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Warrigal greens and other preferences

I'm really taken with growing and consuming Kale in the cooler months and Sweet Leaf ( AKA: katuk, star gooseberry:-- small SE Asian tree which is deciduous south of the Tropics) in Summer, but I sometimes run out of green eats -- in part because I use these leaves in everything.

So I'm exploring Kangkong (AKA:water spinach, water convolvulus) which regrettably does require a lot of moisture to bring on. I also grow Portulacas but i'm finding these fleshy leaves a bit gluggy.

However, there's another option which I've started growing: Warrigal Greens (AKA: New Zealand Spinach) . The stuff is easy to grow and that attribute may have a little to do with the fact that it grows native and wild along the shoreline here.

Toxic oxates need to removed by blanching first, but Warrigal Greens aren't bad at all...and I'm saying that as a person who doesn't like Spinach or Silver Beet. I'm not giving Warrigal Greens the heads up just because they're 'bush ticker'. In the right recipe they work (even though I still prefer my kale and sweetleaves).

This brings me to the core question of what I prefer to grow and what, for now, my garden will grow. 

It's all about what I want to eat.

I'd like to grow a lot of different things but my soil (and  my skills) aren't quite there yet. But here's my working list.

Kankong - Spring Onions - Small tomatoes - Herbs, especially heaps of parsley - Kale - Peppers (although not very successfully) - Sweet Potatoes (if I can keep the water up to them) - Zucchinis -- Cucumber - Warrigal Greens - Salad veg esp the chickories -- Chillis -- PawPaw -- Mulberry -- Chokoes -- Snake Beans -- Sweet Leaf - Figs - Pumpkin - Portulacas - Bananas - Gooseberry - Loganberry - Tomatillo - Eggplant - Leeks.

You'll note that root vegetables aside from the  the rambling sweet potato don't grow well (at all!) in my garden because the soil layer is still so thin.

Now that I actually can refer to my patch as bona fide 'soil' I can get down to the serious business of targeting specific plants in order to grow them well. 

But hey! there's a lot of frustration emanating from some species: large tomatoes, Peppers/Capsicums, Strawberries,Pepino,  even most beans. And 'quality produce' is not an across-the-board thing. My soil and I still don't trust one another to make the babies I yearn for.

But then in other related gardening news there is a 70% chance of an El Nino phenomenon this year which means I need to seriously work at drought protecting my garden.That means I gotta really up its carbon content in order to hold onto what moisture it gets.

That's my rule-of-thumb.So I'm really working on my honey hole recipes. Digging and filling these trenches seem the most efficient way I can introduce such matter into my soil. I'm relying on my worm army to do the menial work so I take the approach that if I keep the worms happily fed and fecund I'm ahead of any drought.

I'm also looking forward to late Winter when the Mulberry loses its leaves. Then I'm planning to cut me a lot of  branches and strike them around the border of the chook pen as a hedgerow.My chicken wire frame (made from collected driftwoods) is protesting under the weight of choko, passionfruit and Madagascar Beans so I'm gonna f grow myself a new fence.

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Comment by Dave Riley on April 14, 2014 at 8:58

I'm absolutely smitten with mulberries.Like a lemon it is a garden essential.I ven planted one on my nature strip for the neighbourhood use.They grow well almost anywhere and strike easily from cuttings. Then they produce a bountiful harvest.

Mulberry trees in chook pens is a respected tradition I gather but then I thought why not hedgerow --esp as all I need is cuttings and the habit to keep the trees in control. And mulberries warrant yearly hacking I reckon otherwise the fruit I too far up the tree.

The problem with mu chook pen is that I have a Jack Russell terrier built like a wombat and every now and then he breaks into the chook pen (he is a bulldozer) no doubt after rats. The complication is that where he breaks in the chooks get out and they start digging up my garden. So this is the background to the Mulberry proposition: a wall of mulberry bushes .

Just on that here's a post by  Jerry Coleby Williams about keeping pawpaws trimmed and ...

I'm a great believer in shortness for trees: nothing higher than the house if only because I hate all that gutter business..and storm damage.

I have a huge Silky Oak way up the back -- and that was the only thing in the backyard when we got here 4 years ago. It's an indulgence: I only hope it is long lived and stays white ant free and upright with all its limbs.

Comment by Lissa on April 14, 2014 at 5:33

I've only just started using Warrigal Greens and have been pleasantly surprised at how palatable they are. The patch is now thriving and producing lots of deep green leaves for me - and it's growing in one of the cruddiest spots in my garden! another thumbs up for it.

Comment by Jane on April 13, 2014 at 11:58

I think thats a jolly good list Dave. I find its no good slaving away with plants that do not grow well or easily in my patch, its better to concentrate on what grows well.

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