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Food, glorious food!

First day of summer downunder

Today marks the first day of summer in Australia. Great time of the year to be growing food in the garden. I live in a block of four, and four more in the back block. In total eight households and collectively (well, three participating households) we maintain communal vegetable plots, three to be exact in a very urban setting. We are approximately 5km away from the bustling city centre.

And no, we are not fully self-sufficient in our green grocer department but we do grow most of our herbs: three types of mints, basil, curly parsley, rosemary, oregano, lemon grass and turmeric. Currently, we have the following growing in our raised beds: three varieties of chillies, four varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, mix salad greens, rockets, silver beets, beetroots, two varieties of beans, okras, cabbage, leeks, taro, potatoes, rhubarbs and Warrigal greens (a type of spinach native to this part of the world – Tetragonia tetragonoides). All lovingly grown from mainly organic, definitely non-GM non hybrid heritage seeds, or cuttings in the case of the Warrigal.

Spring shower was more of a downpour and both rainwater tanks are overflowing at the time of writing. Let’s hope the rain keeps pouring. Victoria needs all the rain it can get. The unusual wet Spring also brings an unwelcome visitors – thrips. We have an infestation of thrips. The 1:4 milk/water spray seems to work but requires repeat spraying on a regular basis in order to contain the infestation.

Zucchini plants are generous providers. Here’s a refreshing and easy to make summer dish:

  • 3 medium size zucchinis
  • A bunch of fresh mint, coarsely chopped

Wash the zucchinis and put it through a special vegetable mill that shreds the zucchini into fine and long spaghetti like noodle, and mix well with the chopped mint.

In a small bowl mix the following:

  • A clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • A pinch of salt
  • A dash of freshly ground pepper

Beat all ingredients with an eggbeater to a smooth consistency and add to the zucchini and mix well. Serve immediately with halves cherry tomatoes.

Happy gardening.



About Urban permaculturist

I have an interest in sustainability; from food security to renewable energy. I am also a keen food gardener and vegetarian cook. For more information, check out my blog at:


6 thoughts on “First day of summer downunder

  1. I have never shredded zuchini like a noodle! Have to give it a go thanks for the tip!

    Posted by Millie Dempsey | December 1, 2009, 7:56 pm
    • Hi Millie,

      Give it a go. We have been having raw food in the evening for almost a month now. I don’t think we could have done if we didn’t grow our own salad greens. It is great to be able to make your food fresh from the garden with no travel time.

      Have a good day.

      Posted by platelicking | December 1, 2009, 8:02 pm
  2. do you have problem with insects and pests or possums eating your fruit? What do you do about that?

    Posted by Millie Dempsey | December 1, 2009, 8:27 pm
    • We have an infestation of thrips but I use a spray made of milk, water and liquid soap and that helps. We also have problems with cabbage moth caterpillar. I picked 232 in four days. I have a new strategy to deal with them but I haven’t implemented it as yet. I might do it in the next day or two and post it on the blog.

      A bit of mildew here and there but nothing too drastic, unlike the thrips. Possum is not an issue. They didn’t come after the tomatoes and blueberries last year.


      Posted by platelicking | December 1, 2009, 8:35 pm
  3. Do you have any recipes that include corriander and mint? I have stacks of these herbs and woulld love to eat them in a hurry……….

    Posted by Millie Dempsey | December 2, 2009, 7:33 pm
    • Coriander is a fantastic herb.

      You can make coriander and parsley pesto with sesame oil instead of olive oil.

      Sometime I would use equal portion of basil, coriander and parsley, almond and garlic and a pinch of oregano and cayenne, salt and olive oil and blend them all in a blender to a smooth consistency, and have that with pasta. Or use it as dips or sandwich spread.

      Try mint and watermelon.


      Posted by platelicking | December 2, 2009, 8:00 pm

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