Saturday, 14 February 2015

Sprouting With Goodness

 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 (CBF).
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


with Ian Hemphill from

Fennel has its origins in the Mediterranean but today it's often thought of as a weed.
Fennel is sometimes sold as "Aniseed Plant," which although it has a faint aroma of aniseed because it contains anethole. But it's definitely a fennel.
Did you know that Fennel seeds were used by Romans as far back as 750 AD?
Fennel Seeds
Remember, a spice comes from the seeds and the herb from the leaves.
Also in this case, you can buy Fennel Pollen which is the fennel flowers with the pollen.
The flavour is delicate but with a distinct fennel aroma. Chefs sprinkle it on desserts.

Let’s find out what else this spice can be used for…

You can grow Florence fennel at this time of year in pretty much all of Australia. February and March seem to be the best time.
This veggie has a pale whitish green bulb with that has small shoots topped with ferny leaves.
The bulb can be used in lasagne,  shaved into salads in stir fries and has a pleasant aniseedy taste-not overpowering at all.
Florence Fennel bulbs

The leaves of course can be used as a garnish in lots of things as well.
Plants grow to about 60cm and need plenty of water and nutrients to stop them from going to seed.
If you want the seed, best buy it from a reputable source like Herbies Spices, so you know it doesn't contain rat droppings.
If you have any questions about growing fennel or a photo of your veggie bed, send it in to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Well it’s TIME FOR VEGETABLE HERO  Sprouts and shoots.
What’s something you can grow on your kitchen bench and it’s even something that schoolkids can do?
Sprouts of course.
Did you know those white sprouts that you see in Asian dishes or in packets in supermarkets are mung bean sprouts that you can do yourself?
Are you disappointed when you buy commercially prepared sprouts in that sealed plastic bag only to find that after a couple of days they’ve gone slimy and brown?
Or you go to the supermarket to buy sprouts only to find that they’re out of them?
If that’s you, then you need to grow your own sprouts.
All you need are the seeds to start with, a jar with a wide mouth and muslin  or cheesecloth or some other lightweight mesh to cover the top of the jar, a rubber band and water.
Oh and a dark place to put your sprout jar until they’ve sprouted then you need to move them to a lighter location, otherwise they won’t grow and will probably go mouldy.
That’s it.
Here’s a tip: don’t use seeds that are meant to be sown in the garden because these may be treated with a fungicide.
In fact it’s best to use organic seed that are sold as sprouting seeds.
Also seeds that are split, like split lentils and split peas aren’t any good for sprouting.
You need whole seeds most likely from the health food section of your supermarket or a health food store or from a seed supplier.
Start off with mung beans, green peas or lentils.
Did you know there’s about 50 different types of seeds that you can sprout?
From Alfalfa, Dill, and Fenugreek, through to sunflower seeds.
Another tip: sprouts will need their water changed a couple of times a day.
If you’re going away for a couple of days and won’t be able to rinse your sprouts then don’t start them.
How to grow sprouts.
Sprouts can be grown all year even in winter, but you’ll need a warm kitchen at that time.
Remove any broken or discoloured seeds, stones, twigs, or hulls that may have found their way into your sprouting seeds.
Place one type of seed in the jar.
Use about a tablespoon of seeds or one-third cup of beans.
Why so little? Because you’re going to be soaking the beans or seeds and they’ll grow in size when they sprout.
Cover the seeds with distilled or filtered water.
How much water?
For a couple of tablespoons of seeds, cover with at least one cup of water. For beans, nuts, or grains, use at least three times the water of the amount of seed.
That will meant one cup of water for one third cup of mung beans for example.
The seeds need to soak for about 6 to 12 hours in general but some need more and some need less.
Small seeds: 3-8 hours
 Larger seeds or legumes: 8-16 hours
Grains: 10-16 hours
It’s a good idea to start them before going to bed if you’re working, otherwise during the daytime is fine.
Cover the jar with the cheesecloth and make the cloth tight using a rubber band.
Then drain off the water.
Rinse the beans or seeds with fresh water and drain off the water again.
Set upside down in a clean, cool spot in your kitchen area, preferably on a slight angle to allow excess water to drain off.
Otherwise you could put the jar on a stainless steel dish drying rack which gives the sprout jars the perfect angle for draining.
Rinse the sprouts two to three times a day.
Be sure to drain them well each time so they’re not sitting in any water.
When the jar is full the sprouts or legumes are ready to use.
Alfalfa or mung bean sprouts are ready in about a week.
Now’s the time to put them in a large bowl of cool water and stir them around to loosen hulls and Skins from the seeds (this is an optional step).
They’ll usually come to the top so you can remove them.
Don’t worry about removing every hull but if you do take the time to remove the hulls, the sprouts will last longer.
Drain your sprouts well and store in the refrigerator covered for a week to 10 days, depending on the sprout type.
Store in an airtight container (a capped sprouting jar is fine) in the fridge.
Don’t put them into a plastic bag because they’ll go slimy.

If this sounds like to much hard work, there are electric sprouter kits available too. www. and

These (Easy Green)  automatic sprouters will: soak, rinse, mist, oxygenate and drain through the full seed to sprout growth cycle.
Some can hold 5 cartridge-style sprouting trays (supplied 320 x 60 mm,)
So you can have 5 different sprouts or use the one big tree for larger quantities of wheat, barley or oats.
You can also buy sprouter jars with special sprout friendly lids-have mesh for airflow and come with a stand that leans at 450.
How do you use sprouts-one great dish to put them on top of is Laksa-a sort of spicey soup with noodles and your choice of fish, chicken, meat or tofu.
Why Is It Good for You?
Sprouts are full of antioxidants; they’re also full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Plus they have beneficial enzymes making them easy to digest.


with garden designer Lesley Simpson

Royal Palace Seville photo M Cannon
When you think of oriental gardens, do you think of a quiet peaceful place where you can sit and meditate?
Where does the term Moorish garden or the Moors come from?
Back in Spain during the 8th century until the 14th century, the Arabs that invaded, conquered and ruled Spain, were referred to as Moors.
The oldest preserved Moorish garden is the palace in Granada in south of Spain.
You need to book well ahead to visit that particular garden.
Instead of all that-
Let’s find out how to create an moorish garden….
PLAY: Moorish Gardens_11th February 2015
Moorish gardens always have a water feature and a courtyard or patio.
These gardens always seem to include mandarins, cypresses, oranges and oleanders.
If you have any questions about how to create a  moorish garden why not write in?


with Hort Journal Editor Karen Smith

Pimelia linifolia and Pimelea "Sunset Blush."

Pimelea linifolia photo M Cannon

If you like native flowers, you’ll like this delicate pom pom style of flower that cluster together like smaller versions of Hydrangea flowers.

The flowers always stand out against the dark green leaves.
Only a small perennial plant that can be grown in pots, small courtyards or patios.
Let’s find out about this plant.

Pimelea ferruginea-The "pink rice flower" is a low, densely growing shrub to 1 metre x 1-2 metres in width.
It will grow in a range of soil types as long as the drainage is reasonable. The plant is well suited to coastal gardens and will grow in full sun or partial shade.
Pimelea-the species does best in temperate, and cool temperate and coastal areas, not liking humidity that much.
The grafted variety is a different kettle of fish and can grow almost anywhere, say the growers. Worth a try.

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