Archive for the ‘grow’ Category

Posted on 15th April 2014

Farewell from Grow Harvest Cook

Four years ago 4 women, with a combined “lifetime” of experience in lifestyle publishing decided to publish a blog following their combined passions of food, photography, gardening and design.  It was naturally named Grow Harvest Cook.

Over this time we have covered so many delicious garden grown ingredients, culminating in the production of the Grow Harvest Book of the same name, which has over 280 recipes and garden tips.  Grow Harvest Cook has now decided that this is a good time to hang up their tools, fold their apron strings and venture out on new projects solo.

The book of which we are all so proud will continue to be available at bookstores and online, and for a limited time.

the designer
Sue Cadzow   www.redpeppergraphics.com.au

the gardener
Meredith Kirton  Meredithk@pacific.net.au  Twitter @meredithkirton

the cook
Mandy Sinclair   urbanherb@optusnet.com.au

the photographer
Sue Stubbs   www.suestubbs.com.au


Posted under 5 minutes with..., community, cook, grow, harvest, product reviews, readers' recipes
Posted on 6th February 2014

Grow | Asian Greens

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Happy Chinese New Year.

The lunar Calender celebration of the Year of the Horse has begun. And what better time to plant out a crop of Asian Greens? Or, if you want to add some “good luck” charms to your garden, pop in some red or orange flowered plants around the gardenor a Chinese Lucky Plant or Aglaonema is one plant that will cope with almost anything, from airconditioning in summer to heating in winter.  It seems adapt admirably with a wide range of positions, and has handsome leaves with grey or white markings and is supposed to be good Feng Shui.

Asian cuisine is becoming more and more mainstream, with many of their greens appearing on our supermarket shelves and even more to choose from the markets.  For those in the know, they offer great flavour and interesting texture, and in the garden, can be an easy to grow alternative to more traditional crops.

Many Asian greens belong to the family Brassicaceae, which includes Chinese Cabbage (Wong-bok), Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan), Chinese Chard (Pak Choi), Chinese Flowering Cabbage (Choi Sum) and Mustard Greens (daai gaai choi).  These grow quickly from seed, reaching maturity after about 6-8 weeks depending on the season and can be picked whole or leaf by leaf in the case of all but the Wong-bok.  Many are more heat tolerant too, than traditionals so are great for warmer climates and don’t need the longer season to form a heart that your traditional Savoy Cabbage does, for example.

For best results, prepare the soil about 2-4 weeks prior to planting with the addition of some lime or gypsum. Be vigilant in the look out for white cabbage moths as their larvae can eat up all the greens before you get a chance!  Regular liquid fertilising with liquid blood and bone or seaweed solution will keep your greens growing rapidly and make them sweeter as a result.

Now is a great time to be planting seedlings and raising seeds of all these.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted on 21st December 2013

Grow | Kiwi Fruit

By MEREDITH KIRTON

kiwi fruit on vine

kiwi fruit flowers

Kiwi fruit (Actinidia), or Chinese gooseberries as they are also known, are deciduous vines. They are ideal for people without a lot of space as, providing they are kept trimmed, the vines can be kept to a manageable size. However, one plant is not enough, as kiwi fruit are either male or female and you need two to tango! If you decide you want to go into kiwi fruit in a big way, you can plant up to eight females per male plant, at 3 m (9 ft) spacings.

As they are deciduous, kiwi fruit can also withstand frosts while dormant and grow in a range of climates from cool to temperate without any fuss, providing they are in well-drained soil. Spoiling them with extra chicken manure and deep soakings of water during summer will ensure they give you a bountiful harvest, and they normally start bearing properly after 4 years.  Prune them hard in winter and remove any canes that are more than 3 years old, as these have passed their use-by date.

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Posted on 1st December 2013

Grow | Turnip & Kohlrabi

By MEREDITH KIRTON

kohlrabi growing

harvesting home grown turnip

From farm fodder to fast becoming the hippest ingredient in town, these humble vegetables deserve recognition. Turnips, kohlrabi and swede are very cold hardy, and store well over winter, which is the reason that they have been used as cattle feed for so long, and also to sustain people in regions such as Scotland and northern Europe, where winters are harsh. Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea) looks like an above ground turnip, with the swollen stem being the part eaten, and has the added bonus of also being able to cope with hot dry summers, making it one of the hardiest veg around.

Turnips and Swedes are both botanically known as Brassica rapa. The Swedish turnip, or Swede, is the ‘Rutabaga’ cultivar and has yellow flesh with a purple top, whereas turnips normally have white flesh, but can be flat, round or long in shape depending on the type. The white mini type is a fast grower, being able to be harvested in 7 weeks, as is the lovely
lilac variety ‘de Nancy’. The trick is to grow them quickly to ensure a milder sweet root and good texture. All are best grown in open, fertile soil, planted in late summer and autumn and harvested in late autumn and early winter. In very cold areas, seed can be sown within cold frames in late winter and then the foliage is a valuable ‘green’ that can be used like young cabbages.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted on 1st November 2013

Grow | Macadamias

By MEREDITH KIRTON

macadamias ripening on tree

Macadamias are the most successful ‘bush tucker’ export from Australia, with the oil-rich nuts being used in both sweet and savoury cooking. The two main species of macadamia are Macadamia tetraphylla (rough-shelled) and M. integrifolia (smooth-shelled), which include a pink-flowering type that is rather pretty.

Macadamias are best grown from grafted stock, as they will then fruit after about 5 years. They need a frost-free, open, sunny position, but one that is protected from strong, hot winds. They require rich, fertile soil and you ned to feed young trees every 2 weeks with seaweed solution or worm wee (worm tea). Once they are bearing size, mulch the plants with lucerne hay to keep them gently fed. Allow about 10 m (33 ft) for your tree to spread out. Encourage beneficial insects into your garden and bees to help pollinate the flowers and keep your macadamia trees disease free.

The nuts are easily picked up off the ground to harvest, but they are a harder nut to crack than most!  Dogs and rats seem to love them, and will get them off the ground if you don’t.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted on 20th October 2013

Grow | Avocado

By MEREDITH KIRTON

 avocado on tree

Growing an avocado in the home garden is not for the impatient, as from seed to fruiting it takes around 6 years. Luckily, grafted plants are available that not only give you a particular variety but also reduce the time to fruiting by about 3 years. Avocado trees need to be grown in a frost-free area and excellent draining is crucial as they are prone prone to root rot. A thick mulch of leaf mould will also keep their roots cool and moist, but take care not to build this up around the trunk. Full sun with protection from burning winds in summer is also desirable. Which variety you choose depends a lot on where you live. For those in the tropics, ‘Walden’ is worth a go, but further south try ‘Hazzard’ or ‘Pinkerton’, which have the ability to set fruit over a wide range of climatic conditions. Avoid taller growers like ‘Hass’, ‘Fuerte’ and ‘Sharwell’ if you want any space left in your yard, or unless you live on a large property. The best selection for marginal temperate zones is ‘Bacon’, which can even cope with the odd frost once established. Avocados can also be pruned back to keep their size in check. A good rule of thumb here is 20 per cent off after fruiting. Complete plant food and sulphate of potash are great nutritional supplements to help your tree cope with cropping and stay healthy. Ripening times vary depending on the variety, but start to harvest your crop when the first avocado falls from your tree and you won’t be far off.

Avocados don’t fully ripen until they are picked from the tree. Store at room temperature for about 3–5 days. They are ripe when the skin ‘gives’ slightly when lightly pressed.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted on 1st October 2013

Grow | Green Beans

By MEREDITH KIRTON

 

climbing beans

french beans

Got a fence?  2 metres of beans growing along it could feed your family all summer, and the kids will love going outside with a basket to cut their own greens for dinner, or just nibble on raw beans as they past.  If you can’t find a fence, no probs, you can grow dwarf beans in the garden in rows.

Both runner types and dwarf types can also be grown in tubs too, though obviously the taller varieties will need a tall tripod about 1.8m is ideal, and they are actually very pretty too, with some purple (‘Purple King’ and ‘Purple Queen’), or yellow (‘Bountiful Butter’) podded varieties available. These are all frost tender, and should only be sown after all chance of late cold snaps are gone.

If you live in a colder climate, then Perennial beans, known as runners, can also be grown. These are cut back each autumn then reshoot in spring from their crown.  The two best known ones are ‘Scarlet Runner’, which has beautiful red blooms, and ‘Borlotti’ which has speckled red beds.  These are both the sorts of beans that need slow cooking to be edible, like kidney beans ‘Canellini’.

Whatever you settle on, beans like an enriched soil with lots of added compost to thrive.  They also love regular watering, hate the wind and dislike being overfed, as they actually make their own nitrogen with their specialised roots.  They produce more and more beans the more you pick, so harvest them continually every 4 days or so to keep the plants productive. Be careful not to damage the bush, which is quite easily done, when you harvest by always using a knife of scissors, to reap your bounty.  Sow
seeds when the soil warms up and you’ll be munching away in 10 weeks time.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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