Preparing a meal from scratch.

A meal prepared from scratch is rather special or even unusual for many families when both parents are working, kids are to be taken to sport and its so easy to nip into the supermarket and buy something quick to pop into the microwave.

We find that it's more satisfying if the meal is made from home-grown food, nurtured from seed or seedling and protected from possums, heat and drought.

Why is it that a lettuce or cucumber picked from the garden and sliced for your salad seems so much more valuable than the one from the shops? Maybe because we all understand the effort that has gone into its creation
and are intimately linked to this piece of green that provides our sustenance.

If you have poor soil as most of us do in Brisbane, you’ll feel all the more appreciative. Coaxing healthy food from the depths of shale or clay is all the more challenging.

Sometimes we need a little help to connect us with the joy of growing and eating our own fresh food. Be generous and share your tips and traumas about growing food. You’ll be surprised how many people
will be interested.

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  • Thanks for thoughts on Bean Fly, I have kept them out with exclusion cloth, but its more difficult with climbers. Have now planted some dwarf in my 'white house'which is made from exclusion cloth, hope this does the trick, but wont be any good if they live in the seed.
  • Yes the bean fly does hang out in the bean seed, emerging usually when the seed has sprouted. You can find some seeds with holes in them already. Reject the whole pack if this is the case as the others will most likely be infected with the eggs as well.
    As for freezing, some seeds stand up to it quite well as you can imagine from those plants that grow from seed in tundra and other arid or cold regions. I am not sure about beans. Any ideas anyone?
    Elaine I am on leave for a little whoil;e and will expand on the Life Force products when I get back. Cheers, Linda
  • Yes I do cover my beans, but it gets a bit difficult with the climbers, dwarf can be covered till they flower. Certainly a bad year for the fly, I wonder if the big wet has anything to do with it. I also find the fly on long bans that have self seeded all over the place, perhaps they act as a host? Never heard that the fly is in the seed- anyone know? I think bean seed would still be viable after being frozen. I now have some dwarf seed to try so will plant them in my "white house", which hopefully will exclude the fly, but they are so tiny I'm not sure.
    I would also like to know more about the Vita Guard
  • Yes Elaine I do use an exculsion cloth to cover my beans, with dwarf this can be left on untill they flower, then usually the plant is OK. Trouble with climbers its not so easy to keep them covered. I'm not sure that the fly live in the seed, i've never heard that before. I think the long wet might be responsible for the numbers this year. The other thing I noticed they are attacking my long beans which are popping up all over the place, so may be they act as a host even though it does not kill them. Roll on the cold weather which seems to kill the fly for awhile. I now have some dwarf seeds which I am going to try out in my new 'white'house, ie a structure from exclusion net which I hope will keep the fly out - but they are so tiny not sure it will work - will let you all know. I'd also like to know more about the Vita Guard.
  • Jane ... did you tell us that you used horticultural cloth over your beans until they get established? Sounds like a very good idea! The bean fly is more active in the hot months so beans should be un-troubled by them now, let's hope. Linda ... do the eggs of bean fly inhabit bean seeds? :-O ... surely you'll kill the embryo bean? Can you expand on the Vita Guard in the 'products and services' section?
  • The bean fly is just TERRIBLE this year. I admit to never havng had it before, but the heritage climbers and bush beans have all been afflicted inthe prime of their growth. The result is very few plants at all. I think the bean fly have come in from a pack of either climbing princess or Molleys zebra seeds I bought. I have read that freezing the seeds for a few days before plantng will kill the bean fly. I must give it a go andhope I don't kil the seed germplasm. I also know that bean fly dislike comopst rich soil, but many ofmine were grown in a no dig bed which is all compost really. I am now treating the remainng beans with the Life Force product called Vita Guard. It has been successful in building the resistance of my cauliflowers and cabbages to insect attack. They explain it's like a rescue remedy for plants. Lets see how it goes with the bean fly.
  • Linda, I know what you mean, I have been growing veg & fruit for over 30 years & it still gives me a thrill to cook & eat home grown produce.
    Tonight its roast lamb - not home grown, but all the veg are, pumpkin, sweet potato, arrowroot,with rosemary & garlic all baked with the roast. More arrowroot in an orange & ginger sauce with a topping of coconut.And the greens are our first pak choi of the season
    So far the cabbage white have left them alone, cant think why, but all my climbing beans have had a bad dose of bean fly. Will have to plant dwarf beans so I can keep them covered longer.
    Must baste the roast.
  • Yes, you know I always reckon gardening is a 'spectator sport' for many. And yes, it really does bring you in contact with the earth in a different way. Getting to know that your food is dependent upon a web of fertility and nurturing from humans and organisms is a very humbling thing. Many just don't have that concept yet. I think there is the potential to introduce them to a new way of thinking though. Slowly slowly.

    I have just seen off a friend whi is a landscaper, a great one indeed. He has created his new garden completely from recycled items. He is enjoying growing his own food for the first time and was saying how much more rewarding and 'connecting' it was for him and his new family. There is always something to be investigated and picked from the garden.

    Tonght we are having the first of our baby purple topped turnips for dinner. They will be beautiful, lightly steamed and drizzled with a light sauce of sorrel, onion and butter with a dash of vegetable stock.
  • Hi Linda, I agree completely. I get funny looks at uni from people who think gardening is a waste of time, or when I take my fruit peels home for the compost. There are others who are interested, even if they don't have the space to garden where they live and I've been able to take some produce and seeds to share so far.

    I'm not one to do things the easy way and I enjoy eating and sharing the fruits of my labour - literally. We have clay soil here and I'm surprised how quickly it is improving and how much healthier (lots of worms) it is now that I've started to look after it and nurture it.
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