Kitchen Garden Guides

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spider fairies in my garden.....

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image Early one Monday morning recently I noticed spider fairies had been working in my garden overnight..... their breathtaking story visible only for a few hours..... why is the world so angry when there is such beauty all around us..... all we have to do is open our eyes.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A picture tells a thousand words....


Update..... greenhouse slide two

The EightIf you love the glasshouse in this animation, check out this Gabriel Ash self-design GLASSHOUSE website.

I am NOT having plastic!!

Dreams... one day .....



greenhouse slide four

Friday, September 23, 2011


September 19th: So (as Pattie would start) I am sitting at my laptop with my coffee at 6am, like I often am, when in pops an email from Pattie.... "read my blog" was the gist of the message. So, being a good, obedient girl I went straight to her post that day on Foodshed Planet in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. What this usually means is that some amazing, deep and meaningful thing has happened which changes Pattie's direction and I sit and read it with tears in my eyes because she writes sooooo well. This time I also had tears in my eyes but for a different reason; it was hilarious.

 Background...You see, Pattie has written a book that everyone in the world needs to read: "Food for my Daughters.... what one mom decided to do when the towers fell". Here, Pattie shares the evolution of her outlook on life from being a good, American citizen to being a citizen for the good of Americans.... I don't remember how I found Pattie's blog in the beginning but I started reading her journey right at the start, when her blog did not include the word planet, even.

Pattie had never grown food, or collected water from her roof or even mowed her own lawn. Since the towers fell, Pattie has helped start the first community garden in her area, fought hard for bike tracks, turned her back yard into an edible garden and even planted vegetables around her letterbox, become a voice for feeding the poor home grown food, started foraging from public fruit trees and started the Sustainability Commission at her local council, just to mention a few things.


But the book is not about that! It is about making connections, finding hidden treasure in people's souls, it is about passion, kindness, laughter and fulfilment. It is about children and childhood and growing food for, and now with, her daughters. It is about what happened on the inside as much as what Pattie did on the outside. It takes you to a space that removes the fear and stress of wanting to do something, and replaces it with a spirit which whispers to you "This I can do".

September 23rd Another early morning message from Pattie to read this piece and I laughed again, even more than before. So now I have 8 years to get ready for the arrival of Pattie and Julie, by kayak. If they time it right, they can paddle nearly right up to my front door. They'll need to duck under the bridge though, if the tide is high! Hmmmm, I'd better gets some ropes ready and maybe put in a post to tie the kayaks up to in my creek! Dreams and plans give life to us all, and having a friend like Pattie, who I have never met or spoken to, makes me very, very happy.

Life is good; get there fast and take it slow. (Do I need to explain this?)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Food Forest Organism....

He came upon it by chance in Morocco, when the surf was flat and he wandered inland.... 2,000 years old, 800 people supported by it....

Forests of food. Taking a leaf from the book of nature.... well thumbed but often forgotten.

Then he discovered another.... in Vietnam.... 28 generations of sustenance

These are examples from Ogbuzz....

....I suggest that we plant shelterbelts windbreaks and Food Forests of nut and fruit trees grown from seeds, mixed with edible and medicinal perennial plants and mushrooms on a scale even larger than the shelterbelt plantation efforts in the USA after the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, or even China's Green Wall....

New Forum about Food Forests at:

Monday, September 12, 2011

The stories are in...

Word got out about World Kitchen Garden Day on August 28th.... Now various groups have posted their stories and pictures everywhere from Kitchen Gardeners International website, to Facebook and Google+. If you have not seen any of them, here are some snippets and links for you....

  1. KGI's partner in Kenya, the Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya, brought together 70 people on World Kitchen Garden Day to learn about growing their own healthy food. Here are a few pics from their gathering.

2. And in Pakistan...

Pakistan Celebrates World Kitchen Garden Day

3. And in Mumbai....Braving the flooded streets, erratic schedule of local trains and uncertainty our volunteers reached the venue in time; their faces shining happily with the joy of showing off and sharing their prized harvests! ....Read more and watch some wonderful videos on Urban Leaves.

The highlight of the occasion were the talk and demos by ‘Anju Venkat’, a nutritionist at the Health Awareness Centre for the last 16 years. Drawing an apt and convincing analogy between ‘Amrut mitti’ and food, she explained that health is the result of healthful living or living according to the laws of nature. She spoke about the importance of consumption of organic food and ways of cooking that would preserve its nutritive value, bring out its flavours and colours to the maximum and provide optimum nourishment. This was followed by a cookery demo conducted by her, utilizing the plant yield contributed by the volunteers.

And in Bangalore, Udaipur and Bhubaneshwar.... all in India

I would love to hear of other celebrations, especially in Australia. Surely Maggie and I are not the only Australians to have organised something this year!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The perfect edible windbreak

A link sent to me by Teresa has come just at the time I was thinking how to make a bit of a windbreak that will not block the sun on that side. Although I do not drink soft drinks (except for Tonic in my gin!) I could probably gather enough from others to do this. There is no container deposit here in Tasmania, which is shocking but true!!

Like Pattie, I do worry about the leaching of nasty things from these bottles into the soil and water but I wonder if plants would take them up.... I'd say probably not, although I don't really know.

This would be a fun thing to do at a community garden too and could be used around a play area, for example. Probably best at times other than mid summer, but maybe here in Tasmania it might be ok.

The whole preparation process is fully explained on this Container Gardening blog.

Thanks Teresa!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Living from the garden

What I mean by this is blending garden, kitchen and outlook on life. This is my religion and I am as passionate a follower as many people are of their various conventional religions. I truly believe in its value and, like any zealot, that it is THE right way and I try to persuade people to join me in it.

My mother is 88 and one day when I rang her to say I was calling in, she said "What will we have for lunch? You usually come on market day when I have things to eat but that is tomorrow and I am nearly out of everything." I replied unenthusiastically "Well you are going to the supermarket today, maybe you could buy us something there." She exclaimed so loudly I had to move the phone away from my ear "Are you crazy?! You can't buy FOOD at the supermarket!! I am going to get washing up gloves and toilet paper." Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.

This does not mean I spend hours tending my vegetable garden, although that is what I would like to do. It is simply a mindset; eat what is abundant. Some people will laugh and scoff at eating cabbages and kale all winter and say they cannot do without a tomato salad, basil, eggplants and pineapples all year round. I sigh and ask them to lunch....

I cook some vegetarian meals every week for a local family, so come into my kitchen and see what fabulous food can be cooked using totally seasonal, winter vegetables and herbs.....

  • Coriander,red lentil and black bean patties
  • Broccoli and potato pie
  • Leek / broccoli etc quiches
  • Radicchio and parmesan salad
  • Baked apples
  • Spiced cauliflower soup to die for
  • Fried rice with Asian greens and egg
  • Pumpkin soup (3 entirely different recipes)
  • Heavenly, slow cooked red cabbage and apples with local apple cider
  • Potato and rocket salad
  • Red cabbage and fennel coleslaw
  • Cauliflower and onion balls with chick pea flour
  • Decadent parsnip soup
  • Turkish spinach / kale / any leaves soup
  • Prune and apple tart with brandy-soaked black currants from my cassis experiment
  • Root veg curry / potato and peanut curry
  • All kinds of bean and veg soups
  • Baked beans with my bottles tomatoes
  • Middle Eastern salads.... chickpea / couscous / spring onion
  • Maggie's spring onion and spinach pie with sunflower seed crust
  • Spinach and fetta pie
  • Spiced potato bugers
  • etc etc etc etc

My food is laden with herbs picked from my garden and include the freshest spices I can buy. Even though I get a lot of frost, I am learning what to plant that will grow happily outside all winter. I also have Vietnamese mint, lemon grass and galangal in my hot house.

I would like to recommend 2 amazing seasonal recipe blogs. Both are by women who I stayed with on my vegetable vagabond trip in 2008 and they both also have food garden blogs. Then there is a 3rd blog.... that Maggie and I write but we have not been so diligent as my 2 friends!

Food from the Mediterranean (Teleri, South East France)

Kitchen Garden Recipes (Laura, Cevennes Mountains, France)

Gardeners' Gastronomy (Maggie and me)

I stubbornly refuse to eat processed food that has more than 1 ingredient, if it is at all possible. I do buy things like curry paste, vegemite, black bean sauce but I make my own breads, biscuits, cakes and cereal (or eat my son's gourmet Hughsli), etc. I get milk from a cow called Sophie and meat from local people, as I have written about before. It is a good life and VERY cheap. Get there fast, then take it slow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seedsavers videos in my garden...

Jude and Michel Fanton visited me back in May and we made some little video clips in my garden. Here are a few. You can watch more on their Seedsavers YouTube Channel

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Daily Dump

While most of us in Australia only have options of plastic for our compost makers and worm farms, in Bangalore, India, they are made from terracotta, in many shapes, sizes and colours so they look nice as well as being functional..... check out the Daily Dump website for lots of great ideas.




I found this link on a blog of someone who attended a get-together in Bangalore for World Kitchen Garden Day. The blog is called Organic Conversations and incorporates the Bangalore Terrace Gardeners group.

Thursday, September 1, 2011