Plastic is back in the media as being bad for the environment, so much so, that some countries have banned the use of plastic bags.
THE GOOD EARTH
Make Your Own Beeswax Wraps
Some sea creatures mistake soft plastic bags floating in the ocean for jelly fish with dire consequences.
Soft plastics such as what you use for wrapping your sandwiches are just as much of a problem as the bags because, it doesn’t break down ever.
So what else can you wrap your sandwiches in other than putting it in a plastic container?
So let’s find out.I talk with Margaret Mossakowska, Director of www.mosshouse.com.au and course coordinator for Permaculture North in Sydney.
You can spend the dollars and buy the ready-made beeswax wraps, or you can do it yourself quite cheaply.
So go on, kick the plastic habit and make some beeswax wraps yourself If you have any questions about beeswax wraps, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675
Rhubarb or botanically Rheum x hybridum.
The word rhubarb originates from Latin.
Do you think of Rhubarb as a fruit?
You wouldn’t be the lone ranger on that one, because we’re used to eating it mainly in deserts, such as Rhubarb and apple crumble, or Rhubarb and Apple pie or strudel.
But did you know that rhubarb is actually a close relative of garden sorrel, which means it’s a member of the vegetable family.
Different varieties of Rhubarb have different medicinal uses.
It wasn’t until the early 19th when Rhubarb became popular in food being used in desserts and wine.
Ever heard of Rhubarb mania? Yes there was a time before WWII when it was so popular that it was referred to rhubarb mania.
So what is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb-the vegetable used as a fruits, is an herbaceous perennial.
Herbaceous because it dies down in winter, perennial because it regrows from year to year.
Rhubarb has short, thick Rhizomes –the underground horizontal stem part of the plant.
The leaves are sort of triangular shaped and crinkly with small greenish flowers.
What we all like to eat is the long, thick (and tasty) petioles or stalks.
How do you prefer to eat your Rhubarb?
In sauces or pies, you can actually eat the stems raw in a salad or stewed.
Perhaps Rhubarb and ginger muffins or for something savory, how about rhubarb with pork or chicken with baked rhubarb?
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO PLANT RHUBARB?
Rhubarb crowns can be bought and planted in September if you live in, sub Tropical areas,
July to September-October if you’re in Temperate zones;
August to November in cool temperate districts and for once, arid zones have hit the jackpot and can plant Rhubarb from July right through to February. Can’t get much better than that.
In temperate and cool climates the above ground parts of the plant completely withers away during the colder months, so don’t be alarmed, your plant hasn’t died it’s just dormant.
That’s why, you can buy the dormant crowns now and plant them.
Rhubarb can be grown in pots as long as the pot is large enough, say 30 cm wide.
In fact there’s a variety called Ruby Red Dwarf that’s perfect for potted gardening because it has short thick stems that are bright red.
IMPORTANT TIP: In case you think you can also eat the leaves-DON’T.
The leaves contain oxalic acid and are toxic.
There’s no safe method of using them in cooking at all.
A few vegetables have oxalic acid but in this case the concentrations of oxalic acid is way too high and it’s an organic poison and corrosive.
Other toxins may also exist.
Rhubarb is usually propagated by planting pieces or divisions of 'crowns' formed from the previous season.
Dividing Rhubarb for re-Planting
If you have a friend that grows rhubarb, ask them to make divisions by cutting down through the crown between the buds or 'eyes' leaving a piece of storage root material with each separate bud.
This is a good way to share your plant with friends.
Divide your Rhubarb in Autumn or winter when it’s dormant but here’s another tip- not before it’s at least five years old.
Rhubarb is a heavy feeder, that means needs lots of fertiliser during the growing season.
Use large amounts of organic matter like cow manure mulches applied in late autumn and work that mulch carefully into the soil around the crowns.
Tip:Use only aged manures, not something fresh from the paddock, or you will get fertiliser toxicity which will stop the plant from thriving and you might even risk losing your rhubarb plant.
During the active growing season you will also need a side-dress of fertiliser using some sort of complete fertiliser at three-monthly intervals do this also after you picked off some Rhubarb stalks for dinner as well.
You don’t have to dig up your rhubarb plant, as it’ll last for 10-15 years. So plant it in a place that’s permanent, otherwise choose the pot alternative.
The biggest question people have about rhubarb is why aren’t the stems red yet?There’s good news and then there’s bad news.
The good news, stems stay green for the first few years on some cultivars, but they will eventually turn red.
If you have bought a crown that claimed it would be red-stemmed and you’rs isn’t, there is a simple answer.
The soil is too acidic so add lime.
One of the main reasons for acidic soil around the rhubarb is when the leaves dye down and are left to decompose on the soil, they acidify it.
On others, especially those grown from seed, they will always be green and this is because seed grown rhubarb isn’t always reliably red, even if the seeds came from a red stemmed parent plant.
So the bad news for you is that these plants will always be green.
If you really want red stems, and I don’t advocate adding red food colouring to the cooking, either look out for a friend or neighbour with rhubarb that has red stems, and ask for a piece or order some red ones now.
You don’t have to be online, there’s nothing wrong with the post and all companies will be happy to post a catalogue to you free of charge.
There isn’t much that goes wrong with Rhubarb …although some districts may get mites in the leaves or borers in the stem.
Unless you are growing plants in really heavy clay, you won’t get crown rot either.
Some varieties for you to try-and I’ll bet you can’t decide which one-I’m still thinking.
Rhubarb-Big Boy and Mount Tamborine-originally from Queensland and almost never seen in the supermarket-they reckon that the large stems are too big for the shelves.
Rhubarb Cherry Red and Winter Wonder-grown by market gardeners in the Mornington Peninsula hinterland. Sometimes seen at farmers markets.
Why is Rhubarb a vegetable Hero?
The good news is that rhubarb is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol.
It’s also a good source of Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese.
So Apple and Rhubarb Crumble for you then?
PLANT OF THE WEEK
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been featuring old fashioned shrubs that have outstanding features, namely the flowers and the fragrance.
Today’s feature plant is no less outstanding, and is in fact desired by collector’s worldwide because of its unique characteristics.
|A rose is a rose, except if it's a desert rose.|
Let’s find out more.
I talk with the plant panel :Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au
PLAY: Adenium obesum_14th June_2017
The NT (Darwin) News blog writes“Keen gardeners who are serious about Adeniums have impressive collections of different colours, leaf form and variegation, and search online for the more rare and unusual types.
Most people find them a fascinating plant, mainly for their unusual shape, bulbous caudex (fat base) and stunning flowers.
Similar to frangipanis, they are a succulent that is drought tolerant and can survive long periods without water.”
Too much water will cause them to rot, as it would for any succulent, and growing them in well-drained soil is essential.”
If you have any questions about the Desert Rose, why not write in to firstname.lastname@example.org