What To Plant In September
How To Make Chicken Bone Broth
Healing Sole Himalayan Salt Water
Apple and Date Chutney
How To Dry Herbs
Colloidal Silver – A Safe Virus, Bacteria & Virus Killer
Remove Scale Naturally On Fruit Trees

Growing Beetroot


Growing beetroot

Beetroot is fine to sow or plant out as seedlings every month of the year in a sub tropical environment. While growing beetroot I have noticed that they do not do as well in containers in Queensland in the hotter parts of the year. The beet will not grow as large for me if the container (soil) gets too warm.

Plant Spacing: 20 to 30cms apart

Time To Harvest: 7 to 10 weeks

Compatible With :) : Onions, Silverbeet (Chard) Cabbage, Beans, Dill, Strawberries, Lettuce & Peas

Not Compatible With :( : Carrot, Sweetcorn, Spinach, Asparagus

Thinning out seeds is important as your beetroot will not grow large if it is squashed up against another beetroot plant. They will compete for space. When growing beetroot, keep the entire bulb covered in soil or the tops of the beets will be a different colour and not as nice to eat. Beets need nice rich and moist soil to maintain the moisture throughout the bulb. You can end up with a ‘open core’ in beetroots that haven’t had adequate water.

How To Use Beetroot

The growing beetroot leaves can be used in salads or in green smoothies.

The beetroot bulbs can be eaten raw – grated into a salad or coleslaw.

Beetroot is tasty when roasted. Stick it in the oven for around the same time you would roast a sweet potato.

Smaller golf sized beets are popular boiled and put in salads.

Nitrogen Fixing Plants

Alder is a nitogen fixing plant

Alder is a nitogen fixing plant

It was only recently I learnt that you can grow a productive organic orchard in a sustainable manner, without animal manure as fertiliser. There are a number of nitrogen fixing plants that can convert nitrogen from the air and cycle it down into the earth, creating a rich soil environment for growing plants. Mind you I have always thrown old kale leaves and other vegetable and herb leaves back onto the earth of our vegetable garden hoping it will rot and provide minerals to the roots below.

Nitrogen fixation works almost in the same way that a rainforest cycles around and around as its own ecosystem, re-birthing time and time again. Death and decay of leaves and matter bringing life back to the earth via the forest floor, time and time again.

Nitrogen fixing plants gather the nitrogen from the air and bring it down to the soil. This is extremely important as plants will not grow without nitrogen. And plants will grow better if they have access to good, fertile, nitrogen rich soil. See the nitrogen cycle image below:

The Nitrogen Cycle

The Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen fixers, such as legumes, have been use for many many years in permaculture to create a fertile and self sustaining garden system via leaf drop or by simply pruning some of the nitrogen fixing plant off and dropping it around your plants as a compost.

Nitrogen fixing plants also work below the soil layer by penetrating deep into the soil around the plants, aerating and stabilizing the soil. Because they take up nitrogen from the atmosphere easily and rapidly, they handle regular pruning well.

Can you over-nitrify soil?

You can kind-of over-nitrify soil…in the sense that you can plant more nitrogen fixing plants than you need. They will not thrive where there is enough nitrogen in the soil already. Most ground cover nitrogen fixers are okay in shade although shrubs and trees wont tolerate shade as much.

List of commonly used nitrogen fixing plants

  • Kudzu
  • Clovers (ground cover)
  • Soybeans
  • Alfalfa
  • Lupines
  • Amarillo Peanuts (ground cover)
  • Rooibox
  • Parasponia
  • Alderberry
  • Bayberry
  • Maku Lotus (ground cover)
  • Alyssum (ground cover)
  • Crotelaria Grahamiana (shrub >2m)
  • Pidgeon Pea (shrub >2m)

5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Canada

Miracle Farms, a 5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Southern Quebec, Canada

This is my favourite youtube clip of the week. Please watch, you wont regret it.

“Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing the amount of maintenance required. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plus several types of plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.”

How To Make Sole Salt Water

How to make Sole!

How to make Sole!

I started using sole himalayan salt water before the birth of my first child to prepare my body for pregnancy. I had lived a few ‘hard years’ in the lead up to the pregnancy so I wanted to detox and heal my body so it would carry a baby with ease.

The benefits were obvious the first day. I had more energy and after a week I noticed even more benefits. My skin and the pains in my fingers from years of typing had disappeared. 


How To Make Sole Salt Water

First you will need a large glass jar – 500ml or more, that has a glass or plastic lid. Definitely do not use a metal lid. It will corrode. I used a huge coffee jar (see above) that I had in my empty jar cupboard.

Secondly you will need to start with a quarter of a cup of himalayan salt. Celtic salt is fine as well. In fact you can even go 50:50 with both. Both will give you the benefits of the sole.

Place the sole into your jar and then pour over the top a cup (at first) of some purified water to about 5 centimetres from the top of the jar if using a 500ml jar – doesn’t have to be specific, read on to find out why.

Gently agitate (shake) the jar for ten seconds and you will see what happens by looking at the photo above. Alternatively you can stir with a plastic or wooden spoon (not metal). The salt will descend to the bottom of the jar but tiny particles will get taken up by the water and the water will become cloudy. And after a few minutes the water will become perfectly clear. Leave the mixture on your kitchen bench overnight.

If there is still salt in the bottom of the jar: The water hasn’t taken up that salt left in the bottom as it has reached its total absorption of the salt. This is okay. As you use the sole and gain more room in the top of the jar, you can add some more water and gently shake again, then in the morning you will see that more salt has been taken up by the water.

If there is no salt in the bottom of the jar: In this case you can actually add more salt. You want your water solution to be at its absolute saturation point to make sure the solution is right.

There should always be a least some crystals in the bottom of the jar so you know that the water is at its max salt saturation point. You can leave this solution on the bench. This solution will not go bad as nothing nasty will grow in the salt water.

How Do I Take The Sole (How Do I Drink It?)

Add one teaspoon of sole to a glass (using a plastic measure spoon – not metal). Fill the rest of the glass with your purified filtered water. Drink.

Wait at least 10 minutes before eating or drinking anything else.

Common Reactions To Sole Salt Water

I must admit it took me a little while to get used to the sole. I had spent years drinking and smoking and eating junk, so my body reacted with headaches and an urgent trip to the loo about an hour after drinking the sole. This only lasted a week.

Healing Sole Himalayan Salt Water


Himalayan salt has been used for hundreds of years to heal the body and it also contains the 84 mineral elements that are required by the human body to work optimally. The Sole Himalayan Salt (So-lay) solution supplies the body with the natural energy stored in the salt crystals and the body can hold this healing energy for up to 24 hours.

Mixed into as Sole (solay) using pure spring water and Himalayan Crystal Salt, you create a solution that provides all of the mineral elements found in the body as Himalayan Crystal Salt is the result of the accumulation of 250,000,000 years of sunlight and energy.


Sole solutions. Slightly cloudy as I had just moved the bottle.

Here is a run down of some of the benefits of Sole:

  • Balances the acidity and alkilinity within the human body. Alkilinity is said to greatly reduce your chances of cancer.
  • Regulates the water content of the human body.
  •  Good for your brain cells, keeping your brain hydrated and helping to break down and flush any alzheimers and dementia causing plaque. 
  • Prevents muscle cramps and restless legs syndrome.
  • Regulates your sleep cycles and assists with relieving insomnia.
  •  Assists in clearing your ears, nose and throat from excess mucous as it is a natural antihistamine.
  • This is also true for your lungs and especially of assistance for asthma and cystic fibrosis sufferers.
  • Assists with the uptake of vitamins and minerals via food in your bowels.
  • Sole will break down and eliminate plaque and stones such as gall, bladder and kidney stones and flush them easily from the body, rather than enduring the agony of passing stones or an operation.
  • For similar reasons, it can relieve other types of plaque build up such as arthritis.
  • Your skin will look better. They say your skin is a reflection of your gastrointestinal tract health. I have seen obvious improvement already to the skin on my face.
  • Because osteoporosis is the body taking salt from the bones instead of the diet, Sole may prevent and relieve osteoporosis.
  • Assists in balancing your blood sugar levels.
  • You have more energy as the cells of your body perform optimally.
  • Prevents varicose and spider veins – (Yay I am hoping it will get rid of my post pregnancy veins. Stayed tuned).
  •  Basically Sole is an all round healing elixir for the human body.

How To Make Sole & Dosage HERE

23 May 2010

Beetroot Chutney

beetroot chutney

Beetroot Chutney

Beetroot Chutney is an exciting and fragrant chutney with hints of Indian spice from the coriander. Beetroot chutney is good with cheeses and meats, fabulous in sandwiches or stirred through thick Greek yoghurt to make a dip for breads or crackers. Makes wonderful gifts when beetroot chutney is packaged in clean jars with cute fabric covers.  Ingredients

  • 6 medium (1kg) beetroot peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium (240g) onions, chopped
  • 4 large apples (800g) peeled and chopped
  • 2 large oranges (440g) peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
Beetroot chutney on simmer...smells amazing

Beetroot chutney on simmer…smells amazing


  1. Steam or microwave beetroot until just tender.
  2. Combine beetroot with remaining ingredients in a large saucepan.
  3. Bring to the boil then simmer, uncovered, stirring ocassionally for 1 hour until mixture is thick.
  4. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal when cold.

How to Grow Beetroot



Apple and Date Chutney

So good - Apple and Date Chutney

So good – Apple and Date Chutney

This apple and date chutney recipe is so easy and so sweet and yummy. You can enjoy this with Indian food, with cheese and crackers or with pork dishes. The sky is the limit. Your home will smell gorgeous when you cook this chutney as the apple, dates and ginger fill your home with their aromatic smells.

Apple and Date Chutney Ingredients

  • 2 cups Brown Vinegar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 2 Small Fresh Chillies, Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon White Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 3 Large Apples (600g), Peeled & Chopped
  • 2 Cups Chopped Dates (320g)
  • 2 Cups Chopped Raisins (340g)
  • 2 Medium Onions (240g), Chopped


  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, ginger, chillies, seeds and water in a large saucepan.
  2. Stir over heat without boiling until sugar has dissolved
  3. Stir in the apples, dates, raisins and onions.
  4. Bring mixture to the boil then simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for around an hour until the mixture is thick.
  5. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal when cold.

This Apple and Date Chutney recipe makes about 6 cups.

Chargrilled Marinated Capsicum

Chargrilled Marinated Capsicum

Chargrilled Marinated Capsicum

This is a simple Chargrilled Marinated Capsicum recipe to use with your surplus capsicums from your garden or if you are lucky enough to be given some or find some nice capsicums at your local farmers


  • 1 kg Red Capsicum
  • 6 Garlic Cloves – peeled and finely sliced
  • Sprigs of Thyme and/or Rosemary
  • 1 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup of Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat grill on high
  2. Remove pith and seeds then cut capsicum into quarters and flatten so capsicum cooks evenly
  3. Place the first batch onto an oven tray and cook until blackened and skin starts to blister
  4. Remove capsicum from grill and place into plastic bag and twist the top of the bag – regular fruit and veg shop type bags are fine.
  5. Leave it in the plastic bag or 5 mins to steam so the skin is easier to remove
  6. Do the same with your next batches of capsicum
  7. Remove the capsicum from the bags and peel off the skin
  8. Slice capsicum into long strips and place into sterilised jars with the garlic and herbs.
  9. Combine the oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper in a container and mix
  10. Pour over your jars of capsicum and seal.
  11. If the oil solution doesn’t cover all of the capsicum, add more oil to the jars.

What Do Chickens Eat?

Bottoms Up!

Bottoms Up!

So what do chickens eat? Chickens need a surprising amount of fresh water and a modest amount of either commercially prepared pelleted food each day or you can feed them grains like wheat, barley, rice or oats but will need to make sure they also receive essential minerals and protein.

If you don’t like bugs in your garden, letting your chickens out of their coop each day or putting them in a movable pen, allows them to scratch around for spiders, earwigs, snails, slugs, beetles, worms and grass hoppers. From what I’ve read, they’ll pretty much eat anything they can catch. They’ll also eat scraps from your table including favorites like watermelon and pad thai. Our chickens love pasta with pesto sauce!!!

Layer pellets are the best solution for a price and nutrition point for your chickens. We sometimes mix in layer mash (grain) with some grit to keep them happy. Grit keeps their shells nice and strong. Alot of your kitchen scraps are fine for chookies. Most fruit and veg scraps except for citrus fruits and avocado are great.

Layer Pellets

Layer Pellets

What Do Chickens Eat From Our Kitchen

Watermelon, pumpkin, tomato, lettuce and apples & apple cores. Old bread and bread rolls. Any grains or cereals. Oats is the biggest favourite!

Pasta, noodles and rice. A friend discovered that her chickens go crazy for left over pasta with pesto through it.

Other foods that are great for chookies are oats, pasta, rice and other grains. Every now and then we treat our chookies with fish, tinned cat food (seafood variety only) and a bit of dry dog food.

Dry cat food is apparently too high in protein for chickens although ours raid the cat food when we have our backs turned and we notice a huge improvement in their shell quality (hardness) and also an improvement in their general health, almost within a week.


Chicken Breeds

Below are your more common chicken breeds that are either/or good layers or meat birds and easily sourced from breeders or farm supply stores.


Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red chicken (below) is a common breed used in back yard chicken keeping as they are good pets and egg layers.They are large, reddish-brown chooks and the roosters are very handsome.

They produce about 200 darkish-brown, tasty eggs per year. We have one in our backyard called Matilda. This breed comes highly recommended.

Rhode Island Red Chicken

Rhode Island Red Chicken

Black Australorp

A black, very hardy and longer living chicken (below) that is an Australian breed. They are very placid and intelligent creatures.

They lay around 250 pale brown, very yummy eggs per-year. Australorps are the best all purpose hen for eggs, meat, offspring and entertainment in your back yard. For those of you that are into breeding for meat and self-sufficiency, their flesh is white and tender and are best to eat before 9 months of age.

Australorp Chicken

Australorp Chicken

White Leghorn

A white, very hardy and longer living chicken that can sometimes be a little noisy and broody. The leghorn is still a good layer but very flighty.

Leghorns can be cheeky by getting into your vege patch and flying over the fence. Their eggs are white. Leghorns produce around 195 eggs per year.

White Leghorn Chicken

White Leghorn Chicken

Isa Brown

Isa’s lay more eggs than any other chook, mind you, the Rhode Island Red and Australorp are a very close second. The healthy Isa will produce easily 260 eggs per year.

We have two Isa’s in our back yard. They are very friendly, inquisitive and intelligent chickens. Highly recommended as both a pet and for eggs production.

Isa Brown Chicken

Isa Brown Chicken

Bantam Chickens

Bantams are miniature chickens, (below) some being miniature versions of common breeds and other’s are totally different. Most bantams are good mothers, good pets and very good foragers.

They produce fewer and smaller eggs than the other breeds – about 150 per year, but are well fleshed for their size and good eating.

Bantam Chickens

Bantam Chickens

Are you looking for something more exotic with a touch of class? Below are all beautiful birds but don’t lay as much as the more common varieties above.

Redneck Lavender and Silver Wyandotte

A very ornamental bird for any back yard (below). They do not lay as many eggs as your more common varieties but make up for it with their idiosyncratic and entertaining demeanor.

Alot of people are starting to keep these birds for their pet qualities as well as their egg-laying ability. Such a pretty chook to have foraging around in your garden. Take note – the wyandotte is not a bird that would make good eating. Just incase you were wondering ;)


Wyandotte Chicken

Silky Bantam

Silky bantams are excellent mothers (below). They produce tiny and coffee-coloured eggs but only about 80 per year as they go broody often. They are ornamental birds with soft fluffy feathers and a fluffy topknot.

Their skin is a purply-black colour and do not make an appetising chicken to eat.

Silky Bantam

Silky Bantam

Light Sussex

A pretty, lovable and friendly bird (below). They lay very light brown eggs and have pure white bodies and lacy black and white necks. They are also an excellent meat bird and keep tender until about 9 months old. They are good mothers and lay about 120 eggs per year.

Light Sussex

Light Sussex