Water Restrictions – How ironic

The local newspaper reads that Stage 3 Water Restrictions are now in force, No sprinklers, no hosing down concrete, no this, no that…

Yet outside it’s pouring rain, 34mm later (~1.35 inches) there will be no need to water the lawn for at least a week now, even if it doesn’t rain!

The weather man (yes, the local meteorologist is a man) has said there should be more on the way, Send it down Hughie!

Uses for Excess Mangoes

IMG_0995 It’s criminal to let mangoes go to waste, but this year there are just too many to poke a stick (or many sticks) at. Almost everyone I know has a mango tree, or knows someone else who does, so there is little way to give them away.

Please don’t hurl abuse for the waste, but this photo was taken tonight after I raked them all up. There are three more piles just like them. Most have been chewed upon by fruit bats or native birds, but there are some that fell to their death and bruised very badly.

A couple of recipies that I’ve been using to preserve these mangoes:

Mango Chilli Chutney
Makes 6 x 125ml jars

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 brown onions, chopped coarse
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh chilli
2 cups firmly packed soft brown sugar
Finely grated zest & juice of 2 limes
8 Fresh mangoes
1/2 cup malt vinegar

1. Heat oil in saucepan, cook onion, garlic & ginger stirring till onion is soft. Stir in chilli, sugar and zest, then mango and vinegar.

2. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 55 minutes or until mixture thickens and is syrupy. Stir in lime juice.

3. Ladle chutney into clean sterilised jars; seal immediately. Cool to room temperature. Label, date and store in the fridge.

Vegetable Gardening in the 1940’s

Stumbling along today, I found this old gem!


It’s a video from the 1940’s about two kids learning about vegetable gardening.

While some of the methods are a little out dated (spraying bugs with Arsenate of Lead), and the dialogue is somewhat dodgy… as a whole its a great little film about gardening. I bet some of the more experienced gardeners out there will be able to reminice about the old days.

I’d Like to Check You For Ticks

Last night I took a look at my Daschund and noticed that she had a tick on her eyelid (that’s got to hurt). The old saying goes, when you find a mouse you have mice, in this case many ticks. My German Shepherd dog also has small ticks all through her thick coat.

Now where I live we are very lucky that we don’t have paralysis ticks, only brown dog ticks. Brown ticks only suck blood and make dogs scratch, while paralysis ticks inject a toxin into the dog (or cat) which slowly kills them over a 24 hour period. Neither situation is nice for the dog.

Being the first time we’ve had an infestation, we’ve had one or two here and there, I looked around to where I thought the source may be. The neighbors have a number of hunting dogs that are not treated regularly for ticks, my best bet was that the ticks are crawling under the fence to get to my dogs.

First things first, a dose of Frontline for the dogs and cats. There are many other brands and styles of treatment available for ticks and fleas, such as collars, washes, ingestible tablets etc. I prefer to use the spot on type as it’s less invasive to the dog and the chemical used is harmless to them.

Next up, out came the tin of Bifenthrin. Probably not the most organic of insecticides, but when the welfare of my animals is at risk, bring out the big guns (don’t panic, the treated areas are nowhere near the veggie patch!). It has an added bonus of being a termite deterrent.

The fence line in question got a 1m strip sprayed along the whole length, as well as underneath my house where the dogs like to sit during the daytime. I did some research on the chemical I used and found that after it has dried, there is no risk to pets or humans.

Now it’s time to sit back and monitor the situation. Hopefully there will be no more ticks!

Hot Compost

After taking a holiday to an eco tourism resort on and island national park, I came to realise that even though we try to live pretty green at our house, I have been lazy with my wastage.

(The time at the resort was very relaxing thank you very much.)

My worm farm has slowed down a little since the warmer weather has arrived, so there are excess food scraps going out to rubbish (I filled a 10L bucket on Sunday alone!).

I had an old 60 litre plastic garbage bin in the shed, after cutting the bottom out of it and tipping it upside down in the vegie patch I have since filled it almost to the top with food scraps, vegie garden scraps, some shredded paper, a little straw and some fresh horse manure.

24 hours later the scraps in the bin are almost untouchable, they are that hot. I would estimate that they’re at 60 degrees C.

Not much effort involved in this method really, as 60 litres is a fairly managable size to aerate, its when you get a large 1m by 1m bin that mixing the compost can get tough.

Speaking of aeration, this is the key to creating a great hot compost mix. The microbes and bacteria responsible for hot composting require plenty of oxygen to do their job of breaking down the goods. This is done with a garden fork, or can be done with a commercial corkscrew aerator. Also when adding material to your bin, add a layer of dry material such as straw between every layer of green material. This will allow the air to move between layers.

The beauty of using a hot composting method is that any weed or vegetable seeds are sterilised by the heat. Cold composting can leave seeds such as pumpkin, tomato and various grasses still viable and they will pop up all over the garden where you don’t want them.

If you’ve got any composting tips, please share them with us!