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IN THIS ISSUE  (click on the topic to go there directly)



At our November meeting Malcolm and Chris Jefferies gave the group a very insightful outline of their experience this year of outreach provided through Frontier Services. Opportunities exist for volunteers through Frontier Services to assist with flood and fire support. Property owners provide a list of tasks to be completed and Volunteers choose their tasks.


Chris and Malcolm spent three weeks volunteering with drought assistance in Cunnamulla on a 25,000 acre cattle and sheep station which is experiencing its sixth year of drought. Whilst seed is in the ground on Charlotte Station, the pasture ground is bare, and they rely on artesian bore water. The family hand feed a few pet sheep. The property hosts feral goats and Chris and Malcolm assisted in the erection of a 75km dog proof fence with a 300mm apron of mesh on the ground to prevent digging from one side. There is government subsidy available, so if a group of station owners all agree, they engage in cluster fencing and fence at the one time. Feral goats provide meat and fleece which provides an income for the station. Hay and molasses are delivered to the paddocks.

Chris and Malcolm also spent time on Waroo Station in St George.

Here they found that even though sheep were drenched a couple of months prior, flies were attaching themselves to sheep. Once flyblown, sheep deteriorate very quickly. A little rain had come through, the grass had greened and cattle were starting to fatten. 


Photos show: Malcolm and Chris with the owner of Charlotte Plains, Chris with a baby lamb whose mother had died, and Chris in the Artesian bath.


The evening finished with a slide show of many of our events of the year. We managed to fit in many workshops and lots of teaching and hands on experiences. Well done everyone involved. Thank you Trevor for putting this show together.

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HOW TO SOW SEEDS: by Haley Beck.

Some seeds are best started indoors to get a head start on the season e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, leeks, tomatoes, chilli and capsicum. I grow mine in the laundry where there is natural light and air.

Use coir peat for the sowing medium and cover seeds lightly with perlite. You can use a propagating kit - a tray with a see through lid - which is good if leaving seeds out overnight as it keeps the seeds moist and at an even temperature. But seeds can be planted in just about anything - meat trays, egg cartons, yoghurt pots etc. Water seeds every day with a fine mist so they don't become too soggy.

When the first true set of leaves arrive it is time to harden off seeds that have been grown indoors. Put the trays outside for a few hours in indirect light, increasing their exposure to the elements each day so that by the end of the week they are used to sunlight, wind, rain etc and ready to be planted into the prepared bed. Do this straight away - don't over harden off. For best results, transplant in the late afternoon and water in with seaweed solution to give the seedlings a chance to pick up before the sun comes up.

Some plants don't like being transplanted and have to be sown directly into the ground eg carrots, beetroot, Asian greens, turnips and parsnips. A good trick for carrots is to water well and then cover with a hessian bag. Then water every day until germination when you can remove the bag. Carrots do not like to dry out.

Small seeds only need a depth of half a centimetre. Large seeds are best planted straight in the garden at a depth of 2-3 cms. such as peas, corn, beans, pumpkin and squash. Water peas and beans once and then not again until shoots appear - otherwise they could  rot. Pumpkin and squash like good drainage so do well planted in small hills.

Watch out next month for more on seeds - Saving and storing.

Additional comment: Very small seeds or plants that don's like to be transplanted such as carrots can be grown in toilet rolls or paper pots and misted daily as above. Their roots will come through the wet cardboard or paper.

Once these show, the rolls or paper pots need to be planted whole and watered in thoroughly.

Very few plants show any sign of transplant shock. It reduces the need for weeding a lot! (Peter Van Beek)



The following information - all about seeds- is from various recent Brisbane BOGI newsletters.

"A good gardener always plants 3 seeds - one for the bugs, one for the weather and one for him or herself"  - Leo Aikman.

You can make your own seed raising mix:

1 part sphagnum peat moss or coir peat,    1 part perlite,     1 part vermiculite.

You can make your own potting mix:

3 parts coir peat,   3 parts compost,   1 part vermiculite and then add in some blood and bone, dolomite and aged manure - sheep, cow, chicken

Frontier Services
Organic Rice farmer

Organic Rice Farmer Peter Randal - NSW Riverina

(This information is from a wonderful and inspiring  article in the October Organic Gardener Magazine by Nathalie Craig.)

There are only 7 organic rice farmers across Australia and 400 using chemicals. Peter Randal and father Tom had their rice farm certified organic in 1989 after watching many local farmers die of cancer. It is no secret that the Riverina is a hot  spot for cancers and he blames the high use of chemicals in farming through the region.

Peter says organic rice farming is more of an art than a science, a bit more risk and a bit more work. He uses long rotations and direct seeding. His farm works on a four year rotation, meaning the crops go back to pasture for 3 1/2 years. A clover -based legume is planted in the pasture, which leads to a build up of nitrogen. Sheep also graze the pasture, chewing through a kilogram a day, which contributes to fertility. After 3 1/2 years of that, the fertility is pretty strong. Rice loves nitrogen and clover is allopathic to some of our rice weeds.


This method of farming is the complete opposite of industrial rice farming where the farmer would actually kill the clover with glyphosate, rather than harnessing it for its nutrients. Peter says that most industrial farming is essentially hydroponics, because the soil is dead, the living microbes wiped out by the chemicals.

Pests are kept to a minimum by the long rotations and the clover pasture acts like mulch. For Peter the number one challenge when it comes to organic farming is the only element you cannot control: the weather. This year's very dry winter caused the clover to just about die and the weeds to prosper and his yield is down by about 50%. Most other years he will produce 250 tons of rice.

He produces Doongara, Koshihikari, Long grain and Jasmine rice -  in white, semi brown and brown varieties. These are milled fresh each week on the farm. In the last 2 years Peter has won food awards for his rice and thinks he is the first rice farmer to do this. It is now used in the best restaurants around the country. Fans of the rice can also buy it through farmers markets, health food shops and online.

Back in 1992 a small group of farmers formed The Riverina Organic Farmers Organisation and now there are 35 families involved, some with mixed farms with livestock, wool and crops. It is though that there are quite a few conventional farmers "sitting under the radar", who are almost ready to go organic. Wonderful!!!

There is a substantial obstacle to going organic - the promotion of industrial farming and the funding of agricultural science by chemical companies. "Monsanto (and other companies)  fund universities and they are still perpetuating the same malaise" says Peter. And our government doesn't actively promote organic farming. 

What can we do? Demand organic produce!

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January in your garden

January in your Garden - By Kay de Gunst   

Here are some good tips to help you this Summer.

o  To grow zucchinis in Summer, surround them with marigolds to keep out the pests. 

o  Terracotta pots absorb water, so a plant in a terracotta pot will dry out a lot quicker than one in a ceramic or plastic container.

o  Blood and Bone sprinkled on top of mulch and around plants, repels possums and deters them from eating our crops.

o  Slugs hate caffeine, as it causes them to produce an excess of slime which immediately dries them out and prevents them moving onto and eating your plants. Sprinkle spent coffee grounds around a line of seedlings or a new plant, will keep the slugs off. 

o  Insects can’t stand plants such as garlic, onions, chive and chrysanthemums.  Grow these plants around the garden to help repel insects.

o  When planting seeds or transplanting cuttings, always label the pot with the name of the plant and the date planted.

o  When using potting mix, add 50% well rotted compost for better results.

o  White plastic knives from “fast food outlets” make excellent markers for plants.

o  Life’s short – garden hard!  And remember to water wisely.


Below is a list of plantings suitable for our area and climate in Summer.   

·      Seeds to be planted directly into your prepared ground:

Asian Vegetables;  French Beans / Snake Beans; Carrots; Chokos; Eggplant; Leeks; Lettuce; Marrow; Mustard Greens; Pumpkins; Radish; Shallots; Squash; Sweet Corn; Sweet Potatoes; Zucchini.

·      Seeds to be planted into seedling trays:

Chilli; Eggplant; Capsicum; Tomatoes; Cucumber; Lettuce; Sweet Corn; Tomatoes.

The club has a seed bank library consisting of seeds from our member’s gardens.   Club members have the opportunity to swap or select organic seeds for their own home garden use.   Happy gardening.

BOGI Shop Product - Fish Emulsion

It is made from fish and is organic and bio-degradable. Some varieties are made from the whole fish, and some with the rubbish from fish processors. Either way it is a natural source of nutrients for all plants and soil. For plants it can be used directly on foliage or indirectly through soil. When applied through the soil it stimulates the soil microbes, therefore improving soil fertility and plant growth. The natural oils make it a good wetting agent, therefore we can add other fertilisers, pest or fungicide with it. A diluted Fish Emulsion mix can prepare seedlings for transplant and helps to avoid transplant shock.

Observations - Ginger



by Pamela Burgess

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It was early October when I first noticed the gingers that had overwintered in the wicking bed (photo right), overplanted with celery, dandelions & taro, were poking their spring shoots into the air. That was a signal to me to go inside, check the ginger roots in the bucket of dry sand that was used for storage of any ginger roots that were not processed or used immediately after harvest last autumn.

I found that many had produced juicy 1" roots in the sand, so these were immediately planted into their prepared bathtub, which had been covered in about 4" of horse poo & mulch, 3 months previously.


Here is the November observation, with photos. The ginger in the wicking bed is now, mid November, over 2' tall, dark green & lush. The ginger that was transplanted from the sand to the garden, is between 8" & just poking through, light green & small.


The outcome for me is that ginger prefers to remain in moist & shady ground over winter. The results speak for themselves. So if you want a great jump start for the new season, replant or allow to remain in the ground, your next seasons ginger crop, preferably with root system intact. Heavily feed with manures in July, mulch & feel free to use the soil around them for other winter crops.

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My daughter- in- law Karen is a GP in a remote Aboriginal community called Kalkarindji, 5 hrs. drive SW of Katherine in the NT. One of the nurses is trying to start a veggie patch there, as fresh fruit and veg are very hard to get. So I have given Karen some Moringa seeds which came from Trevor's tree and the names of our 4 favourite summer greens for hot climates (Okinawa spinach, Sambung, Leaf ginseng, and Kang Kong). Leaves from the Moringa  tree are one of the most nutritious greens on the planet so here's hoping we can make a difference.   Greer.


Courier Mail 20-11-18

Recipe: Miranda Payne.

Serves 4:  Preparation time 20 mins.

Cooking time 10 minutes:



  • 80g korma curry paste, plus 1tbsp extra

  • 1tbsp natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve

  • 500g lamb leg steaks

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 brown onion, sliced

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 2 cm pieces

  • 250g brown basmati rice

  • 500ml vegetable stock, warmed

  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained

  • 200g green beans, blanched, cut into thirds

  • Roasted cashews to serve

  •  Fresh coriander sprigs to serve






1.  Combine the extra 1 tbsp curry paste and the yoghurt in a bowl.

     Add the lamb and toss to combine. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium -  

    high heat. Cook the onion and eggplant, stirring

    occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly caramelised.

    Stir in the rice, curry paste, stock and chickpeas.

    Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook

    for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is

    cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered,

    for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile heat the remaining 2tsp oil in a separate frying

    pan over a medium heat. Cook the lamb for 2-3 minutes

    each side or until browned and cook to your liking.

    Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and set aside for

5  minutes to rest. Slice.

4. Fluff the rice mixture with a fork. Stir in the beans and lamb.

    Divide among serving plates. Top with the extra yoghurt,

    cashews and coriander.  

Biryani - lamb
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