copyright reserved 2011

copyright reserved 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Russians are coming!

I know it has been said a trillion, million times, but gardening really is a wonderful tonic. I was feeling a little down today, and so finally I took myself outside and started to water part of the garden. This led to watering the vegetable patch, which led to cleaning out some bok choy that had raced away to seed.

In its place I planted at tomato plant that had volunteered in one of my pots. I am not sure what species it is at this early stage, but I suspect that it may be a cherry tomato. It was growing very strongly, so it would have been cruel not to give it more soil and a chance to grow.

To make room for the seedling, I also cut some lettuce. As I pulled one head from the garden a wriggly worm fell back into the soil and raced back into the moist dirt and out of sight. It was a thrill to see that our new garden already has a nice healthy population of worms. Go worms, go!

Before going inside I harvested a couple of the black Russian tomatoes as well. Well, at least I have the salad for dinner - tomatoes and lettuce!

Black tomatoes are known for their strong, earthy tomato flavor, which often has a slight saltiness. Black tomatoes have a very dark skin that starts as dark red or dark green, but becomes almost black as the tomato matures and ripens.

Nearly 50 varieties of black tomato are now found in Russia. The best-known black Russian tomatoes are the black Krim, a sweet and salty dark greenish tomato named for the Crimea; and the black Russian, a large purple tomato with greenish-black flesh.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

tomato wars

We have been suffering tomato wars this week. Something is coming over the fence under the cover of darkness and feasting on our crop of Black Russian tomatoes  I suspect it is a possum.

It is choosing a tomato, eating half of it and then throwing it with disdain onto the lawn, to select another one. Arrogant possums!

We have a couple of pink flamingo lawn ornaments that I have moved into place to "protect" the vegetable garden, and for the last night or two we have had peace in the garden.

So, when I came across the following Judy Horacek cartoon, her work struck a chord.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

French Bread



French Bread Recipe.

2 TBL. Dry Active Yeast
2 TBL. of Sugar
3 Cups of warm water.
1 TBL Sea Salt
4 Cups of Unbleached White Bread Flour
2 Cups of Unbleached Whole Wheat Bread Flour

Mix sugar and yeast in a small mixing bowl.
Add warm water and let yeast mixture dissolve for five minutes.
Your yeast mixture should be frothy.

While yeast is dissolving, in a separate small mixing bowl mix white flour and sea salt.
Once yeast has dissolved pour into kitchen aid mixing bowl.
Add white flour mixture to yeast mixture one cup at a time, hand whisking mixture until 
smooth, after every cup.


Add wheat flour one cup at a time mixing well
Knead the finished dough  for five to seven minutes.
Your dough should be slightly sticky.

Cover with damp cloth and let the dough rise for a total of one hour.

During that hour punch down the dough and slightly stir every 10 minutes,
this gives your dough the unique french bread texture you are looking for.

On a floured surface divide dough into two sections.
Roll each section into a long rectangular form.
Fold over rectangle length wise then fold into french bread form.
Pinch all edges.

Place both rolls on a greased tray.
Make 1/4 inch deep slashes across loaves.
Let loaves rise for 20 minutes.

Bake at 400F for approximately 18 to 24 minutes,
or until the bottom of the loaves are golden brown.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Father's Day special - coloured spinach

Father's Day breakfast was free range eggs and home grown organic coloured spinach from our very own raised bed.


September planting – Australian zones


September planting – Australian zones

Subtropical and warm temperate climates planning guide

Amaranth spinach
Arrowroot
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beetroot
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Celery-stem taro
Ceylon spinach
Chicory
Chilli
Choko
Chrysanthemum greens
Coffee
Cucumber
Eggplant
Egyptian Spinach
Garden Sorrel
Hibiscus Spinach
Horseradish
Jicama
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mangel wurzel
Moringa
Okra
Perilla
Pineapple
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Radish
Rocket
Rockmelon
Rosela
Silver beet
Squash
Surinam spinach
Sweet leaf
Sweet potato
Taro
Tea
Tomatoes
Vietnamese mint
Warrigal greens
Water chesnut
Water spinach
Watercress
Watermelon
Yacon
Zucchini

Tropical climate planting guide
Amaranth spinach
Arrowhead
Arrowroot
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Beetroot
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Cauliflower
Celery-stem taro
Chicory
Chilli
Choko
Chrysanthemum greens
Coffee
cucumber
Eggplant
English spinach
Garden Sorrel
Hibiscus spinach
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Okra
Pineapple
Pumpkin
Radish
Rockmelon
Rosella
Strawberry
Surinam spinach
Sweet corn
Sweet leaf
Sweet potato
Taro
Tea
Tomatoes
Vietnamese mint
Water spinach
Watermelon
Yams

Temperate and cool climates planting guide

Amaranth spinach
Arrowhead
Artichoke (Globe and Jerusalem)
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Capsicum
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Chicory
Chilli
Chrysanthemum greens
Cucumber
Endive
Florence fennel
French sorrel
Garden sorrel
Garlic
Horseradish
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mangel wurzel
Nasturtium
New Zealand yam
Onions
Parsnip
Peas
Perilla
Peruvian parsnip
Potatoes
Radish
Rhubarb
Rocket
Silver beet
Spinach
Squash
Strawberry
Surinam spinach
Swede
Tomatoes
Turnip
Water chesnut
Watercress

Dry Temperate (Mediterranean) climate planting guide

Amaranth spinach
Arrowroot
Artichoke (globe)
Artichoke (Jerusalem)
Asian cabbage
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Beetroot
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Cauliflower
Celery
Celery-stem taro
Ceylon spinach
Chicory
Chrysanthemum greens
Cucumber
Eggplant
Endive
Florence Fennel
French sorrel
Garlic
Horseradish
Jicama
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Mangel wurzel
Moringa
Nasturtium
New Zealand yam
Onions
Peas
Perilla
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Radish
Rhubarb
Rocket
Rockmelon
Rosella
Silverbeet
Spinach
Squash
Strawberry
Surinam spinach
Swede
Tea
Tomatoes
Turnip
Vietnamese mint
Warrigal greens
Water chesnut
Water spinach
Watercress
Watermelon

Semi-arid and arid climates planting guide

Amaranth spinach
Arrowhead
Arrowroot
Artichoke (globe)
Artichoke (Jerusalem)
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Beetroot
Cabbage
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Cauliflower
Celery
Celery-stem taro
Ceylon spinach
Chicory
Chilli
Chrysanthemum greens
Cucumber
Eggplant
Egyptian Spinach
Florence fennel
Garden Sorrel
Garlic
jicama
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Mangel Wurzel
Moringa
Nasturtium
Okra
Onions
Peas
Perilla
Peruvian parsnip
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Radish
Rocket
Rockmelon
Rosella
Silver beet
Squash
Strawberry
Surinam spinach
Swede
Sweet corn
Sweet leaf
Sweet potato
Tomatoes
Vietnamese mint
Warrigal greens
Water chestnut
Watercress
Watermelon
Yacon
Zucchini

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Acid soils? Your best vegetables choice.

Potatoes will help to break up the soil, while pumpkins, as we know will grow anywhere! Cucumbers are another good choice for clay soils. Both pumpkins and cucumbers have separate male and female flowers, but only the female flowers will develop fruit.

Beans are another good choice for clay soil as they make use of the nitrogen from the atmosphere and will greatly enrich the soil. And number five on our plant list for clay soils is sweet corn.


At the same time use a clay breaker such as Gyp-Life™ , Nutri-Gyp™ Natural Gypsum or Life-Force Base Blend™ , a living fertiliser to restore productive life to unproductive soils.

T he introduction of the “clay buster” in a liquid form such as Gyp-Life™ allows

 ease of application and more precision in placement. A high-analysis source of 

micronised natural gypsum combined in a free-flowing suspension with fulvic acid. 

The soil conditioning capacity of gypsum is dramatically magnified with the huge

 increase in surface area associated with a tiny 5 micron particle size.



bringing in the harvest!

We have started to harvest the first vegetables from our raised garden bed! It was with more than a little pride and a lot of bragging that I cut a bok choy and a lettuce late this afternoon. I had to hurry a little as a storm was coming in, with the full lightning and thunder chorus, but it was been weeks since we have had any rain, so it was a welcome sign. It did rain, but not as much as we would have liked. Maybe more tomorrow.

We had the bok choy for dinner tonight, and the lettuce will be part of my lunch tomorrow. Fresh, organic loveliness!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Managing microbes in your soil.



Conventional gardening is an input driven system. The accepted wisdom is to apply an unbalanced fertiliser to an unbalanced soil to help sustain a state of imbalance, which will then require constant chemical intervention. This serves no one except the chemical companies.

Success in gardening is more knowledge driven than input driven. Once we accept that there is a direct relationship between nutrition and pest and disease pressure, then we can look to the causes rather than just treating symptoms.

Pride, satisfaction, purpose and passion is what makes gardening a pleasure. Gardening with nature is exciting, and rewarding.  It is simply fascinating!

The most basic requirement for a healthy garden is to have healthy soil.  Healthy HUMUS! If organic carbon (humus) is declining then your garden and its plants will struggle as well.

So what is organic matter, this humus? Soil tests measure organic matter, and a rough organic carbon equivalent is derived by dividing the organic matter figure by 1.7.  In actual fact, the organic matter, as measured on most soil tests, is actually a combination of three different materials – raw organic matter, effective humus and stable humus.

Raw organic matter consists of plant or crop residues, manures and a variety of decomposing  organisms. It has a valuable function and it provides food for microorganisms  but it can create nitrogen lock-ups, as the nitrogen is tied up as protein in the bodies of the microbes doing the work.

Effective humus is the next stage in the decomposition process. This material contains a large percentage of fulvic acid. It is a dark brown, colloidal material which increases cation exchange capacity and reduces the loss of leachable anions. Effective humus provides nutrients to microbes  as it decomposes and it is a storehouse of beneficial microbial metabolites including hormones, vitamins and antibiotic substances. At this point though, it is not a stable habitat for microorganisms.

Stable humus is the completed product. It consists mostly of long-chained humic acids or humans bonded to clay particles. It is now a homogenous material which is resistant to chemical action. The dark brown colour improves heat retention by the seed and it acts like a carbon filter, protecting plants and microbes (and eventually humans) from toxic substances. Stable humus provides long-term nutrient storage and it is the principal of microbial habitat. 

canary in the coal mine


Once you start loving nature not in the abstract but as particular thing, you can't help wanting to do something. And because birds are everywhere, on every continent, they are such a good measure of whether an ecosystem is healthy. So if you try to do something for them, you end up doing something for the whole ecosystem.
Jonathan Franzen, author  and birdwatcher,  Weekend Australian Review, August 6-7, 2011, p6.

Franzen's words are incredibly true. I know that since I have grown older and my connection to the earth and nature has deepened that I view my world differently . I care more, and I appreciate my environment more. I nurture it more.

We have a garden that is a happy haven for birds, and without a domestic cat in residence, the birds are safe in the tree branches. In recent years, I have really experienced some wonderful moments, watching the birds in our garden. Even as I lie in my bed, I can watch birds in the tree branches outside the window. Better than any stress medication!

Graham Pizzey  suggested the following trees for Australian gardens:

Eucalypts: These trees often have hollows in their trunk or in branch forks which provide shelter and nesting sites for many birds. Some eucalypts especially attractive to birds include:   E. planchoniana - medium-sized tree to 25m which attracts birds with its cream-coloured flowers. E. pyriformis - small tree with large and heavy red or yellow flowers. Grows to 5m.
Banksias: Most banksias are found to be attractive to birdlife especially to honeyeaters. There are banksias that will grow in most parts of Australia. Some examples are: B. 'Giant Candles' - a cultivar with large orange flower spikes which can grow to 40cm in length. B. spinulosa - a smallish shrub to 1.5m with orange-yellow flowers. It is often laden with flowers in winter.
Grevilleas: Many species of grevilleas are highly attractive to birds because of the nectar produced by the flowers. Some of these include:  Grevillea alpina - shrub to 2m which has flowers present for most of the year except autumn. Best in cooler zones, particularly southern Australia. G. asparagoides - prickly shrub to 1m which also makes a good screening plant. G. beardiana - a small shrub (to 60cm) with clusters of red flowers. G. 'Boongala Spinebill' - honeyeaters are very attracted to the red toothbrush-like flowers on this sprawling shrub.
G. 'Honey Gem'

G. 'Honey Gem' - a tall shrub with apricot flowers. Grows to 6m tall. Excellent plant to attract native, nectar feeding birds. G. 'Ivanhoe' - a dense shrub good for screening. Has attractive foliage and red flowers which feature for most of the year. G. robusta - the silky oak, a tall growing tree which flowers in spring with golden nectar-laden flowers. This tree is too large for a small to medium garden. G. shiressii (Mullet Creek grevillea) - shrub to 3m with blue-green flowers during winter and spring. 
link

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

a smorgasbord

creator unknown
John William Waterhouse

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -- Lao Tzu


Land Girls by Dunbar circa 1941


August: vegetable planting guide – Australian zones


August planting – Australian zones

Subtropical and warm temperate climates planning guide

Amaranth spinach
Arrowroot
Artichoke (Globe)
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beetroot
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Celery
Celery-stem taro
Chicory
Chilli
Chrysanthemum greens
Coffee
Cucumber
Eggplant
Egyptian Spinach
Garden Sorrel
Hibiscus Spinach
Horseradish
Jicama
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mangel wurzel
Nasturtium
Okra
Perilla
Peruvian parsnip
Pineapple
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Radish
Rocket
Silver beet
Surinam spinach
Sweet potato
Taro
Tea
Tomatoes
Vietnamese mint
Warrigal greens
Water spinach
Watercress
Yacon
Zucchini

Tropical climate planting guide
Amaranth spinach
Arrowhead
Arrowroot
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Beetroot
Capsicum
Carrots
Cassava
Cauliflower
Celery
Celery-stem taro
Chicory
Chilli
Chrysanthemum greens
Coffee
cucumber
Eggplant
English spinach
Garden Sorrel
Hibiscus spinach
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mangel wurzel
Nasturtium
Okra
Pineapple
Potatoes
Pumpkin
Radish
Rocket
Rockmelon
Silver beet
Strawberry
Surinam spinach
Sweet corn
Sweet leaf
Sweet potato
Taro
Tea
Tomatoes
Vietnamese mint
Warrigl greens
Water spinach
Yams

Temperate and cool climates planting guide

Artichoke (Globe and Jerusalem)
Asian cabbages
Asparagus
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Chicory
Endive
French sorrel
Garden sorrel
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Onions
Parsnip
Peas
Radish
Rhubarb
Spinach
Swede
Tomatoes

Dry Temperate (Mediterranean) climate planting guide

Arrowroot
Artichoke (globe)
Artichoke (Jerusalem)
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Endive
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mangel wurzel
Moringa
Onions
Peas
Perilla
Radish
Rhubarb
Silverbeet
Spinach
Swede
Turnip
Watercress

Semi-arid and arid climates planting guide

Arrowroot
Artichoke (globe)
Artichoke (Jerusalem)
Asian cabbages
Asian salad greens
Asparagus
Beans
Beetroot
Broccoli
Cabbage
Capsicum
Cassava
Cauliflower
Celery
Chicory
Eggplant
Garden Sorrel
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mangel Wurzel
Nasturtium
Onions
Peas
Perilla
Peruvian parsnip
Radish
Rocket
Silver beet
Squash
Strawberry
Swede
Tomatoes
Turnip
Watercress
Zucchini

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bio-Bubble Bread - a low phytic acid, 24 hour ferment bread

Starting at sundown, combine the following into a batter and incubate overnight until sunrise.

1 cup of Bio-Bubble
1 cup untreated rain water
2 cups organic wholemeal bread flour
40-50 grams pure honey
1 small dash of unrefined sea salt

At sunrise add the following to make a dough, knead and incubate all day until sundown.

1 heaped teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons organic flax seed
1 heaped tablespoon organic poppy seed
1 heaped tablespoon organic caraway seed (optional)
1 heaped tablespoon organic rosemary, fennel seed of coriander seed (optional)
2 cups wholemeal flour, enough to make a moist dough. Bakers choice of wheat, rye or spelt.

An hour before sundown insert hearth rock or fire bricks in over and preheat for at least an hour to 200C. Knead dough into a round loaf and score, lightly, for expansion. Flour heath and set loaf on hearth to bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until center is barely baked. Air cool. This bread should have a crust.

Theory behind 24 hour bread


The purpose of this bread if to bring the flour to life from its inert condition as grain.l This is a simple method that starts with finely ground whole grain flour. It can take place of the more cumbersome method of malting (sprouting, drying and grinding) whole grain to make the dough.

One of the reasons people have trouble digesting bread and develop allergies to protein rich grains such as wheat is that these grains in their inert state contain phytic acid which inhibits uptake of minerals, especially magnesium and zinc.

Enrenfired Pfeiffer's chronmatographic research into breads and bread baking suggests that flours needs to ferment as a dough for 12 to 16 hours for phytic acid to be destroyed and the resulting bread to be digestible.

Bio-Bubble serves to mediate and provide microbial support, much as plant juices - or even the clay in the soil - do. This balance between the digestive processes of lime (CaO) and the ripening processes of silica.

The result is a rich, flavourful bread that surmounts the three chief problems most people have with breads - phtic acid, yeast and undigested gluten. Phytates block absorption of magnesium and zinc. Yeasts exacerbate Candida problems and undigested gluten triggers allergies.




What is Bio-Bubble™?
Bio-Bubble™ is a fizzy, fermented probiotic powerhouse, featuring food-based antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes and billions of beneficial microorganisms per serve.
"This defence food offers probiotic support that is far more potent than many of the task-specific probiotics. This is a fizzy, fermented liquid derived from the microbial digestion of eight organic cereal grains and several legumes including alfalfa and soybeans. Probiotics involve a numbers game where the aim is to overwhelm the 'bad' guys with the 'good' guys and you will see that the benefits can extend far beyond bio-balancing.


Bio-Bubble link here

Rosa's Spelt Bread


Ingredients

375 ml of water
1 slice of butter, approximately 2 tablespoons
2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
2 cups of white spelt flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of milk powder
1 1/2- 2 tablespoons of unrefined brown sugar
2 teaspoons of fine celtic salt or 1 1/2 tsp of normal salt
1 sachet of Tandaco Rapid Rise yeast (if not available use the most active yeast you can source)

Directions:
Place all ingredients in order as listed above into the breaker maker (if using a timer ensure the yeast can't touch the water).

Unused portions can be frozen.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday in my Garden


The winter weight gain has been creeping onto areas of my body that are already evident enough, so I decided that as today was such a glorious winter day I would work in the garden and enjoy the sunshine and hopefully the exercise! The day is so glorious that it feels like spring and from the way some of the trees are sprouting they must feel that it is spring too!

No better way to get exercise than carrying watering cans around the garden! I made a mix of 1 tablespoon of Instant Humus and 7 litres of water. Carrying a7 litres of water is a great weight exercise, and cheaper than a gym membership! If we are going to have an early spring then no better time to increase the moisture and nutrient retention in our soil!

I can never describe the wonderful feelings and emotions that I feel when I use organic products to nurture my garden. For one, I know that I am using a mineral rich humic acid derived from ancient plant matter! I gifted myself an extra thrill by mixing it all in with a stick pruned from one of our trees. For those who know me, they will be aware that I love a good stick, and this is a great stick to use to stir things!

By the time I had watered the shady south eastern part of the garden, I had developed quite a “dewy” appearance as they describe honest sweat in those old romance books! As usual I finished with a lovely cup a tea, and a sense of having accomplished something that really mattered, unlike a lot of other things I did today!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

more than food for thought

Folk wisdom in Japan says that one should eat 30 different foods types every day. Counting herbs, spices, oils, nuts and seeds, it is  estimated that the typical Italian diet contains approximately 60 different food groups. The comparable estimate for the typical Western diet is just 20 food groups. So it may not be the high olive oil content and low level of saturated fats in the Mediterranean diet which confer the well-known benefits: it may be the variety as well. This would explain the French anomaly, where the consumption of butter, cream and cheese is legendary, but where freshness and variety of herbs and vegetables are also paramount.
                                Dr  Carole Hungerford. 2009.  Good Health in the 21st Century,  pp10,11.

If I was honest, I would have to admit that there are more than a few days when I would be challenged to eat even that paltry 20 food groups. 
 Note to self - do better for my own sake!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mo, Cu and Zn - Total Cover



Molybdenum (Mo)

Plants: Supports nitrogen-fixation and nitrate conversion into plant proteins.



Copper (Cu)

Soil: Copper deficiencies can appear in boggy soils high in carbon (peat) as well as sandy soils where large quantities of nitrogen have been added.

Plants: Copper is a protein nutrient and is essential for chlorophyll production, sugar synthesis, seed and root metabolism.

People: Needed for iron transportation and the formation of haemoglobin.



Zinc (Zn)

Soil: If you have over applied phosphorous using chook manure pellets over the years, then you probably have induced a zinc deficiency. The answer is to use a foliar spray to by-pass the soil-based lockup. Zinc is important in the soil for the health of beneficial microorganisms, particularly nitrogen fixers.

Plants: Zinc is often call the energy micronutrient for plants.

People: Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of reproductive organs and for the immune system.


Good Soil Bugs – Make them feel at home, and make it good enough to eat!

Often referred to as the soil food web, a healthy, living soil will be teeming with microbes, both beneficial and pathogenic (infective; able to cause disease). Including species of bacteria, fungi, algae, nematodes, protozoa, arthropods and earthworms, soil microbes are all vital in maintaining a healthy soil structure.

Often we’ll hear of a garden that is receiving the best of everything but still not thriving, something is just not right. The problem could be lack of beneficial soil microbes. How can this happen?

There are a number of reasons for a lack of microbes including indiscriminate use of fungicides, biocides, herbicides, nematicides or fumigated landscape soils and high salt fertilisers.

Microbe brewing is one way to overcome these problems and is easier than beer brewing. In just 24 hours, in ideal conditions you can brew billions of microbes that will help bring your soils to life!

As with all garden inputs, wear gloves and a breathing mask to ensure you don’t breathe the microbes into your lungs.

Once you have brewed and applied your microbes help create a comfy microbe home with regular composting, add minerals like Soft Rock phosphate and feeding the soils with kelp, fish, aloe, molasses, humic acid and fulvic acid

Managing Micronutrients : Iron, Magnesium, Boron


Iron (Fe)

Plants: Carrier of oxygen for the essential production of chlorophyll.

People: Central elements in haemoglobin and essential in the function of hundres of enzymes and proteins.


Magnesium (Mn)

Soil: More available in low pH soil and can be tied up in soils with high calcium or phosphorous.

Plants: Strongly support seed germination, fruiting and ripening. Important for nitrogen metabolism.

People: found in mitochondria and is a key component in energy metabolism.

Animals: Needed for normal growth and bone formation. Essential is reproductive health.

Boron (B) Boost

Soil: Humus is the boron storehouse, so if you don’t have good levels of organic matter you will probably have boron deficient soils. Calcium is the “trucker of all minerals” and boron is the “steering wheel”, so calcium will not work as well when boron is lacking.

Plants: Calcium can operate to full effect only if boron is present. Boron is also very important during the reproductive stage as it regulates flowering, pollination and the fruit to flower ratio. This is particularly important in fruit trees. A foliar spray just before flowering will supply boron and all other minerals at this critical time.

Deficiency Symptoms: Hollow stems in broccoli, woody texture in strawberries, flower and fruit drop in the orchard and poor seed set are all symptoms of boron deficiency. You may also see die back on passionfruit and grape vines.

People: This mineral also impacts calcium metabolism in humans. Boron influences the release of calcium into the blood and the absorption of calcium into our bones. Boron deficiency has also been strongly linked to arthritis and it is important in red blood cell development.

Animals: Boron has been used for over 30 years for the treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in farm animals and could also be used to treat these problems in pets.

Friday, 15 July 2011

au naturale in the garden


Home made sprays can be very poisonous and need to be labelled and stored appropriately. They will kill natural predators such as lacewings and ladybugs, so be careful where you spray and watch for over spray.

Keep out of reach of children.

Because of their toxicity and the likelihood of careless labelling, home made sprays should be mixed in small quantities and used immediately.

Home Made Garden Sprays

Aphids and Thrip – Can be controlled with soapy water, onion or garlic spray  and white oil.

Garlic Spray –Crush garlic cloves and steep in an equal quantity of vegetable oil for a week. Add some soap mixture and dilute 1 part mixture to 10 parts water. Store in a glass container.

Pikelet spray – For aphids, scale and caterpillars, mix together 1 tablespoon of white flour, a quarter cup of milk and 1 cup of water. Spray on leaves.

For Scab or Mildew:

Chive Spray – Use dried chives. Pour 600 ml boiling water over approximately 20g chives. Leave to stand for one hour. Strain. Dilute one part spray to 2 parts water.

Cabbage Moth Spray – 50g soft soap, 150g salt, 10 litres water.
Melt soap in water, add salt, strain through fine strainer to get rid of lumps of soap if you want to use tis in a pump spray. Liquid cleanser mat be used in place of soap.

Easy All-Purpose Insecticide Spray
Mix  1 bucket of water, a small packet of Epsom salts, 1 teaspoon Condy’s Crystals (all available from the chemist)

Rhubarb spray (all purpose) – Cut up one kilogram of rhubarb leaves and boil in two and a half litres of water for 30 minutes.
Grate 1/3 of a cake (60g) of pure soap into 3 ½ litres of boiling water to dissolve. When cool, mix together and strain for use . Bottle and label as very dangerous. I suggest that you make this one only for immediate use.

Snails and Slugs

Sawdust, shell grit or sand heaped around new plants will deter slugs and snails.
Bury tins up to the neck and put beer in the bottom, or just fill saucers with beer near new plants. Slugs and snails attracted to the beer. Empty every morning.

Cut the top and bottom off plastic bottles and place them around each new plant. Alternatively, use ice-cream or margarine containers to form a collar around the plants until they are large enough to lose their appeal to the snails.


Fill a shallow bowl with water and cover with a layer of natural bran. Snails will crawl into this thinking it is a solid fall down and drown.

Moss
To remove moss from path, mix equal parts of vinegar and methylated spirits. Apply with a scrubbing brush. Scrub well ten leave for 15 minutes. Scrub again with the mixture, leave another 15 minutes. Sweep with a broom.

To promote mossy growth on rocks or paths, tip milk over them.

Garden Tools
To prevent rust, clean tool after use and rub secateurs and cutting tools with petroleum jelly.

Quassia Chips
Use to deter possums.
To repel possums in the roof the chips can be spread around the area where they are entering the roof as well as throughout the roof cavity. Homemade Quassia spray is easily made and can also be sprayed around the roof cavity and entry points.
To repel possums in the garden
For ornamental plants you can spray on the leaves, stems and trunk of the plants, you can also do this on fruit trees avoiding any soft skinned fruit that is ready to be picked.
If you are protecting your edible herbs and vegetables from being the eaten it is best to spray to saturate the ground around the plants, if the quassia is sprayed on the foliage of your herbs and vegetables they will not only taste bitter to the possums but also to you!

Apply quassia spray for 5 days in a row. This should be long enough for the possum to realize that this is not the tasty treat that he thought it was. Re apply the quassia spray after rain or watering. If the possum comes back for more repeat the spray for another 5 days.
To make a spray to repel possums and insects
Add 25g quassia chips to 500ml water in a saucepan bring to the boil, turn heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes, strain and add 25ml liquid soap. This is then diluted 1part to 3 parts of water before use. Put in a spray bottle to apply to affected area.
Bucket method
You can also make a spray by soaking the chips in a bucket of tap water, use around 200g of quassia chips to a 9-10 litre bucket of water let them soak for 24 hours before straining off the bitter liquid. This can then be sprayed on the affected area.
Adding 5g of pure soap flakes per litre of spray is an effective wetting agent for the above spray.
Don't spray it on food crops less than a week before you consume it

Terracotta Pots
After cleaning and drying wipe over with linseed oil. Apply a second coat after an hour or so, and they should look like new again.

Concrete Paving
Cover stains with one part detergent to 6 parts kerosene. Hose off after 5-10 minutes.