Friday, May 7, 2010

I do have a plan for the garden, though it doesn’t really look like it. It is not written down anywhere but is in my head. Well, it is a kind of plan, and so far it is working.

I have realised that random gardens don’t work very well, for me anyway, and it really does need structure so you can reach everything and nothing is clashing too much. I like the whole companion planting thing but a lot of those herbs don’t grow here, or certainly not all year.

I decided on a square plan (never done that before) with long rectangle gardens each with about one metre square sections. However now, after talking with a friend, I also want round gardens made from old tyres, each tyre will have something planted in it, all those tyres are in a circle and then a garden in the centre of that. My friend also has a few acres and plans on doing this, so I am unashamedly stealing the idea and want to do it too.

I have always wanted gardens in tyres but my partner in crime and life doesn’t want anything so messy (he doesn’t always have an imagination), so anyway, I am going to incorporate this into “The Plan”. The only thing is I have to make so the ride on mower can still get around it all.

So far I have the square marked out with pots (and some plants in them) and I have one long rectangular garden. The clothesline is off to one side so I can admire the garden while hanging the washing out, and the hose from the tap at the dam can reach when three hoses are joined together, and I can use bore water for the garden to my hearts content.

A plan to have long and short term edible plants in the garden. The short-term plants are the usual things like tomatoes, cucumbers, some herbs, lettuce (if the grasshoppers don’t get them), pumpkins, stuff like that.

The long-term plants are the tropical ones that will survive all year and can be eaten all year. So far I have:

1. Sweet leaf – the leaves can be thrown in salads, sandwiches, curries, stir-fries etc. Vitamins A, B, B1, B2, C. Good source of potassium, good for circulation and detoxing the body. Easy to grow and little plants just shoot up everywhere (well, they do for me)

2. Abika – New Guinea Spinach. I just use it like any other spinach. It grows from cuttings and can get huge leaves.

3. Kang Kong – Chines Watercress. It is related to the sweet potato and spreads across the garden, easy to grow in warm climates. Vitamins A, B, C . Has Calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. Good for colds, anemia, boils and insect stings. Used in salads and sandwiches, stews, stir fries, soups and curries.

4. Sweet Potato – way better for you than white potato.

5. Betel Leaf – Easy to grow, puts out runners. It is a digestive, stimulant, antibacterial, antibiotic, and tonic. It is used for headaches, arthritis, joint pain, toothache, coughs, and asthma. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

6. Lemon Grass – Vitamins A, B, C. High in iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, calcium. Easy to grow by root division. Can be used to treat fevers, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and headaches. Is used in soaps, perfumes, food and drinks. It is used as a tea, in curries, fish and rice dishes, and stir fries.

7. Kaffir Lime – Vitamins B, C. It is digestive, antibiotic antioxidant. Used for coughs and colds, chest congestion, sinus, sore throat, aids digestion. The leaves are used to flavour Thai cooking, flavour meats, curries, herb vinegar and when crushes have a lovely smell.

8. Bay Leaf – It is antiseptic, diuretic, stimulant. Beneficial to health coughs sore throats, indigestion, and stress. Used as flavouring in meat dishes soups.

9. Stevia – Sweetener.

10. Galangal – Is a root spice and looks like ginger, is spicy but not as hot as ginger. Used in curries, stir fries. Good for stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting.

11. Aloe Vera – used for burns, insect bites and so many other things. Is a healing herb.

12. Mother of all Herbs – Also called “five in one herb”, “five spice herb” and other names. Vitamins A, B, C. Calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Used for sore throats, coughs, indigestion, stomach cramps, pain relief. Use chopped leaves with meats, vegetables, stews, stir-fries.

These are the permanent plants I currently have in the garden. They are so useful, and I often forget just how useful, I usually only think about what meals they can go in and forget about the medicinal uses.

All the above information has come from my very handy book “How Can I Use Herbs In My Daily Life?” by Isabell Shipard. I also have her other books which are very useful, easy to read wonderful books. If the house was burning they are one of the many things I would grab.

I am thinking about purchasing her DVD’s one day when we are financial again and the money tree grows, she also has a website, with information and you can buy her books and DVD’s from there too. They really are great books.

So that is my sort of plan, of course ever evolving, but trying to plant the most useful things for our climate. There is more but I think that is enough planning for one day.

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