Sheep manure

by Penny Woodward

Rhys with his sheep manure

Rhys Benbow with his truck and sheep manure

A bag of sheep manure

The Gift of the Wooly Beast

In searching for the best manure to use in my garden I drew up a list of requirements. I needed to be sure that:
1.It was not full of chemicals like pesticides and worming agents.
2. It was easy to handle.
3. It hadn’t travelled too far to get to me.
4. It wasn’t full of weed seed.
5. It wasn’t too fresh.
6. It wasn’t too expensive.
The best result would be a nearby organic farm that was happy for me to collect the manure for free. Unfortunately that doesn’t exist in my area and organic farmers these days realise the value of their manure and either use it themselves or charge well (quite legitimately) for it to be removed. Local chook farms are not organic as the manure is full of the pesticides used to keep pests at bay, a definite no! I have used local horse manure, but always compost it first as I never know whether the horses have been recently wormed. Although horse manure has weeds, if I collect it locally, they will be local weeds so chances are I already have them in the garden. But last year I found an alternative solution. I discovered The Gift of the Wooly Beast (lovely name) and since then this product has been the only manure I have used in the garden. Read more

Love-in-a-mist

By Penny Woodward

Deep blue love-in-a-mist flower

The striking blue flower of love-in-a-mist

A beautiful delicate-looking annual with feathery blue-green leaves, love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) reaches about 40cm in height and despite it’s looks is surprisingly tough and easy to grow. It can be grown from the tropics (in winter) to cold temperate regions thriving in most soils as long as they are well-drained. Read more

Dragon fruit

Article and photo by Gail Thomas

Exotic dragon fruitIt looks as exotic and decorative as its name, is a hugely popular fruit in Vietnam and is now a familiar sight on greengrocers’ shelves in Australia.
Dragon fruit’s origins are in tropical central and South America, it’s a member of the cactus family and while there are red and yellow fleshed varieties of Pitaya, as it is also known, it is the white-fleshed Dragon Pearl fruit (Hylocereus undatus) also known as Thanh Long which is the most common variety available commercially. Read more

Lettuces

Article and photos by Penny Woodward

Crispmint, flame and Australian yellow leaf lettuces

L to R, Open hearted lettuces Crispmint, Flame and Australian yellow leaf

Now that the weather is cooling and autumn is really here it is a great time to plant lettuces. If you immediately think of the ubiquitous plain green hearting types like icebergs, then think again. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good crisp hearting lettuce but lettuces aren’t lettuces any more. They are red and yellow and spotted and bitter and sweet and curled and smooth. They are also fast growing and versatile. Grow them in pots and hanging baskets, use them to fill an empty spot as slower growing crops develop or grow them as a border in an ornamental garden bed. With the variety available you should never be without lettuce to add to your salads.  Read more

  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2017.
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