Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Kitchen Gardens With Norina Jane From WhitPro

As gardeners we’ve been a bit spoilt up till now!

I’ve barely touched the garden hose. With all the rain we have had, I’ve rarely needed to water, But at last, the Whitsundays picturesque winter weather has arrived, the sun is out and the rain has all but disappeared with the forecast for the next week being sun, sun and more sun.

I love this time of year, not only because of the invigorating feeling experienced as the first of the sun’s rays warm my shivering body (who does 10 degrees! and to think I used to live in Victoria another lifetime ago!) but also because everything edible I plant, flourishes.

With less rain and plenty of sunshine, it’s time to get that morning (before 9am) watering ritual into full swing.

Remember your vegetable plants get their water from their roots not their leaves.

Ensure you are watering enough to get below the surface 15cm of soil at least three times a week, to encourage deep root growth (especially for root vegetables like carrots) and to avoid the plant foliage as much as possible, especially the big leaved varieties such as zucchini and cucumber.

Why? Because Powdery Mildew is a real problem that will spread quickly and reduce your yield significantly. It’s a fungus. It’s that white powdery look on the leaves.
By watering in the morning and allowing the sun to dry the leaves thoroughly during the day, you are reducing the potential for it to develop, and you don’t want this fungus!
Not only can it affect your crop, but it may also result in you pulling it all out and starting again.

What to do if your plants have powdery mildew?  
Experienced gardeners will offer a variety of natural solutions.  
The most common ones:

   • Vinegar in the water to change the pH level, that’s sure to upset the fungus
   • Avoid fertilising and feeding the fungus
   • Add baking powder and liquid soap to the water (you’ll need to catch it in its early stages) 1Part milk to 2 parts water (again early development stage)
   • And here is one a little left of field that I used this year, mouth wash! I thought I would try it and guess what? It worked!
   • Please note, that any badly effected leaves are best cut off and removed from the area before spraying.

July is really the last month of the growing season when you can seed just about any tropical vegetable, so take advantage of the freedom to plant a multitude of the vegies that you love so that you reap the rewards in the coming months.  Don’t miss this season, plant your seeds now and over the coming four weeks, so that you can continue growing vegetables well into the year.

My vegetable for the week: Let’s talk Carrots!
I love nothing more than to tug on the green carrot tops in anticipation of what might pop up! How big or small, narrow or fat, long of short, success or re assess!
Nothing compares to the taste of a carrot freshly picked from the earth.
Sweet, crunchie and you just know it is so good for you.

Now add that there are so many varieties of carrots!
Try varieties such as:

   • Royal Chantenay – short and fat
   • Purple Dragon – Purple outside and orange inside and full of flavour
   • Carrot Thumbelina – short and round

Let’s talk Amsterdam Carrots, an heirloom variety - these ones grow between 12 – 15cms long. I like them because they are nearly coreless, and they are fairly resistant to cracking and splitting.

They take around 65-80 days to mature but you can pick them at early development and treat them as you would a baby carrot. Sweet flavour, good colour and high in Vitamin A.  


   • Carotenemia is a condition that leads to yellow-orange hue of the skin.
This can be caused by eating too many carrots! Unless you live off carrots I think you are pretty safe however. If you think you look a little orange, reduce intake! Easy fix.

   • Carrots are 85% water

   • Cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw carrots. By boiling carrots you increase the amount of Beta-Cerotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is great for bone health and yes, eye sight! Your teeth however benefit greatly from gnawing raw carrots, acting like a toothbrush on plaque. 

   • Carrot seeds are so tiny that you can fit 2000 of them o a single teaspoon!

Interesting Fact:

The ancient Greeks used carrots as a stomach tonic

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