Compost Tea
             

Steve Capeness

   
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Quality compost delivers many benefits to garden soils and plants including a wide array of recycled minerals, organic carbon in the form of humus and humates and, if well-made, a hugely diverse and active population of beneficial biology. As such, compost satisfies all three of the key parameters for improving soil health supplying minerals, matter and microbes.

Making compost is a very worthwhile activity but one that takes time and resources. Many keen gardeners often find that they just can’t make as much of this wonderful soil improver as they would like. How then to extend the benefits of well-made compost when there isn’t enough to go around?

The answer is Compost Tea, a water-based extract or brewed liquid that contains the soluble and biological fractions of the original compost that will help activate your soil and stimulate plant growth.

 
From a 3 page Feature Article in Issue Forty
 
 
Compost Tea
 
Compost Tea
 
Compost Tea
 
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Comfrey
             

Paul Plant

   
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Few herbs have caused as much debate as Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Also known as Boneset, Healingherb and Kitbone its healing properties are spruiked like medicine and dismissed like snake oil.
That said, it is nevertheless an herbaceous perennial much loved by gardeners for its ornamental hairy broad leaves and attractive white or blue flowers.

Biological farmers and organic gardeners have long advocated the benefits of this plant as a soil improver... its ability to draw nutrients from deep in the ground and bring them to the leaves where they can be recycled back into the nutrient cycle as composted leaves.

In some countries leaves are used as forage for animal stock. It is, however, also recorded as poisonous to mammals.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Forty
 
 
Comfrey
 
Comfrey
 
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Toothache Plant
             
Arno King
   
 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Toothache Plant, Para Cress or Brazilian Cress are common names associated with two different but related species – Acmella oleracea syn. Spilanthes oleracea and Acmella paniculata syn. Spilanthes paniculata.

Toothache plant is a low growing short-lived perennial that is becoming more widely grown in Australia. Being highly ornamental, this plant looks equally at home in the edible and ornamental areas of the garden. A member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), Toothache Plant has button-shaped flower heads similar in shape to those of Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

Widely grown as a vegetable in northern Brazil, this plant is of domesticated origin and believed to be derived from Acmella alba which is native to
Peru and Brazil. In Brazil, it is an important ingredient in many Amazonian soups and in Madagascar it is the main ingredient of the national dish roumazave. The plant is also widely grown in South East Asia, particularly in Thailand, where it is grown as a salad vegetable.

 
From a 3 page Feature Article in Issue Forty
 
 
Acmella oleracea syn. Spilanthes oleracea.
 
Commonly sold as a vegetable in South East Asia.
 
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Squash
             

Claire Bickle

 

   

Summer, winter, button, round, crookneck, spaghetti, Blue Hubbard.
Yes, these are all types of squash believe it or not and there’s more.Technically a fruit, squash is a rewarding summer ‘vegie’ to grow because of their vigorous growth, easy care and quick fruiting.
Squash come in a varied array of shapes, sizes and colours and as a result what may be a Squash
to one person may not be the stereo-typical Squash to another.

History
The name Squash is reputedly from the Narragansett native America Indian word ‘asktasquash’ which means ‘eaten raw or uncooked’. It is reportedly one of the oldest grown crops, having been cultivated for some 10,000 years. It was originally grown in North, Central and South America before explorers took it to Europe and the use and growing of Squash expanded from there.

Other topics covered include:

  • Culture
  • Fruit failure
  • Cultivars
 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Forty
 
 
Squash
 
Squash
 
Squash
 
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Granadilla
             

Barbara Beerling

 

   

Most people are familiar with the common Black Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) and its various cultivars, but there are many other passionfruit species which grow from the hot tropics to the highlands of temperate zones.

Description
Granadilla is a member of the passionfruit genus (Passiflora) and belongs to the family Passifloraceae. It has the largest sized fruit in this genus, is widely cultivated and has been for a long time. It is believed to have originated in tropical America.

The species quadrangularis describes the square-like cross section of stem. It is a fast growing 10m long vine which needs a strong structural support on which to climb. The plant produces strikingly beautiful red, purple and white flowers which need to be hand pollinated in order to obtain fruit.

Other topics covered include:

  • Fruit
  • Culture
  • Fertiliser
  • How to hand pollinate
  • Harvesting and culinary use
  • Pests and diseases
  • Propagation and culinary use

 

 

 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Forty
 
 
Individual seeds of the Giant Granadilla. Image Sasikumar Mp.
 
Ripe Granadilla fruit. Image Jeff Mahalo.
 
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