Thursday, September 29, 2016

My first taste of Hosta shoots

Last weekend I ate my first Hosta shoots - just two for now as I want my clumps of Hosta to grow without any set-backs. I simply boiled them and ate them and they were great - very close to Asparagus I thought. Here's a photo of them emerging from the ground with another shot of a shoot ready to cook. There's a couple of Youtube videos of people cooking Hosta shoots and I've embedded one here. In another post I'd like to look in more depth at the traditional home of Hosta eating - northern Japan.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The science is in: gardening is good for you

I've published an article in The Conversation about the therapeutic benefits of gardening.  See the link below:

Here's the first paragraph. 

The science is in: gardening is good for you

“That’s all very well put,” says Candide, in the final line of Voltaire’s novel of the same name, “but we must go and work our garden.”
I studied this text at high school before I became a gardener and professional horticulturist. We were taught that Candide’s gardening imperative was metaphorical not literal; a command for finding an authentic vocation, not a call to take up trowels and secateurs.
In fact, Voltaire himself really believed that active gardening was a great way to stay sane, healthy and free from stress. That was 300 years ago.
As it turns out, the science suggests he was right.

There's also a link to my colleague Steven Wells (nurse and gardener extraordinare) talking about his work as a horticultural therapist and garden creator in hospitals. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

As part of the Absolutely Famished Project of the Carlton Connect Initiative for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, I'm appearing at the following event later this month:

ThoughtLAB-14: My Veggie Garden Rules

Competition will be fierce in this series of My Veggie Garden Rules. Four new contestants don their gumboots and raise their gardening tools to battle for the title of MasterGrower 2050.

From its humble beginnings in 2016, MVGR is now in its 34th season and last year claimed the title of most popular reality experience fired straight to your neurons on demand.
With your insightful science rock band, Ologism, we invite you to advise, inspire, and cheer on your favourite contestant as they plan how to negotiate searing temperatures, limited water supply, and tiny plots of arid soil to produce the greatest quantity and quality of edible crop. Who will lay claim to the veggie garden to rule them all!
Date and time: Tuesday 27 September, 6pm-7.30pm Venue: studioFive, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, Level 5, 234 Queensberry St, Parkville Getting there: Train stop – Melbourne Central, then tram. Tram stop – Melbourne University (Stop 1) Bookings essential, register here.
My Veggie Garden Rules is a ThoughtLAB-14 event presented by the Carlton Connect Initiative in partnership with Ologism and University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education’s studioFive where we invite a guest panel to interact with the audience to collaborate on ideas, analyse evidence and dream alternative futures.
The event is part of Absolutely Famished, a creative exploration of future food curated by Dr Renee Beale. Underpinned by scientific research Absolutely Famished imagines the 22nd century marketplace.
Dr Renee Beale, Creative Community Animator, the Carlton Connect Initiative

Dr Chris Williams, Urban Horticulturalist, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Dr David Sequeira, artist and freelance curator
Bonnie Shaw, Strategy Lead, Smart City Office, City of Melbourne
Belinda Smith, Online Editor, COSMOS Magazine
Chris Krishna-Pillay, Darren Vogrig, Marty Lubran and Luke Fitzgerald
This event is part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016.

Belated pics of some Autumn crops - April-May 2016

A giant turnip shaped Kumera sweet potato

Mixed sweet potatoes

Ginger plants and rhizomes mixed in sweet potatoes and yams

Leaf axils bulbils from Dioscorea bulbifera
Oca tubers grown from summer cuttings