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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How to make compost

I was very excited to open my Christmas presents and find a big, black, 400l plastic compost bin for my garden. Creating compost has been on my list of things to try once I had expanded and bedded-in the garden. Now is the hour, but where to start? Here’s what I’ve done to turn our house and garden waste into fertile fodder for next spring’s planting. 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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Planting Out: Time to harden up

It’s time to plant these little seedlings out in the big garden. So, they are spending a couple of nights out of the hot house cabinet and on top of the work bench before they join the rest of the vegetable patch. 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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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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Mandarin Gems

Mandarins – those teeny little, easy-to-peel orange-type fruit – are everywhere in the Far North of NZ at the moment. They are truly one of the best things about winter around here. I have eaten my fill fresh, so it is time to start bottling. I picked these little beauties up from a roadside stall down at the end of someone’s driveway, just down the road. 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


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The world for some Coriander!

If you are anything like me, then you will have struggled growing coriander at some point in your herb growing time. It is always worth persevering until you get it right, as coriander is a really versatile herb that can turn pork mince + oyster sauce + the humble iceberg lettuce into an authentic-tasting Asian extravaganza (fun for the whole family – use the lettuce leaves as spoons/scoopers). It is definitely one of the most used herbs in my kitchen. Continue reading


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Green Smoothie Base

I have my hairdresser to thank for this addictive and fibrous smoothie. Making it is simple, drinking it is enjoyable and the end result is a filling, good-feeling act of kindness to yourself. It must be, surely, since it is jam-packed with goodies like iron, niacin, folic acid, vitamins a, c, e, k and a few b vitamins – and several handy minerals.

Use it as a base recipe and experiment with complementary flavours, and other fruits and vegetables that will give you a boost in one mineral or vitamin department or another. Continue reading


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Seedling “Hot House Cabinet”

For some reason, growing seedlings has always been a messy, problem-laden experience for me and it mostly seems to be the contraption that I am attempting to grow within. I have bought and built various structures, but all have turned out rather flimsy or not quite right in other ways. This year I have decided to experiment with another idea. Continue reading