Learning To Crop Gấc

Gac, Momordica cochinchinensis, is a tropical fruit related to bitter melon (M. charantia). I saw my first gac on sale in a tea plantation in Srimangal, Bangladesh. Native from SE Asia and China through Indonesia to far northern Queensland, gac is a traditional food and medicinal plant.

Is There Hope For The Environment In 2020?

The actions I have taken here at Bellis and which I encourage others to adopt are the brakes, airbags and seatbelts to help protect us in the coming global environmental car crash.

How To Get Those Exotic Plant Finds Identified.

If you like discovering new and exciting plants, East Timor and the rich flora of Malesiana is just a short flight from Darwin. You can join me on my tour of East Timor, 15-25th June 2020.

Malesia is a biogeographical region consisting of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, New Guinea and the Philippines. Its tropical flora is even more diverse than Australia’s. Earlier this year, I found this beautiful but obscure Malesian plant while escorting a gardening tour of Vietnam. How can it be identified?

How Do I Manage Phytophthora Disease On Cocoa?

“Dear Jerry, my cocoa plants are infected with black pod disease. They are cropping OK, but can I do anything to improve their health?”, asks Peter in Townsville, Australia.

Hi Peter, Phytophthora is primarily a root rot disease and it can spread throughout a plant using the vascular system. Some plants are more susceptible than others and there may be multiple host plant species in your garden.

Certain types of Phytophthora can devastate entire landscapes (like Jarrah dieback, P. cinnamomi) and ruin orchards. This disease is recognised by conservationists as a key threatening process, it cannot be eradicated so you manage it.

Sign The Petition To Ensure Genetically Modified Organisms Are Regulated in Australia, Back Friends of the Earth.

At a time when we urgently need stronger laws to regulate GM business, the Australian Government has removed regulations designed to keep us and our food safe. This means that from now, many genetically modified (GM) animals, plants and microbes will enter our environment and food chain with no requirement for safety testing or traceability.

On 13th November 2019 the Senate will debate whether to disallow these regulatory changes, and Labor Party support for the disallowance motion will be vital.



Now is the time to act. If you want to know that the food you are eating is GM free, please contact your local MP and senators to demand that all genetically modified organisms are assessed for safety and labelled for consumer choice.



Please sign this petition organised by Friends of the Earth, Melbourne.



Sweetpotato: Combat The GM Yellow Rice Scare Campaign While Feeding The Poor

You may be aware that Gene Technology multinationals are on the media warpath claiming that communities are wrong to oppose their new GM yellow rice, an artificial plant invented with higher amounts of Vitamin A than normal rice as their contribution to help combat malnutrition of the world’s poorest people. Think again.

Between 2013 and 2019, UK Aid funding allowed the International Potato Centre and partners to deliver pro-vitamin A-rich, sweetpotato cultivars to more than 2.3 million families in five African countries and Bangladesh.

Sow Pigeon Peas For Native Bees

If you want protein-rich pigeon peas by the bucketful, grow them in drought. And plant pigeon peas for food, shade, shelter, forage and bees. Grow them in a school food garden to discover which species of native bee live in the vicinity. Use this food plant as a school science project!

Hell’s Bells – Ugly lemons! What’s gone wrong?

Help! The fruit on my lemon are distorted and covered in ugly warts. What’s gone wrong? Can my tree be saved? Is there an organic remedy? Answer: An infectious fungal disease called lemon scab  is responsible. And yes, this infection can be defeated organically and in more than one way.

Grow Pandan And Make Pandan Paste And Juice

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.