Posts Tagged ‘food plants


October Planting – What you can plant right now and when you can eat it

Wayback when I created a handy little chart of growing times for common food plants which proved quite popular. So let’s put it in immediate terms- What can you plant this Labour weekend and when will you be able to eat it?

~~A reminder that this is for a guide for temperate New Zealand.~~

Plant now for December harvest

Leaf lettuce, Mustard greens, Radish, Rocket, Coriander, Parsley

Plant now for January harvest

Beans, Beetroot, Bok Choy, Broccoli*, Cabbage*, Capsicum, Chillies, Cucumber, NZ spinach, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Basil, Dill, Sunflowers

Plant now for February harvest

Aubergine, Carrot, Corn, Leeks, Zucchinis, Pumpkin

Plant now for March harvest

Celery, Parsnips, Potatoes, Yams/Oca


* Yes, you can grow these now but I don’t advise it because of whitefly.

Buy seeds online

You can buy quality vegetable and herb seeds online right now at Trade Me and I’ll make darn sure they get to you ready to sow next weekend.


The dark side of fruit & veg

apple2I’m just a little perplexed by this article in the Daily Mail. I can’t figure out if it’s another case of bad journalism, some kids taking the mickey or a tragic indictment of the state of our food supply.

I can maybe see what they’re saying about hayfever. I can also see that in diversifying our diet, we eat new compounds that could cause allergic reaction.

I believe though, it’s more likely that kids are actually allergic to the high levels of pesticides in the fruit and veg. The cited celery and bananas being amongst the most pesticide-laden of products.

But such horrible headlines! ‘The tiniest piece of celery can leave me gasping for breath’: Rising number of children allergic to fruit and veg.

Ridiculous scaremongering for those that only read the sensationalist headlines. All the good work that’s been done on promoting healthy eating in England will have just taken a giant step backward.


Jerusalem artichokes

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called the sunroot or sunchoke or earth apple or topinamburI reckon that every garden should have Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus). It’s like an insurance policy – you’ll always have food growing in your yard. Because once you plant them, it’s almost certain you’ll always have them. And you won’t have to lift a finger to help them grow.

Don’t get your Jerusalems confused with your globes. The Jerusalem artichoke is a brown-coloured, knobbly, white-fleshed tuber root vegetable, much like a yam. It has quite a nutty flavour. Cook them like you would any other root vegetable.

Jerusalem artichokes grow in almost any soil type or shade condition, but do best in a light but rich soil. Pick your patch with these things in mind – 1 – the tops grow to about 2 metres and can easily shade out other plants – 2 – any small amount of the root left in the ground will produce another plan. Best time to harvest is in autumn when the sunflower-like heads die off.

Nutritionally, these tubers rock with plenty of potassium, iron, vitamin C, protein, niacin, thiamine and fibre. They contain about 57 calories per half cup. Margaret Lynch provides really good information on preparing Jerusalem artichokes for eating.

The tubers are also a wonderful source of biomass for ethanol production, good source of fructose and a great forage crop for livestock, especially pigs.

Jerusalem artichoke links and recipes after the jump. Continue reading ‘Jerusalem artichokes’


Growing food: How long do I have to wait?

Borlotti beans: wonderfully tasty and homegrownGrow your own food! But be patient – this is how long it will take. The chart looks at how long you can expect to wait for your vegetables to grow from seed. These are estimated times – climate, soil conditions, water supply, different cultivars, farming methods can all give different results.

There’s no time like the present to start growing food, especially when you see how long it takes for veges to grow. The economy is going insane, nobody knows what’s going to happen… you need a little security in your life. Being able to grow food to feed your family is really the best security you can get. Then you know that if you lose your job, or the supermarkets run out, or your country goes bankrupt you can eat.

It’s a baseline to work from – you need to eat. If you grow your own food (or even just some of it) :

—  it will save you money;
—  it will give you mana, strength, self-worth;
—  it will give you better health, keep you active, help you lose weight.

Continue reading ‘Growing food: How long do I have to wait?’


Basil pesto

basil1I had the sincere joy of of prancing through a huge greenhouse of culinary herbs yesterday. And I picked a shopping bag full of deliciousness – mainly basil. All destined for pesto…

My pesto recipe isn’t a strict one. Basically, I chop a whole lot of basil, a couple of cloves of garlic and pinenuts by hand. I then add shaved parmesan, salt and olive oil. My amounts depend largely on how much I have at hand and what tastes right. It’s not so much the amount of each ingredient, but a really good balance and it will taste absolutely sublime.

I chop everything by hand, which takes more time, but is so worth it. It’s much easier to get quantities and texture just right. I really don’t like pesto made in a food processor. It tends to turn into green goo. Don’t get me wrong, it still tastes mighty fine – but hand-chopped looks better.

It takes about 30 minutes. All that added love, care and attention that goes into each tasty morsel is totally worth it!


Presents for NZ Plant Lovers: Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit

Gourmet MushroomsAlways looking for new and novel ways to garden and eat, I’m thrilled to have found these great kits fromMushroom Gourmet. Complete with really good instructions and everything you need to be growing these little blighters. I’ll let you know in about 2 weeks just how fabulous this kit is. Yum, I can’t wait! I’m super excited at being able to cross something else off my weekly shopping list.

Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit


Rocket Farming

I may have inadvertently started the potentially great Kapiti Coast rocket (Eruca sativa) weed problem. And I have mixed feelings about it. We simply don’t need any more weeds around this place. But I’m always happy when things self sow, it’s the way things are meant to happen.

The rocket came from certified-organic stock, and I first planted it 2 years ago. It’s been self-seeding regularly which has been fabulous, growing all year round. Now it has started growing in my lawn, proving that it doesn’t need great soil to do well. It’s frost-resistant and drought-tolerant. It does go to seed quickly though.

Many years ago my interest in lettuce waned. It was simply a case of over-use. I was uninspired by salady greeny leafy things until a relative newcomer rocketed into my world and rocked it! Rocket – I love your peppery flavour, the zest you bring into my life. You’re a match made in heaven with tomatoes and you are out of this world with haloumi.

The flowers are really pretty and are a tasty garnish or addition to salads. And a little reading at Plants for a Future suggests that the seeds could make a mustard alternative. The seed yields a semi-drying oil which is a substitute for rapeseed oil. It can also be used for lighting, burning with very little soot. The powdered seed has antibacterial properties.

I love it rocket – it’s one of those plants that deliver on flavour, attractiveness, medicinal and industrial properties. It’s a plant I’ll be nurturing in my garden for a longtime to come.

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August 2020

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