I’ve been thinking for a while about writing about all the different edible plants we have in our gardens, there really are so many and I’m often asked “how many exactly”? well, here we go, I’ll endeavour to write about one each week, it may be a herb, veggie, fruit, flower or seed, as long as it’s edible and it’s growing here on on our farm in Margaret River it’s in.
I’m going to write about them when they are in season and we’re eating them, as I’m the foody in the house and get most inspired by the harvest and the eating. I’m also going to interview my partner Dorothee (the gardener) about growing each one. The information I’ll share will be entirely related to how we go about things, which we totally understand may not be the only way.Over the years Do has proved to be an amazing gardener and has supplied our cafe, our courses, our retreats and numerous other events with hundreds if not thousands of wheelbarrows full of the most amazing produce.
I’ve often thought about this and wondered where to start, the beginning of the year, the beginning of the season, the solstice, the plants that start with A etc . In the end I’m just going to start now and start with what I’m finding delicious in the garden right now….
An annual herb, all parts can be eaten.
The first time, I tasted this rather pungent herb I really didn’t like it, now I can’t wait till the weather gets cool enough to have it in abundance. For me having plenty of basil in the summer months and coriander in the winter months is an absolute must.
I’m a great lover of Asian food so having big bunches of fresh coriander to chop up and sprinkle on soups and curries is heaven for me. Coriander looses it’s flavour once cooked so I always save it for the very last minute.
When the coriander becomes just too abundant I make a fresh pesto with it.
1 cup fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
1/2 cup soaked cashews
juice from 1 lemon
2 table spoons olive oil
pinch of salt
Soak cashews in enough water to cover them for a few hours.
Put all ingredients (including the water from the soaked cashews) into the blender. Blend until smooth, add salt, pepper, chilli to taste.
Serve with toast, crackers, zucchini wraps , rice, veggies, fish.
While you’re enjoying the taste of this fabulous herb, don’t forget it also has great health benefits.
Full of vitamin A, C and K, it is also known for being full of antioxidants as well as being antifungle and antimicrobial.
And that’s just the leaves, the seeds are an amazing food source but I’ll write about them when they’re in season.
I plant from late summer through to early spring.
Do you plant with the moon
Yes on the new moon, in the first week
How do you prepare the soil
I use a broad fork to aerate my soil and add compost and No Frills rock dust, if I have some worm castings I add that to my compost (about 10%).
Seeds or seedlings
I always plant seed that I have saved form previous years, I never plant seedlings because they will bolt. I make farrows and make a line of seeds inside. They take about 10 days to germinate (you can soak them if you want to the day before).
How far apart do you plant the seeds
I just sprinkle them in
How do you manage them
When the plants are big enough (around 1 month) I will thin the bed to give them space.
I plant 3 beds 1 or 2 months apart so that we have coriander all winter
How long before I can start eating
I start harvesting when they are about 7 – 8 weeks by cutting at the base.
Do you need to protect them from pests and disease
Not really, just sun protection in early autumn which I do with shade cloth
I make my own mix using nettle and comfrey tea.
What are some of the common problems
Bolting which is hard to control. If the weather changes dramatically the plants will bolt and there’s not a lot to do except to harvest the bolting plants and keep the ones that don’t bolt for next year’s seeds.
Can you save the seeds
Yes make sure the seeds are brown and dry when you harvest them
I always chose the nicest plants that go to flower last so that they will be the best.
Next plant….Sweet Potato