Thursday, November 16, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

KITCHEN GARDENS With Norina Jane from WhitPro

The dry season is upon us and looks like it is going to stick around for a while.

We have been advised that temperatures may be warmer than usual, and rainfall less than average, well into the new year.

So, November through to February kitchen gardens in the Whitsundays may be a little more challenging than the norm. On a positive note, that might result in a sunny Christmas day. Silver lining!

My focus right now, is on soil improvement and planning for the next growing season.

That does not mean you won’t see anything growing in my patch but what it does mean, is the morning watering ritual is more important than ever.  

Every morning without fail, get up and water. Consistency pays off.

If you are on tank water (like me), that means very careful consideration as to what food I will be growing throughout the coming months, consolidating growing areas.

Corn is my go-to this time of year. Here in the tropics, it will grow any time of year.

But corn are fast growers, so you’ll need to feed and water them “consistently”.

Have you tried a dwarf variety? I hadn’t until this year, and I’ve been really impressed!  Growing only 1m tall, it produces cobs around 15cm long.

You can add the kernels to salads, soups or fried rice. Or simply lightly steam the entire cob and add butter! YUM! Better still, pick straight off the plant and eat it raw!

Corn germinates quickly in the warmer months, so you’ll see germination somewhere between 4 – 10 days. Each stem growing one cob (sometimes two).

I throw cardboard or cloth over my seeds until I see them break through the earth as this helps keep the soil from drying out. The seeds do not need sunlight to germinate but once they pop out of the ground, I exchange cardboard for a 20-30% shade cloth.  

They do like a full sun position, but our sun can be intense in the early afternoon, so a little shade prevents stress.

Did you know that corn is wind pollinated? I plant them around 50cm apart from each other to ensure good pollination as missing kernels on your corn cob are a result of some flowers not being pollinated. With a morning, daily water, you’ll have corn ready to pick within 12 weeks!

Last year I had a lot of readers let me know that they loved this salad dressing and I do too, so I thought I’d put it out there for all those people who didn’t get around to giving it a go:


I hear a lot of people describe salads as boring!

A great dressing will transform ANY salad, so I’m sharing a dressing I’ve come across that you can use on your kitchen garden pickings.  It’s quick and easy and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.


3 Carrots – peeled and chopped into small pieces

30g Fresh ginger – peel and chop into small pieces

15ml Honey

10ml Soy Sauce

30ml Rice Vinegar

1 Tablespoon White Miso

70ml Olive oil

30ml Lime Juice

50ml water

Salt & Pepper to taste

Simply place all the ingredients in a food processor or use a stick blender and blend until its completely smooth

Pour over combined – Spinach leaves, sliced avocado and Lebanese cucumber, basil leaves, red onions and roasted seeds of your choice.   Or add anything you want!

Corn can be ready to pick in 12 weeks!

Salads are never boring with the right dressing

Salad dressing can be quick and easy to make

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