Spring has arrived with a sproing. There’s a vibration of renewal, freshness, burgeoning life in the natural world. Buds are bloomin’, bees are buzzin’, birds are bonkin’. But it ain’t birds bees or buds that bang my spring drum. It ain’t the warming sun or the big blue skies.
It’s a spring vegetable that, picked fresh out of your own organic backyard garden and given a simple treatment, is that rarity – a food experience that cannot be improved. The perfect dish.
Big statement, yes. Stay with me. All will be revealed in a moment. Continue reading Here’s the Perfect Spring Dish – and Ferran Adria Agrees!
Well, in my last post, you were warned! This post is unashamedly an anti-lawn rant.
But let’s start with some conciliatory words. Lawns can have a place in a domestic setting. I’ll cop that. They give kids a clear space to play in that is forgiving when they take a tumble. Backyard sport is an Aussie childhood tradition and lawn is an intrinsic element of that – my brother and I played some epic backyard tennis-ball-soccer games as kids, with the garage side door as a goal. And taking the Burley out for kick-to-kick on the front lawn without bringing down the powerlines that hovered overhead was a challenge we rose to endlessly.
Those days are long, long past, and I have not done my bit to extend the family tree. There seems no reason to have a lawn in a kid-free zone, and I’m pleased to say I dug the bastard up some years ago (the lawn, not the kid) – see previous post. Good riddance, and I’ll explain why directly. Continue reading Gardens, Not Grass!
My old man was an accomplished backyard vege grower. That was back in the days when superphosphate was considered a modern wonder of the world. Back when kids gidgied plentiful cobbler in the Swan River, and the banks were dotted all through the summer evenings with the gloria lamps of family groups prawning – and catching more than they could eat. When chucking a dropnet or two off any number of river jetties would guarantee half a kero tin of wide blue mannas in a couple of hours.
It was difficult at first to associate the use of fertilisers by home gardeners like my old man with the poisoning of the Swan. All we knew about his veges were that they were bloody delicious – his tomatoes beyond compare – and the products of his spare time sweat. And some earthy wisdom that he tried on occasion to impart – profoundly unsuccessfully. My brother and I were uninterested, wilfully so in my case. I lived in reaction to my father for most of his life, and it was only after he was gone that I got to understand the stupidity of my stubbornness and what it had cost me. It’s an understanding that grows with the years, rooted in the soil of missed opportunity and regret. Continue reading The Waterwise Gardening Revolution