Author Archives: thetwistedlemon

About thetwistedlemon

My desire is to, 'combine my talents from previous experiences and deliver inspirational content that will seed ideas in the fertile compost heap we call LIFE'.

Good Old Garlic

Whether it is roasted, raw, smashed or crushed there is something intoxicating about garlic or Allium Sativum if you want to get botanical.

Garlic has long been used  for its medicinal and healing properties since ancient times and when I say ancient we are talking 3,700BC.

It’s popularity  caught the attention of the Sumerians, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians and Tibetans, Japanese, the Middle East, Europe and lets not leave out Americas.

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Apart from warding off evil spirits in many parts of the world, ( I think the smell might have been a contributing factor ) some of the amazing  properties of garlic include; it’s use as an antiseptic, aphrodisiac, a tonic for strength , anti bacterial & anti viral, helps to reduce blood pressure, regulates insulin, protect the heart, aids in poor digestion, helps with fatigue, allergies and the list truly does go on…

lucky door prize

With such amazing properties and so easy to grow WHY are we importing this voluptuous bulb of beauty into this country?

Most store bought garlic is imported into Australia from China or Mexico which defies logic when you consider the time, money and energy it took to pop a couple of cloves in the evening meal or salad dressing.

That being said, I would highly recommend you grab a couple of Australian Organic garlic bulbs and have a crack at growing some in a pot, backyard  or veggie patch –  here is some basic tips from Margaret Stuart who grows lovely garlic in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

* Garlic has a 7-8 month growing season and was traditionally planted on the shortest day of the year and harvested on the longest day of the year.( Start planting in mid March – April )

*  Choose bulbs with the largest cloves, mark out rows about 60cms wide and 20cms apart running North/South in FULL SUN.

* Make sure soil is well drained, if not, best to create a mound or hill

* Plant individual bulbs pointy side up about twice the depth of the clove and water in.

* For best results compost with chook manure and apply some lucerne mulch

* At harvest time around mid November you will be looking for the plant that has withered leaves at the bottom and the top is still green, gently dig the plants, leave in a shady spot and then gather up to hang in bunches of about 8-12 plants. NB: This is the time you can hang a bunch or two at the front door to ward off any stray spirits.


If you feel it is too much of a stretch to Grow Your Own then check out some of our local Aussie growers – at least there is only a ‘little’ carbon footprint  :)

I love my newspaper pots they make growing in small spaces affordable!


This is a wonderful piece written by Palm Rae Potager. Paper pots sure are one of the most sustainable ways to sow seeds and begin the compost process when planted.

Originally posted on Palm Rae Urban Potager:

I integrate a variety of growing methods into my urban potager, and  John Jeavons biointensive is one that I find works well for small spaces. I start in January, and I am in the dirt until fall! This year I am growing more plants for people who need help growing. My newspaper pots are the most affordable way to get plants from seed to bed without a lot of fuss or mess! I will be working on some projects locally to help others grow food in our Quad City community.

A seed takes a journey in my growing room to get to its newspaper pot…

It always starts with my own seed or fresh organic seed from a safe seed pledge company each season. I use old medicine bottles or glass bottles that I keep around for my seed saving. I also save a lot of my seed in…

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Eclectic Gardners reach over the fence and lets start working together to make this a better world…


An eloquent observation – Please read and enjoy !

Originally posted on Palm Rae Urban Potager:

Eclectic.….is selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles…… composed of elements drawn from various sources….including things taken from many different sources

I define myself as an “Eclectic” thinker”, therefore, I am defining myself as an “Eclectic Gardener” and I do not see myself as a “purist” of any single approach. To me my urban oasis/potager is a reflection of my journey here on earth and what at the moment catches my eye….I respect others and their choices and love to learn from those that do not always think the same way as I do, but have the basic core values to leave the earth in a better way….

Many moons ago I was dancing with 2 women in a company that we started after we all graduated college back in the early 80′s. We found ourselves teaching at  local colleges and had somehow found…

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To Seed or Not to Seed ?

 In the past 10 years or so we have seen extraordinary shifts in the way we talk about food, its source, production and the ever – increasing trend toward Urban farming in our cities.

It seems obvious to me that this is not a random movement but rather a timely one, that is a result of a ‘counterbalance’ to the chaotic world around us and the inner desire to connect to each other and maintain a connection to the cycles of nature – the only problem is, we love to take short cuts!

 One of the first things we do when we decide to start a garden or get the urge to grow some fresh food is go to the local nursery and buy some seedlings with the thought …” I’ll just get the garden happening and get some seeds later”- As much as I am accustomed to the ‘short cut’ version, I have also experienced the great joy that comes with sowing seeds and watching them brake through the soil searching for light and life itself.

 There is something innately thrilling about being a part of the cycle of life – You see, a seed is literally a ‘POD of Possibility, it will remain in its dormant state until 3 basic conditions are present; a growing medium, water, and sun.  When you take the road less travelled and actually “plant seeds” you connect with the entire cycle, a greater sense of responsibility has now been bestowed upon you and there is a far greater chance your seedlings will grow into healthier plants having adapted to their environment sooner.

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 Now this all might sound a little too esoteric for some but if we are really serious about our food and where it comes from then we must start at the very beginning of the chain. In taking responsibility for the entire cycle we now come up against some very interesting and often difficult issues – the commercial world of seeds and the ‘control ‘ of seed production.

The hard- core reality is; crop diversity worldwide is diminishing, seeds are being genetically modified, patented and literally controlled by companies such as, Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. In an ‘Urban farming environment’ it is easy to overlook the bigger picture of the farming world but in fact it is essential that WE in the cities become aware of the fragility of our food chains and help support small organic growers and producers who are committed to saving seeds for our future.

 So when next you ask the question, “To seed or not to seed” in your garden take the time to research a little about the seeds you are buying- Make sure the seeds you purchase are Organic or Heirloom meaning simply….Old Traditional Open Pollinated seeds, no hybrids, no GMOs and no chemical treatment, then and only then can we say, ‘we are in control of the food we eat’. 


A Culinary Dash to Vietnam


To describe Vietnamese cuisine one would choose to use words like, vibrant, fresh, distinctive, colourful, harmonising, delicious, and healthy to name a few. Vietnam has been described as ‘three countries in one bowl’ with very distinctive styles from the North, Centre and the South. Cultures that have influenced Vietnamese food include, Chinese, French, Indian, Khmer(ancient Cambodian) and Siamese (ancient Thai).
In the North, the Red River Delta, you will find the best quality rice in Vietnam which has made the rice noodle dish “pho” famous around the globe for its silky textured noodle soaked in a delicious beef broth, thinly sliced beef strips and garnished with fresh herbs like coriander, mint, basil and bean sprouts.
Central Vietnam is characterised by its saltier and slightly more spicy flavours.  The sea salt farms in this region have led to the preserving of fish and vegetables, making pickles a regional specialty.
The flavours of the South can be distinguished by their sweeter and more tropical tastes. Influences here came from ancient Cambodians, the Khmer and Siam cultures introducing palm sugar and coconut into dishes such as curry.

Wherever you go in Vietnam you will be overwhelmed by the quality and freshness of the food, the lingering smells of freshly ground spices, the cooking of regional specialties and the smiles on the faces who serve them. The market is the central pillar of Vietnamese life and it would be difficult to say you had been to Vietnam and not have taken the time to walk through the most tantalising sensual experience one can have.

Autumn is the time for…

Lett-uce take a look at what is happening in the garden and beyond, symbolically speaking.

Autumn is a time of maturity, completion and letting go, perhaps you have a project that needs finalising before the onset of the winter months. It is a time of the year that many plants and animals prepare to be still so that new life can awaken in spring.

On the other hand, it is a great time to plant luscious salad crops like the very tasty ‘Marvel of four seasons Lettuce, Mizuna, Rocket and Micro–greens’. These beauties are easy to grow, just scatter the seeds over a good soil mix, lightly cover and water.

At this time of year there will be less heat stress and increased rainfall keeps them happy.


If you are after something a little more hardy you could try planting broccoli, beetroot, asian greens or cabbage, but be warned the white cabbage moth is a real hindrance. You could try to trick them by placing half egg shells placed round side up just below the plant, netting can also work or if worst comes to worst you could try, Dipel containing Bacillus thuringiensis (BT)


As we prepare for the colder months ahead take a moment to contemplate this wonderful poem by Jahaziel Linear

 “Into the calm winds of autumn awaits an enduring love of letting go.
Though our next spring time may lie far away, beauty is wide awake.
Into the mellow sunsets of autumn looms an undying hope of life.
Let the naked soil and thinning stems be signs of unforeseen faith.
Let the roots be full of dreams, yet wide awake.”

Happy planting, dreaming and inspiring

For more inspiration check out

Update on Snowy’s Vegie Patch

I spoke with Snowy a couple of days ago and could hear the excitement in his voice as he rattled off which of his “babies” had sprouted and how tall they were … measured by him with his ruler, 6cm, 7cm etc
I couldn’t help but smile at how his seedlings have taken on an almost human quality and how proud he sounds to be the custodian of the seedlings. He can’t wait to make a salad for Jodie (CEO of Carevan ) and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with !

Evidence of his success – Stay tuned for more updates, Go Snowman :)

Snowy with his babies

Snowy with his babies




The Snowy Veggie Patch project


This is Snowy and he has been homeless since the age of 14 until he met John Brabant, the founder of the Carevan Foundation in 2009.

Finally in his 60’s, Snowy has a place he calls ‘home’- a sunny apartment in the NSW town of Albury/Wodonga.

The “Snowy Veggie Patch” project was born out of the contemplation of what it must have been like to be constantly on the road, hungry, never having roots to lay down, a sense of security or a sense of belonging … the many qualities most of us take for granted.

I met Snowy in 2012 and talked with him about his love of food and discovered he had a flare for cooking. During our chat, Snowy mentioned he had done some fruit picking on his travels but had never planted a seed in his life.  Hitting me like a thunderbolt, I knew we had to give him that opportunity – to really plant some seeds and watch them grow!!

There is a sense of wonder and excitement in planting seeds a connection perhaps to the unseen forces of Mother Nature. The act of growing our own food gives us a sense, that at least for now, we are still connected to something outside of ourselves.

Not being swayed by his small urban balcony we have planted, Basil, Coriander, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Capsicum, Jalapeno Chili’s, Tatsoi, Beetroot and some Micro Greens for Snowy’s salad.

If all germinate according to plan then Snowy suggested he could give some to his neighbours – “What a great idea Snowman”

This project would not have been possible without the generous support of Bunnings in Albury and the wonderful caring kick ass CEO of Carevan , Jodie Tiernan.  

 Thanks guys






We will be keeping you updated on Snowy and his Urban Veggie Patch – stay tuned.

The Carevan Connection

We are living in a time of great social responsibility where individuals, business and corporate entities are coming to recognise that reaching out to others is not only a positive statement in the community, but the little nugget of “giving” leaves a feeling of purpose that is deposited into your psyche.

With so many charities and not-for-profit organisations in the world, how does one choose where to deposit that nugget?

 I think it comes down to one simple word – “RESONATE”- for whatever reason, perhaps a life experience, a chance meeting with someone, or a feeling of aligning to a cause or belief – there has to be a ‘resonation’ like a musical note that sits comfortably in your heart.

Here is what happened for me…

An uncanny series of events lined up over the course of my life to produce a note that resonated to the point of action.

I was born into the world of caravans, with my father having started Millard Caravans back in the 1950’s, etching this symbolic icon well into my psyche.  In my late 20’s I had an experience with a homeless man crossing Oxford St in Sydney who spoke with such intention in his words that has left an indelible impression on me since.  In my 30’s, I volunteered to spend two months on the road photo-documenting homeless youth on a cattle drive program run by Father Chris Riley’s organisation, Youth Off the Streets.

I have been an avid supporter of the sustainable food movement and teaching kids the importance of growing and cooking their own food. My belief has always been that through learning to respect food we will also learn to respect each other.

And so, during a chance meeting a friend asked me what I was doing these days and I replied… “I’m starting a business called Seed it Up with the intention of assisting not-for-profit humanitarian organisations – but I still haven’t found the right organisation.”

Instantly my friend said you must speak with Jodie Tiernan who runs the Carevan Foundation, (whom as it happened, I had met many years earlier).

I sat down and read the Carevan story and was completely blown away at the many connections I saw before me and knew that this connection was “meant to be”… there it was, the ‘musical note’!

I arranged to go and spend some time with Jodie in Albury and meet the founder of Carevan, John Brabant. We visited the schools that run the ‘kids cooking and caring program’, braced the cold with the Carevan volunteers, and witnessed the respect the folks in need had for Jodie and the rest of the Carevan community.  It was a very levelling experience!

It struck me that everyone has a story, and for those of us who are lucky we get to share our story, but for many the stories go unheard.

By Carevan’s very existence a bridge is built so that many of these stories can be told.  The message is simple; they dare to care, creating a sense of belonging for those who are disenfranchised or less fortunate.

Congratulations if you have already found your ‘musical note’ and for those that have not yet found it – be mindful, the resonance is waiting.

Thanks to Carevan for my little nugget experience .

Love a road trip

There is something very exciting about a road trip in the country , not knowing where you will end up, what treasures you might find or who you might meet that will put a smile on your face. I recently had the opportunity to explore the beautiful Muswellbrook Shire,  slightly off the well worn track of the hills around the Hunter Valley region .If you feel like a weekend away, there are some great foodie gems and a couple of colorful characters to be found in the hills between the coal mines and vineyards of the ” Upper Hunter”. On the edge of Muswellbrook township you will find a seam of gold, cheese that is, at the Hunter Belle Cheese factory where their award winning ‘Camembelle’ and ‘Goldenbelle’ will surprise you. If you happen to have a sweet tooth then you might be tempted to sample their scrumptious array of fudge made in house but a word of warning… Don’t spin your taste buds out tasting cheese followed by fudge! If you don’t feel like fudge at the cheese factory don’t worry because this area seems to sell allot of fudge and can be found in almost every little town.

Hunter Belle Cheese

Turkish delight chocolate fudge

Where would an antipasti platter be without olives and fine food be without great olive oil… Both can be found in ‘olive heaven’ about 14kms from Muswellbrook on the Denman Road at Pukara Estate.It’s best to take your time tasting the delicate award winning olive oils and flavoursome vinegars as this experience is not often readily available in the city under the guidance of such passionate people.The perfect accompaniment with olives and cheese is of course wine and there is no shortage in this region, too many to mention here, so just to give it your best shot and try them all.

Pukara Estate olive oils

Continuing on our road trip we are amazed at the contrast between open cut coal mines, lush green hills softened by vineyards and beautiful horses that seem to stand out so majestically. As it happens, some of Australia’s best thouroughbred horse studs are nestled here and we were fortunate enough to visit one , Darley Woodlands horse stud. OMG…. I can’t describe it in words just CLICK HERE.

Darley Woodlands horse stud

Before our road trip was over there was one little gem we had to visit, a tiny and I mean tiny town, called Sandy Hollow . There is possibly 3 things you could do in this town… Have a drink at the pub,  stay at the tourist park or visit David Mahony’s art/ sculpture garden and coffee house. We opted for the later and what an excellent choice. We spent ages-chatting with David and his wife, sipping coffee and squeezing in scones cream and jam before they suggested we just ‘have to’go up the road and get some special honey. On their advice we spun the car around and headed for honey.

Horner’s Honey

That’s the thing about a road trip in the country there is always wonderful produce and a warm and friendly person to be found just around the corner or over that hill, perhaps we should have just kept driving.


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