Being careful 

We have to be careful with this little plant. No, it’s not poisonous or invasive. To someone who doesn’t know that we planted them, these shoots look just like the young shoots and leaves of a notorious (but edible) garden pest Soursobs (Oxalis pes-capre) who’s yellow flowers cover the land at certain times and are the bane of old school gardeners.  Oca, or New Zealand Yams as some call them are a perennial root crop, just right for our under-understorey of root and tuberous vegetables. The brightly coloured tubers come in a range of reds and oranges and darken with storage. I’ve heard of some large ones, but all of those I’ve seen seem to beverage 2-4 centimetres (if you’ve any bigger specimens, get in contact, I’d love to get some from you).  This is our third attempt. All of the others were dug up and eaten by our older dogs in the past. I’ve spread them around the garden,

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Fundraising food! 

Our great friend, Pam, is holding a high tea to raise funds to help Jelina and Aunty Ellen get to Vancouver to present their paper at an important conference. Here’s the link if you want to join us today… Pam has been preparing a high tea and Jelina has been making traditional Filipino foods. Both gals have been working overnight. Wow. We’ll be drawing the raffle after everyone’s eaten…

Oka progress report

I haven’t had much luck growing Oka (Oxalis tuberosa also known as New Zealand Yams) in the past. It’s either been eaten by dogs (Charlie and Bronson both enjoyed digging them up and eating. Bless you boys, wherever you are), rotted from too much moisture or shrivelled from the opposite). This year I thought I’d give it another try so I ordered a bunch of tubers from Tassie through eBay.  It’s been over a month since they were planted in groups in various micro-climates around the garden and I couldn’t resist rooting around to find one to see how they are going.  The one I found is still plump and undamaged and has a little shoot popping out. Hooray, we might be successful this year! 

Time for this one… 

I like this time of year, it’s time for my favourite foraging food… Blackberry Nightshade…  It’s also the time of year when passers-by tell me ‘don’t eat that! It’s poisonous’! Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a delicious relative of  the humble Tomato. Like tomatoes, the berries are the best bit. Berries are best picked and eaten when they’re black. If they’re black and readily drop off the plant into your hand they’re ripe. If you have any doubt, leave them be and certainly don’t eat them if they’re green! As one of the Solanum family, they contain toxins in the green parts that aren’t good for us but like the tomato and potato, they have parts that are quite delicious. Young leaves can be eaten in small quantities  like any leafy green but the older ones are off limits – they have higher levels of toxins and are tough and yucky!  Herbally, leaves have been used for small skin infections

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Dwarf Mulberries

The Dwarf Mulberry that we planted  a couple of months ago has surprised us and produced tiny fruit! The Mulberries are only about the size of my little fingernail. They’re not quite ripe but we’re really looking forward to tasting them. We hope they’re sweet!        

The Native verge

The Native verge garden is underway and, in true Ligaya Garden form, everything is edible or medicinal as well as being drought tolerant. I’ve put in seedlings of Acacia retionoides (wirilda) Myoporum insulare (Boobiala) and Dodonea viscosa (Sticky Hop Bush). The Acacia is a fast growing legume to stabilize and replenish the soil that was disturbed during the neighbour’s building. It will shade part of the garden in Summer and provide us with tasty seeds and seed pods. The seeds can be roasted and ground to give a nutty, slightly aniseed flavoured powder. It’s the least drought tolerant of the three and so is planted closest to our neighbours drive where he waters every day. Boobiala is a dense, fast growing tree that it would take a nuclear incident to knock off. That’s why it’s in the centre, to provide lots of protection for the garden throughout the year. It will also provide us with tons of little berries that

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Cut Leaf Mint (Prosanthera incisa) in flower

Cut Leaf Mint (Prosanthera incisa) is one of our favourite Native plants. This plant is commonly called Cut Leaf Mint, Native Thyme (not to be confused with Ocimum tenuiflorum or the closely related P. rotundifolia which also have that same common name) or Native Mint (I know, there’s a couple of those too…). We love to grow it because of its strong odour, even just passing a hand through a bush is enough to get that minty smell around you for an hour or so. Cut Leaf Mint is easy to grow and tolerates the Aussie Sun quite well. Regular harvesting of leaves and stem help to keep its low, bushy shape. Without this, Cut Leaf Mint can get really straggly and unkempt. Herbally, Cut Leaf Mint shares many of the characteristics of others in the same family. Its strong oil can be used as an antiseptic and antibiotic or antifungal, we can use the tea to help settle the

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