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Food Lover Tip

Food lover tip

Use leftover cooked rice to make fried rice. J, Christiansen, Petersham

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Have you tried?

Have you tried...

  • Lamb and Orange Salad Quick and easy Low fat Good for leftovers

    This combination of moist shredded lamb and colourful, crisp and tangy salad makes for the perfect meal.
    Total time 10 minutes
    Serves 4

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Grow your own food

Overview

Growing food can be as simple as growing a few commonly used cooking herbs on a window sill or balcony.

Fresh herbs are great for cooking, but they often end up as leftovers in the fridge or getting thrown in the bin or compost. Growing your own commonly used herbs is an easy way to solve this problem and save money too.

A vegetable garden can be a healthy and rewarding way to provide your own food. You can grow food on windowsills, balconies, in backyards and on lawn areas. If you have a small outdoor area, such as a balcony or courtyard, you can use pots, hanging baskets, trellises or espalier techniques.

Fruit and vegetables generally grow best in an open sunny position where they receive at least six hours of sun per day. If you can, plant close to the kitchen for easy access during cooking. Get the kids involved too – they often love planting, watering and harvesting food.

To avoid an unwanted excess of produce like tomatoes and zucchinis, and avoid unwanted leftovers, stagger the planting so they don't all ripen at the same time. However, you always can use excess produce to make jams, pickles and chutneys.

Growing food from scraps


Besides purchasing seeds or seedlings, you can also purchase fresh herbs with roots, so you can use the quantity you need and then plant the rest. Many vegetables can also be grown from scraps, including garlic, onions, celery, shallots, bok choy, lettuces and potatoes.

Growing food from scraps is simple. Depending on the vegetable type, you either:

  • chop off the root end and re-plant it in soil (for potatoes, with the 'eyes' facing upwards), or
  • place unwanted stalks in a glass of water for a few days until roots or new leaves appear, then plant them out.

One of our program partners, One Million Women, has some great tips for how to do this.

 

Companion planting


Pests and diseases can be controlled by planting beneficial 'companion plants' with your fruit and vegetables. These plants contain natural chemicals that deter pests or attract beneficial insects and animals that prey on pests.

 

Gardening with others


If you don't have room to have your own vegetable patch, have a look at the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network to find your nearest community garden. You could also start a growing group with friends or neighbours, or join a local permaculture group, to swap gardening tips or surplus produce.

For some great examples of this type of community sustainability initiative visit Sustainability Street.

 

Free fertiliser


Composting and worm farming diverts unavoidable food waste from landfill while producing rich, natural fertiliser for your pot plants and garden. You can use compost, worm castings and worm juice to feed your plants and improve your soil.

Make sure your soil is kept moist with regular watering and a thick layer of mulch. Pots dry out quickly and need extra attention, but make sure they are not over-watered.

Many local councils offer weekend workshops on composting, worm farming, permaculture and organic gardening. Contact your local council to find out more.

 
 
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