (300F) and melt oil (coconut oil is good) or butter in roasting dish.
  2. Wash Brussels sprouts, remove stalk bit, cut into quarters or make a cross in end.
  3. Roast uncovered in dish for approximately 45 minutes or more until cooked but not too soft.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil or butter and sprinkle cheese, chives and chopped walnuts on top.

Variation: Can also gently fry Brussels sprouts. They get that slightly charcoal, seared taste which is delicious, but not so healthy unfortunately.
Preparation: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: Approximately 45 minutes.
Serves: 2

Happy gardening,

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