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Diggers Rest – Knock, knock; Eco gardening tips; Easy Savoury Dip
March 06, 2013

March 2013 Issue #91


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

1) Knock, knock
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Easy Savoury Dip

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Curly who?
Curly flower growing well this year.

... Time to plant your 'curlies' in Southern Hemisphere; and time to grow tomatoes in Northern Hemisphere. Read more below...

Knock, knock

Knock, knock. Who's there? Bill. Bill who? Bill low me down... spring's around the corner, time to think of tomatoes...

In northern climates, once you can find a spot indoors or out that doesn't go below 50°F (10°C) at night, then put in your tomato seeds. Don't transplant out until all danger of frost has gone—tomatoes hate frost. Read my guidelines at Growing tomatoes.

Sorry... knock, knock. Who’s there? Statue. Statue who? Statue in the Southern Hemisphere? Well then, it's time you had your winter vegetables in...

Depending where you are, getting your cauli, broccoli, winter cabbage and lettuce, broad beans and the like, well settled and growing now, will give you mid to late winter vegetables.

Try and avoid a gap in production before spring planted vegetables are available, by growing these cold hardy veggies. Remember Brussels in particular need to have an early start and get plenty of leaves on them so they can form their baby cabbages.

Read more on our Sowing Guides page.

Girl holding seeds in hands
Credit: Wangari gardens

Eco gardening tips

  • Chocolate, compost and all things nice:
    Have you heard the wonderful quote that goes like this "Who cares what the question is; the answer is chocolate."

    Likewise with compost—if you have a problem in your garden, chances are compost will fix it. Compost has the ability to balance out lopsided nutrients and amend soil structure. Make sure you use—or make the biggest compost heap you can and top up your garden yearly at least.

  • Chlorine in water:
    Most tap water has chlorine added to it to kill germs. Obviously watering our plants with chlorinated water will affect microbes... all the beneficial bacteria, fungi and algae in your soil.

    I have set up a hose that drips just enough drips to fill a watering can over a 24hr period. I then let that sit and use another watering can filled the day before. This I use to water nearby young plants each sunny morning.

    Chlorine dissipates, or out-gasses when boiled or exposed to air for 12-24 hours.

  • The 80/20 rule:
    I like this: Last newsletter I said you just can't grow everything you want to; so be it, let it go.

    Reader, Dr Norm, has a great philosophy; he writes…"For my peace of mind in the garden, I use the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of what I plant is mine. 20 percent belongs to 'them', the environment. In this way, if something happens to a plant, I say, 20 percent."

I love and use this garden planner; it's one of those things that you don't know what you've been missing until you've got it. Feedback from readers is the same... "How did I garden without it before, thanks for putting me onto this!"
Online Garden Planning Tool

Easy Savoury Dip

Good for adults and kids alike, I saw this old fave dip in a local magazine; slightly different, but here is my old version.


  • 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen, steamed for 2 mins (half peas and half broccoli is also good)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta, quark or crème cheese (each gives a nice but slightly different taste and texture, and can also use ½ plain yogurt and ½ cheese)
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 heaped Tbln chopped mint
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbln olive oil, approximately


  • Whizz all ingredients, except oil, in food processor until mixed, but still slightly chunky. Add drops of olive oil to the mix to soften if necessary.
  • Put dip into serving bowl and drizzle the rest of the oil, or all of it, over the top.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 2 minutes.

Happy gardening

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