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June 25: Less is More 2016 (hosting a beehive)

2016/06/25 deej 0

Today I presented at the 2016 Less is More festival, on hosting a beehive in your back yard. Here are some of the points I covered, just in case you couldn’t make it to the talk, or need a little reminder of the content. ๐Ÿ™‚   Why host a beehive? Well, it’s more a case of why wouldn’t you, really. It’s easy and safe, the bees will pollinate all your vegetables and your fruit trees, and produce honey as well. Plus, honeybees are under a lot of pressure from climate change, pollution, disease and the use of damaging pesticides such […]

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June 24: mesquite – the forbidden legume

2016/06/24 deej 0

Although mesquite (Prosopis species) are prohibited in Australia (mesquite is a declared weed in all states), because they can form thorny thickets which could pose problems for livestock farmers and because their thorns can puncture tyres, they do provide an excellent food source. Mequite meal, made by grinding up the pods and seeds, contains 10 โ€“ 17% protein, and is high in lysine.   Most mesquite species (there are around 40 of them) are small trees or large shrubs, native to desert and xeric regions of north and central America. They may have one or multiple trunks, and the leaves […]

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June 23: Making Mead

2016/06/23 deej 0

On Saturday I’ll be presenting at the 2016 Less is More festival in Peppermint Grove. I gave a presentation last year, on urban livestock, and I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve signed up to present again this year, this time on beekeeping.   I’m no expert bee-keeper, but I do have bees and I love them. They’re fascinating, and very low maintenance, and they produce amazing honey from the flowers around here. My first introduction to bees as anything other than a flying insect in my garden was in Melbourne a few years ago. I did a one day “intro […]

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June 22: wattleseed pancakes

2016/06/22 deej 0

Of the many species of wattle native to Australia, several produce seeds which are suitable for use as human food. Edible wattleseed has rich nutty, chocolate and roasted coffee flavours, and is well suited to both sweet and savoury uses.   Australian aboriginal peoples ground dried wattle seeds to form a flour, which was then baked into damper (traditional campfire bread). The green seeds of some wattle species were also eaten, cooked and consumed as a green vegetable like peas or fresh beans. Wattle seeds have also been used as food in some areas in West Africa, where the wattle […]

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June 20: chestnuts – sweet potato on a tree

2016/06/20 deej 0

The chestnut tree (Castanea sativa)ย is, like the oak tree, typical of parks and woodlands in the UK – although they’re much more widespread than just that. They are still grown commercially in manmy places, with the top producers being China, Turkey, southern Europe, Korea, Bolivia; Australia is a small player in the global market, but we do grow chestnuts here too, mainly for domestic use. Chestnuts are a significant food crop in southern Europe and east Asia, and were widely eaten in the past by the indigenous peoples of North America.   The relationship between humans and chestnuts dates back […]