Saturday, 2 September 2017

Fermenting Veggies, Shore Birds, and Colourful Crotons.

What’s On The Show Today?
An Australian Shore bird the migrates thousands of kilometres each year to reach Australian shores. We’re up to something good for your health in Vegetable Heroes; continuing the series on mass planting with Garden Designer Peter Nixon in Design elements, and a fabulous multi-coloured leaved plant in Plant of the Week.


Bar Tailed Godwit.

How well do you know Australian Shore birds?

Did you know that even though a bird is migratory, it’s considered an Australian bird because it spends quite a number of months on our shores? 
Even though it's a largish bird, weighing around 190g, flying thousands of kilometres from the breeding ground in Siberia and Norther Scandanavia to shores in Australia and New Zealand is no mean feat.
Did you know that when they’re in Australia they look quite different to what they do when they’re overseas.
So let’s find out more about the Bar Tailed Godwit .
I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from

You'll find these birds in Australia now, feeding up so that they can make that long journey back to their breeding ground in March-April. 
These birds will then head north, stopping off in Korea, China or Japan, ending up in Alaska which is their breeding ground.
Holly mentioned one bird that was tagged called E7
E7 was tracked as taking the longest non-stop flight of any bird, flying 11,500 kms from Alaska to New Zealand.

Sadly, thousands of Bar Tailed Godwits' don’t make it back because of the lack of places to stop to re-fuel.
So if you do see these birds along the shore, please don’t release you dog to chase them away.
If you have any questions about Bar Tailed Godwits why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Fermenting Vegetables-it's easy.
From time to time I like to break up just growing a veggie and put in something about how to treat a problem in the veggie garden, or pick out a something different about a veggie.
Today, we’re going really different because I’m going to talk about how to ferment your veggies.
Fermenting vegetables is not only a way of preserving them, but it’s also really good for you because of the way the fermentation process works.
Did you know that fermentation is an ancient method of preserving food that’s been around for thousands of years? Ever heard of sauerkraut?
Yes, eating sauerkraut with meat actually helps you digest the meat.

So how does fermentation work?

Without getting too much into science here’s a quote from the book, Lacto-fermenting: The Easy & Healthy Way,
“Lacto-fermentation happens when natural starches and sugars found within vegetables and fruits are converted to lactic acid by the friendly bacteria lactobacilli. The term “lacto” in lacto-fermentation, refers to the production of lactic acid.
This acid is a natural preservative, inhibiting the growth of putrefying bacteria.
Of all the acids common to food preservation, lactic acid is the one most easily used by the body and does not cause over-acidifying effects.”
An anaerobic environment (without air), enhances the production of lactic acid and this is why fermenting kits were developed.

How do you ferment your vegetables then?

First you need to prepare the vegetables.There are several ways to prepare the vegetables for fermenting: grating, shredding, chopping, slicing, or leaving whole.
How you choose to prepare your vegetables is a personal choice, though some vegetables are better suited for leaving whole, while others ferment better when shredded or grated.
 Let’s talk about which food can be grated, usually by hand.

Grating is good for hard or crunchy vegetables, because grating creates the mnost surface area letting the salt penetrate the veggie more whickly and drawing out the moisture.

You really need to add brine to grated vegetables,

Brine is of course, salt and water.

What about slicing? 
Good veggies are the softer ones that can be sliced thickly although you can slice firm vegetables such as beetroot into thinner slices.
Chopping veggies is also good, but these take loner to ferment and also need more of that brine mixture. 
Candidates for this method are cauliflower, celery and carrot pieces.

What about whole vegetables? 

You can also ferment whole vegetables and I’m sure you would’ve heard of pickled gherkins and pickled cucumbers.
You can also ferment radishes, green beans and Brussel sprouts.

How do you actually ferment now that you’ve chopped, grated or sliced the vegetable?

Did you know that you can use salt, whey or a starter culture?
Salt is good because it stops the growth of undesirable microorganisms,
Starter cultures such as whey (brine from a previous ferment) or freeze-dried starter cultures can add bacteria to the culturing process to get things going more quickly.
But you ‘ll have to source them from somewhere.

In this segment, salt is the only method that will be covered because it’s by far the easiest.

Salt pulls out the moisture in food, denying bacteria the aqueous solution they need to live and grow.

Salt  also allows the natural bacteria that exist on the vegetables to do the fermenting. Only the desired salt-tolerant Lactobacilli strains will live and propagate.
Salt hardens the pectins in the vegetables, leaving them crunchy and enhancing the flavor. 
How Much Salt Then?
Use 1-3 tablespoons of our authentic, finely-ground Celtic Sea Salt per 950 mls or close enough to a litre of water to prepare brine for fermenting vegetables.
By the way if you want salt free fermentation you can use celery juice or seaweed, but they won’t prevent your vegetables from going mushy.

That’s the drawback of salt free fermentation.

Tip: make sure you get a good centimetre of juices sitting above the veggies…otherwise mould grows, ruining the whole lot. 

“Some lacto-fermented products may get bubbly, particularly the chutneys.

This is natural and no cause for concern.
And don’t get upset if little spots of white foam appear at the top of the pickling liquid.
They’re completely harmless and can be lifted off with a spoon.

The standard amount of salt to add is 3 tablespoons per 2 ¼ kilos of vegetables. 
Here’s a recipe for homemade sauerkraut. 

It uses just plain salt but there’s no need to add water.
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tbls caraway seeds
2 tbls sea salt
Mix all ingredients in a sturdy bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer or just squeeze with your hands (this is actually very soothing and meditative) for about 10 minutes to release juices.
This takes a little work and some patience. Spoon into a mason jar and using the pounder or meat hammer press down until juices come to the top of the cabbage and cover it.
Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days, make sure the room is not too hot or cold; it should be at comfortable room temperature.
Then transfer to cold storage.

Why is it good for you? 
Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form.
The probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between eating fermented foods and improved digestion.


Mass Planting for a Mediterranean Climate part 1
Groundcovers and small shrubs.
This series is all about mass planting but so you're garden won't be boring.
photo Louise McDaid Cloudhill Gardens
That means not just a sea of the same green and the same leaf shape and texture but a variety of colour interesting features.
There’s different levels, different leaf shape and textures and different colours of green to make your garden all that more interesting.

Warm temperate coast regions around Australia can look forward to these next plants.

Let’s find out about what they are.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design

Plants that are used to the sunny tropics may have a hard time in temperate winters s because often there’s rain, but weak sun, so plants can struggle.
Peter mentioned if you need weed suppression, something low but in semi-shade will suit Plectanthrus ciliatus, Carissa Desert Star with a dark green gloss leaf and starry perfumed flower or Acanthus mollis.
For sub-shrubs try Jasmin nitidum, which is a sub-shrub to about 1.2 metres and not invasive.
For difficult banks with a slope of 1:5, then go for Helichrysum petiolare Limelight, sometimes called Licorice plant.


Crotons: Colourful leaves
Codiaeum variegatum
Flowers are great, but not all plants flower for a long time so it’s good to have a plant that has plenty of colour in its leaves in your garden or even inside your house as an indoor plant.
Plant breeders are having fun with the colours and sizes too, so you can soon buy the same plant but in the miniature form as well as the standard sized shrub form of 1 metre.
Let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

A well-grown croton keeps its leaves all the way to the soil level, but the trick to this is to provide steady warmth. 
Even outside, crotons drop leaves after a cold night. 
These plants do alright after a hard prunes so if a croton becomes leggy, prune it back hard at the beginning of the growing season and move it outside. 
The plant will regrow from the cut part.
A tough plant in the right environment; often seen in old and neglected gardens in Qld

Also a great plant to grow indoors even if you do have the right climate to grow it outside.
Just remember not to overwater it and give it some slow or controlled release fertiliser at the beginning of the warmer season.
If you have any questions about growing Crotons, why not write in to

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