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Diggers Rest – Container gardening; Eco gardening tips; Vegetable Stock.
March 05, 2012

Mar 2012 Issue #78


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

1) Container gardening
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Vegetable Stock

"A storm broke in during the night and dragged the sky away..."
~ Paul Evans, Nature watch, New Scientist

Container gardening

Siberian tomato plant, basil in pot

The buzzword is micro-gardens and it keeps millions of people alive in the poorest parts of the world. Without land to cultivate, people use tyres/tires, wheelbarrows, sacks, pots, bins, guttering and similar to grow edibles.

You can too... although we are more likely to have our containers on balconies, patios and windowsills.

Read the latest on all about how to grow successful Container Vegetable Gardens.

Here's a huge pot with basil and a Siberian tomato plant, courtesy of Murray D.

How are you doing?

I love to hear from readers, their tips, successes and challenges.

The FAQ section is the place where the beautiful people hang out... earthy, beautiful and raring to grow.

For example anyone got ideas to help with unwanted oats; a hedge trimmer has already been tried! Straw grown into oats.

Eco gardening tips

  • Thanks Siberia:
    As shown above, Siberian tomatoes can be grown in pots, but their claim to fame is that they tolerate cold climates. Russians and Alaskans love these heirloom, meaty wonders.

    Depending on your climate, they take only 7-10 weeks from transplanting to give fruit and will withstand temperatures just above freezing. Trust me they're tasty too.

  • Horrible herbicides:
    Farm animals give us valuable manure for our gardens and compost, but CHECK FIRST. Has it come from herbicide treated pasture? Or from animals fed hay from treated pasture?

    Herbicides are insidious — a big culprit is aminopyralid, a broadleaf killer, so if traces get near your tomatoes, spuds, vines and beans, they're stuffed.

    It's sad to see your plants suffer and die, and remember too that rats and mice have sadly suffered and died for research into the tolerance and safety of most herbicides. Find an organic farmer.

  • Take that, weed!
    Last newsletter I wrote how handy old kitchen utensils are in the garden. Reader, Jahn, replied that his favorite is the meat fork — a 2 or 3 pronged long handled fork — useful for those stubborn weeds with longer roots; dandelions, docks etc.

    He got some from the local recycle center and leaves them in various places around the garden to just grab without having to go too far... good idea.

Vegetable Stock

I have vegetarian friends who make this healthy broth every weekend for the week ahead. Perfect for using to cook tasty rice, pasta, stew and sauce dishes. They rarely get to freeze it because they love it so much.


  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery or bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes (optional) chopped
  • 1 zucchini, or cup of cubed pumpkin
  • 1-2 handfuls of any greens handy, eg: turnip and beet tops, chard and kale
  • 1 teaspoon salt.


  1. In a large pot, cover vegetables with water and bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour with lid on.
  3. Let cool, then either strain, or put in blender or hand mash.
  4. Keep in jar in fridge and use that next week, or freeze in ice-cube trays to use later.

Be creative, don't stick to exact ingredients and amounts. Add more pumpkin, throw in some leeks, toss in a turnip and so on.

Any herbs and seasoning you may to use are best added when you heat the stock up later because they will lose their peak flavor if you cook or freeze them too much.

Preparation: 20-30 minutes

Happy gardening,

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