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Diggers Rest – Wow; Eco gardening tips; Preserved Lemons.
December 07, 2011

Dec 2011 Issue #75


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

1) Wow
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Preserved Lemons

A garden of love grows in a grandmother's heart.
~ Author unknown


I'm over in Sydney for several months staying with son Toby, daughter-in-law Gina and 2 yr old Jessie. I now have muscles I never had before... being a nana is an even more brilliant way to keep fit than gardening!

Lettuce seedlings in container - Gina, Megan, Jessie We've got a few balcony pots growing... and by the way if
you have any tricky gardening
questions, send them in to
little Ms know-it-all to answer. You will get "No," "Carry me," "More," or her favourite word "Wow" — take your pick which
answer you want!

Seriously, for the truely tricky gardening questions and comments head over to FAQs.

There's always someone to
offer advice and there's always something interesting to read;
for example this forum thread Planting seeds out of season.

Eco gardening tips

  • Tomato time:
    Gardeners in the cooler areas of the southern hemisphere should have their plants in by now, whilst the lucky growers in more tropical parts will be finished or nearly finished picking their delicious, home grown, new season fruits. It takes about 3 months or more for tomato plants to produce so don't delay in getting some plants in this summer.

    I bury my plants up to the first main leaves to get extra roots growing, which helps in my windy garden, and I settle a large bottomless container, such as an old plant pot, around each plant to deter birds, and that dang wind again.

    Readers comments from buying the book I mentioned last time How to Grow Superb Tomatoes are many, and people are excitedly anticipating successful results.

  • Collecting seaweed:
    Tobor, a reader, emailed me to say how he would love to collect seaweed for the garden, BUT we have become too politically correct and many councils do not allow the removal of ANYTHING from the foreshore.

    I say, how sad that there are so many rules and regulations supposedly protecting us and the world from unnecessary hazards.

    I believe that individually we should be able to responsibly decide for ourselves how and what to do — as well as help others or conversely stop others if they are a danger to other people or their surroundings.

    When it comes to seaweed, (or for that matter, pine cones, mulch etc.) I always carry a spare bag on a walk, or have a carton and/or bags in car, and I find opportunities to put in a handful of seaweed here and there. There are also some beaches here that have loads of seaweed at certain times above the high water mark, which is allowed to be collected.

    Yes, the environment needs protection, but use your discretion and hopefully you can find nature's flotsam and jetsam near where you live.

  • Winter growth:
    Northern Hemisphere gardens could be in the thick of snow right now, or a milder version by far. Remember that if you're tempted to grow hardy winter vegetables such as some lettuces and cabbage, there needs to be a minimum of 10 hours daylight for any growth to happen. Plants will sit and wait out the short days and start growing as the days lengthen.

Preserved Lemons

These have a delectable intense citrus flavour which gets stronger after time. Add to stews and Mediterranean dishes such as chick peas. Put into smaller jars, dress up with a ribbon and give for Christmas gifts.


  • 10 lemons
  • 1 cup natural salt, either Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 4 bay leaves, slightly broken
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Boiling water


  1. Sprinkle 1 Tbs salt on the bottom of a large glass jar
  2. Hold each lemon on its side and cut into quarters, but not right through — leave 1cm of lemon and the peel of the base intact. Open out the lemons and pack with salt
  3. Wedge half of the lemons into jar and put half the spices and herbs on top
  4. Add the rest of the salted lemons, then top with the remaining spices and herbs
  5. Pour lemon juice over and carefully but quickly trickle in boiling water until all ingredients are covered
  6. Seal immediately. Keep in a cool dark place for a minimum of three weeks and shake jar each day to mix flavours
  7. To use, open jar, take out a lemon and rinse off all liquid and flavouring. Remove lemon pulp and use only the skin, slicing it fine to add to recipes or as a topping on desserts
  8. Store in fridge once opened. Will keep for over a year.

Preparation: 35 minutes
Serves: Many people as a garnish or flavouring in recipes

Xmas tree and puppy Happy gardening and have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful year ahead.

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