Gardener's Gold…Compost
             

By the Northey Street City Farm

 

 

   

oil is the single most important element in gardening. Soils foster
a rich and diverse environment which teems with a multitude of living organisms – a veritable subterranean metropolis. Or so it should be.
Soil flora and fauna rely on the soil and build it, rapidly if there is enough organic matter available and conditions are right. Northey Street City Farm has a simple solution for soil improvement – a mantra of sorts – whatever the imbalance in the soil, “add organic matter” – compost.

Composting systems can also be divided into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. Both produce valuable, rich organic matter recycled from our kitchens and gardens, reducing the need to import resources from outside our own systems.

For every measure of green materials added to the compost system, add approximately six measures of brown ingredient (e.g. one bucket of green to six of brown).

 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Eighteen
 
 
Home-made tumbler.
 
Large tumblers.
 
 
 
Basella
             


 

 

   

Basella, also known as Malabar Spinach and Ceylon Spinach, is a
climbing plant with lush, succulent green leaves . These leaves are very popular in Asian countries and increasingly popular in Australia.

Basella is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in warm climate gardens and deserves to be more widely grown. It is one of my favourite vegetables to eat – when it is cooked properly and not overcooked!

Description
Basella is a climbing plant that climbs by twisting around a support. Once established it produces spikes with relatively insignificant white to pink flowers. The flowers are followed by black berries. These yield a rich red dye which can be used as a natural colouring for deserts or icing.

Cultivation
Basella is a tough and vigorous vegetable. It loves hot wet and humid conditions so is an ideal vegetable for our summer months. Under ideal conditions, it grows lushly and rapidly, producing large fleshy leaves. It will grow on most soils, but best growth is on moist fertile soils with high levels of organic matter and animal manure. Once established, it will tolerate periods of dry and cooler weather, however growth will slow or cease and the leaf quality will suffer.

Cooking
Basella has a mild spinach flavour and is used as a spinach substitute in a variety of recipes. Basella leaves and young shoots are popular in stir fries and curries. However, take care, Basella cooks rapidly but if overcooked it turns to an unpleasant slimy gelatinous mush. With practice, you will learn when to add the leaves to the dish so they cook whilst retaining their succulent nature.

 

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Eighteen
 
 
Basella alba at Singapore Zoo
 
Basella Seeds
 
 
 
Wampee/Wampi Clausena lansium
             

Images by Daley's Fruit Tree Nursery

 

 

   

The Wampee tree originates in Southern China. It is highly regarded in its native land as a cooling and refreshing fruit that is good for digestion. The Chinese say that if you have eaten too many Lychees in the one go you should eat some Wampees to ease any stomach discomfort. Chinese serve Wampees with meat dishes. In other parts of Asia they ferment the fruit with sugar to make a carbonated beverage resembling champagne which is sold as a bottled product.

Quick growing, the upright evergreen Wampee tree can grow to about 6m in height (if grown from seed). However it is more usually grown in backyards as grafted specimens with mature fruiting trees maintained to around 2.5-3m to assist fruit collection. The tree is related to citrus and does not form massive roots so it is an attractive tree for backyards having an ornate, open and willowy appearance. The Wampee is a warm climate tree that will tolerate light frosts although it may display winter yellowing. It performs very well in the dry tropics.

Popular Home Varieties

  • ‘Guy Sahm’ – Excellent round brown fruit with a sweet, tangy, aromatic flavour.
  • ‘Yeem Pay’ – Larger fruit than ‘Guy Sahm’ with an oval shape, yellow skin and a very sweet flavour. This variety is regarded as a very good cropper.
 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Eighteen
 
 
Wampee ‘Guy Sahm’
 
 
 
Creating a bushfood rainforest garden
             

By the Queensland Bushfood Association

Download the Bushfood Recipe as found on p.61 of STG Issue 18.

Bushfood 18

   
 

 

   

Anyone, with a little effort and imagination can enjoy the tastes of the
rainforest from their own backyard. Space is not a restriction – even a small courtyard can be transformed into a tranquil sanctuary with the right selection of native food plants. The larger the area available, the greater the opportunity is to transform it into something very special. By utilising a wide selection of bushfood plant species, we can create a haven
for the native wildlife as well as for ourselves.

Preparing the Ground
It is said that if you look after the soil, the plant will look after itself.
Rainforest plants seem to prefer an acid soil with a pH of between 6 and 6.5. They will tolerate soils that are more acid, but if the pH falls below 5.5
then some correction with dolomite or lime may be necessary. Should your pH be higher than 7, nutrient deficiencies may occur in the plants due to the alkalinity. Applications of sulphur will help to reduce the pH.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Eighteen
 
 
Wild Raspberry Dumplings
 
 
 
Feeding Chooks
             


 

 

   

Anyone, with a little effort and imagination can enjoy the tastes of the
rainforest from their own backyard. Space is not a restriction – even a small courtyard can be transformed into a tranquil sanctuary with the right selection of native food plants. The larger the area available, the greater the opportunity is to transform it into something very special. By utilising a wide selection of bushfood plant species, we can create a haven for the native wildlife as well as for ourselves.

Topics covered in the article are:

  • Talking Turkey
    • Reasons for keeping turkeys
  • Gorgeous Guinea Fowl
  • Things to consider
    • Noise
    • Blackhead Disease
    • Food

 

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Eighteen
 
 
Pearl Guinea fowl hen foraging.
 
     
 
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