Why Does The Label Say My Ornamental Chilli Is Toxic?

Question: Yesterday a caller to 4BC Radio’s ‘Talking Gardening’ programme asked why the label on their ornamental chilli plant called it Capsicum annuum, and also said that it was “Unfit for Human Consumption”?

Mangelwurzel Harvest

I imagine everyone is outdoors, harvesting their mangelwurzels (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima) today like me. A friend is thinking about brewing mangelwurzel beer, they’re supposed to make a potent drop. Alcohol is not my strong point. Would a beetroot or turnip recipe work as a substitute? Can anyone point me to a recipe?

Chilli Jam

What do you do with an embarrassment of chillies? Normally, I deep freeze chillies and keep a year’s supply to hand. But when I picked 500g of ‘Piri Piri’ chillies from a single plant, I had to change my plan. ‘Piri Piri’ is a chilli which originated in Portugal and was introduced into South Asia…

Thoughtful Gifts Influence Lives

Dear Sister, If you’re with Auntie Sheila when you get this message, remind her that for Xmas 1976 she bought me this book about woodland insects.

Sheila encouraged me to pursue my interest in nature, saying that a knowledge of pollinators is as important as a knowledge of fruit trees, and that knowing both is the perfect marriage.

Living And Gardening With Koalas

Question: “Hi Jerry, Great to see you at the koala rally on Wednesday. Our next plan is to try and have a meeting with the developers. We were wondering if you might be able to help us with an alternative landscape plan to present. Cheers, Sandy R”. Answer: Dear Sandy, six years ago I interviewed…

In Production Today, December 2014

Rain. Finally! At last the lawn has grown enough for me to cut it for the second time since autumn, my team of lawn mowing guinea pigs can’t eat it fast enough. The hot, humid – and recently wet – weather is bringing a fine crop of mangelwurzel, beetroot and silverbeet to a close, they just…

Elephant Foot Yam: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Elephant foot yam In 2013, Annette McFarlane gave me a young Elephant Yam, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius. This tropical, forest-dwelling, winter herbaceous perennial root crop is native to India, SE Asia, New Guinea and Australia. It is recorded as one of the earliest crops cultivated by indigenous Australians. Not content with being a curiously ornamental flower and a…