Saturday, 2 November 2019

Plant Fibres, Edamame and Lawn Substitutes

Growing plant fibres in the good earth segment, growing a different sort of bean in Vegetable Heroes; part 3 of lawn alternatives-plants for high traffic areas in Design elements and edible flowers in the talking flowers segment.


Luffa or loofah grows on a vine
Growing Plant Fibres
  • Did you know that there are lots of plants that may be used to produce plant fibre and many fibre plants are grown as field crops to make paper, cloth, and rope? 
  • But how easy is it to grow plant fibres? 
  • In this segment, you will find out that it's not only easy to grow these plants, but the fibre they produces is a sustainable source of products that you can use around the home.
Let’s find out what this is all about all about. 
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from

These fibre plants are useful and easy to grow.
If you want a more sustainable bathroom sponge that you use, it can be grown in your garden.
Use the luffa for washing your dishes too.
After the luffa is finished with, throw it in the compost bin where it will break down; after all it's a plant fibre.
Growing luffa is dead easy, easy as long as you don’t confuse if for a cucumber or zucchini vine.
Don’t be like me, make sure you label the spot where you put those seeds in the veggie bed.
Cotton plant
Then there’s the cotton bush which has pretty hibiscus type flowers.
Easy to grow and easy to harvest the cotton.
You just need to remove the large black seeds before you using it.
If you have any questions for me or for Margaret, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Edamame beans: Glycine max.
Family: Fabaceae
Did you know that Soy Beans are an ancient crop?
In fact soy beans were first domesticated by Chinese farmers around 1100 BC and by the first century AD, soybeans were grown in Japan and many other countries.
  • Ever though of where soy sauce comes from?Yep, soy beans.
  • Here’s a fun fact; Henry Ford is known for producing automobiles but did you know that he once made a car with plastic bodywork made from soybeans?

Are you wondering “aren’t soybeans more of a commercial crop, so why would I want to grow soybeans.?”
Yes it’s true, soybean crops are grown for their oil production, but we can eat the beans just the same.
  • The bushy, green soybean plant is a legume related to peas, groundnuts (peanuts) and alfalfa.
Growing soybeans as a green manure crop will benefit the soil because the plant will add lots of nitrogen to the soil.
  • Today, though, we’re growing green soybeans or Edamame soybeans.
  • Edamame soybeans are different varieties than the types grown as a dry field crop for making tofu, soybean oil or other soy products.
  • Edamame varieties are harvested while they are still green, before the pods dry, much like shelling peas.
So what’s the difference between soybean and edamame soybeans?
The difference between soybeans and edamame is in the level of maturity when the beans are harvested.

Soybeans are mature, while edamame are picked while the beans are still young and soft.
How To Grow
Edamame does well in many different soil types, but make sure the spot is well drained with plenty of mature compost worked in.
Soybeans are a warm-season crop, so plant the seeds when it's time to transplant tomatoes, or when the soil temperature is at least 16 C degrees.
Choose a sunny spot, and add some organic fertiliser into the soil before planting.
Sow eight to 10 seeds for every 30cm in the row, at a depth of 2 – 2 ½ cms. Edamame plants can get rather bushy, so space your rows at least 1 ½ m apart.

Can I Grow Them In A Pot?
Soybeans don’t grow very high and usually don’t need staking or support .
In fact they grow from ½ - 1 metre tall so this makes them ideal for growing them in all sorts of containers.Great to grow if you don’t have much space in your backyard.
When to Pick them?
You can pick the fuzzy lime green pods when they feel well filled with seeds, but are still bright green.

They should be more than 5 cm long at this stage.
Store them in the fridge or you can blanch them whole or shelled then freeze them.
Most varieties produce all at once so unless you’re going to cook them all at once, I suggest you stagger the planting every few weeks.
One Thing to Note:

Edamame Is Poisonous When Raw.

Although a lot of plants are definitely safe to eat even when they’re raw, soybeans specifically the edamame variety isn’t one of them.
How to Eat Edamame
Boil the pods in salted water, about five to six minutes until tender.
Or, steam your edamame by placing a couple of cm of water in a pot and bringing it to the boil.
Place the edamame in a steam basket or colander and cover the pot for five to ten minutes.
Once cooled enough, raise the edamame pod to your lips, squeeze the bean out of its pod, and pop it directly into the mouth!

That’s the Japanese way of eating them.
Enjoy as a healthy snack.
Or, add shelled and cooked edamame to salads, rice, pasta, and other dishes; it adds flavour, a bright green colour, and low-fat protein.
Why are they good for you?
Edamame is a gluten-free and low calorie bean that contains no amount of cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins protein, iron and calcium.
It’s the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids.


Lawn Alternatives for Low Foot Traffic Areas
Continuing the series on lawn alternatives but this time we’re throwing in those plants that will only take light foot traffic, rather than say constantly walking on the area or playing cricket or football.
So what sort of plant alternatives are there for low foot traffic areas in part shade or hot spots in your garden?
Let’s find out. I'm talking with Glenice Buck from

For hotspots: Sedum acre as a lawn alternative.
  • The three top picks for lawn alternatives in low traffic areas with some shade are Corsican mint, (Mentha requieni) Chamomile nobilis or lawn chamomile.
  • For hot spots choose creeping thyme, (Thymus serpyllum) or Stonecrop, (Sedum acre.) 
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