MY BOOKS

dolphin 001 flight from ledron 001 Tui Garden 001 quaky cat 001 teddy bears promise 001 best loved bear 001
   I’m a writer as well as a gardener, and these are just a handful of over 200 publications I’ve written for young readers.

You can see my writer-profile on the NZ Book Council site.

  Check out my books and articles here: National Library

 

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Yakon are Here to Stay! Winter them over – NOW!

Here’s how to divide your yakon, and winter them over in the greenhouse.

#After digging, sever the stem 20cm above the rhizomes (the knobbly bits which grow above the edible tubers).

#Gently break the rhizomes apart (or slice them with a sharp knife if necessary. (For best results each rhizome should weigh no less than 80-120 grams.)

#Dust the broken/cut surfaces with copper powder.

#Half fill large bags or pots with compost. Place the rhizome on top and cover with more compost. Add a mulch (such as sawdust) to suppress weeds.

#Store the bagged rhizomes in the greenhouse (or in a sheltered spot where frost will not reach).

#The rhizomes will send up new shoots and leaves. After all danger of frost is past, plant the new yakon into the garden.

Top tip: Yakon sweeten 2-3 weeks after harvest so don’t be disappointed if your                                                               freshly dug tubers taste bland.

                                 DO YOU GROW YACON?

 

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Get the Low-down on Growing Giant Yummy Yams

Yams are odd creatures – they have their own peculiar set of demands. But growing them is easy when you know what they like.

 Here’s how I do it:

  • When preparing the bed, keep your soil light by digging in plenty of compost.
  • Biff on some seaweed over winter and let it rot down.
  • Hold back on the nitrogen (it only grows tops – and it’s the tubers you want to encourage).
  • Add phosphorus – lots!
  • Source your yams from farmers’ markets, friends, garden centres, Trade Me. Steer clear of supermarket yams as they are often treated to stop them sprouting.
  • Plant in spring as soon as the first frosts are over (yams like a long growing season).
  • Plant only evenly shaped tubers that are no less than 6cm long.
  • Plant in holes about 15cm deep and 15cm apart.
  • Harvest yams after the autumn equinox (late March in NZ – when day and night are of equal length).
  • If you live in a frosty part of the country, harvest a week or two after the frost has deadened the tops thoroughly.
  • Wash and dry the yams and store them, covered, in a cool, dark place (as you would potatoes).

Top Tip: hungry birds like to harvest yams, too. As soon as the tops die off, cover the garden bed with a net to keep the birds from pecking the yams before you harvest them.

Did you know: 

Yams come in different colours – yellow, pink, and orange. Plant a variety.

Yams are self-mulching because the tops grow rapidly to cover the ground.

If you have any yam-growing tips, or questions, please leave a comment & I’ll get back to you pronto!

 

 

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The secret to growing ginormous yams is …

 

… give them all the phosphorus you can lay hands on – plus loads of seaweed. Guano, compost and bone meal are all natural sources of phosphorus but be careful where your guano comes from – some is taken from bat caves, and the excavation destroys the bats’ homes.

 

 

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The World’s Most Southerly Yacon?

Source: The World’s Most Southerly Yacon?

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The World’s Most Southerly Yacon?

Can yacon really be grown successfully this far south?

You’d better believe it!

Two plants produced a total of 11 kilos of tubers (and in an appalling summer)!!

 

The largest tuber weighed 654 grams!

 

We think we’re growing the the world’s most southerly yacon!

Do you agree?

 

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A dosa-a-day – why not!

I ate my first dosa after a 17 hour bus trip on a nightmare road from Manali to Delhi (it was a long time ago).

I was riding on top of the engine in a cramped cab while the driver  chewed beetle and popped pills to stay awake.

The dosa was like manna from Heaven. Now they’re my regular breakfast food.

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Why is so little known about this ancient vegan cheese?

 

Because only very poor people made it and hence it wasn’t something to be boasted about.

Recipes were kept ‘hush-hush’.

Search ‘kishk’ and you’ll find out just how difficult it is to nail details on how to make it.

It’s made from grain.

 

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