Jun 092021

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Angela Chung, Chris Kent, Jaimie Sweetman, Judy Vizzari, Lucinda Flynn, Lynn Wallace, Michelle Kohle, Patsy Hemsworth, Paul Hemsworth, Paul Morland, Rob Body and Wayne Tonissen.

We would love to hear from more of you and include some of your words about any food-related matters in future newsletters. Email us with your contribution(s).

Jaimie’s edible plant of the month – society garlic

[Jaimie Sweetman is the Head Gardener of the Edible Forest located on the Yarra Valley Estate in Dixons Creek. As envisioned a few weeks ago, Jaimie is going to write some articles for this newsletter about unusual edible plants. Her first article below is about society garlic. I asked her to write about society garlic because, although I have grown it for years, I never actually thought about eating it (duh!) until Jaimie gave me some to taste and it was rather yum. Tours of the Edible Forest, often led by Jaimie, take place on all days except Sundays – read more and book your place on a future tour.]

Working at the Edible Forest has introduced me to many different edible and medicinal plants. One of these that is not rare, in fact extremely common yet not typically recognised as an edible plant, is society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea).

Society garlic is a clumping perennial found in many Melbourne gardens. It is really easy to grow and does not require much water. Flowering for around 8 months of the year, with a lull of only a couple of months though winter, it makes for an excellent savoury edible flower. The flowers have a garlic flavour and are slightly sweeter than the leaves, which are also edible and can be used as a chive substitute all year round.

I use the flowers to top salads and give it that extra touch and flavour. They come in pinks, purples and white varieties, with both dwarf and variegated varieties available.

Originally named society garlic because the women of society could enjoy eating it without getting garlic breath, it is not actually in the garlic family at all so those intolerant to alliums (garlic, onions, chives etc) can still enjoy the garlic flavour of the flowers and use the leaves in cooking.

Society garlic grows fine in pots and can handle full sun so it is a great edible to add to a balcony if apartment living. It also looks good when mass planted to put on a show and add colour to the garden.

So, next time in your local nursery, consider adding society garlic to your plant collection.

[Here is a video of Jaimie talking about society garlic.]

Judy visits the garden of Jian Liu garden in Camberwell

Yes, this is the third week in a row that Jian Liu’s garden has featured in this newsletter! But there is a reason for that. Every now and then Open Gardens Victoria runs a competition for ‘best food garden’ or equivalent. Their last competition was in March and the winner was Jian Liu’s garden. When I found out about this, I contacted Jian and we agreed that Judy Vizzari would visit her garden and then write up the results. In parallel, and unbeknownst to me, Gardening Australia had also filmed Jian’s garden plus ABC Organic Gardener asked her to write about her gardening journey for their magazine.

Anyhow, Judy has now written up the results of her visit. The sub-headings on her article give a flavour of the write up:

  1. I’m transported into another world, this time the greenest of jungles.
  2. So commences our wander through a lush food forest.
  3. This forest, it seems, is a never-ending project.
  4. A busy working mum, what inspired her to take on this project?
  5. A wander-land and wonderland.
  6. I want my land to be productive, I want it to work for me.

There are also lots of photos.

Read the full visit writeup.

Want to buy some blood limes at $4 per bag

The Weeping Grevillea Nursery in Kangaroo Ground sells lemons and limes from a roadside cart (as well as grafted, weeping grevilleas). Its owner, Wayne Tonissen, has written in: “The current lockdown has been a real bummer for business but seasonal fruit waits for no-one. We have heaps of citrus now at their best and, best of all, the blood limes are here again. The blood lime, which was developed by CSIRO, is similar to the finger lime and has now become an important Australian native fruit. Just cut one of these little limes in half and you have a bold red flesh with a lime/grapefruit fruity flavour. Squeeze the blood lime half and the innards pop out like caviar!

Bags of these blood limes are available at $4 per bag from their roadside cart at 10 Bartletts Lane, Kangaroo Ground. Other seasonal fruit is also available. You pay by putting the money into their honesty box.

Want a new career challenge? Buy Going Green Solutions!

Going Green Solutions, who are based in Hurstbridge and sell eco-friendly products, is up for sale! “Established e-commerce business with an average of 11.4K visits per day. Range of eco-friendly products for households and businesses, including green cleaning, natural personal care, ethical gifts and compostable disposable catering supplies. Brick-and-mortar store with stable foot traffic and flexibility for new lease or re-location of shop-front.” Asking price: $280K ONO.

Read more by clicking the graphic right. Contact Lucinda Flynn (lucinda@goinggreensolutions.com.au) for more information.

Lucinda would be really pleased if a newsletter reader could take the business forward because “I am really hoping that it can go to someone passionate and also someone local. It just needs someone new and energetic to throw themselves into it and love it.

Want to run a social enterprise cafe in Bellfield?

Banyule Council is inviting expressions of interest for running a social enterprise cafe in Bellfield. They will then conduct a selection process. Closing date: 16th June. The cafe will be near both the Bellfield Community Garden and the Farm Raiser urban farm. Read more and potentially apply.

An addendum to our recent debate about protecting brassicas from white cabbage butterfly

From Lynn Wallace: “I’ve recently been shredding sage leaves and scattering them amongst my brassica plants. No caterpillars for two weeks now. I don’t suggest that this is scientific but, if you’ve got excess sage, it’s worth a try!

Do you know?

Michelle Kohle has written in: “The side of our property is planted with large ornamental pear trees and, sadly, they are badly infested with white fly which has also now started to affect our citrus and other shrubs. We are trying to be organic and not use sprays and I understand that ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies are great predators but they are not around at the moment. We have tried spraying with water but, with so many large trees, this has not been very effective. Is there anything I can do naturally to get rid of this pest? Also, should are we able to compost the leaves?Email your answer.


From Chris Kent: “As you can see from my fridge, it’s been a great year for persimmons!

Yes, I did know (I think)

Rob Body has written in: “I have raspberries in large tubs, I purchased them last August and they fruited nicely in Nov/Dec. I am now ready to prune the new canes and am wondering whether to prune now or in July/August when the leaves have finally gone. Could you please advise?

My reply: “Any time from now until August is fine.

Patsy and Paul Hemworth have written in: “Three days of temperatures around zero have not done our pumpkin vine any favours. In fact it has very few leaves left on it. We have 3 pumpkins on it and knocking on them indicates they are not ripe yet. What to do?

My reply: “I think that you should harvest them as they are not going to ripen any further at this time of year.

Do you disagree with either of my answers? If so, email me.

Making traditional (pogi) kimchi by Angela Chung


1 napa cabbage (aka wombok).
1 cup Korean coarse sea salt.
6 cups of water.
1 small daikon (aka Korean) radish, julienne cut (i.e. into thin strips).
¼ nashi (aka Korean) pear, julienne cut (i.e. into thin strips) (optional).
3-4 spring onions or garlic chives, sliced.
1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour for rice paste.
1 teaspoon sugar.
½ cup Korean red chilli powder.
¼ cup salted shrimp (aka saeujeot), finely minced.
3 tablespoons fish sauce.
2 tablespoons garlic, minced.
1 teaspoon ginger, grated.
5 cups kelp (aka dashima).

Note that some of the ingredients above may only be found in Korean groceries.


Clean the outside the whole napa cabbage by taking off the dirty or damaged leaves. Wash out if needed. Cut it lengthways into quarters.

In a large bowl, dissolve half of the sea salt in 5 cups of water and wash through the cabbage. Sprinkle sea salt between the leaves and brine in salty water for at least three hours (overnight is better).

Rinse the cabbage and drain it in a colander.

For the kelp broth, boil 5cm square kelp in ½ cup of water for 5 minutes. Mix the rice flour and sugar with ½ cup water and simmer over low heat until it thickens to a thin paste. Allow it to cool.

Mix the garlic, ginger, salted shrimps, fish sauce, Korean chilli powder, kelp broth and rice paste to form a seasoning. Add the spring onions, pear and radish, then mix well.

Working in the bowl of seasoning, spoon the seasoning mixture between the cabbage leaves, ensuring that it is fully covered.

Roll up the seasoned cabbage quarters and place in an airtight container, spooning any remaining seasoning over the top. Press the kimchi to remove any air bubbles, seal with a lid and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours (or 12 hours if it is particularly hot) before moving to the fridge.

* * * * *

Angela runs a small business called Pop-Up Pantry, which is an online store delivering pantry and household cleaning products direct to homes within 10km of Macleod. She is also at Macleod Market on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 9am-2pm.

Next week: a recipe for making easy garden kimchi.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Lucinda’s article about her kitchen sink area.

Joke (or pun) of the week

A girl said that she recognised me from the Vegetarians Club but I swear I’ve never met herbivore.

Read more jokes.

Upcoming events – introduction

Website calendars

By type of event: All once-off events, Cooking, Everything else, Garden tours, Free.

By Council area: Banyule, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

In the list below, events costing $10 or less are in bold.

For Covid-related reasons, some of the events below may have been cancelled or deferred.

Upcoming events – not cooking

Newly announced

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
In Richmond

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