Salad Alfalfa

25 Nov 2001

Buying seed in the small Yates packets turns out to be expensive – you need to use at least a couple of teaspoons of seed to get a useful quantity of sprouts. I’m going to try and get a larger seed packet from a health food shop or a nursery.

I’ve found that when you rinse the alfalfa, the shoots float to the top and the unsprouted seeds sink to the bottom of the jar. This makes it a lot easier to separate them for serving.

Yates (seed)

Salad Alfalfa. Alfalfa or lucerne is a real health food. It is rich in many nutrients, has high levels of vitamins and minerals. Excellent to eat in salads, sandwiches or with many dishes.

How To Use: Use a large coffee or jam jar.

  1. Place the seed in the jar, soak in tepid water for about 3 hours, covering the top of the jar with either muslin, cheesecloth or a cotton handkerchief.
  2. Pour off the water, placing the jar on a slant which will allow good drainage and ventilation.
  3. Fill the jar twice a day with tepid water, shake well and then drain off.
  4. In about 3-5 days, sprouts should be ready to be eaten.
  5. Once sprouted, sprouts can be refrigerated for about one week without losing flavour, provided they are placed in an airtight container.


18 Nov 2001: I started another batch, with about twice as much seed this time.

17 Nov 2001: Ate the alfalfa. There was only a few forkfulls, though – next time I’ll use a lot more!

11 Nov 2001: I soaked about half a teaspoon of alfalfa seeds in water to start the germination process, then poured them into a glass jar with a piece of fine gauze over the top. I drained them, then rinsed them twice a day. About 6 days later, the alfalfa was ready to eat. There wasn’t very much, though – next time I’ll use a lot more seed!

25 Nov 2001

November 11th, 2001

Beetroot ‘Derwent Globe’

Beetroot are excellent steamed for about an hour with their skin on – it peels off easily once they’re cooked. If you’ve only ever tasted canned beetroot, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the flavour of the fresh stuff.

Yates (seed)

Beetroot ‘Derwent Globe’. A rich red, globe-shaped root. Flesh is tender and sweet. Ideal Summer and Winter vegetable.

Sow: Each ‘seed’ is a cluster of 1-4 true seeds in a corky base. Soak for two hours before sowing to ensure water reaches the seeds. Sowing in trays of Yates Seed Raising Mix will allow all seedlings from each cluster to be transplanted later.

Care: Transplant when 3-5cm tall into a sunny well-drained position. Apply Yates Thrive Soluble Fertiliser occasionally and keep seedlings well watered. Obtain continuous supply by successive sowings.

Germination: 10-14 days.

Harvest: 10-12 weeks.


18 Nov 2001: When I checked today, the seeds were just starting to sprout out of the seed raising mix. They’ll be ready to prick out soon.

11 Nov 2001: I soaked the beetroot seeds in water for two hours before planting them out into the sand/coir box.

November 11th, 2001

Sweet Corn ‘Honeysweet’

25 Nov 2001

Yates (seed)

Sweet Corn ‘Honeysweet’. An early maturing variety of the popular new super-sweet corn. Large, even cobs with extremely sweet golden kernels. Very easy to grow.

Sow: When the soil is warm and all danger of frosts is over. Sow seeds in pairs in damp soil. No further watering is needed until seedlings appear. Thin out the weaker of each pair when approximately 15cm high.

Care: Plant in a well-drained, sunny position. Prepare soil by adding Yates Gro-Plus Fertiliser. Water regularly. Pick cobs when fine ‘silk’ has just browned. Protect seedlings from snails with Yates Blitzem.

A Hint For Better Crops: Sweet corn is best grown in blocks of short rows, which ensures better pollination and yield.

Germination: 6-10 days.

Harvest: 12-14 weeks.


1 Dec 2001: About three quarters of the corn seeds germinated this time – much better than last time, but still a bit disappointing. I planted them out with the rest of the corn seedlings – they’re a bit smaller, but hopefully they’ll catch up. If nothing else, at least the harvest will be spread over a longer period.

11 Nov 2001: I planted more seeds in seed trays. Hopefully these ones will do better than the last two batches!

10 Nov 2001: I transplanted the November seedlings into the top garden bed.Only about half of the seeds I sowed germinated. They seem to be doing OK so far, but I’m not sure why my germination rates are so low.

Nov 2001: More seeds were planted in early November in the sand/coir seed raising box.

Oct 2001: I planted corn seeds straight into the top garden bed. They didn’t germinate – I think they got too much water and rotted.

November 11th, 2001

Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’

Basil is a handy herb to have growing in the garden. You can knock up a pesto sauce at a moment’s notice, toss it through some pasta, and be eating dinner 15 minutes after walking in the door.

Mr Fothergill’s (seed)

Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’. This is an aromatic herb which has many culinary uses, and is particularly popular in Mediterranean dishes.

An annual, growing up to 38-40cm tall. It is a useful border plant and grows well in pots or tubs.

Sowing: during Spring in final position 5mm deep, spaced 30cm apart. Keep moist. Sow all year round if growing in pots on the windowsill. Basil thrives in a rich, well drained soil and a warm sheltered position.

Harvesting: pick the leaves as required, basil is best used fresh. Pinching out the tip of the main stem will encourage bushy growth or prevent the plants from flowering to prolong picking.

Culinary: the leaves impart a mild aniseed-clove flavour to salads, soups and omelettes and are delicious with tomatoes. Only add basil at the last minute when cooking or the flavour will be lost.


18 Nov 2001: The seeds are just starting to sprout. They should be ready to plant out in the garden within a few weeks.

November 11th, 2001

Bay Tree

12 Nov 2001

Norwood Industries (seedling)

Bay Tree (laurus nobilis). Slow growing evergreen small tree 9-15 metres. Warm position in sun or partial shade. Dark aromatic leaves, tree can be pruned to shape and size. Dried leaves added to spaghetti, soups and stews. Will happily grow in a large tub.


4 Nov 2001: I planted this small bay tree at the end of the middle bed in the vegie garden today. I’m planning to keep it pruned so it doesn’t grow much more than about 2 metres tall. Hopefully it won’t take over the garden.

November 4th, 2001

Roma Tomato

I chose Roma tomatoes this year because they’re resistant to fruit fly and other pests, and have heaps of flavour. The shade cloth and wire you can see in the photo below gives the seedlings some shade and protection from wind.

12 Nov 2001


9 Dec 2001: Staked up the plants, as they were getting a bit big.

4 Nov 2001: I planted 3 Roma tomatoes from punnet seedlings in the middle garden bed.

November 4th, 2001

Pea ‘Greenfeast’

23 Nov 2001 1 Dec 2001 1 Dec 2001 9 Dec 2001

Mr Fothergill’s (seed)

Pea ‘Greenfeast’. An excellent variety for the home gardener – one of our best cool season crops. A very hardy variety which crops well even in exposed areas. Requires very little attention. Choose a sunny position on well prepared, deeply dug, rich soil.

Height: 70cm.

Sow: Autumn through to Spring to avoid flowering during frost periods. Prepare flat trenches 15cm wide and 5cm deep. Plant seeds in zig-zag fashion along the middle of the trench allowing 5cm between each seed. Fill trench with soil and firm down gently. Rows should be spaced 45cm apart and approx 2m long.

Protect from birds with netting or black cotton during the early stages of growth. We advise using sticks or twigs to support the crop and this will make picking easier and improve yields. Keep well watered.

Harvest: crop will be ready approx 14 weeks from sowing. For the best flavour cook immediately after picking. When all the peas have been picked, the stems are a useful item for the compost heap.

Ideal for deep freezing.


12 Dec 2001: Picked another pod. Piled fertiliser around the base of each plant, as the new pods don’t look very big.

11 Dec 2001: Picked two more pea pods.

9 Dec 2001: Picked the first pea today – delicious!

1 Dec 2001: The peas are starting to flower, and the first few pea pods are growing.

Oct 2001: I planted the pea seeds straight into the ground in early October, around the same time as the sweet corn. I had a bit more luck with the peas – they sprouted pretty soon after sowing.

2 comments October 15th, 2001

The 19-Week Ultrasound

The round thing on the right is the baby’s head, and the round thing on the left is the tummy.
13 Aug 2001
This was actually our second ultrasound, but it was the first one where we were given a photo to keep.

Earlier in the year (around mid-June), Megan was knocked around a lot by morning sickness. I wound up taking her to Shellharbour Hospital outpatients, since she couldn’t even keep water down. The morning sickness had led to dehydration, so they rehydrated her and kept her in for two nights to make sure she had recovered fully. Three litres of saline later, and Megan was feeling (and looking) a lot better.

The bright side was that we got to have our first ultrasound. Apparently twins often cause severe morning sickness, and so can a phantom pregnancy, so they wanted to rule out those possibilities. Luckily, it was neither – just the little tacker shown above acting up.

13 Aug 2001 13 Aug 2001

August 13th, 2001

Bathroom Delayed by Management-Labour Dispute

KIAMA, NSW — Contract disputes over the meanings of the words “soon”, “progress”, “free time” and “when I get a chance” are causing further delays to the long-overdue Shower Recess Project at Number Thirty-Eight.

This new development is yet another setback for a project that has been plagued by misfortune since raising initial funding in late 1998.

The first indication of problems became apparent soon after the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, Darren Collins. Despite a promised immediate start date, it was several months before workmen appeared on site.

Said Collins at the time, “You don’t realise what it takes to prepare for something like this. It takes time to plan out a job of this size. You can’t just go out and buy the stuff you need from a hardware store. Well, you can, but how do you know how much stuff you’ll need?”

Soon after knocking out the first tiles, Collins discovered structural problems in the floor joists below the bathroom. The woodwork had rotted due to water leaking from the cracked shower base. Work was immediately halted over concern for worker safety, and local sub-contractor Adam Vidilini was called in to give expert guidance.

With structural integrity restored, several more tiles in the shower recess were removed. Work was interrupted again when management requested a new kitchen be installed. Further additions to the scope of the contract included a backyard retaining wall, gardens, a paved area and a “bit of a clean-up out in the computer room”. Collins also claims he was made to bring in washing on several occasions and mow the lawns.

Picking at a few of the loose tiles on site today, Collins remarked, “A job like this takes time. I just need a really good day of work, without any other interruptions. And it can’t be a hot day, or a rainy day. I’ve just got to find a bit of free time.”

When asked about several other bathroom projects of similar scale undertaken by friends of management, Collins replied, “Yeah, those jobs might have been done quicker. But at what cost? You can’t get a better quality of work than I’m providing, and certainly not at a lower price. I’m actually losing money on this deal.”

Despite these claims, management has threatened to call in a new contractor on several occasions. Collins has always protested, warning of possible strike action or lockouts if such a situation arose.

Negotiations are expected to recommence this week, and if all goes well work could resume as early as next weekend.

January 21st, 2001

Lemon Thyme

This is a fantastic herb for flavouring fish. It also goes well in chicken stuffing.

From the tag:

Renaissance Herbs (seedling)

Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus). This ‘dry’ herb thrives in dry, exposed, sunny spots in very well drained limey soil. Needs little fertilising. Perennial to 20cm high x 40cm wide. Pink flowers in Spring. Prune back to 10cm high in Summer for a healthier plant.

Classic Flavour Partners: parsley, garlic chives, Welsh onions, bay leaf, garlic, rosemary.

Classic Food Partners: chicken, fish, steamed vegetables.

Cooking: Lemon flavour with peppery thyme overtones. Excellent for sauces and stuffings for strong flavoured dishes.

We ended up using lemon thyme quite a bit in fish and chicken dishes. It was also nice on baked potatoes.

January 21st, 2001

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