Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Leaf Celery Better Than Celery


Leaf Celery

Scientific Name:Apium graveolens var. secalinum
Plant family: Apiaceae
Common Name: Parcel

A relatively uncommon or even unkown herb or vegetable. Parcel stems from the idea that it looks like parsley but tastes like celery.
  • Leaf celery is a biennial plant growing to 60cm in height.
Biennial simply means that leaf celery grows vegetatively during the first year and fruits (seeds) and dies  at the end of the second year.
Leaf celery could be classified as a herb because the leaves are used just as much as the stalks in cooking.

Personally I wouldn't be without my leaf celery because it's a great substitute for the harder to grow culinary celery. 
I use it for making sugo, the tradition Italian tomato base for a lot of traditional dishes such as lasagne and bolognese.

Sugo For Sure-How to Make it

Sugo is made by first finely chopping onion, celery and carrot that frying for a few minutes until softer. Then adding the garlic and tomatoes to make a tomato base for any Italian dish.
Leaf celery stalks in my garden

However, if you like munching on celery stalks, or using them in Waldorf salads, it's not a substitute in that instance. 

The stalks of leaf celery are much thinner and hollow and have a more pungent taste ( to my liking) that normal culinary celery.

This winter I have practically depleted my supply of leaf celery because of the number of soups, and slow cooked meals I have been preparing. It’s just a great flavouring herb.
Leaf celery in flower in my garden

Easy Peasy Celery Salt

Celery salt can also be made from the seeds. Simply let one plant go to flower and set seed. Then once dried in situ, collect the seeds and crush them.
  • Corinne suggests dehydrating the leaves to make celery leaf salt.
Corinne Mossati, founder of

  has further suggestions.
    • Chop the stems and leaves and make a compound celery butter.
We both recommend growing leaf celery as a cut and come again herb or vegetable and an alternative to the larger stalked celery.
Much easier to grow too.

So let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Spice It Up with the Right Cardamom


Know Your Cardamoms.

There are many budding chefs and cooks that use heaps of spices in their recipes going by the success of cooking shows on television.
Green and brown cardamom pods
Indian, Asian and Mexican cooking particularly calls for a wide selection of these different spices.

Some spices though come in a variety of  grades, colours and uses making it possible for the unsuspecting cook to make a blunder.
This may not necessarily result in a vast difference in the final flavour, but it can make your creation not as 'flavoursome' as it should be.
Brown Chinese Cardamom
Brown (black) Indian cardamom (right)

Would you say you ever used cardamom pods or cardamom?
Did you know that there are different coloured cardamoms?

Cardamom pods are one such spice that comes a variety of colours and suit different cuisines.

So if you think there’s just the one, you may have been doing your recipes and cooking a disservice.
  • So which one should you use?
Ian Hemphill says the default cardamom is the green cardamom pod. Inside are little black to brown seeds which is the important part of the pod.
There are a couple of other cardamoms. 

Brown cardamom-Indian and Chinese

  • The brown Indian cardamom is a much larger pod than the green cardamom by 4-5 times the size. This cardamom has a smoky aroma and is especially used in tandoori dishes.
  • Chinese cardamom is usually used whole.
White Cardamom-be careful that you are actually get the real deal white cardamom and not bleached old cardamoms.
Thai cardamom is the genuine white cardamom.
White cardamom is hard to source.
If you are cooking Thai dishes that call for this cardamom you may substitute green cardamom but half the quantity.

NOTE: Cardamom is also used in sweet dishes such as this cardamom scented rice pudding (pictured), cardamom cake and cardamom biscuits. Definitely use the sweet or green cardamom and not the brown cardamom!

* Ian’s big tip is never grind the pods and seeds together.*

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

PLAY: Know Your Cardamoms_12th August 2022

Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show) is Ian Hemphill from

Hopefully that’s set you on the right path to using the correct coloured cardamoms in your cooking.
If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Choosing Fresh Flowers


Tips on Choosing the Freshest Flowers

Do you regularly buy a bunch of fresh flowers to brighten up your home?
Do you find that no matter which ones you buy, you just can't seem to get them to last past a few days, but friends regularly boast about how their flowers last for over a week?

Sometimes I cringe when I see a bunch of flowers outside some supermarkets because I know what signs to look for that tell me whether or not they’re really fresh.

But could you tell how fresh a bunch of flowers are when you see them for sale?

Some of the top tips are

  • Keep your flowers away from the fresh bowl of fruit.
The reason is because fruit, particularly ripe bananas give off ethylene which hastens the demise of your fresh flowers.  If you think about it, placing a firm pear next to a banana in the fruit bowl, makes it soften up really quickly.
  • Feel the stems to see if they’re fresh and not slimy.
Slimy stems stems means they've been sitting around for more than a few day. If you can't feel the stems that cast a close eye on the actual petals and ask yourself, " are the petals showing any signs of curling or browning at the edges,?" If the answer is 'yes' then move onto the next bunch.
  • Avoid buying flowers from the roadside.
Roadside flowers have inhaled all those exhaust fumes and that's a speedy way to make them fade.

Don’t worry, Nadine Brown will tell us how lots more .

I'm talking with Nadine Brown floral educator of
If you like buying fresh flowers you should listen to the podcast.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Drying Flowers Back In Vogue


Dried Flowers and How To Do Them

Did you know that dried flowers are back in fashion?
Perhaps, like me you thought that never went out of fashion, but do you dry your own on do you buy dried flower arrangements?

No prizes for guessing that those brightly coloured flowers are actually bleached in vats of bleach first, then because all the pigmentation (chlorophyll) has been removed it is practically falling apart.

The next step, the foliage is plasticised and dyed. Not something you want to display in your home

The process behind these dyed flowers is incredibly toxic and is usually down outside Australia.

Dry Your Own.

Some Australia flowers dry naturally in full colour such as golden everlasting, Australian paper daisy (Rhodanthe chlorocephela) , Billy Buttons (Pycnosorus globosus).
Billy Buttons-dried by hanging upside down

Dried Rhodanthe sp.


Did you know that you could even dry your dahlia flowers?
Choose the more tightly formed varieties with darker colours perform best. 

Some hardier flowers and foliage can be left to dry in the vase such as banksias, eucalypt foliage, and kangaroo paw.


Hang upside down in a dark area with plenty of air flow so no mould or mildew develops.

I'm talking with florist and educator, Nadine Brown, florist educator and business mentor of the Ivy Institute 

Why not have a go and drying flowers from your garden?
PLAY: Drying flowers_29th July 2022
If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Drinks and Tricks with Horseradish


Tricks with Horseradish

My father was a big fan of this vegetable or perhaps it should be called a herb?
He loved it grated on various meats, ‘clears out the sinuses' he always exclaimed.

Not too many gardeners are familiar with horseradish and even though it's a perennial vegetable that's easy to grow.
  • Perhaps because gardeners and others aren't too familiar with what you do with this, ahem root vegetable. 
  • Well that's right,  horseradish is actually classified as a root vegetable even though you can use it as a seasoning and in drinks.
In drinks I hear you exclaim, what is it?

Growing horseradish

  • Firstly, to grow horseradish, get yourself a crown or a plant from the herb section of your garden centre.
  • Planting in late winter is perfect.
  • Choose a sunny but permanent spot.
  • Dig in plenty of of well rotted manures and compost.
TIP: Horseradish can takeover a garden bed left unattended for a few months. 
Grow it in a very large pot or keep it in a spot where it can't spread too easily.


If you're grating horseradish, it loses its pungency fairly quickly, you can store it by making a horseradish cream or in vinegar.
  • TIP: Corinne freezes the root in pieces. Then grate as needed.

Cocktails with horseradish.

If you’re into experimenting try grated horseradish in white sauce or in a savoury martini or even a bloody mary.
Infuse it in vodka to make a savoury gibson style martina.
Just flavor a cup of vodka with a small amount of grated horseradish for a few days to give it that extra kick.
For more details listen to the podcast.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati founder of the gourmantic garden website 

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Sustainable Floristry Means Sustainable Cut Flowers


Sustainable Floristry

Have you ever thought about what happens to the tons of flowers that are sold around Australia for weddings, funerals, special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries? 
Hydrangea flowers for sale
Perhaps some of the lucky recipients might compost them when they're finished or at least throw in the in the green waste bin, but what of the others?
Did you know that approximately 10% of flowers that are sold in Australia are imported from overseas?

May not sound like much but do you know if the flowers you buy, are they imported or locally grown and does it matter?

A lot of flowers that are past their use by date end up in landfill, which I suppose means that they might decompose there but what of the mountains of wrapping, floral foam and other packing that the flowers come with?

According to the Sustainable Floristry Network "Excess packaging, plastic props, floral foam, and exotic blooms flown halfway around the globe are rationalised away because that’s what clients expect."

The next problem is that imported flowers are often sprayed with a glyphosate based chemical to prevent customers taking cuttings of the plant, before they arrive. then they are sprayed with the carcinogen methyl bromide, after entering Australia.

Imported flowers include Roses, Carnations, Orchids, Tropical Foliages and Chrysanthemums are these sourced from places like Kenya, Thailand, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Holland and Vietnam.

Nadine recommends that cut flowers should be bought when in season. Easily done by asking the florist where the flowers are from.

Marianne (radio host) speaks with 'Sustainable Floristry Network" ambassador and floral educator Nadine Brown of about the meaning of sustainable floristry.
Listen to the podcast

So ask the question when you next buy flowers, are these flowers locally grown?
Check out the sustainable floristry website

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Nematodes on Plants: Friend or Foe?


Nematodes part 1: the backstory

Did you know that there are 1,000,000 species of nematodes that have been identified? 
Galling from root knot nematode on tomato plant

Nematodes live in our environment and although microscopic, unsurprisingly, are related to earthworms 
  • The majority of nematodes aren't plant or crop destructors.
However, the few that attack the cell walls of plants can cause serious damage from which the plant/crop usually doesn't recover.
  • Then there's the problem of identifying what's going on with plants that are affected by nematodes.
  • Have you ever had plants that seem to wilt despite you watering them religiously? 

What they look like

Nematodes are a round worm but because they are unable to be seen by the naked eye, I would describe them as thread like with a large head and mouth.

Arm yourself with a hand held magnifying glass and have a look at the roots of plants that you suspect have been attacked by nematodes. You should be able to see them then.

Coffee tree nematode
If nematodes are on your plants the symptoms range from perhaps they’re just stunted and don’t seem to grow much, r like the coffee tree pictured, continually looks like it's wilting despite the watering it receives. Another symptom is yellowing of foliage.
Once the plant has been dug up, nodules on roots will be evident. However, other factors create nodules on roots as in nitrogen fixing plants such as plants in the Fabaceae family.

What could be the problem? Wilting symptoms can be attributed to a range of other factors.

So let’s find out by listening to the podcast

Your host  of Real World Gardener, Marianne is talking with Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.

Part 2 is when  we tackle the many, many ways you have to control the bad nematode, namely root knot nematodes.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Nematodes pt 2

Root Knot Nematodes:Control

So if you have correctly identified that your plants are affected by root knot nematodes, what can be done about it? Remember, they look different to nitrogen fixing nodules on roots of plants.
tomato nematode

Controlling nematodes

1.Cultural Control by
  • rotating your plants-nematodes only survive 1 year in the soil.
2.Growing plants that help reduce nematode numbers
  • Asparagus, peanut plants, Corn, Garlic, marigolds.
3.Biofumigants such as green manure crops, especially
  •     Mustard plants release isothyocyanates.
4. Neem Oil drench

5. BeneficialNematodes
  • EcoGrow supply beneficial nematodes.  
6. Chytosan found in the shells of insects or animals like prawns.
  •  Steve recommends crushing some prawn shells into your compost: will also control other fungal problems.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Your host  of Real World Gardener, Marianne is talking with Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.