Aquaponics – our evolution so far…

Guest post by Yvonne Lee of www.bargainhunter.com.au

I first came across the concept of Aquaponics a few years ago. I think it was from reading some discussion forums on Aussies Living Simply, but it could have been from a number of places. I even bought the Murray Hallam DVD and made my husband and a couple of friends watch it with me. At the time we had a pond with a few koi and so we rigged up a simple system to cycle some water into a laundry bucket which had some holes punched into it and some blue metal. I managed to grow a few vegies in there quite well and the water did become a lot clearer. I can’t find a picture of the very first laundry bucket system but here is a picture of the pond we had:

Continue reading Aquaponics – our evolution so far…

How to Grow Your Own Mango Plant

Guest post by Yvonne Lee of www.bargainhunter.com.au

It’s currently mango season and I’ve been consuming a heap of mangoes. I have been buying cases of mangoes (16 to a box) for around $10 – $20. I started buying up early due to the (then) ridiculous prices of bananas. Now the bananas have dropped in price to $0.99 per kilo I’m still buying my mangoes but have backed it off a bit. I’ve noticed the mangoes are coming from all around Australia now.  Early in the season I bought ones from Northern Territory and now it seems as if my mangoes are from QLD but I’ve also seen Western Australian mangoes in the stores. I’m not sure if they have always come from those places and I hadn’t paid attention to them previously. Nowadays all the mangoes seem to have labels on them so they are easier to identify where they are from.

With the glut of mangoes at our place I was filling up our ice cream container for worm food really quickly, especially since the pit took up a lot of space in the container! I decided to google how to grow a mango tree from a pit. It seemed a logical thing to do…anyway there were some wonderful pictures, instructions and YouTube videos which helped me. Continue reading How to Grow Your Own Mango Plant

The taste of Sydney

Guest post by Sharon Lee of FlavourCrusader

honey

Urban honey has grown in popularity worldwide, particularly in Europe. I note that Melbourne city has picked up the trend, but what of Sydney?

“Sydney also has many city beekeepers who’ve been producing rooftop and backyard honey for many years,” said Lyndon Fenlon of Melbourne’s Urban Honey Co.

Meet Richard Foote. His bees reside in suburban Sydney. His method of production is to simply cut the caps then divide the honeycomb into sellable portions. He sells his honey online, and also through Flemington and Penrith markets. Continue reading The taste of Sydney

What to Plant in May: 12 Cold Weather Roots & Vegetables to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

1. Garlic

DSC_0143a
DSC_0143a by zdjecia Jacka P

Where: plant gloves directly into the soil
Harvest: from November Continue reading What to Plant in May: 12 Cold Weather Roots & Vegetables to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

What to Plant in April: 15 Autumn Vegetables & Herbs to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)

It’s not quite winter yet, but there is a definite feel that it’s coming. The morning air is chilly and crisp, and it’s almost time to bring out the warm comforter blanket. What I love about Autumn and Winter seasons are those delicious opportunities for soups and stews. Given my Russian heritage, I would like to share this Bortsh (Борщ) recipe that makes frequent appearance in our household. It’s healthy, it’s in-season and it tastes great!

Borsch recipe
image by http://www.ayurvediclight.net

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 beetroot
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (can put more!)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage (or silverbeet, as we have discovered)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of tomato paste (can also add fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 table spoons of vinegar
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil for shimmering vegetables
  • dill, parsley, black pepper and salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Peel and cut potatoes, set to boil in about 4 cups of water
  2. Peel and thinly slice beetroot and carrots. Heat up oil in the pan and shimmer beetroot and carrots on low heat for at least 10 minutes (or until tender). Add vinegar and lemon juice to the mix. This will release the deep red colour of the beets.
  3. Cut the onions and add them to the carrot & beetroot mix about 5 minutes before they are done
  4. When ready, transfer the carrot & beetroot mix to the pot with boiling potatoes
  5. Add salt, pepper, cabbage, tomato paste to broth and cook on medium heat for about 20 mins
  6. Now the secret ingredient: cut raw garlic, dill, and parsley into small pieces. Put in a cup and mix well. Let them sit together while the broth is boiling.
  7. When broth is almost ready, add the secret ingredient mix. It will add a lot of flavour to the soup, but don’t over-cook it! After 3 mins, turn off the pot and let it sit for 10-15 mins on the stove.

Serve with toast and sour cream for a truly Russian experience. Enjoy!

And now, on to the planting guide…

1. Beetroot

Harvesting Beetroot
Harvesting Beetroot by amortize

Where: sow directly into the soil
Harvest: from August Continue reading What to Plant in April: 15 Autumn Vegetables & Herbs to Plant Now in Sydney (Temperate Zone)