Turmeric In The Garden And Kitchen

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is indispensable in the kitchen and easily  grown in a frost free climate. The tasty leaves and rhizomes and edible flowers are useful for flavouring and colouring food. In some countries, turmeric is used to help manage post traumatic stress disorder. After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find turmeric tea, a Javanese speciality, very refreshing. Some years ago, an Indonesian friend said “Drinking turmeric daily reduces body odour, helps keep you healthy and may prevent cancer”. Another favourite use I have for turmeric is making sfouf, aka turmeric cake, a delicious Middle Eastern recipe.

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…

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…

Why Do Fresh Woodchip And Potting Mix Turn Mouldy And Repel Water?

Question: “Dear Jerry, In the last year, I have had a soil problem that looks normal on the surface, but when you dig into the mulch, it is grey and looks like a fungus has taken over. The soil smells mouldy, (maybe anaerobic?) and when I water, the water just runs off, not in. This problem…

Organic Win: Nematodes Defeated In Wynnum

Root knot nematodes can be a curse in warm, moist garden soils. Feeding by these minuscule, transparent, work-like creatures inside the root tissue of many crops causes the roots to develop tumour-like growths which retard the flow of water and nutrients through conducting vessels, weakening crops. What to do?

Success With Pumpkin In The Subtropics

Question: When do I sow pumpkin? I read in gardening magazines pumpkin can be sown from spring to autumn in the subtropics. But advice on seed packets (and some magazines) suggest that pumpkin should only be sown from spring to summer. I have a garden at Camp Mountain 4520 where we do not get frost, please…

Surprisingly Nutritious Vegetable Damper Recipe

This damper recipe includes green pawpaw (Carica papaya) and Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), which are currently abundant in my garden. Both are self-sown crops. Served either as damper or used as a pizza base, this simple dish is surprisingly nutritious, especially if you use wholemeal flour. Please observe the kitchen chemistry notes.

Petal Power: Edible Flowers

Edible flowers have a long history of being grown for making dyes for food and fabrics, or as decorations for cakes, salads and garnishes. What’s surprising is how many commonly grown flowers are edible.

In Production Today: August 2014

Here’s my subtropical food garden’s winter menu: Edible roots Arrowroot, Canna edulis Carrot, Daucus carota ‘Paris Market’ Cassava, Manihot esculenta Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’ Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus ‘Dwarf Sunray’ Radish, Raphanus sativus ‘Sparkler’ Edible leaves Basil, Greek, Ocimum minimum Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum Cassava, Manihot esculenta Cabbage, Chinese, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis…

In Flower This Mid-winter’s Day At Bellis, Brisbane

For Brisbane to skip one winter is forgivable, but to skip two winters in a row seems somewhat careless. May was the hottest month on Earth since records began. June 2014 is the 352nd consecutive month of above average global temperatures.

In Production Today: June 2014

Today a cool change has arrived, a reminder that June weather is supposed to be about winter, not the continuation of autumn as it has been. Will there be another winter?