NZ Kitchen Garden

Home grown goodness for the kitchen and pantry


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There are holes in my brassicas, dear Lila

Is there anything more frustrating than tenderly raising a seedling, only to have it munched to pieces by a predator? Well, the white cabbage butterfly and it’s iridescent green offspring have found their home among my young broccoli and the results have been devastating. However, I hope that my recent efforts have thwarted their attempt to crunch their way through the second wave of seedlings that I planted out last night. Continue reading


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New growth spurs on Autumn enthusiasm

My vege garden has taken a backseat to raising our new baby over the last few months. However, a couple of hours clearing out the overgrowth and preparing my beds for autumn has renewed my interest and provided much needed motivation to make time again for my green thumb. Continue reading


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Raw food truffles

If you are looking for a little nibble that will get you through that 3pm craving time, these little almost-raw food truffles may be just the ticket. I was inspired by these little raw food treats called Foosballs, which I found at Hardy’s health store in Kerikeri. Here’s my take on it, using what I had in the pantry. Continue reading


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The proof is in the produce

What a month or so it has been for harvesting, now that we are well into summer! I have really enjoyed watching other people’s successes as they reap the benefits from their gardening passion. The vibrant colours of ripe tomatoes, colourful beans and rainbow silver beet, shiny courgettes, leafy greens and more, mean that I have been more “green eyed” than “green thumbed” during this plentiful period. Continue reading


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Garden Tour – 1 November 2013

It’s been two months since I provided my last garden tour and boy have things changed. Here’s the latest update on my garden – such growth, such change, such excitement for an enthusiastic vege grower like me! Continue reading


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Crunchy chicken salad that packs a health punch

Last night’s dinner was inspired by a dish call Metuvlun Saland from a local restaurant called Cafe Jerusalem. A cabbage-centered dish (stay with me), which is uber-tasty, filling and delivers a powerful punch when it comes to the health department. Continue reading


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Two ways with Spinach, Silver Beet and Kale

An abundance of leafy greens in my garden has prompted an hour of preserving in my kitchen. Now is a good time to bring in the last of my autumn spinach, silver beet and kale to make way for the next crop, which is branching out in all directions already. Continue reading


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Water, water everywhere

Oh what a glorious sight to behold! My do-it-yourself irrigation system, watering my veges twice daily. We’re on tank water, so it is the best noise hearing the pump turn on – previously, that sound would have me hunting around the house for a rogue dripping tap! We have two large tanks for just the two of us, so there is plenty of water to go around.

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Greek salad and lamb burgers

My go-to cuisine when I feel like detoxing or loading up on fresh vege is Mediterranean. Last night it was Greek style salad with lamb burgers – yum! Quick and easy to rustle up with most of the making in the preparation – or chopping, to be more precise. Continue reading


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Risotto Bianco with spinach and peas

The harvesting is ramping up around here, with spinach and peas for dinner last night. The inspiration for these gorgeous greens was Jamie Oliver’s Risotto Bianco; a basic risotto recipe, which is yummy on its own or great as a base for other flavours.

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There’s been a … harvest!

It’s time for a confession: I would rather look on lovingly at my well-stocked, heaving vegetable garden and never harvest anything. There, I’ve said it. Yes, it is a curse and this line of thinking may possibly contravene some unwritten law for vege gardeners. However, the only thing that eventually motivates me to harvest is the thought of losing my fleshy beauties to time, where they can be taken out by some stealthy suspect like rot or going to seed.

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Snails: Chemical warfare

My beer traps have been working wonderfully, trapping three or four slugs in each a night (many of them on the very large side) and a few tiny snails. However, after a while I noticed that my tender broccoli, cucumber and eggplant seedlings were disappearing, one bite at a time. When I arrived home after a long weekend away, smidgens of ravished stalks greeted me, making it blatantly obvious that either some slugs did not have the taste for beer or something else was making a mockery of my pest protection system. Continue reading


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Chicken Poo: a great place for fruit flies

There are masses and masses of little fruit flies flitting atop my three small vege beds. They are going crazy over the smelly, mucky, well-rotted chicken poo that I have mixed in with the soil. Apparently, it’s a great place for them to lay their eggs. Continue reading


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Unfortunately, ants like strawberries

For the last few weeks I have been patiently waiting for for the blush on my first strawberries to rise from their tips to their stalks. But, horror upon horrors, when I finally picked them, I found that the pesky ants had already beaten me there! Continue reading


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Putting the verve into vege gardening

The new books page on my site has a good list of the books and magazines that motivate me to work in my vege garden day-after-day, keep on top of the issues that can occur and then – of course – provide inspiration on how to enjoy the benefits of my labour. Continue reading


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Viva la envelope!

How many envelopes do you receive each week? I think that we must average between 10 to 20 at our house, even though we have moved to electronic statements where we can. It’s really easy to bin them or burn them, but in the spirit of reuse, recycle and re-purpose, I say “long live the envelope” and have down-sized mine to make excellent little seed packets! Continue reading


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Seeds in the midday sun

It’s such a lovely day here that my seedlings have found themselves out of their hot house cabinet and alongside a north-facing wall for a dose of warm sunshine. They were well watered early this morning and will be watered again tonight to make up for the drying sun. We have a high today of 16 degrees celsius and no wind to speak of. Perfect! Continue reading


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Spring is sprung

It feels like spring has been with us for some time, in some form or another. It’s the milder winter weather, the more frequent sunny days; or the daffodils showing and the blossom exploding from fruit trees. However, this week is officially the start of spring and it is a wonderful prelude to the ever-warming weather that leads us into summer. Continue reading


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Spring delivery

Excitement! My first online order of seeds have arrived from POD Easy, Edible Gardening! Thanks go out to NZ Ecochick for making me aware of the special:  buy $25 or more of seeds and receive 5 free packets of flowers and 5 free packets of vegetables. This is 5 free packets more than POD’s usual offer. Continue reading


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Zen and the art of seed collection

As I ran out of the door on the way to the UK at the end of June, I snipped around 30 puffy swan-like seed pods off my large Swan Plant.  I carefully placed them just inside the glass door in a sunny spot, so that they could dry out while we were away. As we drove away from the house, I had the warm sense of satisfaction that I would arrive home to perfectly dried pods, ready to be de-seeded. I would harvest enough seeds to keep me in Swan Plants – and beautiful Monarch butterflies – for many, many moons to come. Continue reading


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Slugging it out, eco-friendly style

En route to retrieve my iPhone from the glove box in our car the other night, I took a quick tour of my garden – torch in hand – to investigate whether it was indeed sneaky slugs that were munching their way through my young brassicas. It took a few seconds for me to see their shady selves, but sure enough, there were ten-to-fifteen of the slimy monsters caught in the spotlight. And not just slugs; a rather large snail was clinging on to the spindly remains of a tiny cauli leaf in a rather King Kong-Empire State Building fashion! Continue reading


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Garden Tour – 25 August 2013

One of my favourite things about blogging is being able to see everyone else’s vege patch and how they change structure, shape and colour throughout the seasons. The My Garden page and these Garden Tour posts are my karmic contribution for sharing with others. And, of course, a way for me to look back over the changes that have taken place in my own patch.

Not for the faint hearted, these posts will be chock-a-block full of images! Continue reading


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Sown Today

With the exception of last night’s incredible storm, the past few weeks have consistently brought light showers and cooler temperatures, which are soon warmed by the midday sun. It’s what you would expect being one week away from spring. Continue reading


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It’s getting hot in here

It feels great to grow your own seedlings, if you can. You need a little time and space, a little gear (like a hot house/cabinet), a little warmth, and then you need to remember to keep the tender stems moist as they grow over the coming weeks. Carefully selecting and packing seeds into seedling trays has become a day that I look forward to on my gardening calender. You reap the rewards every time you see the new growth and, of course, when you eventually plant them out and count the savings! Continue reading


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It’s Alive!

I guess that’s a bit dramatic, however I am so excited that my garden is still going through its first autumn and winter! Yes, growing has been slow – but there is growing, and that is the main thing.

The one year anniversary of my all-year-round vege patch occurs at the end of September, as that is usually when I plant my seedlings in preparation for harvesting over summer. This time last year, I wasn’t even thinking about my garden. The first day of spring would usually bring the first inklings of excitement and planning of what would take root come “planting weekend”. Continue reading


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Thai-inspired chicken soup

Well, I looked at my garden this morning and thought, “what exotic lunch could I make with you?” The answer that I came up with as Thai-inspired soup.

Thai-Inspired Chicken Soup

From the garden:  Lemon grass, capsicum, chili, spinach, spring onion, young celery, chives and coriander. Other ingredients:  cooked chicken, noodles, white onion, water, mystery-Asian stock cube, palm sugar, shrimp paste, fish sauce and mushrooms.

The time (all 5 minutes of it) was in the chopping of the vege and bringing the pot to boil. If you are like me and a bit unsure of how to prepare fresh lemon grass, watch this great vid. Continue reading


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Crime against beauty

I committed a selfish crime against my pretty little flower garden this morning, although it was for a good cause. There it was, all young and innocent and proudly sprouting its first bursts of colour – exactly what it was supposed to do. But, it is time for it to grow up (and out), so some tough love was needed. Continue reading