Category Archives: Vegetable

What to plant in Sydney in March

Well it doesn’t feel like the weather is cooling just yet but it’s time to start thinking about those cool weather crops. Think broad beans, broccoli and cauliflower. That’s what I think. But I won’t be putting these into the soil just yet. Right now I think it’s time to pull out those summer crops that are finished, beef up the soil with a new layer of compost. Cover that with a nice layer of mulch and get those seeds into the greenhouse (or seed raising area) so they are ready to go in after Easter. Surely it will cool down by then?
If you are keen to get planting then probably best to stick to the all year-ers like carrots, greens and herbs until we start to regularly drop below 30.

What’s your favourite cool weather crop and when do you think you’ll start planting?

Posted in Autumn, Grow, Herbs, Soil Health, Vegetable | Comments Off on What to plant in Sydney in March

Sydney’s Winter Garden

Well it’s getting cold but at least the sun’s out and the ground is starting to dry up after all that rain.  Winter in Sydney does not mean time to stop gardening.    So what to plant?

If you’ve got the room and you haven’t yet you should get your garlic and broad beans in as soon as you can.

It’s also time to start planting your brassica’s.  That means cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.  Keep going with leafy greens (salads and Asian greens) or replant if that recent hail destroyed what you had.  Carrots and most herbs can be grown can be grown all year round in Sydney.

If you’ve got a bit of space and are looking for a low maintenance edible, have a try at growing Jerusalem Artichoke.  In the right sunny spot these will put on a great show of sunflower like flowers (same family) and you can treat them like perennials by simply leaving a few tubers in the ground at harvest time.  If you’re keen, now’s the time to plant them.

As ever, if you need some help, give us a call or leave a comment/question below.

Enjoy!

Posted in Edible Gardens, Perennial, Vegetable, Winter | Comments Off on Sydney’s Winter Garden

All hail the choko

As the choko season draws to a close I’d like to take a moment to thank the choko for its generosity.

I find people fall into three categories over the choko. Love them, hate them, never heard of them. I’m in the first and if you’re curious here’s some tips.

Choko must be grown from choko. You can’t extract the seed. So buy a choko or get one from someone already growing, leave it in the back of your cupboard for a few weeks and then pull it out when it’s sprouting and stick it in the ground (choko’s prefer ground over pot but if you have a really large pot and no ground I’d still encourage you to give it a go). Choko’s aren’t keen on really hot spots but do need some sun. They also need to climb and if you let them will keep going and take over trees, sheds, houses… So you need to think carefully about where you plant your choko and how you are going to control it. Any unpicked fruit, no matter how small or deformed looking, will sprout and grow another choko vine.

Once you’ve got your chokos (and if you’ve planted it right you’ll have a lot of chokos) pick and eat them as soon as you can. I find they store better out of the fridge in a cool dark spot but left too long they will sprout so you need to have some choko eating strategies.

Chokos are slimy. If you peel them with bare hands you’ll get a slime over your hands that dries like glue so I’ve taken to wearing gloves. Another way to prepare them is to cut them in half and bake them, then scoop out the flesh (no slime when they are cooked.)

Best choko uses I’ve found are: choko pickle or chutney, choko chocolate cake (grate a couple of chokos into any cake recipe for added moisture and fibre) and choko added to curry or dhal. The choko is able to take its place in desserts or savoury dishes because it has no actually flavour of its own but will absorb the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with. Choko can even be used to fluff out an apple pie but I don’t think this is where it shines.

The choko is a low kilo joule vegetable and a source of fibre and vitamin C. I’ve included the choko chocolate cake recipe below in case you’re feeling adventurous.

1 ½ cups sugar

2 ½ cups plain flour

½ cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

125g butter

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups grated choko

 

Cream butter and half the sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients including balance of sugar. Add choko and mix gently. Bake at 160C in 23cm spring-form tin for 50-60 minutes. Cool in the tin for five minutes. To glaze melt 60g butter plus 125g dark chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon golden syrup when the chocolate mixture is smooth. Spoon onto cooled cake.

Recipe is from www.annettemcfarlane.com (when I made it I made them cupcake size and skipped the glaze, kids didn’t notice)

Posted in Autumn, Edible Gardens, Grow, Recipes, Vegetable | Comments Off on All hail the choko

Growing Corporate

Late last year we were contacted by Razor & JOY to come and have a look at their courtyard space with a view to installing an edible garden. I’d been very keen install an office garden so was excited by the prospect. It was also a beautiful looking site (once the pot plants here removed).

We built the beds (2 four metre long and 1 two metres long) out of recycled hard wood timber palings, sanded and oiled. Lined them with geotextile fabric and filled them with a rich organic mixture of compost, manure, straw and lucerne.

Staff assisted in the final stage and the beds were planted with salad greens, tea herbs, herbs, tomatoes and beans, chilli’s and capsicum. There’s a strawberry box, micro green box and seed raising box.

Pots of dwarf citrus, midyim berry, blueberry and bay were added.

The garden is lovingly cared for and picked by the staff. Unfortunately the pests have been pretty happy with the garden addition as well but hopefully with a little tweaking the pests will have less to eat and the staff will have more. Reports are that this has been a really worthwhile addition to office life and has definitely been a very satisfying project for me to work on.

Posted in courtyard, dwarf fruit trees, Enjoy, Grow, Perennial, pests, Razor & JOY, recycled wood, Vegetable | Comments Off on Growing Corporate

Krispy Kale Chips

I love growing and eating kale.  It looks beautiful in the garden and gives a great supply of leaves over a long period.  The problem has been my family isn’t so keen.  Even my mother wasn’t particularly interested.  So thanks Ms A from my organic vegie co-op who shared this recipe.  EVERYONE in my family ate it, enjoyed it and it was about as simple as it gets cooking wise.

You’ll need:

Kale – washed and dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Turn the oven on to 275 degrees.

Cut out the ribs from the kale and then slice into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Put them on a baking tray and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

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