Sunday, March 22, 2009


I have been asked how to grow okra and how to cook with it. I like silver queen okra - seems to grow well here (Newcastle area). I grow mine from seeds and they are very easy to propagate. They love sun and heat so I have planted my okra seedlings in the front garden whick is north facing and recieves sun all day. The flowers are yellow and pretty little things, though they only last a day and really don't stand out.
The okra pods need to be picked when small or otherwise they tend to get hard and woody. When picking them pick with a bit of stalk intact as the okra have this slimy viscous sap inside them. Not at all attractive - like snot was Zippy's comment.
Before cooking the okra I prepare them the Greek way by washing and trimming the stalk but dont remove the cone shaped tops. Place in a bowl and pour over vinegar. Turn to coat and then let stand for 20 min. Then rinse well and dry gently. This reduces the slimyness and prevents them splitting when cooking. I use the okras in casseroles or with stir fries. Just remember to keep them whole. They are a tasty vege and easy to grow if you are in a place which gets enough sun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A few months ago I decided to plant fruit trees/vegetables/herbs in preference of exotics or even native trees. I decided that when deciding on what to plant my main factor would be food production, followed by trees native to this area. No more buying for pretty flowers alone or lush fast growth. No now I want my garden to be able to feed us.

My latest plantings have included 4 olive trees down the side boundary of our property.
One navel orange - taking the citrus plantings to two lemons, one mandarin and now one orange.
One dwarf banana tree.
One dwarf avocado tree.
One mango tree tree.

The dwarf fruit trees are in pots in a very sunny corner in the pool area. They get sun just about all day in this area and being on pavers and close to the colourbond fence get heat transferrred from these sources too.

My dwarf fruit trees were purchased from my local nursery. There are a few good Australian sites


Both have lots of information on growing dwarf trees in pots, bags or in the ground. Now for the patiences - a few years and I should be rewarded with some delicious home grown fruits.
Funny thing is that just when I am thinking I have ran out of room to plant anymore veges or shrubs or trees I find more - a little less grass or I remove an ornamental plant. Really I think I can find a home for a few more yet!
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