Shaking the lettuce 10th March 2022

Two weeks ago in the Food Garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG), our wonderful volunteer team made some simple but important advances.  As usual, and extremely importantly, Tony harvested produce for charity and, being that time of the year, the boxes were filled with tomatoes – with a mixed collection of varieties.

Elsewhere through the Garden, some vegetables were colour coordinated with their leaves or they were almost hidden beneath their plant canopies.

An extensive exercise to rid the soil of the weed (a plant that is out of place and not wanted in it’s current position) known as Purslane (which is wonderfully edible in salads and stir fries and other dishes) was a tricky proposition around the basil and mustards.

These flattish, ground covering plants hide beautifully and are a challenge to remove without lifting out the wanted plants. Unfortunately Purslane is not wanted by the charitable food organisations (well it is a weed, isn’t it! – that is, most people don’t know it as an edible vegetable), so it was either to be piled into the rubbish bins (not for composting because it is difficult to kill) or I could choose to take it home. Now I have plants establishing themselves throughout my garden. If our Australian food security is a fragile situation and if the cost of vegetables soars as anticipated, as the result of the substantial floods in southern Qld and along most of the coast of New South Wales, then knowing I will always have a green food source at hand is some comfort.  Containing its spread will be my greatest challenge.

Back to the Food Garden – the highlight for the day started when we uprooted lettuces which had gone to seed. Large heads of fluffing seeds were waiting to find a new home. Thrashing these on clear ground released thousands of seeds, and was a wonderfully satisfying process.

Watch this video.

At the end of the day I walked away past the freshly clipped hedge that frames the (comparatively) new raised garden bed.  A spectacular sky lighted the landscape in that moment!

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