Real World Gardener is funded by CBF, Community Broadcasting Foundation.
http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.
The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com
Spice it Upwith herb expert and author, Ian Hemphill for Herbies Spices.
You may not have heard of this spice before, but prepare to be surprised at what this spice can do. Let’s find out….
The spice is tasty on grilled meats and fish or as a seasoning for rice. It complements lentils and other beans as well as vegetables.Substitute it into any dish that you need to use lemon juice.Sumac is used a lot in a tang tomato appetiser called Za’Atar. I’ll post that recipe up on the web. If you don’t have a computer, write to me and I’ll send you a fact sheet.Let me know if you’ve used Sumac before or send in your recipe to email@example.com or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675, or post them on Real World Gardeners facebook page, and I’ll post a CD in return.
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
1 Tablespoon sumac
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 recipe fresh Flatbread
In a small container with a lid, shake together the thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. This is a Middle Eastern spice blend called "zaatar."
Vegetable Heroes:Winter SpinachSpinach or Spinacia oleracea. Spinacia comes from the Latin word for spine and refers to the prickly seed coat.
The oleracea part of the name, means a plant that is edible.
Did you try growing Spinach in Summer? It was alright for a while then when the humidity got turned up the stalks went a funny grey colour, then the leaves turned a sort of greeny-brown. Not that attractive or edible.
I had to pull them out, not a great experiment.
Spinach originates from the Middle East, most likely Persia or modern-day Iran. It was brought to Spain via the Moors somewhere between 800 AD and 1200 AD.
Did you know that Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
Spinach seed was sent out from England in 1787 with the First Fleet but in the new colony they found it difficult to grow.
They found growing silverbeet much easier, which is why Silverbeet is sometimes called spinach in Australia, but true spinach has smaller leaves and a much sweeter, milder flavour.
When to Sow:
In Cool temperate zones, you can plant spinach from April until September.
In Arid zones, you’ve hit the jackpot because you can plant Spinach all year round.
In temperate zones you had from February until the end of May, and in sub-tropical zones, from April until the end of July.
These times are only a guide, and personally, I plant some vegetables and see how they go even though it might be a month or two out of their supposed best planting time. So, I have some Spinach seedlings coming up in my garden right now, even though I’m in a temperate district.
We’ve all seen or heard about Popeye the Sailor Man and his love for Spinach. His muscles would always grow huge after devouring a can of Spinach. Forget Popeye! Spinach contains many more nutrients than just iron. More on that later.
Growing from seed is cheapest way of growing any vegetable and even herb in your garden. Saved seed is even better but if it’s not that easy to remember where you last put the seeds or if you’re not that good at recording how old the seed is, there’s plenty of packet seeds around in market stalls as well as supermarkets. Germination of spinach seeds can take anything between a week and 2 weeks.
Plant your seedlings / seeds around 7cm apart in rows about 30 apart.
For once a vegetable that grows well in partial to full sun.
Spinach likes a moist but not waterlogged soil. Using a mulch of straw or grass clippings can help to keep moisture and warmth in the soil.
Plenty of compost and the usual organic matter to so that your spinach will grow well. Having a worm farm or compost bin really does help your veggie bed no end!
Spinach doesn't like acidic soils, a good PH is around 6.3 -6.8. Add lime to the soil if you need to a few weeks before you put the seeds in.
Spinach like all leafy vegetables is what’s called a heavy feeder –ie, needs lots of Nitrogen to grow well.
If you haven’t already applied Blood and Bone or cow manures to the soil a month or two ago, your soil will run out of nutrients.
During the cooler months of winter, organic matter doesn’t break down that much and to get the needed Nitrogen, applying liquid fertilisers such as compost tea or fish emulsion often will be the best way to go
Another thing to remember is that Spinach grows on shallow roots, so don't dig vigorously around it. If you get weeds because you didn’t mulch, carefully hand remove them.
Water frequently to keep up with the fast growth of the plants.
In about 6-7 weeks, your Spinach plant has put on enough big leaves so you can pick them one by one like you might lettuce. The leaves will keep regrowing for quite a while. Otherwise pick the whole plant for Spinach pie etc. Make sure you wash spinach leaves well - soil is not tasty!
When you want to store Spinach in the fridge a tip to remember is that
Spinach is highly ethylene sensitive. To stop leaf yellowing don’t refrigerate with apples, or tomatoes.
What can go wrong with spinach?A problem you might get in the cooler weather is Down Mildew. Downy mildew (Blue mold). What is downy mildew- fungal disease, shows up as slightly yellow or chlorotic lesions of irregular shape on the top surface of the leaves and purplish sporulation on the underside. To prevent it, space plants for good air circulation and, when you water, wet the ground around the plants not the foliage itself
Why should you grow your own Spinach?
Because Spinach is best eaten fresh. It loses nutritional properties every day.
Putting it in the fridge slows things down, but half of the major nutrients are lost by the eighth day after picking your Spinach.
Why is Spinach good for you.
The amount of iron in spinach comes way down the list after vitamins A and C, thiamin, potassium and folic acid (one of the B complex vitamins).
Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, contain carotenoids. May help prevent cataracts.
If you have any questions about growing spinach or any other vegetable write in or email me.
Design ElementsCaring for Indoor Plants
There’s a program going round called Improve Your Plant Life Balance.
It’s not just for your garden outside, but indoors as well. Recent research has shown that indoor plants significantly improve a whole range of aspects of our indoor environment.
From cleaner air to helping to lower stress and negative feelings,Let’s find how to look after these indoor plants?
Either throw them into the compost or for cyclamen, plant them into a shady spot in the garden.
5. Treat Trouble Promptly: Expert or beginner, trouble will strike some time. One or two scale insects or mealy bugs are easily picked off; an infestation may be incurable. Overwatering is not fatal at first, but kills when prolonged. Learn to recognize the early signs of trouble.
6. Group Them Together: Nearly all plants look better and grow better when grouped together. The standard group consists of four to twelve clay or plastic pots closely grouped together to produce a pleasing arrangement in which both shapes and tints are varied. In the most usual grouping foliage plants are used to provide the permanent framework and flowering pot plants are used to provide splashes of colour. The taller plants, the darker greens and the larger leaves are placed at the back of the group.