Archive for April, 2010
Seeds of Enlightenment

Seeds of Enlightenment

Posted 25 April 2010 | By | Categories: Plants, Seagarden, Spirit | 1 Comment

seeds of enlightenment One morning, the reclining Buddha’s ear appeared encrusted with tiny jade stones. I thought of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Grand Palace and the Jade Buddha Temple of Shanghai. Perhaps the stone was just a veneer, cracking open to reveal its true nature, like the clay-covered gold Buddha of Wat Trimitir.

But my mind was also full of hungry caterpillars, leaf hoppers and aphids, and I assumed they were propagating animals rather than plants. What’s about to be born here?

The pods dried, revealing themselves to be seeds rather than eggs. I only needed to look up to see what they came from… the exquisite Libertia grandiflora, aka Tukauki or New Zealand Iris. I had admired its flowers in bloom and appreciate the lush tufts of strappy green leaves year round but hardly noticed the distinctive seed pods at all. Happy to be awakened to the beauty of this native New Zealand plant in all its forms.

Foraging New Zealand

Foraging New Zealand

Posted 24 April 2010 | By | Categories: Food | Comments Off on Foraging New Zealand

Thank you Jesse Mulligan for mentioning Garden.Geek.NZ on the Auckland Drive radio show. Here are some more resources on foraging for kai in Aotearoa.

At right is the collaborative New Zealand food and fruit sharing map New Zealand Fruit and Food Share Map (view larger) highlighting fruit and nut trees, and other natural urban food sources. You can add listings and details for things you find out in the world.

Freedom Fruit Gardens is an exciting project that aims to plant edible gardens through New Zealand for for communities to harvest and enjoy instigated by artist A.D. Scierning. The inaugural planting takes place Friday, June 25, 2010 in East Otara, Auckland in conjunction with Te Tuhi centre for the arts, and future installments are planned for Wellington and Christchurch. A proposal for the Wellington Freedom Fruit Garden will be exhibited at the New Dowse on June 19, 2010.

Another abundant and easily overlooked food to forage is the delicious and nutritious seaweed decorating our coastlines, the “treasure of the tides.” One type, karengo (porphyra) is a delicacy closely related to Japanese nori and Welsh laver and considered a taonga by Maori. In New Zealand, it may be gathered in the wild for personal use. See Scoop’s “Would you like seaweed with that?” article for more details and Pacific Harvest for recipes and cooking tips.

    Wild Picnic, a gallery of edible and useful wild plants found in Wellington, serves up some tips for safe foraging:

  • 1. If in doubt, don’t eat it.
  • 2. Avoid foraging from roadsides and polluted places.
  • 3. Avoid areas that may have recently been sprayed.
  • 4. Get permission before foraging on someone else’s property.
  • 5. Get to know NZ’s poisonous plants so you can know what to avoid.
  • 6. Harvest sustainably.

Other sites of interest:

Useful books:

What are your favorite foraging sites and tips?

Saturday Seagarden Spoils

Saturday Seagarden Spoils

Posted 17 April 2010 | By | Categories: Art, Gardening, Plants, Seagarden, Vegetables | 3 Comments

Garden Harvest 17.4.2010: 4 large cucumbers and the last of the cucumber plants; 1 glorious white icicle radish; 2 dwarf beans or french beans; 8 large, 11 small and 17 green potatoes; 1 curvy carrot; 13 ripe strawberries; marigolds (to make space for new plantings); and 6 baby beets. Planted: spinach, purple kohlrabi, cauliflower snowball, cauliflower green macerata, cabbage mix, misome and mustard greens.