Saturday, 12 November 2016

Spice with Fish and Wafting Scented Trees.


Fish Tamarind: Kokum Spice: Garcinia indica
Garcinia indica plums
The seed of the fruit of the plant Garcinia indica, contains enough oil (23–26% oil, so that it remains solid at room temperature.
The name Fish Tamarind refers not to the taste but to the fact that it's traditionally used in fish curries.It’s used in the preparation of confectionery, medicines and cosmetics.

Let’s find out what else it can be used for.

That was Ian Hemphill, owner of Herbies Spices and author of the Herb and spice
The tree is ornamental, growing 5-6 metres, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged, tender, young leaves.
The fruits look just like a plum.
The spice is mainly from the skin of the fruit, although sometimes it's the whole fruit.
When the whole fruit is sliced and dried it may be referred to as Kokum flowers.
Salt is used to assist in drying the skins and what you are left with is a leathery round fruit.
Quite tasty on its own but when added to cooking it adds acidity with a fruity background.
You can put 3 or 4 bits of Kokum in a curry.
The oily extract called kokum tel is used in foot massage, and to treat burns. You can catch up that segment by listening to the podcast
If you have any questions about Kokum or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Sweet potato or Ipomoea batatas
 Sweet potato originated in Central America and South America.
Sweet potato belongs to the Morning Glory family or Convolvulaceae so it does have pretty purple flowers, just like the weed Morning Glory and it is a vine also just like morning glory.
The flowers team nicely with the large heart shaped leaves.
Normal potatoes are in the Solanaceae family along with tomatoes.
Here’s a fact, Sweet potato has been radiocarbon-dated in the Cook Islands to 1000 AD, so it’s been around a while as a crop.
Sweet Potato Vine
 Did you know that Queensland is the biggest producer with over 70% of production, centred mainly on Bundaberg.
The second major producing area is around Cudgen in northern New South Wales. Sweetpotatoes are also grown at Mareeba, Atherton and Rockhampton (QLD), Murwillumbah (NSW), Perth, Carnarvon and Kununurra (WA).
Growing Sweet Potatoes is very easy in tropical and sub tropical climates, and not too difficult in cool climates, either.
Sweet potato is a great crop in places where it can often be difficult to grow traditional potatoes.
Not only is it easy, but it’s also hardy because it doesn’t need much water and feriltiser.
You also get a lot of tubers for your efforts plus you can also eat the leaf tips and young leaves as spinach.
In fact, sweet potatoes produce more kilos of food per hectare than any other cultivated plant, including corn and the potatoes.
They’re more nourishing than potatoes because they contain more sugars and fats, they are a universal food in tropical America.
But be warned, sweet potato is a vine that’s too easy to grow and can take over your veggie patch.
When to Plant.
In temperate districts, it’s September to November,.
For example in Melbourne plant them in October, ready to harvest in March as the foliage begins to turn.
You ‘ll need a warm sunny position, against a north facing wall is excellent.
You’ll also need to keep them moist.
In Sydney you can plant them a month earlier, September as a rule.

Further north, from the north coast of NSW through to the tropics you have more options, from July right through until March and in Cool temperate areas,  according to the Garden Web, you can even grow them in Tasmania, planting them out after the last frost but no later than the end of November.
Sweet potatoes do need four to six months of reasonably warm weather to mature
Growing Sweet Potatoes.
The quickest and easiest way to grow sweet potatoes is to use cuttings. Simply cut a piece of a runner, about a foot or 30 cm in length.
Remove all the leaves except for the tiny leaves at the very tip.
Plant the cutting by covering the whole length with soil, only the leaves of the tip should stick out of the ground.
The cuttings will root at every leave node.
Not just the leave nodes under the ground will root.
A sweet potato also grows roots from every leave node that develops as your cutting grows.
If you can't get hold of cuttings you can start growing sweet potatoes by planting the tubers.
You can use any shop bought sweet potatoes.
Place them on the ground, cover them with soil, and keep them moist.
The tubers will develop shoots, called slips.
Slips can be snipped or pulled off and planted out when they are about 15 cm in size. The original root will continue to produce more slips.
Hints and Tips
The best soil for sweet potatoes is sandy, but they can grow in all soils.
If you have heavy soil plant sweet potatoes on mounds or ridges.
Dig in mature compost in the bed to add plenty of organic matter.
TIP: Don’t use fresh manures or any fertilizers high in nitrogen, like pelleted chicken manure.
The reason is because you'll just end up with lots of leaves and no tubers.
Growing sweet potatoes requires some space, so plant them where they can spread. Space your cuttings or slips about a 30cm apart in a row, and leave 1 ½ m  between rows. (If you plant in rows, that is...)
Mulch thickly between plants and even between the beds to intially keep the weeds down.
Sweet potatoes don't keep well after harvest, so the best way is to plant a few cuttings every week or two.
Just one row of one metre length, with three cuttings.
They will take about 16 to 18 weeks to mature in warm weather, longer in cooler weather.
That way you can grow sweet potatoes all year round, and you don't find yourself with a big pile of them all at once.
Harvesting sweet potatoes
After four to six months, depending on the temperatures, your sweet potatoes will be ready.
You’ll see that the original stem of your cutting or slip will have thickened, and when you carefully lift the plant with a fork you should find two or three sweet potatoes at the base.
You can harvest sweet potato leaves and young shoots at any time, it doesn’t affect the plant or tubers.
Why is it good for you?
Besides simple starches, raw sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre and beta-carotene, while having moderate contents of other micronutrients, including vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and manganese
When cooked by baking, small variable changes in micronutrient density occur to include a higher content of vitamin C at 24% of the Daily Value per 100


Scented Trees for your Garden
Earlier this year Garden Designer Peter Nixon started a series on scent for your garden.
We now take it up again with small trees to suit any size garden, but trees with some sort of scent.
Brugmansia sp.-Angel's Trumpet

Perfume adds that extra sensory dimension to gardens and some of the trees only turn on their perfume in the evening.
How mysterious is that?
Let’s find out more about them.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and project Manager of Paradisus Garden Design.

Sometimes, the first indication that you have that a plant is flowering is from the drifting perfume.H
Gardenia thunbergia
Peter mentioned the following trees:
Small Trees:
Brugmansia candida, versicolor, alba, suavaolens Plumeria acuminata, pudica, bahamiensis, obtusa, rubra,
P. caracasana ‘Angel of Love’
Plumeria caracasana x P. obtusa ‘Annie Prowse’ - Stephen Prowse at Sacred Frangipani
Pachypodium lamerii Gardenia thunbergia
Large Trees
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Kaye Paris’, ‘Teddy Bear’, St. Marys’, Exmouth, Michellia alba, maudiae, champaca,
How much nicer to inhale the luscious waves of sweet smelling flowers than the exhaust fumes from our big cities.
Summertime should include the sweet scent of flowers, freshly mown grass or even that undefinable smell of a garden having just been watered.
Don’t hold back, plant more scent in your garden.


Gingko biloba Maidenhair Tree
This (gingko biloba) is an ancient tree that predates conifers or cone bearing plants, and is thought to be the link between cycads and those conifers.
These type of plants had the planet to themselves along with dinosaurs for over a 100 million years.
Dr Peter Valder in “The Garden Plants of China” (1999) refers to an 800-year-old ginkgo at Jianshan, Zhenjiang and “The King of Trees”, a ginkgo said to be 1,000 years old, which grows in a courtyard at Tanzhe Si (temple), southwest of Beijing.
So let’s find out what it is.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal  and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

In Australia, Ginkgo grows best in most places including Sydney and Perth.
In Adelaide there is a 100 year old tree in Kingston Terrace and a grand tree in Medole Court at the University of Adelaide.

Gingko biloba is decidiuous, with the leaves turning a buttery yellow before falling.

In Sydney’s Hyde Park is a ginkgo near St James Station planted c. 1900 and in the Sydney Botanic Gardens.
An old ginkgo grows at The Gorge, Launceston, in Tasmania.
There is a fine specimen in Albury Botanic Gardens,
 If you have any questions about growing  Maiden Hair tree, why not write in to

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