Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Dig This!

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  • Tony Parker,

    If you have the room a couple of courgette plants are great. You can have a steady supply all through the summer. Just don’t let them turn into marrows. A row of carrots is good too even though they are a cheap vegetable in the shops/vege stalls. Anything you grow always tastes better.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Next thing you know, my mate is giving me a tour of his new vege plot. “Rotational planting, thass the secret,” he slurred. “I bloody love you mate,” I replied, probably.


    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Thorpe,

    Onions and carrots grown professionally have heaps of pesticide because of white fly,mostly.
    Grow your own.
    Eat them at all stages, baby carrots (spring, bunch varieties, etc) grow well in coffee grounds (the smell fools the whitefly as well as great drainage, Kew garden uses coffee grounds for seed mix I have been told)

    Try all sorts of onion variants such as spring onions, shallots, funky bunch onions.

    Hokianga • Since May 2007 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I just want to ask you - who is that beautiful cat? Is he/she a new friend, or did he/she come with your beloved?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Regular sowing of small patches of mesculin mixtures are good value

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Jackie - yeah that's Teisha, she's been with my beloved for about 14 years, so has been with me for about half that, off and on. Lovely kitty, chincilla, half persian, well-behaved, very cuddly. And still acts like a kitten, schitzing out every night, bolting from one end of the house to the other, chasing her tail in the afternoon... :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    I like your potato sacks very much. I grow them in tyres (here in the sub-Antarctic suburb of Brooklyn, Wellington) and they work well too - but it's kind of messy getting them out, you have to do it all at once.
    I was about to suggest spinach but it looks like you have some. Rocket is good though it tends to bolt quickly. Do plant a bay tree - fresh bay leaves are much nicer than dried ones.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    @Jackie - yeah that's Teisha, she's been with my beloved for about 14 years,

    And if I am not mistaken, taking a shit in your nice newly cultivated garden.


    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Nathaniel Wilson,

    If the cherry tomatoes fail then you’d be best advised to rip out everything and concrete the backyard. We’ve always gone for the neglect ’em like they do in the Mediterranean approach, which seems to work well (or it did in Mt Albert anyway).
    For something exotic, saffron’s a good option. Not exactly the highest yield, but ridiculously low maintenance, and the smugness one feels having harvested a little bit of one of the most expensive crops in the world is pretty sweet too.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Horsley,

    Rocket- super low maintence - let it go fully to seed, and next year it will come back x1000 without having to do anything. tommie toe tomatoes are the best tasting tomatoes out there too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    What Stephen H said. We’ve had this ‘wild rocket’, according to the authorities, growing for three years. It almost has a trunk now, and just produces masses.
    These are pretty too.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    i've big hopes for our garlic. our property is pretty exposed, so things that grown underground are our best bet.

    radishes are pretty damn easy and tasty.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    If you have space, apple cucumbers are dead easy to grow. My broad beans are a bit disappointing this spring but I trying soya beans (edamame) again. I tend to grow staple veggies + one novelty item--this year it is capers.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Oh, she is so pretty! My cat's 14 too, and similarly behaves like a kitten after being the bitch cat from hell for the first couple of years of her life. She's a people slut - she takes after her mother, I believe.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    One of the particularly satisfying aspects of having your own garden at your own place is being able to plant things that take several years to settle in and start producing.

    I'm loving my rhubarb and my asparagus. The asparagus is still gigantically ferny as the frosts move in for winter; the rhubarb has died back for the duration but come spring will doubtless start producing maniacally again. They are at one side of the bed, so are not disturbed when the other side undergoes its annual reconfiguration.

    I run a strict "if you need too much special attention, it's not going to work out for us" regime. I'm perfectly happy to pinch back shoots and stomp on Japanese beetles and so forth, but if a plant is going to die because it didn't get something special [*] applied, we were never meant to be.

    [*] Including water, frankly. Containers excepted, since that's clearly on me.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Bloom and grow...
    Summer is a great time
    as shoots turn to stems
    then start branching out
    and the plot thickens
    coming alive...

    May your garden bring
    you as much pleasure
    as Prof Walker (R.I.P.)
    enthused about for years...

    Interesting to see "grassroots" movements
    like the Ringing Cedars series of books
    from Russia, extolling the benefits
    of getting involved with nature...

    Thousands of readers have felt a huge creative upsurge and started writing poetry and songs and creating works of art. Thousands more have been inspired to begin planting trees, growing healing food and flower gardens in their cities as well as their homes.
    In this return to sanity, many are joining together to plan the creation of new community neighbourhoods—where each family or individual owns their own piece of land and together take immense pride in creating beautiful family estates—natural paradise-like sanctuaries to be enjoyed by successive generations.

    Every little bit helps...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Recordari - hey, just looking through my emails, did you note that you won a music tee the other day? Flick me an email and tell me which of the Wordsby tees you want, size, address etc :)

    @Steve Barnes - where you gone? Same goes big nose.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Carol - yeah, I hope those sacks are worth it, will let you know upon harvest. At least they are reuseable, and don't take up any room when not being used

    I have baby spinach... does that just turn into spinach when it grows up (serious but dumb question)?

    And @Recordari - what's that photo, some sort of cherry cauliflower? It looks amazing.

    Keep the tips and questions going... I reckon we could do with an ongoing gardening forum here at PA, and this could be it...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I realize this goes a bit beyond vege gardening tips, but I've found John Michael Greer's Archdruid Report fascinating for his ideas on the future of agriculture. He writes at length on the theory and practice of growing your own food in your own garden without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. He believes that in a post-peak-oil world, this is stuff we're all going to have to know how to do. Interesting reading, including the long and detailed reader comments and his responses.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to Tony Parker,

    Do let them turn into marrows. Stuffed with a herbed,onion,mince combo then roasted. Save the marrow! I feel a touch of the Wallace and Gromits coming on.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I love vegetables and herbs, and I love cooking, so I really wish I didn't hate absolutely everything about gardening. I keep waiting to find myself liking it, but at 36 I'm not likely to have a road to Damascus moment, am I? Did anyone get into it much later than me?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm 39, and I don't mean to brag but my garden full of prize-winning weeds speaks for itself.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    It must be a thirtysomething thing to blossom into gardening (oh, see what I did there!) - it hit me a few years ago too.

    I particularly love vege gardening and fruit trees. Easy grows for me have been courgettes, tomatoes, potatoes (and they are so full of awesome you almost can't believe it the first time you eat one of your own grown potatoes), lettuce, carrots, beans, snow peas, raspberry.

    Pumpkins I had to "help" the "fertility" process along (and yes I felt dirty afterwards and had to have a shower), ended up with only 2 small pumpkins that promptly died off.

    Peas grew well initially but I could not keep them happy - they would always get some sort of fungal infection and die from the bottom up.

    Blueberry also did not flourish but it was a cheap Warehouse plant so could have been a bad plant.

    I thought I was going to lose my dwarf lemon and never get anything off it, but it's looking much healthier in its 2nd year.

    I'm a bit like Amy, I plant you, I water you, I'll try and keep the easy bugs off you but if you're going to be all precious about your dang growing and fruiting then I don't have time to waste on you. Plants, make your own way in the world!

    Oh and catnip and catmint can be a lot of fun too.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I want to heartily recommend strawberries. I planted four plants which by next season had grown to be about 15 plants. On that basis I got about two punnets of strawberries a week for three months. Not a lot of things that you grow in your garden are actually a money saver, but this absolutely was.

    Also, I might have got more luck than talent, but humungous strawberries. Yum.

    Also celery is one of those useful things to grow and chop off individual stalks rather than have the rest go off in your fridge.

    [edited to actually make sense]

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Also celery is one of those useful things to grow and chop off individual stalks and have the rest go off in your fridge.

    Yes, that's an excellent suggestion. I dream to live in a world where celery can be purchased in smaller quantities.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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