Friday, 18 October 2013

All About Cardamom

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , 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

Spice it Up

with Ian Hemphill from
Is Cardamom one of the spices in your cupboard?
If not have you ever wondered how to use cardamom?
Did you know that Cardamom is used in Indian, Middle Eastern and even Scandinavian cooking? The Scandinavians use Cardamom in baking.
Listen to this.
For those living in warmer climates, you can grow your own Cardamom. Cardamom is a perennial shrub up to four metres high with very long leaves.

The flowers are small, yellow with purple tips.
As Ian suggests, if you only want a pinch of Cardamom, use the pre-ground spice.
The flavour is less strong, but cracking open the pods, scraping out the seeds, and grinding them up can be a pain when we need more than a pinch of the spice.
If you have any questions about Cardamom, or any spice or herb, why not drop us a line. Or send in a photo to or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675, and I’ll send you a copy of the Garden Guardians in return..

Vegetable Heroes:

Herb-Celery Leaf , Leaf Celery or Chinese Celery.
Leaf celery is also called Cutting Celery, Parcel, Smallage, Zwolsche Krul, and German celery.
Celery Leaf is botanically-(Apium graveolens var. secalinum).
Did you think there was only the celery with the stalks?
Maybe you’ve heard of Celeriac, well that’s a type of Celery too, but instead of stalks, it’s a bulbous root.
Well, there’s also a type of Celery that’s all leaf and nothing much else.
Before you say, I chuck the leaves away from the stalk celery, I say, hang on, this one tastes a bit better than those.
Celery Leaf looks similar to parsley but tastes similar but slightly better than regular stalk celery!
Some say it tastes a little stronger than stalk celery or celeriac.
Leaf Celery has been around for a long time and was in fact used by the ancient Romans as a medicinal herb.
Supposedly, Celery seed has been used for around 3000 years as a seasoning for food.
Did you know that crushed celery seeds are steam distilled to make celery oil?
This oil is used for flavouring sauces, meats, liqueurs, perfumes, cosmetics and soaps.
The reason I’m talking about Celery seed I’ll get to a little later.
Some gardeners have run out of room in their veggie bed already-full of tomatoes, Basil and whatnot.
Never fear, Leaf Celery will grow in pots because it’s a compact plant that only gets to around 20 – 25 cm.

If you live in a cool temperate district, container veggies can be moved under cover during winter.
Leaf Celery is a darker green with thin stalks and leaves that look like a cross between the Italian Parsley and the Curley Parsley.
Celery leaf is perfect for container gardens because it’s a cut and come again plant and is great used as a herb in stews, dressings and salads.
When to plant:
In cool temperate districts, Spring and Summer are your sowing times, in temperate and sub-tropical zones, you have from Spring right through to Autumn, in arid areas, the only time you can’t really sow it is in summer, and tropical districts win the jackpot, because they can sow it all year round.
How to grow:
From putting the seed into the ground or pot, it’ll take around 2-3 months.
Like most veggies, Leaf Celery needs full sun but can do alright in part shade in soil that’s not too dry.
You can start them off in punnets if you like because they don’t mind being transplanted.
Keep in mind, Leaf Celery isn’t frost tolerant.
Sow  the very fine seeds thinly, and only 5mm (1/4”) deep.
Be careful not to cover the fine seeds too much because they need light to germinate.
For fine seeds I tend to use a light cover of vermiculite which I then mist to make moist.
They can be slow to germinate taking up to 21 days at 100C-180C, so be patient.
In warmer areas, seedlings should emerge in 1-2 weeks.
Once the seeds have germinated it’s a good idea to thin them out around 30cm (12”) apart.
TIP: number 1: Don’t let them dry out.
TIP: number 2:-If you believe in companion planting, then leaf Celery is supposed to be an insect repellent for cabbage white butterfly.
Try planting some around your Brassicas like Broccoli, Cauli, and Cabbage.
TIP: number 3 and now for the Celery Seed.
If you leave your Celery leaf over winter, the plant will bolt to seed in Spring.
What can you do with that?
Apart from replanting fresh seed, the seeds are actually edible.
Ever heard of Celery salt?
What you can also do is grind it up in your mortar and pestle with a little sea salt. Better than from the supermarket shelf.
Plus you can enjoy the dainty white umbels of flowers.
After a couple of months, pick leaves as you need them to put in soups, stews, stocks and sauces.
A few leaves go well in salads with a strong blue cheese or some or cured meats.
Why is it good for you?
The leaves are brimming with five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks.
They're also a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidant’
The good thing is Leaf Celery is low in carbs, and has even a small amount of fibre


Design Elements

with guest landscape designer Charlie Albone

The inaugural Australian Garden show, showcased quite a few less garden designers than you would’ve seen at Chelsea.
By comparison, it was a small affair, but you have to start somewhere even if you aspire to be something a lot bigger.
I spoke to some of the garden designers to see what inspired their designs.Here’s a landscape designer from Melbourne.
I must apologize for the wind noise because the interview was done at the actual location. Listen to these inspiring thoughts

The silver Lady fern is Blechnum gibbum ‘silver lady’ that loves shade but not frost. Sometimes called the dwarf tree fern.
Gibbum is native to the islands in the South Pacific, including New Caledonia, Fiji and Hawaii. Did you know that this fern’s root systems are often used to produce a substrate for growing orchids. There you go orchid lovers.
If you have any questions about this week’s Design Elements, send it our email address, or just post it.

No comments:

Post a Comment