Home' Christchurch Mail : May 30th 2013 Contents 20 CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, MAY 30, 2013
It has been two years since the massive
Christchurch earthquakes completely
reshaped the city. Much has been written
about various aspects of the Christchurch
recovery, but this book provides the missing
analysis of where the city stands now, and
where it looks to be heading.
Following up from 2011's Earthquake,
A City Recovers is an extensive and up-to-date
examination of the current state of the city.
The Press' team provides poignant imagery
and expert insights; this is a fascinating rev
of Christchurch's recent tragic past and its
challenging yet promising future.
A City Recovers is availabl
from May 3 from all
leading book retailers.
Two years a er the quakes
Time to clean out your worm farm
FARM CARE: Worms slow down in
winter, so try not to overfeed them
between now and spring.
Photo: FAIRFAX NZ
This column is adapted from the
e-newsletter Get Growing from
New Zealand Gardener.To
subscribe to Get Growing visit
the NZ Gardener website at
nzgardener.co.nz, and click on
the Get Growing tab. To
subscribe to NZ Gardener visit
mags4gifts.co.nz or call
0800 mags 4 gifts.
Worm farm care
Now is a good time for a full-on
overhaul of your worm farm.
Drain and thoroughly wash out
the bottom worm wee trays. These
tend to fill up with stray worms
and sediment, which can be
strained through a sieve.
Use the slurry on the garden
and return any worms to the
Tease apart compacted, sour
patches in the bins and dress
lightly with lime. Don't be alarm-
ed by how many other creepy
crawlies are in your worm farm.
All play key roles in the decompo-
Worms work most efficiently
with a damp inner cover to protect
them from temperature spikes.
I use empty chicken feed bags,
pieces of woollen carpet, or folded
up old sheets.
These are placed directly under
the lid, on top of the worms' food.
Worms slow down in winter, so try
not to overfeed them between now
Stock pot crops
If you share my fondness for
winter soups and stews, you will
know that however meaty, such
dishes are built on a rock-solid
foundation of herbs and veges.
Despite the steady approach of
winter, there is still time to start
planting a stock-pot garden.
Everyone needs a bay tree
(Laurus nobilis). These hardy,
long-lived trees can be grown out-
doors in all parts of the country,
and will keep in you fresh leaves
year-round for several lifetimes.
Although you only ever need a few
leaves at a time, European winter
cooking is all but impossible with-
Few herbs can compete with the
thyme clan for variety, but for the
sake of soups and stews, you can't
go past old-fashioned common
English thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
This low-growing perennial is
incredibly hardy, provided you
give it lots of sun and a well-
drained root run. Thyme thrives
on neglect, and seemingly even
outright abuse. By my reckoning,
the very best-tasting strain of
common thyme (there are several)
is the stuff growing wild in
Central Otago. It has well and
truly adapted to local conditions.
Plants form very dense snow-
proof clumps, with sparse leaves
and an almost chilli-hot flavour.
This spiciness is caused by an
ultra-high oil content, which
likely serves as antifreeze in the
French sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
grows best through the winter
months, and much like its close
relative, rhubarb, forms a large
perennial crown. With a texture
like young spinach and a sharp,
lemony flavour, sorrel can be used
in winter salads, added to soups
and stews just before serving, or
as the base in a retro-exquisite
sorrel soup. Sorrel can be grown
in full sun or partial shade, and
enjoys rich, moist soil. Frost will
knock the tops off, but established
plants always bounce back.
Par-Cel, aka Chinese Celery
excellent, longed-lived and near
rust-proof alternative to regular
celery. The mostly stringless
stems are only about pencil thick-
ness, but have a good celery
flavour and pleasing crunch. The
distinctive hollow stems are popu-
lar in soups throughout South
East Asia. Plants should flourish
for at least a couple of years, even
after flowering. Grow par-cel in
Another celery relative worth a
sunny spot is lovage. This peren-
nial has a particular affinity for
chicken, imparting a nutty flavour
suggestive of celery, nutmeg and
fenugreek. Lovage has a subtle
flavour-enhancing quality too -- a
bit like herbal MSG. It isn't fussy
about soil, as long as it gets plenty
Although not as pretty as bronze
fennel or versatile as bulb/Flor-
ence fennel, wild fennel packs a
powerful punch of flavour. Seeds
and young plants can be collected
from the wild, and despite their
weedy reputation, are also easily
controlled in the garden. They are
not at all fussy about where or
how they are grown.
Sort out your seeds
Tidy up your shed by sorting your
seeds into sowing seasons. Store
anything that you don't need now
safely out of reach of rodents.
It might be almost winter, but no-
one has told the white cabbage
butterflies. Their caterpillars will
cheerfully chomp at almost any-
thing. Sooner or later, the cold
will halt their advances, but until
then, track and kill individuals by
looking for fresh poo, which is
bright green and moist. Squish
caterpillars on sight.
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