Saturday, January 31, 2009

10 reasons for growing your own Backyard Organic Veggies(BOV). Part 2

5/ Convenience Goes with out saying. Just walk out your back door and you have a whole smorgasbord of fruit, salad and veggies. It doesn't get any better than that. No traffic, no finding a park, no waiting in line for a check out.

4/ Environment As good as organic is it doesn't make any sense to me to have organic Tomatoes trucked all the way from Victoria to a Queensland market (about 1600km's for non Australians) or visa versa to have organic Lettuce trucked all the way from Queensland to a Victorian market.
Therefore if you are growing your own BOV you are by default helping the environment.
There is also the extra carbon stored in the soil by using organic methods.
Less waste ie:- packaging, spoilage, apparently BOV gardeners also use less water to grow their produce as well.
There are bound to be other benefits to growing your own BOV. If you have any please leave them in the comments.

3/ Excitement
To plant
seeds in soil you have prepared to the best of your ability and knowledge and to wait in anticipation (checking daily, sometimes twice daily or if your really obsessive every time you walk out to the veggie garden) for them to emerge and when they finally do it's like a huge sense of relief couples with the euphoria of succeeding.
Every time this happens I feel like dancing (Dire Straits 'Walk of Life', usually comes to mind) and maybe a smug sense of achievement.

2/ Taste Probably should be #1 but that would ruin the effect of having "Why not", at the top of the list.
Sooo, taste!! If anyone is going to tell me BOV don't taste any different or better than store bought veggies then (1) I want to know if the have a pulse or (2) smoke more than 50 cigarettes a day or (3) had their taste buds removed at birth.
Everything I have ever grown has been superior in taste without exception. There are some veggies I didn't know could taste as good as they do or how they do. I made spaghetti bolinagse the other night and used fresh Tomatoes instead of tinned tom and I've never tasted spag bol so fresh and full of flavour.
The taste of home grown BOV is second to none.

1/ Why Not Any takers?

Friday, January 30, 2009

10 reasons for growing your own Backyard Organic Veggies(BOV). Part 1

10/ Health. I've posted before about the health benefits of BOV here before (see links below), there's not much left to be said. Except wrap your laughing gear around a plate full of BOV.

It's Official: Organic really is better

MEDIA RELEASE Organic Food Benefits

9/ Blogging: Without my BOV I'd have nothing to blog about. Definitely a good reason for growing BOV.

8/ Make friends I could almost include this in #9 but growing BOV is a good icebreaker or conversation stater. It seems there is a lot o people interested in growing their own BOV but aren't sure how to go about it. There's always little tips and tricks to share.

7/ Exercise Goes without saying. If your out there in your BOV garden, digging, weeding, carting, picking, watering, mulching, feeding, composting, etc, etc, it can be hard work, but as long as I can remember I've been told, "Hard work never killed anyone, it's good for you". Also I like beer and as far as I'm concerned beer tastes better after you've done a hard days work.

6/ Variety If you go to the supermarket or even your Fruit and Veg shop you can only have what they want to sell you. If you grow your own BOV the choise is almost endless. Growing from seed you can have all sorts of weird and wonderful varieties, most you'll never hear of in your local supermarket or Fruit and Veg shop.

Tomorrow I countdown from 5 to 1.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe for free by RSS or e-mail and you’ll always know when I publish something new. (What’s RSS?).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gross Solar Feed In Tariff Petition For Australia UPDATE

Click on caption for update newsletter.

Press Release Renewable Energy News

A gross feed in tariff for Australia

Have you heard the one about

A MAN and a woman were sound asleep when suddenly at 3am a loud noise came from outside. The woman, startled out of her sleep, jumped up from the bed and yelled,"That'll be my husband!"

Instantly the man bolted from the bed, grabbed his clothes and shoes and ran out the back door and jumped off the porch. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through thorn bushes, and reached his car, bleeding and exhausted.

A few minutes later he returned and screams at the woman,"I am your husband!" The woman yelled back, "Oh yeah? Well then, why were you running?"

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe for free by RSS or e-mail and you’ll always know when I publish something new. (What’s RSS?).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Straight forward Tomato Jam

After requesting a recipe for Tomato Jam on the Aussies Living Simply website, and with many thanks to Kirsty for her recipe, I set about making my first batch of Tomato jam.

I've been eating this stuff ever since I can remember, between two Grannies a Mother and the local markets I've never had to go without, but I had to have a go myself.

Tomato Jam Recipe

3kg ripe tomatoes
500gm green apples
4 medium lemons
2.5 kg sugar

Peel and slice tomatoes. Peel, core and chop apples finely. Put all in a saucepan. Add grated rind of the lemons and cook 1 hour.

Add the juice of the lemons and the warmed sugar, stir until sugar has dissolved and then boil rapidly until it jells when tested.
Pour in to warmed sterilized jars and seal

I had about 10 Tomato Jam recipes to choose from and a few said to use a teaspoon of Cinnamon, which I did.

Apples about to get the chop

Just starting to cook.

A little bit longer

I cheated a little bit here, rather than wait for the apple to blend in with the Tomatoes I used a stick blender. It worked really well and even blended the Tomato skins into a smooth pulp.

In goes the sugar. Note the colour change.


Ta Da.
I also had a recipe my Mum sent over which said basically the same thing with smaller portions, so between the two of them I managed to get the job done.

One and half kg tomatoes skinned and sliced. Skinning optional

500 gr apples, peeled and chopped.

Finely zested rind and juice of 2 lemons

One and quarter kg sugar

Put tomatoes,apples ,lemonjuice and rindin boiler or large saucepan

And simmer until the apples and tomatoes are tender and partially blended.

Add sugar, stirringuntil it dissolves. Boil until setting point is reached.

Bottle and seal.

The Verdict

Pretty bloody good if I do say so myself. I would have liked it a bit thicker but I'm not sure how to go about that, does anyone have any suggestions?

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe for free by RSS or e-mail and you’ll always know when I publish something new. (What’s RSS?).


Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you.

Australia Day 26th January 2009

Our National Anthem

Our National Car

Our National Food.

Our Coat of Arms

A gross feed in tariff for Australia

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe for free by RSS or e-mail and you’ll always know when I publish something new. (What’s RSS?).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tomato heaven

I'm lovin' this. 800 grams of Tomato heaven in two Tomato's.

Downside of getting rain after a dry spell is having your Tomato's split their skin, but hey, if that's as bad as things get then bring it on. I can always make Tomato jam or Tomato sauce or, you know, etc, etc.

Click on the photo if you want to look at even bigger Tomato's.

I just added the Parsley seed packet for a size reference.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe for free by RSS or e-mail and you’ll always know when I publish something new. (What’s RSS?).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gross Solar Feed In Tariff Petition For Australia

Darren at has a post up (Gross Solar Feed In Tariff Petition For Australia) about the Australian government waffling on the issue of a nationalised renewable energy feed-in tariff for homes.

He continues with, 'Recent announcements seem to indicate that they’ll favour a net tariff, which is very much inferior to the gross feed-in tariff the solar industry is calling for'.

Darren continues to explain, 'A gross feed-in tariff (where the energy-producing household is paid for all the electricity they generate) would create a massive incentive for people to invest in rooftop solar systems and other renewable energy sources (e.g. small-scale wind generators). This is what we need'!

What's he doing about it?
He's posted a link for a online petition, 'If you agree, hop on over and sign the Gross Solar Feed In Tariff Petition For Australia. I have. And so have I now.

Autumn/Winter planting

It's hard to believe I'm thinking about Autumn and Winter plantings when I'm sitting here in 92% humidity with sweat rolling down my back, but that's exactly what I'm doing.

I ordered my copy of Green Harvest's 2009 catalogue last week and it arrived early this week, very efficient.
Anyhow so far on my wish list is
1/ Cabbage, 'Red Express'.
2/ Broccoli, 'Romanesco'.
3/ Cauliflower, 'Violet Sicilian'.
4/ Peas, 'Melting Mammoth'.
4/ Peas, 'Greenfeast'.

Already ordered from Diggers
1/ Cabbage, 'Mini'.
2/ Cauliflower, 'Mini'.
3/ Kale, 'Tuscan Black'.
4/ Parsnip. (Planted)
5/ Kohlrabi.(Planted)
6/ Broad Bean, 'Crimson'.

Already in is my Brussels Sprouts, Spring Onions, Lettuce and Silverbeet

I also have to source some garlic, onions and shallots from somewhere.
There's bound to be things I've forgotten to mention but this will make the back bone of my Autumn and Winter plantings.

I'm looking forward to Autumn and Winter this year after a lot of experimenting last Autumn and Winter I feel confidant of growing some healthy and useful crops.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Toowoomba area Backyard Veggie growing club

*Edit  17/08/15.   Toowoomba area Backyard Veggie growing club now has a Facebook Group Page. If you are keen to find out more about the  Toowoomba area Backyard Veggie growing club then come on over and Join up

*Edit  06/08/14. It's happening. Inaugural Toowoomba area Backyard Veggie growing club this coming Monday the 11. Click here for full details.

*Edit 10/06/14. This is one of my most often visited posts if anyone is interested will you please get in touch with me, either through the comments or email ('contact me' button in the side bar) and we can see what we can but together? Thanks, Stewart.

Just been floating this idea around in my head for the last few weeks and thought I'd run it up the flagpole.
Anyone in the Toowoomba area interested in forming a Backyard veggie growing club to gtg every 2nd week or once a month focusing on growing veggies, exchanging info and helping others with veggie problems.
This could include sustainable living, preserving food, managing livestock.
Also you could sell buy exchange or give away excess produce.

There could be field day trips, gardening demonstrations etc, etc.
Any feedback welcome.
What do you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beer battered Fish and chips and some new arrivals

This recipe makes enough batter for the fish and the chips.

Dinner I cooked last night for me and my daughter. Yummo. Two hrs. later and I writing this post and I'm still satisfied.

Q. Why is this here on my Veggie blog?
A. Because the chips were made with my King Edward potato's. And a fine tasting beer battered chip they make too.

I lifted the last of my potato's yesterday and scored another bucket full. Won't last me through winter but it'll keep me going for a while.

At last I have chooks. We've had them before but had some trouble with them having their heads ripped off. It is now a lot harder to get into our back yard now and we are hopeful of not having a repeat experience.

About two mounths old.
4 Light Sussex Hens
1 Light Sussex Rooster
and one bantam that I knew I forget what it is and I have, but thrown in by a very generous seller.

I have the Bushland project blog to thank for putting me onto the Farmstock website where I was able to eventually find these little guys.
A great resource for finding all sorts of farmstock.

I'll be showing and talking a lot more about these guys as time goes on.


Rain, rain, rain, nope

Battle gear ready.
The extent we go to for our gardens seems extreme some times, this is me just before I go out to attack the lucerne mulch hay with the mulcher (see post 'This mans best friend #2') just so my lettuce, beans and silverbeet can have a luxurious time growing in my garden.

I'm hoping (they had better) they appreciate the effort I've gone to and grow up into happy and healthy plants so I can extract my revenge by eating them. (insert slightly deranged laughter here).

But slightly serious seriously, when you do anything with a dried mulch product, especially a moldy one, you should make an effort to look after yourself, so on goes the silver breathing mask and hat that makes me look Darth Vader's trendy half brother.

See the resemblance? I can even talk like him after a night on the town.

May the organic force be with you.

We still can't get any rain around here and I've got to say I'm feeling a bit resentful towards the garden for being so needy in the watering department.

Meet my watering strategy. I call them B1 andB2 after Bill and Ben from Bill and Ben the flower pot men. I fill them up from my rain water tank and walk to where ever I have to water, which on a hot day can be up to 3 hours of walking and watering.
It also means there are a lot of other jobs around the place can't be done because all my spare time is taken up with watering.

We haven't had any dam filling rain here in our catchment area since 2001 and our total combined stored capacity in our dams is down to less than 10%. We are currently on level 5 water restrictions which means not being allowed to use the town water supplies for any external use.

Most plants needed watering daily and some (lettuce and silverbeet) twice daily.
It has cooled though, from the plus 30 degree temps of late last week to high twenty's, but talk about your proverbial sponge. It just seemed liked I couldn't put enough water on the garden to keep everything going.
The forecast is for showers from the middle of the week so I'm, once again, hopeful of some respite.

I'd also like some moisture in the soil so as I can continue planting for the up coming Autumn and winter.
Anyhow I'm off to water the garden and mulch the garden and plant in the garden and....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Official: Organic really is better

"EU-funded Quality Low Input Food project indicates significant nutritional benefits from organic food". Soil Association

Ok, as if we needed any more convincing about how good organic (home) grown food is for us, but here are some early results of the £12 million 4-year Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) study.

As stated in a press release from Biological Farmers of Australia below

The evidence from the $27million four-year European Union-funded project should end years of debate and is likely to overturn official advice that eating organic food is a lifestyle choice and that there is no clear evidence that it is "more nutritious than other food".

The study will be peer reviewed and published over the next 12 months. But already one conclusion is clear: organically produced crops and dairy milk usually contain more "beneficial compounds" - such as vitamins and antioxidants believed to help to combat disease.

Nutritionist and spokesperson for Australia’s largest organic body, the Biological Farmers of Australia, Shane Heaton, welcomed the study, saying, "This adds to the growing body of evidence from around the world that organic produce not only contains less of the things you don’t need, but also more of the things you do need in your diet."

The press release from the Soil Association web site also asserts that, 'Early results indicate organic fruit and vegetables contain 40% more antioxidants (believed to cut the risk of heart disease and cancer) in organic produce compared to non-organic foodstuffs. There were also higher levels of other beneficial minerals such as iron and zinc'.

A more in depth review of the study can be found here at the Soil Association web site.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Worlds biggest Tomato, well not really. Update

The Worlds biggest Tomato, well not really.

Clicking on the photos will give you a bigger picture if you want.

Is now lunch.

The big one in the middle will be lunch.

All sliced and ready to go.

Now in my book there are only two ways to eat a Tomato like this.

Both involve bread, white bread, I grew up on the stuff so anything else just spoils the taste.

One involves cooked silverside and the other involves ham, any kind, sliced, pressed, off the bone, dosen't matter.

First is fresh white bread, silverside, 'the Tomato' and cucumber, I usually have beetroot and lettuce but I wanted to enjoy the taste of 'the Tomato' without too much distraction. Bit off salt and pepper.

Verdict, terrific, damn terific.

The second way to enjoy a Tomato like this is toasted, again with fresh white bread, cheese and ham, in this case just sliced ham 'cause that was all there was left in the fridge.

Butter the outside of the bread, sit it in a frying pan, just hot enough to toast the bread, cook till golden brown and the cheese has melted

Verdict, Heaven, If heavens got food like this I want to go to heaven.

I like hearing from you all and all comments are welcome.
You can comment by clicking here.

Highly recommended #3 Violet Queen Bush Beans

Violet Queen Bush Beans from Digger's seeds I planted in late November.

What I like is to eat beans raw straight from the bush, but sometimes find them a bit strong or green if you like (only a guess, but probably from the Chlorophyll).

So after doing a taste test today on the Violet Queen Bush Beans that were ready, I found them quite easy to eat without them becoming overpowering or too green for the want of a better expression.

Is anybody else growing Violet Queen Bush Beans and what do you think of the taste?

Btw, Violet Queen Bush Beans are very easy to grow and I would highly recommend them just for that, but I recommend them just for the eating which is why we are growing them after all.

As always I like hearing from you all and all comments are welcome.
You can comment by clicking here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This mans best friend #2

This mans best friend #1

After the magic score of lucerne mulch hay I discovered it was too coarse for the finer veggies as in the lettuce I have planted.
Pretty much as I expected though and no biggie to solve, just add 1 (one) 'This mans best friend' and abracadabra, hey presto, magic lucerne hay lettuce mulch.

Life should be this easy all the time.

Red cos lettuce all mulched up ready for the 30 plus temps tomorrow.

Whatta you do, floods up north, bush fires down south and still a bloody (green) drought in the middle.

Damn you gotta love Australia or else you'd go mad.

As usual if you click on the photos you'll get a bigger picture.

I like hearing from you all.
All comments are welcome.
You can comment by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The great lucerne mulch adventure.

Funny how things work out sometimes.
Saturday night just gone I was working in my taxi and the last thing on my mind was lucerne mulch.

Also it is very rare that I get bored enough to buy a Newspaper to pass the time, but as it turned out Saturday night was an exception.

Anyhow, as I was reading the paper, I usually go through the classified ads and look up the produce section. I usually look there for mulch straw or hay, mainly out of curiosity, but because of the drought even mulch hay was dearer than what I wanted to pay for it.

So it was to my surprise that I saw lucerne mulch hay advertised for $5.00 dollars a bale then just below $4.40. I thought bugger I've got no way of getting my hands on this at such a good price, then just as I was discovering all this Max in cab 48 pulled in behind me on the rank I was on.

So as cabbies do on a quiet night they talk to each other about how quiet a night they are having.
After exhausting that topic I lamented to Max about the mulch and wishing I had a ute to go and grab 10 or 12 bales of hay and blow me down he said he had one and I could borrow it.

Now not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth (ewu, why would want to) I took him up on his offer. The rest, as they say, is history.

The lucerne can only be used for mulch because it was rained on after being cut and then it goes moldy and horses won't eat it but veggie gardens love it.

Photo 1. is how much he has left to sell.

Photo 2. is Neville, my mums Husband and also recipient of 5 bales of hay for his veggie garden.

Photo 3. Just a photo of the lucerne farm. This bloke had 120 acres of heaven (6k's South West of Cambooya which is South of Toowoomba) and was very keen to discuss all forms of organic farming, bio organics and Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) among others.

Photo 4. At home with the loaded ute. We could have easily taken more but 11 for me and 5 for Neville will keep us going for a while and I did ask if we could ring at a later date if we wanted more.

Photo 5. A nice little haul to keep me going over winter.

As usual if you click on the photos you'll get a bigger picture.

All comments welcome. You can comment by clicking here

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Worlds biggest Tomato, well not really.

Planted by seed in early September my mortgage lifter tomato's are starting to ripen.

Around the fattest part of the tomato measures 28.5cm (that's almost 12 inches in the old language) not the biggest tomato but one I'm proud of.

So with fruit fly in mind and 5 months of work and growing behind me I'm not about to leave these guys to the fruit fly.

But what to do on a low budget.

Solution, paper lunch bags.

Tomato's only need heat to ripen, not sunshine, although sunshine is good for the rest of the bush, so the paper bag will keep out the fruit fly while allowing the Tomato to ripen on the bush.

Anyone got any other ideas for beating fruit fly?

Also after 7 or 8 years of resisting temptation, curiosity (professional jealousy I think) got the better of me while I was in my local Bunnings and I grabbed a Bourke's Backyard Italian Tomato just to see if it is worth all the fuss.

Just so there is no bias on my part I have used a half a bucket of my best compost, added a handful of dolomite and watered it in with 6 lts. of water with added seasol .

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Rats, at least I think so. This is the only one sampled so hopefully the rest will be left alone.

Clicking on the photo will give you a better view.

Butternut (great name for a pumpkin) growing randomly along my fence line. I love the way these guys make themselves at home.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What does 'Love' mean?

The Queensland Taxi Council produces a bi monthly magazine called The Taxi magazine and towards the back of the mag they always find all sorts of interesting thing to share, here's an example.

Touching words from the mouths of young children

What does 'Love' mean?

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8-year-olds, 'What does 'love' mean?'
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

* "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love" Rebecca, age 8

* "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth." Billy, age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl, age 5

* "Love is
when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissie, age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terrie, age 4

* "
Love is when my mummy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny, age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mummy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." Emily, age 8

* "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby, age 7

* "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka, age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle, age 7

* "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy, age 6

* "My mummy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare, age 6

* "Love is when mummy gives daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine, age 5

* "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann, age 4

* "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her older clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren, age 4

* "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up an down and little sters come out of you." Karen, age 7

* "Love is when mummy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark, age 6

* "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." jessica, age 8

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Watch this space #1

From this

to this

to this

to this

to this

to this.

What's he up to now, I hear you ask.

All will be reveled, as soon as they poke their little heads above the soil.

Hope you have a great day.