Pandan (Pandanus amarylliifolius) has long been a staple in tropical food gardens in South and South East Asia. Its leaves impart a unique aroma and flavour to drinks, rice, cakes and desserts. As with all garden produce, the quality of freshly picked pandan surpasses that of the dried or the frozen equivalent. Fortunately, pandan is easy to grow in a subtropical or tropical climate, they make an attractive display, it is an easy plant to propagate and maintain in a kitchen garden.
“I decided to note down the 111 different things currently on the menu from my 300 square metre subtropical food garden. Ongoing drought has affected fruit production – I made just 340 jars of jams and marmalades this autumn instead of the usual 800…Whatever the weather, there will always be winners and losers in a garden, the key is growing a variety of useful, climate appropriate plants so there’s always food on the table”.
“Let’s keep planting the right lilly pillies for trouble-free hedges and a diversity of Syzygium species to enhance our environment and keep our culinary traditions alive.”
When cooking in a hot kitchen doesn’t appeal, there’s a flavour-filled alternative: king’s salad – Vietnamese style. Popular in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Whatever you decide, the complex, zesty flavour of king’s salad is delightful on its own. Use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner…
“I planted Aloe vera so I can use its juice to soothe sunburn. It grows effortlessly in my nature strip. People also use it to relieve the itching caused by eczema. I also enjoy cooked Aloe vera as a dessert.”
Question: A Brisbane landscape supplier sold me soil for my raised vegetable beds. All my vegetables keep failing. I did a soil pH Test and the result was pH 9. Is there any hope I’ll be able to grow spring crops successfully?
Thuan’s market garden: 1,500 sq m of alluvial, sandy loam in a flood plain of the Perfume River catchment, Hue, Vietnam. Fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, poultry – and incense – in a prolifically productive, wet, inland subtropical climate.
If you live in south eastern Queensland and grow pawpaw, it’s worth a quick health check right now. Mild, calm, showery, humid winter weather is perfect for observing outbreaks of pawpaw black spot… Continue reading
We ignore the following key aspects of sustainable food production at our peril:
* A culture of forgetting – we forget our horticultural history;
* Declining crop diversity, both in the range of species grown and in the genetic diversity within each crop;
* The oversimplification and impoverishment of systems of food production;
* A reluctance to apply the precautionary principle where using the least toxic solution in crop protection comes first;
I’m waiting for the summer wet season to start. Until the rain arrives, there is little cloud to filter the hot sunlight.
Thank goodness for old net curtains and shadecloth!
I thought I would… Continue reading
I invite you to join me in calling the Kaffir Lime a Kaffir Lime. Researchers and editors take note: it’s hip and more accurate to call the Kaffir lime by its original name!