Useful garden pets - guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are more than cuddly pets for the kids - they are also weed-eating, vege scrap scoffing and garden manure producing machines. Find out how to put these cute little fur balls to work in your garden. More »

Got worms?

If not get them - they turn your kitchen scraps into rich, organic fertiliser for your garden. Here is how to build your own worm farm on the cheap. More »

Get composting

Composting is great for your garden and the environment. It cuts down household waste, improves soil organically and is easy to get going. Find out how to set up a compost here. More »

 

Intoxicated by Vanilla

Vanilla pods

Green vanilla pods growing on a vine

I had always thought growing vanilla was too fiddly and time consuming but a friend of mine, Janice, recently told me the intoxicating story about her vanilla plants. And I’ve got to admit, I want a cutting of my own now.

Read on for Janice’s story about growing vanilla.

Words and pictures by Janice Wormworth

It’s said that once you start with vanilla, you can’t let it go. About eight years ago I bought a vanilla orchid cutting (yes, vanilla is an orchid), with no idea if it could produce vanilla pods in Sydney’s climate. After five years of growing and looping the vine on a stake, I almost gave up and started to neglect the plant a bit. Then, to my delight, it bloomed. Dozens of beautiful pale yellow-green orchid flowers led to about 60 vanilla beans that I’ve since used to flavour everything from cakes to riso latte.

Picking wild edible mushrooms

Wild mushroom haul

Wild mushroom haul. View more images

The day we decided to pick wild edible forest mushrooms began with three ominous signs.

The first sign was the weather – a grey rain filled sky and harsh cold winds. The second saw both soles on my hiking boots fall off on the way to the forest. The third, and perhaps the most obvious sign, was that the forest we were supposed to forage in was being cut down around us as we arrived.

I brought my husband and two kids along for a mushroom foraging adventure in the Lidsdale State Forest, just beyond Lithgow and the Blue Mountains in NSW. But as we jumped out of the car, and I saw pine trees fall, I wasn’t too sure of our chances of safely finding wild mushrooms.

Edible mushroom picking in pictures


“My family go wild edible mushroom foraging beyond the Blue Mountains. Join us on this tasty journey.”

From Wild mushroom foraging, posted by Trina Tune on 4/30/2013 (28 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2



Benefits to grow local

More reasons to grow local.

 

 

Fancy a food forage?


Delicious foraged fig wrapped in pancetta

Delicious foraged fig wrapped in pancetta thanks to my sister-in-law

I’m always itching for a good food forage, and Green Lifestyle has published a great article on an Italian Aussie, Diego Bonetto, who has definitely been bitten by the foraging bug.

In the article, Diego says his favourite foraging ingredients are mushrooms, dandelion, wild fennel, wild olives and wild asparagus. Some of my favourite foraging plants are native spinach and purslene.

My brother and his family are also awesome fig foragers (among many other fruits), and I’m always overjoyed when they share their harvest with me.

Mushroom fetish in the forest


Delicious wild saffron milk cup bounty

Fetishes come in all forms, and my friend Lou recently discovered hers is in the shape of a foraged mushroom.

Read on to learn how Lou developed this delicious fetish out in the middle of a pine forest.

Words and pictures by Lou Clifton

Foraging is a word I rarely used until a few weeks ago. But I have since discovered a sub culture of foragers making the most of nature’s kitchen and sharing their discoveries with others through lovely blogged stories and images. I’m now rather hooked on foraging. It’s the antidote for our consumer society, finding food and supplies in the bush and taking what you need. It’s a lovely feeling that is hard to describe until you get a foraging fetish.

Gardening is gangsta


Now this is the type of gangsta I want moving in next door.

Guerrilla gardener Ron Finley, who lives in South Central LA, received a warrant for his arrest when he planted his verge with vegetables.

Purslane – grow your own Omega-3


Purslene growing wild

Purslane growing wild along a pavement

It’s amazing that here in Australia purslane (also known as pig weed) is considered a weed. It grows rampant where I live, and I picked my first crop growing along a sidewalk down by a city river.

Being a succulent, purslane seems adapted to growing in most places – particularly where many other plants won’t – like in sidewalk cracks and between pavers. I have to admit that I am guilty of ripping purslane out of paving around my house when I thought it was nothing more than a weed.

Mobile garden ideas


Why not launder some strawberries?

Why not launder some strawberries?

Who said gardens had to stay put? I love all the ideas in here for taking your garden with you, and hey … one of the ideas is mine :)

Take a look at the slideshow on the thedailygreen website

Guinea pig compost machines


Guinea pigs

Our fluffy little compost machines

We recently adopted two guinea pigs from some old neighbours who moved overseas.

Besides being super cute pets for the kids, the guinea pigs are also proving to be excellent composting machines and lawn mowers.

Although they are small they sure can eat and poo a lot.