Saturday, 11 November 2017

Cinderella Pumpkin Plus Lavender Cakes and Carnations

What’s On The Show Today?
Choose the right cultivar for your cooking in Spice it Up, Cinderella will thank you for growing this one in Vegetable Heroes We’re talking touchy feely plants in design elements and a flower that royalty in Talking Flowers


Lavender in Cooking
Lavendula angustifolia
Lavender was first used in Herbs du Provence which is dried herbs used in slow cooked dishes. 
But the correct lavender to use in any cooking is important if you want the flavour to be pleasant and not reminiscent of camphor.
Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula spica or the ones to use.
English Lavender
Commonly called English Lavender.
But did you know that so much of this plant is grown in France that they called it French Lavender rather than English Lavender.
The true French lavender is Lavandula dentata, which has serrated leaf margins and much larger almost woollier flowers. French lavender seems to flower for most of the year.
This one has a high camphor content which is unpleasant to taste. 
Lavandula angustifolia or English lavender has smooth sided leaves and a very slender flower and a long stalk.
Confusing if you want to use the correct plant’s flowers in cooking.
Let’s find out  more about Lavender in cooking.
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from

For the lemon and Lavender cakes recipe go to this link Lavender and Lemon Cakes
Remember:The  Lavender we should use in cooking is English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, has a smooth leaf and the flower head is on a skinny long stem.
Ian mentioned how Lavender bottles, a lost art. Just search the web on making instructions...there are plenty.
If you have any questions about which Lavender to use in cooking then why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) (could be Cucurbita pepo, or Cucurbita maxima and so on) are members of the Cucurbitaceae family along with zucchini, gourd, squash, melons and cucumber.

Pumpkins are a little different from the other members of the Cucurbit family because Pumpkins are normally hard-shelled whereas the squashes have softer skin, but there are exceptions.

The name “pumpkin” originated from the Greek word, “pepon,” which means, “large melon

Did you know that technically pumpkin is a fruit, and has been in cultivation for more than 5,000 years?

So where did Cinderalla’s pumpkin come from?

In some countries you can get a pumpkin variety called Rouge Vie d' Etampes". roughly translated "Red Life of the Times which turn a deep red when they’re ready to eat.
Supposedly the illustrator for the Cinderella Fairytale used this variety of pumpkin for Cinderella's coach, so that today this pumpkin is better known as a "Cinderella".
They look just like the pumpkin that Cinderella's fairy godmother transformed into a carriage.

Pumpkin is considered an annual, and comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours and patterns.

Pumpkins can weigh anywhere from 1–600kg. The largest pumpkin on record was grown in the USA, weighing 667kg.

Honestly, for those of us who have a compost heap, one of the most often things to grow out of the heap other than tomatoes, is the pumpkin.

Usually a Butternut or Queensland Blue.

Just as well that Pumpkins like compost heaps because the vines need fertile, compost-rich, well-drained soil in full sun, and are most easily grown as ground-cover plants.

There is a bush variety called Golden Nugget, that can be grown in a pot but all the rest grow way too big for pots.

Vines can be trained over frames provided they can support the weight of the heavy fruit.

When to sow:

Start early, with your pumpkin seed planting, because, before you know it, summer is here and you’ve run out of time to grow it to maturity.

In temperate zones, plant your pumpkin seeds from September until the end of December. Arid zones have from September until February, sub-tropical regions have between August and February, Cool temperate districts have between October and December, and in Tropical areas you can grow them all year round.

Growing Pumpkins 
Pumpkin seed needs a soil temperature of 20˚C for germination.
You can either sow them individually in 10cm pots and plant them out when the pots are filled with roots. 

Here’s a tip you’ve probably never heard of before.

Use Jiffy pots or pellets to limit the symptoms of transplant shock

Plant the seed with pointy end down, as this is where the roots start growing. This is not an issue when planting in the garden, but in small pots it becomes more important.

Or, sow seed or plant seedlings into mounds of rich compost, with lots and lots of chook poo, made over loosened soil.

The seeds are large so sow them about 2 cm deep.

Make sure you acclimatise your seedlings slowly to outdoor conditions before transplanting
Plants take 70–120 days to mature. That’s 10 -17 weeks or 2-4 months!

TIP: Pumpkins are shallow-rooted so they need regular watering in dry or windy weather.

It’s no good watering every other day in warm weather because your pumpkin will end up splitting.

Pinch out growing tips of those rambling stems to keep the plants in check, otherwise they may take over you whole backyard!

When I worked at Yates, getting those pumpkins to fertilise was the bane of quite a number of people’s veggie growing.

The complaint was lots of leaves and few flowers or that the embryo fruits and flowers fall off.

In fact, after Des wrote in that his pumpkin vine only had male flowers, I decided to include information about the flowers and fertilisation.

PUMPKIN FLOWERS and Fertilisation

  • Pumpkins produce short-lived male and female flowers that can close by mid-morning. Female flowers open above the swollen, distinctive embryo fruit and male flowers produce pollen. 
  • If the embryo fruit falls off, that usually means it didn’t get pollinated. 
  • Native and honey bees are normally able to complete pollination, but sometimes ants harvest pollen before this occurs. 
  • High temperatures can affect fruit formation over 30˚C, and here you may need to try hand pollination to improve fruit set. 
  • To hand pollinate, pick male flowers, remove the petals then dab pollen on the stigma of female flowers. 
  • Squeezing female flowers aids pollination in wet weather. 
  • Remember,, sometimes female flowers take two weeks or longer before they start appearing. 
  • This is because the pumpkin vine has to grow to a decent size where it can support fruit, before the female flowers appear. 
Jarrahdale Pumpking
Varieties of Pumpkin to Try:
There are as many different varieties of pumpkins as there are of tomatoes, except you can’t get the Cinderella pumpkin in Australia.
Golden Nugget is best for small gardens, for a medium sized pumpkin, try Hybrid Grey Crown or Queensland Blue.
Turk’s Turban is an exotic-looking pumpkin (although its flavour is a little dry).
You might prefer the stronger taste of Jarrahdale, from Western Australia.

For those who like something unusual, why not try Pumpkin Marina di Chioggia, with its thick knobbly grey-blue skin, and a rich deep yellow-orange inside. This one takes 100 days to maturity but keeps well. 

Pumpkin Galeux Deysines is another unusual pumpkin with whitish salmon-pink skin covered with peanut shell like warts. These warts are caused by the sugar in the skin as it ripens.
Don’t be put off by that, because the orange inside flesh, is sweet, and moist.

Harvesting and storing

Your pumpkin is ready to pick when it’s finished swelling which is when the vine is dying off, and they sound hollow when you tap on the shell.
This is when you remove them with as much of the stalk as possible.
Ripe pumpkins with unbroken skin store very well if kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space.
For the seed savers out there, seed can be saved one month after harvesting them.
Scoop seed from the flesh, wash, dry and store in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight.
To ensure seed-grown progeny comes true, save seed from one variety grown in isolation.

Why are they good for you?

The bright orange colour of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with the antioxidant, beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body.
They’re also a good source of vitamin C, with Queensland Blue coming top of the pumpkin class for this vitamin.
Pumpkins are a source of dietary fibre and supply (especially Golden nugget and Butternut) a good source of potassium.
One cup of cooked pumpkin has 2 g of protein, 3 g of dietary fibre.
Pumpkins are 90% water and a great for those watching their waistline
Why not make mashed pumpkin instead of mashed potato because Pumpkins don’t have a lot of carbs- just 12 g from 1 cup, but some of it is present as natural sugars, which is why they taste sweet.
Like Zucchini flowers, pumpkin flowers are also edible.



Creating Tactile and Sensory Gardens

For those gardens with just green leaves you need to zhoosh up the place with some touchy feely leaves.
So that when you walk along the garden path, you can brush your hand along the leaves of the plants for a nice intoxicating scent of just for the feel of the leaf;peculiar, sensational or otherwise.
But what else are gardens for?
Chelsea Flower Show photo M Cannon
Let’s find out. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design

Peter mentioned these two mostly
Sinningia bullata is like a fibrous bowling ball.
Kalanchoe beharensis-(pictured right) Madagascar felt plant has contorted silver grey leaves that looks wicked.

The best place to get these succulents is at African Violet societies for the sinningia and Succulent societies for the Kalanchoe beharensis.

Let’s not forget the textured aromatic leaves of Pelargoniums.


There are a lot of meanings for the carnation flower and each one varies with the different colours.
The scientific name of the carnation is Dianthus caryophyllus.
This translated means the "flower of love" or "flower of the gods" and one of the oldest cultivated flowers in the world.
The carnation dates back to the Roman era.
Carnations take up food dye very well so that the green carnations you see people wearing on St Patrick's Day is dyed that colour.
Carnations are easily grown in the home garden preferring limey  or alkaline soil.
Home grown carnations have a stronger scent than those grown in greenhouses.

All the more reason to grow your own.
I'm talking with floral therapist Mercedes Sarmini of Flowers by Mercedes

Recorded on Facebook during broadcast of Real World Gardener on 1st November 2017

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