Category Archives: Food and Permaculture

Why should you be doing more gardening?

Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

Getting led up the garden path isn’t always a bad thing. You’d be amazed at the treasures and pleasures that await.

George admiring the flower he has grown.As a metaphor for life, gardening is the best there is. Think strong roots and firm foundations. It makes sense in any context, whether you relate it to family togetherness or designing a skyscraper. Any gardener will tell you that.

They’ll also say that life (and gardening) is better with barrowloads of patience. Plants grow slowly and no amount of rushing things (with fertiliser) will speed them up. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Gardening is also good for you. It helps people battling high blood pressure, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, helps moderate mood and alleviate stress and doubles as a workout. Did you know three hours of moderate gardening will burn as many calories as a one-hour gym workout?

But back to gardening itself. Gardeners understand the only certainty is change – it’s why everything looks proportional in a garden for only so long. Plants get woody or diseased. And they die. That’s why in 10 years no garden will resemble the way it is now.

Gardening is an exercise in accepting whatever happens. Going with the flow. Especially when it comes to native plants – our fickle locals can keel over suddenly and inexplicably. Healthy one day, dead the next. And this is why gardeners are such get-on-with-it pragmatists – they rip out the ailing and lifeless, and plant anew. Usually with another little experiment, in the hope it might be hardier.

But enough of metaphors – gardeners have a low-tolerance for fluff. They are ‘practical folk’ whose idea of fun is getting dirty – rugging up and hitting it in any weather, slogging through winter for the rewards of spring and sweating under sunscreen and hat while everyone else is inside with air-conditioning.

Using secateurs to cut the stem off a lemon.This isn’t as unappealing as it may sound. The seasons are so much richer when you see them up close – turning leaves, peaches plumping out, birds gleaning twigs for nests and butterflies appearing like magic on the first warm days of summer.

A flourishing garden is certainly a thing of beauty, although any keen gardener will tell you it isn’t just about the results. It’s about the doing. Gardeners know that every day you miss takes at least two to catch up. Hacking back the overgrown is cathartic but it’s really just damage control – the thing you do before real nurturing can begin.

Beyond the heavy industry of digging, pulling, chopping and raking, gardening is about watching for signs, day in day out. And then one day seeing them – like a tiny green bud on a stalk that, the day before, looked dead.

Gardening comes with some strange belief that all those growing, independent and capable plants somehow need you. They need your diligent watering and well-researched fertilising and pruning.

Who knows where such enthusiasm and dedication originates? Maybe gardening is in the genes, or maybe it comes from childhood remembrance of helping mum or dad on rose-coloured weekends when the distant sound of lawn mowers meant no school today.

You’re either into it or you aren’t.

For gardeners, nothing beats a day in the dirt – potting up cuttings, digging in fertiliser, hunting out weeds. Time either stops or it flies.

As a gardener you become part of a living world that has as many ups and downs as ‘regular’ life, but is infused with an extra richness that defies description. You know the feeling. If you don’t, get out in the garden and find out.

Why gardening is good for your health

  • Three hours of moderate gardening burns as many calories as one hour at the gym.
  • Gardening can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by almost 30%.
  • Gardening reduces the risk of obesity.
  • 75% of gardeners rate their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
  • People who grow more fruit and vegetables eat more fruit and veg.
  • Gardening is more effective at reducing the stress hormone cortisol than reading.
  • Gardening requires skills that can protect the brain from ageing.
  • Regular gardeners are less likely to suffer from dementia.
  • Gardening improves your memory.

Source: Blooming marvellous: Why gardening keeps you grounded

5 Permaculture Principles To Help You Start A Garden

Did you know Permaculture was theoretically developed by two Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s?

It’s one of Australia’s intellectual exports with a global network of practitioners and teachers.

Haven’t heard of Permaculture?

Permaculture is a set of principles that result in designing sustainable and productive systems. Systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community.

Permaculture mimics patterns that occur in nature, to make these systems energy efficient, low cost and with high yielding results.

Recently, I joined a 2-day intensive course to learn about how to grow backyard veggies with Michael Hewins from Milkwood.

Michael’s methods of food cultivation are deeply based on Permaculture principles.

I got in touch with Milkwood to find out more on how Permaculture principles can help you start a garden, sustainably and harmoniously with nature.

If you don’t have a backyard space for a garden, you can even start a courtyard or balcony garden, which can still be productive while helping you to maintain your connection to nature. Another gardening option is taking part in a community garden, getting your own plot, and doing your gardening there.

Here are 5 Permaculture principles to help you start a garden

1. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

Try this: Planting for your site – figure out where the sun falls and doesn’t, and when. The sunnier spots are always the best place for veggies to reach their peak of flavour and nutrition.

2. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not”

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

Try this: Nutrient cycling, which means employing methods that help you close the loop and feed your garden at the same time. Ideas include worms, bokashi buckets, compost e.t.c.

3. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.

Try this: Companion planting is a technique that can be used to stimulate plant growth and productivity, increase resilience to pests and diseases, hide your plants from pests or mask their scent to make them harder for pests to find, and attract beneficial insects which act as pollinators, such as bees, or attract beneficial predatory insects that will eat pest insects, such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies.

4. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race”

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

Try this: Propagating your own seedlings! Not only will it save you money but you become self-reliant when you grow your own seeds for food.

5. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

Try this: If you wanted to emphasise the Edge Effect Principle, you would perhaps lean toward curved edge garden beds, mandala design garden beds, or just use a large number of smaller rectangular beds.

These 5 principles are originally based from David Holmgren’s 12 principles of permaculture design.

Why is growing your own food important?

Growing your own instills a true sense of the value of food. It’s also a great way to reduce carbon pollution emissions that occur in the food supply chain, areas including transport, processing and food waste.

You can maximise the use of home-produced compost & ‘worm juice’ from your worm farm as fertiliser, rather using than artificial ones, and chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides.

Growing your own also makes a surprisingly powerful statement about reducing our reliance on others for basic sustenance.

So are you ready to start growing seriously great vegetables in your backyard?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below 🙂

Source: http://www.1m5 permaculture principles help you start garden

By: Bronte Hogarth

Happy Environment Day 2015 World..!!

Happy World Environment Day

World Environment day is celebrated on 5 June every year to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action  and reduce negative impact to protect the planet earth. People organise various programs globally to mark this day. Ideally, we should be grateful to environment every day  and should curtail any actions that have adverse impact on the environment and not limit our action to only one day of the year. However on this special day, we take this opportunity to thank and honour environment for all the privileges it has provided to us all. The theme for this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care” in short  “live sustainably”. Due to urbanisation and modern lifestyle, people are consuming more products than ever and subsequently creating more waste. In order to meet the growing demand of ever increasing population, we are not only exploiting our valuable natural resources but also limiting the access to these resources for our future generation through over extraction and pollution.

Below are  5 simple yet doable things that we can opt in our daily life to live sustainable life. What better day can there be to start this than today… Happy World Environment Day World!!

Reduce your Waste:

sort your waste

1.Before buying anything , THINK and identify if you really need or just want that item. Don’t buy if you don’t need them.

2.Reduce your waste by refusing, reusing and recycling the waste.

3.Put your household waste in the appropriate bin provided for general waste, recyclables and green waste so that more waste is diverted from landfill.

Save Water:

save water

4.Turn off the taps when not in use especially while brushing your teeth or shaving

5.Fix all the leaks including taps and toilets.

6.Take shorter shower and minimise the use of bath tub.

Save Energy

save energy

7.Turn off the light when not in use and replace your bulbs with CFLs

8.Use your washing machine only when it is full load and go for cold washes.Dry your clothes in the sun rather than dryers.

9.Make sure your refrigerator is in good condition. Get rid of second fridge or only use when required

Grow Your Own:

grow your own

10.Grow your own vegetables or buy locally grown food to reduce food miles and stay healthy.

11.Use natural pest controls and minimise the use of harmful chemicals

12.Turn your organic waste from garden and kitchen into compost and use them in your garden

27 Diagrams That Make Cooking So Much Easier

Do you love cooking?

Do you love experimenting with new recipes?

Do you like to try different substitutions for various ingredients?

Do you want to learn some fun and interesting cooking techniques?

Do you want to excel in your culinary skills?

Or most importantly

Do you want to reduce your food waste?

well… whatever might be the case, there is something for all of us to learn about cooking or master one’s cooking skill. Here are 27 diagrams that make cooking so much easier including some fun and interesting facts,  easy ingredient substitutions, conversion charts, what kind of mixer to use, knife skills, appropriate storage and much more….

27 Diagrams That Make Cooking So Much Easier 

posted on Jan. 18, 2015, at 2:19 a.m.

1. For making your own vinaigrette.

For making your own vinaigrette.

Which you should be doing, instead of buying the bottled stuff. It’s healthier and tastier, and it’s really not hard. Here’s everything you need to know about building a better salad.

2. For making substitutions when you’re missing an ingredient.

For making substitutions when you're missing an ingredient.

Pretty awesome. Via eReplacement Parts.

3. For cooking red meat exactly how you like it.

For cooking red meat exactly how you like it.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed. buzzfeed.com

If you’re going splurge on a really great piece of meat, you’d better know how to cook it to temperature. If you need more help, here’s how to make the perfect steak.

4. For spicing things up.

For spicing things up.

Sure, you can just dump a bunch of spices into your stew and it’ll taste good. But, you can take your home cooking to a whole new level if you really know which spices taste best with which foods. Via CookSmarts.

5. For making any soup from scratch.

For making any soup from scratch.

It’s actually s(o)uper easy to make a healthy, warming winter meal. Via Shape.

6. For Metric conversions.

For Metric conversions.

7. For boiling eggs:

For boiling eggs:

Cooking time varies depending on whether you like your yolks soft or hard. Here’s exactly how to boil an egg.

8. For volumetric conversions.

For volumetric conversions.

Plainworks / visual.ly

Why do math when this chart has all the answers?

9. For cooking with and maintaining a cast iron skillet.

For cooking with and maintaining a cast iron skillet.

© 2011 Yumi Sakugawa, as first published on http://WonderHowTo.com

Cast iron skillets are great for cooking because they’re good heat conductors, meaning they get super hot, stay super hot, and cook your food evenly. They’re especially great for getting a delicious, crispy crust on meat. Here’s everything you need to know about owning a cast iron skillet.

10. For making sure you’re using the right kitchen appliance.

For making sure you're using the right kitchen appliance.

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Good cooks know that sometimes it’s better to leave the hard work to a machine.Just make sure you’re using the right one.

11. For marinating meat to make it tender and delicious.

For marinating meat to make it tender and delicious.

Chris Ritter / Buzzfeed. buzzfeed.com

No more dry chicken. Here’s more about using marinades to make delicious food.

12. For knowing what oil to use.

For knowing what oil to use.

It’s important to know the smoke point of the oil you’re cooking with so that you don’t set off your smoke alarm and ruin your food. .

13. For when you’re too heavy-handed with the chili peppers.

For when you're too heavy-handed with the chili peppers.

It’s a shame when you spend all evening making a great dish, only to find that it’s intolerably spicy. Here’s how to tone down the heat.

14. For your next trip to the butcher.

For your next trip to the butcher.

Knowing the difference between cuts of meat means you’ll always be able to go into a butcher or grocery store and ask for exactly what you want. Plus, it makes for impressive dinner conversation. Full infographic here.

15. For knife skills.

For knife skills.

A sharp knife is a cook’s most important tool. Knowing how to use it means anything in the kitchen is possible. Via Visual.ly.

16. For knowing what kind of onion to use.

For knowing what kind of onion to use.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed. buzzfeed.com

You won’t ruin a recipe by using a sweet onion when a red onion would have been better, but different onions have different characteristics—some are milder, some are sweeter, etc.—so it’s good to know the difference. More info here.

17. For vegan baking.

For vegan baking.

You may have to experiment a little bit to figure out which replacement is best for particular recipes, but here’s a good starter guide on egg substitutions.

18. For hosting a party.

For hosting a party.

Running out is not an option. Heather from Chickabug has plenty more tips for party planning, cooking and decorating.

19. For cooking your grains perfectly.

For cooking your grains perfectly.

Via Good Eggs.

20. For making a sourdough starter.

For making a sourdough starter.

Freshly baked bread forever! This is how to make the perfect sourdough boule.

21. For cooking vegetables.

For cooking vegetables.

Well, for boiling or steaming vegetables. Via Kid Spot.

22. For filleting fish.

For filleting fish.

They’re much cheaper when you buy them whole, and filleting them yourself isn’t that hard. Via Wide Open Spaces.

23. For pasta lovers.

For pasta lovers.

Impress anyone with your extensive noodle knowledge. Get the poster (or see a zoomed-in version) at Chasing Delicious.

24. For perfect chocolate chip cookies.

For perfect chocolate chip cookies.

And by “perfect” I mean, “exactly the way you like them.” Learn more about how to make the chocolate cookie you want.

25. For grilling everything.

For grilling everything.

Fire it up. Via Visual News.

26. For knowing what’s in season.

For knowing what's in season.

Sure, you can find blueberries at the supermarket in December. They’re just not going to taste very good. From The Best American Infographics.

27. For knowing exactly how to store your groceries, and for how long.

For knowing exactly how to store your groceries, and for how long.

HAPPY READING AND HAPPY COOKING !!
 

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