Time For Winter Veggies & Fertiliser Recipe

Plant Brassicas Now

It is time for winter vegetable planting - seedlings (it is too late for most seed sowing now except for rocket, salad lettuce, radish, herbs).  Brassicas like to grow while the ground is still warm, so that includes tatsoi, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, cabbages. You will need to dig through plenty of compost and fertilise the soil.  Here is a recipe for fertiliser:

80% blood & bone

10 % Organic rock dust

10% dolomite lime

1 cup per m2

dig this through where the roots will grow, I also use vege net over electrical conduit hoops, the vege net keeps all the flying pests out and reduces water consumption by 30% and creates a micro climate.  

Sprouts & Microgreens - Living Food

Sprouts Why?  

All Seeds, Nuts, Grains and Beans Become More Alkaline When Sprouted & Nutrients Are More Bio-Available

All animals pick and eat fresh except for humans so it is very important to grow sprouts as they are still alive when you eat them.  A handful of sprouts everyday will give you a good quality dose of vitamins, minerals, protein & fibre and because the enzyme activity is at its peak due to the germination process this means all the goodness becomes more bio-available to our body.  All seeds, nuts and grains contain a natural chemical called Phytic Acid that inhibits germination until the conditions are right for survival this is why it is important to remove phytic acid from these foods before consuming. Phytates can draw minerals out from your body and also inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals into your body.  If you soak whole oat grains before consuming them for example you increase the bio-availablity of vitamin B by 1300% ! 

Living Foods that are germinated and sprouted give us the most concentrated natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids (proteins in a digestible form).  Synthetic or processed vitamins in tablet form are not as effective on the body as real food and therefore I place great emphasis on getting nutrition in the most natural way possible. Gram for gram, lentils and other pulses contain as much or more protein than red meat, are totally digestible but have none of the fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics , bovine diseases, pesticides, herbicides found in most meat. The issue of animal cruelty aside,  it takes 10,000L of water to make 1kg of beef, and the plant protein fed to beef cattle to produce 1kg of meat could feed up to 22 people!

Sprouting your own grains, nuts, seeds and pulses ensures optimum quality nutrition for your body as they are grown completely organically and also have no food miles or shelf storage.  Germinated seeds and pulses and also very filling as they are low GI, so you will feel fuller for longer.

3 Stages of Sprouting:

Germination Overnight Soak    Sprout 4-7 days      Micro-greens 7-14 days

Germination - Soak overnight & eat raw or cook them

 

 I suggest you only use organic pulses, seeds, nuts & grains – I have seen for myself the farmers bombing chickpea, lentil and wheat crops from the air with fungacides just before harvesting and spraying the ground with herbicides before germination and some seeds are treated with a chemical to prevent them from germinating in storage.  Seeds, grains, nuts, legumes (which are all seeds of plants by the way) also have a natural inhibitor that is removed by soaking in water.  Germination occurs and with it new life, dramatically increasing its nutritional value and digestibility – at least by 100%. You can add a sprinkle of sprouts on top of cooked food, add then to wraps, juice then or add them to smoothies. I sprout nuts 4-8 hours and then dry them in my dehydrator and store in glass jars ready for use. 

What to Germinate

 

I germinate the following to have in salads or to add to cooked food such as curries to increase the meals nutritional value. Chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, millet, amaranth, pepitas, sesame seeds, mung beans, almonds, walnuts.  Different seeds take different times to sprout for example nuts only take 3-4 hours, all the other grains and pulses I soak overnight.  After soaking, spread the seeds etc. on a tray and cover with paper towel for a few hours to dry out.  Store in the fridge with a paper towel in the bag to absorb excess moisture - your sprouts will last longer.  Even if you are going to cook the pulses & grains it  is beneficial to germinate them first.

How to Sprout 4 - 7days

 

Sprouting takes germination a step further to either a whole sprout that you can eat and takes 2-6 days of growth before eating.   If find the containers called “Easy Sprout” very good or you can use glass jars with mesh or cheesecloth lids.  Soak seeds overnight in water – allow extra water for expansion of the seeds, the next morning drain the soak water into a bucket and rinse the seeds and drain again.  Rinse and drain twice a day, the soak water you have saved could be used on a pot plant as it contains nutrients. You can also sprout large amounts of lentils and chickpeas in calico bags - just soak in water overnight, rinse and drain and place into the calico or hemp bag and hang the calico bags from a door handle for 2 days and they are ready and dry enough to store in the fridge .   Mung beans should be soaked in warm water, after they have germinated they should be sprouted in the dark with a weight on top to grow them straight – I use my steamer pot and a container of water on top to weigh them down.  After you have grown your sprouts to the desired size, spread them out on paper towel and dry off before putting them in a ziplock back with a fresh paper towel for storage. To green up the sprouts, place them in bright diffused light indoors for 8 hours - not in direct sunlight. Keep your sprouting containers clean & hygienic. Wash out calico or hemp bags. 

What to Sprout

 

Alfalfa, mung bean, red clover, red cabbage, broccoli, fenugreek, radish, lentils, mustard, chickpeas, adzuki.  I really enjoy fenugreek, red clover, radish and lentils. You can buy sprouting seeds from Green Harvest , Living Apartment , Eden Seeds , Sprout Organic

Micro-greens 7 - 14 Days

Microgreens take sprouting a step further and are grown for 1-2 weeks to reach juvenile foliage stage in a soil medium. The juvenile foliage is harvested with scissors.  I use organic potting mix with 2 large handfulls of vermiculite per bag.  I feed the micro greens with a weak solution of  liquid fertiliser such as Seasol Power Feed.  I use a 4 tier propagation shelf that has a plastic zip sleeve over the unit - these are available from Bunnings for around $40 - take care to ventilate when the sun comes out as the seedlings will cook if you leave the flap closed.  You may need wire mouse mesh over the trays if you have a mouse problem.

What to Grow as Microgreens

peas, sunflowers, buckwheat, rocket, kale, beetroot, broccoli, sweetcorn (grown in the dark),cress, daikon radish, mustard greens, wheatgrass (for juicing or smoothies).  

Supplies: Living Apartment    Green Harvest   Rangeview Seeds

How To Grow Citrus Trees

Some of the most useful permanent plants to grow for cooking are also decorative.  If you have some space I highly recommend Citrus and in particular lemon trees. 

Lemons - I grow 4 lemon trees as I use one or two lemons every day (sometimes more).  There are two main varieties that are suitable for Australian conditions - Lisbon & Eureka, both have multiple crops and can be espaliered or kept pruned so you can reach the fruit.  Lemons look striking as a feature espaliered on a masonry wall or fence. They are heavy feeders and need a high nitrogen fertiliser like chook manure applied a  few times in the growing season, they like well drained soil with plenty of humus.  Citrus trees like 20L of water per week in the growing season , and plenty of mulch around the root zone to keep the moisture in but do not mulch up to the trunk as this may cause collar rot.  Citrus grow well in an open sunny spot away from strong winds and if you live in a cooler climate you may like to try growing citrus against a north or west facing sunny masonry wall. Lemons in pots are more for decoration rather than fruit production. I have used Emperor Mandarin in some of my landscape designs in the past  as a hedge or screen - it looks stunning as it is evergreen, lush and can be pruned plus you get the fruit.

Daily Lemon, Water, Vitamin C Powder & Cayenne Pepper Morning Drink - Good Liver Cleanser

The Meyer lemon is not really a lemon but a cross between and orange and a lemon and are not as useful health wise or where lemons are called for in recipes as true lemons but still make lovely salad dressings.

 Lemon helps to make your body alkaline even though they taste acidic they behave as an alkaline in your digestion.  Lemons are very good for liver cleansing and contain vitamin C.  I use lemons, limes, oranges and unpasturised apple cider vinegar that still contains the "mother" in my salad dressings - all other vinegars are acid forming.

Tahitian lime, mandarins and oranges, ruby grapefruit and blood oranges are also good to include in your salads, juices and smoothies.  The zest of citrus skins adds a punch of flavour to many recipes.

How To Grow Brassicas

How To Grow Brassicas

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What Vegetables To Grow

Kale - "Cavolo Nero"

Kale - "Cavolo Nero"

With a small effort you can grow some of the most nutritious food possible, in fact some vegetables are super foods. Only vegetables and fruit provide the body with 1000`s of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and protein.  Yes,  plants contain protein - many of them contain more protein per 100 calories than meat.  Have a think about some of the largest animals on the planet - elephants, Rhinos, and Giraffes are all vegetarians and they get their protein from plants.  Scientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of the many phytochemiclas and the symbiotic relationship they have with each other, it is a fascinating area of new research.  Nature has it sorted, it is perfectly packaged and the 1000`s phytochemicals and anitoxidants work in harmony together to make all the nutrients available to your body.  Not everyone has time to grow a large vegetable garden, but everyone can grow either in containers or a small plot the most important ones or join a community garden or ask to use some land from a friend or relative. The most important vegetables to grow are the plants with the highest nutrient content per 100 calories, in particular the following:

Purple Mustard Greens

  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Turnip Greens
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Mustard Greens
  • SwissChard
  • Spinach
  • Cos/Romaine lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • Watercress
  • Tatsoi
  • Rocket/Arugula
  • Green lettuce (not iceberg)
  • Brussel Sprouts

Cavolo Nero (Tuscan kale or known as Lacinato or Dinasour Kale is my favourite and it is an open leaf cabbage from Italy used as a side dish or in minestrone in Florence).  Curly Scotch kale is my next favourite. Kale is simply amazing, it contains vitamins K, A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, manganese, fibre, copper, trytophan, calcium, potassium, iron, folate, omega 3 fats, protein, phosphorus, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Kale is a superfood. The nutritonal profile of all vegetables can very greatly and unless the nutrition is in the soil and the PH of the soil is correct the plant may not have optimum nutrition in the leaf.  I grow enough  kale plants to have 3 - 5 cooked serves per week for the family and also I eat it raw, finely shredded and added to salads.  I also add to to smoothies.  Eat a variety of dark leafy greens and not too much raw as some of them contain oxalic acid and may cause gout if you consume large raw quantities every day.  

Ruby Chard