Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Taking the GOOD with the BAD

Gardening for me is a learning process. I have learn't soooo much in these last few years in the garden. I've added heaps of new plants to my list of 'Plant it and have a go'.

I've two new plants in the garden which I have been excited to watch grow....Rosella and Chinese Water Chestnuts. My Rosella hasn't exactly been what you would call a success...but I have learnt lots while attempting to grow it....But the Chestnuts are going great!

Annette Mcfarlane has an informative PDF on Rosella; and according to her notes...I think my plants fell to 'root rot'. I couldn't understand why after all the rain we had a while back caused my plants to become sad looking....I was sure they had gotten plenty of water....but they began looking like they were dying of thirst just the same....

Rosella with Rootrot
Rosella with their calyx
inside the calyx are the seeds
So I've learn't lots about growing Rosella, and will take it all under my wing next season when I try again.....I've excepted the fact that I can't do anything with such a small harvest of calyx, so the one reasonably healthy plant that stands away from the others will be saved for it's seed. Some good came out of this bad after all....because I will have enough seed to use next season. You have to look at the bigger picture and not dwell on what you don't have...but focus on what you DO have. I have Rosella seed for next year! Yayyyy!

That was the bad news....now on to the GOOD news........I've talked about planting my Chinese Water Chestnuts before....in my water garden (the neighbors bath).

The Chestnut reeds are beginning to dye off....which is natural....I will be saving the reeds for weaving...Once they are all dried, they can be soaked to make a good medium for weaving.

Long thin Reeds of the Chinese Water Chestnuts
are beginning to die off
almost ready for harvest
(The other leaf is Water Celery)
I started off with just a few Chestnuts just like these. (Thanks Sonia)....For your water garden, mix a 50:50 of rich compost with sand...and build a good layer of that on the base of your water garden...fill with water and plant a few Chestnuts. You can purchase them online or better still, barter some from a friend to begin your own patch. If they have dried out, or have been frozen, they will not be viable. So fresh is best.

Their taste is unique, but sweet, crispy and fresh. I would describe the flavour as a blend of coconut, apple and maybe sugarcane.......I do have a hard time explaining flavors, so if you can help here...please feel free to leave a comment.

We have been enjoying them fresh from the water garden, or simply sliced thinly into salads. The boys aren't too keen on them whole as a snack, but their salads are still being eaten.....lol. Mum struggles with the skin if left on.....so I peel them roughly when I add them to a salad...but me...I eat them straight from the pond.

Chinese Water Chestnuts

I believe they hold their crispness after cooking too which also improves their flavour and texture. They can be added to all sorts of meals including stews, curries, soups and stir fries. Many Asian recipes include Water Chestnuts.  There is also an Asian drink made by blending raw chestnuts in water  or boiling them or their skins in water for 15 to 30 minutes...adding a little palm sugar to enhance the flavour. The drink tastes like water that has sweet corn added to it.....and it is believed the drink has cooling properties; great for hot days is Asia or even Australia maybe...lol.......  I'm yet to try these other recipes, but they sound interesting.

As I dig around the bottom of the sandy soil, beneath the water...I'm also finding chestnuts with new shoots...the ones with the most shoots....I will be keeping to follow on the next planting...but they must  be kept in water while you prepare your next water garden or finish your harvest in your existing water garden.

Chinese Water Chestnuts
chosen for replanting the next crop

Have you ever tried Chinese Water Chestnuts? Would they be something you would consider growing in a water garden? What about the Rosella? Have you had success? What conditions did you have?


  1. I LOVE fresh water chestnuts they taste nothing like the canned ones you can buy do they? a bit like the goodness of homegrown taters compared to the shop bought ones. Sounds like you got a good harvest, pity about the rosellas but I agree with you these things just happen!! I have lost quite a few citrus trees these last few years of heavy rainfall.
    Have a lovely weekend

  2. Sorry to hear about your Rosellas I have had the same thing happen, in fact this season my first crop died so I replanted and they are now small bushes with just a few fruit. Great looking water chestnuts.

  3. Thanks Caroline, I'm enjoying the harvest slowly, but do need to finish it up so I can plant the next batch. Sorry to hear about your citrus loss, It's especially hard when they are fully established trees.

    Hi Fiona, we lost the ones at our Community Garden too which I put in.....must have been a bad season all round for Rosella.

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your Rosellas. I've just made a small batch of jam from my harvest but living in Brisbane the weather conditions here are a bit different to yours. Those water chestnuts sound delicious. Do you have a water filter set up for your pond? How do you stop the water from going stagnant? I'm a bit worried about setting one up because of cane toads and mozzies.

  5. I have had two little rosella bushes doing not much in the garden for months, and then I used Rhonda's advice and sprayed with a sulphate of potash solution and voila - I am suddenly getting fruit. I am very excited, so saved your instructions and hopefully soon I will be preserving some. I like the idea of water chestnuts, but like sally don't want any more cane toads or mosquitoes. I loved the way you said you grew them in your neighbours bathtub - that got the imagination going lol!

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