GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.

Seasonal Planting Guide

WHAT to plant and WHEN? Planting guide for the sub-tropics

 There are some jobs in the garden that are just plain fun – like seed saving

NOTE: I have found that I have the most success by using local seed – something passed around from gardener to gardener – they tend to be better fruiting varieties and more resistant to pests and diseases.

I have had very little luck with seed produced by the large companies – they are just not meant for our part of the world – the sub-tropical east coast of Australia. Growing your own vegetables from seed is a great way to really get you in touch with your garden; it’s a fun activity for the whole family, doesn’t involve any heavy work, saves you money, helps to save valuable heritage varieties – and best of all – if you plant a few seed at a time, but on a regular basis (like lettuce) you will have salad greens when you want it and nothing goes to waste.

If you don’t have time to grow your own from seed then buy seedlings from a local supplier.  I get mine from a grower at our local farmers market or our rural co-op.  Those sold in large hardware stores are often grown out of your climactic zone and won’t be as successful those grown locally.

.

What’s for dinner?

TOP TIP: Understanding PLANT FAMILIES  – who is related to whom – will benefit you and your garden. It helps you decide what to plant next to each other, solves crop rotation dilemmas, does companion planting for you and looks wonderful because a productive garden can’t help but be beautiful.

A- Annual
P – Perennial

Autumn/Winter 

Amaranth A
Beetroot A
Broad beans A
Brussels sprout A
Broccoli A 
Carrot (Chantenay) A
Cabbage A
Cauliflower(Romanesque) A
Celery (Chinese) A
Ceylon spinach P
Chard A
Chinese greens – boo choy, pak choy, tatsoi A
Coriander A slow bolting
Cucumber A use local seed + plant late winter
Kholrabi – eat fresh or cooked
Garlic A  – harvest late spring
Horseradish P – divide in autumn
Kale (Cavalo Nero) A/P
Kangkung P  – water spinach
Leeks A
Lemon Grass P – divide in autumn
Lettuce A  
Onion
Mustard Greens A
Parsley A/P (flat leaf -Italian)
Peas  (Longpod, Honeysnap, Snow) A
Potatoes (Kipfler, Desiree, Dutch Cream) A
Purslane P
Rhubarb P  – ready to pick early spring
Silverbeet A
Sorrel A/P
Spring onion A
Tomatoes A  – use local seed + plant late winter
Warrigal Greens P
Watercress A
Wild rocket P
Zucchini A – use local seed + plant late winter

Spring/Summer

Asian greens A  – not after December
Beetroot A
Bush basil P
Bush beans A
Capsicum A
Choko P
Climbing beans A
Corn A
Cucumber A – not after December
Dill A
Eggplant  (long, Asian)
Fennel A
Italian basil A
Leeks A  – not after December 
Lettuce A – not after December
Melons A
Okra A
Pumpkin A
Radish A
Snake beans A
Spinach A  – not after December
Spring onion A
Squash A
Sweet potato P
Tomato A  -not after September
Winged bean A
Yacon P
Yam bean/Jicama P
Zucchini A  – not after October

You don’t need a lot of land to grow your own food – you just have to start!


My Mullumbimby garden where I have over 50 perennial food plants scattered among the flowers and shrubs.  The annuals I grow in raised beds and pots.

Please follow and like us:

Plant of the Month: Clerodendrum, Bridal Veil

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Clerodendrum wallichii (used to be known as C. nitidum)
  • COMMON NAME: Bridal Veil
  • Family: LAMIACEAE

 

This is just the most gorgeous shrub that has been putting on this spectacular floral display for over a month now in my garden.  It is not a plant you see very often but I think it should be more widely grown because it is just lovely.

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?  This is often a good clue on how to grow the plant so if you think what a plant from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma and Vietnam might need you will be at least half way there.  Think warm, think tropics and think frost-free.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? This is a shrub with glossy pointed leaves that becomes deciduous in late winter, flowering from January to May in the sub-tropics of Australia.  It’s a small shrub that grows to about 2m and is best pruned after every flowering to encourage new growth.  Flowers are borne in flowing panicles of white sprays that have persistent reddish sepals – hence the common name Bridal Veil 

TOP TIP: Because it loses its leaves in late winter, it creates an opportunistic gap in the garden that can be filled with spring flowering bulbs.  I have white November lilies planted all around mine that pop up in spring and get supported on the frame of the Clerodendrum while they are flowering.

WHAT DOES IT NEED? A protected, sunny position in a rich, free-draining soil.  As with most plants from the tropics, it needs a nice, rich, free draining soil with a covering of mulch.  I have had the best display of flowers this year and all I can put that down to is an exceptionally warm summer followed by a wet and warm autumn (it’s May and still 26oC today)

HOW DO YOU PROPAGATE IT? Semi-hardwood cuttings in autumn seems to be the perceived wisdom.  They can also be grown from seed – this shrub sets a red, berry like fruit.

DOES IT HAVE ANY OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS? Yes, about 300 from climbers and shrubs to tree-like species.  If you have ever travelled to Asia you may be familiar with this stunning specimen of Clerodendrum – the Pagoda Flower.  I took this photo in Bali in 1989, obviously taken with the beauty of these shrub even then. You may also be familiar with the climber, Bleeding Heart Clerodendrum splendens with lovely red and white flowers.

NOTE:  This plant is in the Lamiaceae family – one that contains the word wide family of mint plants, and many other species in this family have aromatic leaves – just like the common mint; C. bungei apparently smells like burning rubber! and C.trichotomum – peanut butter.  Scratch and sniff in the garden?

You may have to hunt the Clerodendrums down but, believe me, its worth it.

Please follow and like us:

Trombone Squash – Summer Survivor

Summer Survivor

A favourite summer vegetable – trombone squash

We have recently had some early summer scorchers, with very little rain, that has just decimated the garden – the heat and humidity have been intense, so this thought is not far from everyone’s mind.  WHAT FOOD CROPS WILL SURVIVE THROUGH THE SUMMER?

Delicious finger eggplants – great for the barbecue
 

This was the question that my neighbour asked me the other day and my answer was almost spontaneous; okra, snake beans, amaranth bi-colour, eggplant and the trombone squash – all subtropical plants to survive our weather conditions.  I leave the corn and sweet potato for those with more land than me.

 

I still have some tomato, kale and cucumber plants struggling on from winter and spring but, in this heat, you can forget lettuce, Asian greens and other green beans.

Amaranth bi-colour – the spinach alternative.  Very nutritious and easy to grow – you just have to get the right variety – this one!
 

 

Snake beans – they just keep on coming
 

Trombone Squash
Cucurbita moschata
Zucchini tromboncino (listed by this name in the seed catalogues)


WHY is this one of the most rewarding summer vegetable crops?

 

 

 

 

52cm in one week!



1.  It is very easy to grow, surviving the summer heat and humidity – it just needs a frame to grow over – like a trellis or an arbour. Plant the seeds, that you have saved from the year before or bought from a reputable company like Diggers Seeds of Green Harvest (I got mine from my mate Dave) in the springtime.


2.  This zucchini/courgette/squash is a fast mover –  you can virtually watch it growing in front of your eyes.  This one reached 52cm in one week – I just love it. There aren’t many plants that having me dashing out with the ruler, first thing in the morning, and gaping in awe at just how fantastic nature can be.


3.  It is very prolific – one plant will give you heaps of fruit.  You just may have to intervene and help it along by hand pollinate if it raining and there are no pollinators around.  This is easy.  The male and female flowers are borne on the same plant – the female giving you the fruit and male the pollen for fertilising – and their structure easily tell you which one is which. So you just pick the male flower with the pollen on his pokey-out-bit and stick it in the female – bingo – who said gardening was boring?


4.  This is a nutritious and versatile food that I turn into lots of delicious dishes; corn and zucchini bake, bubble and squeak and the really yummy haloumi and zucchini fritters.  I also like to serve it as a side vegetable – simply sliced and tossed in some hot olive oil with garlic and black pepper, then finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. You don’t have to peel it!

Zucchini Bake



5.  You only use the long stem part which is seedless, less watery than ordinary zucchini and has a firm nutty flavour.  The round bit at the end contains the seeds – which you can discard.


6.  I always let one hang on the vine until it is dried and hard – the seeds will begin to shake around in the rounded base.  Store these in a cool dry place for next year.

Please follow and like us:

Potatoes – growing your own is easy!

We have just been away for a couple of months and just about the last thing I did, before I left home, was plant some old potatoes in the garden that had been quietly sprouting away in my pantry – ones that you would normally chuck out.

This was a quick and easy task because the second last thing I had done before my trip was to mulch the garden with a thick layer of straw to suppress the weeds, stop it drying out and provide a rich layer of organic matter to quietly feed the soil.

Now, what was the first thing I was thinking about on my way back from the airport and what was the first thing I did the next day – you’ve got it – inspect the garden and dig up my beautiful potato crop – about 6kg of Dutch Creams from 3 mouldy old potatoes!!  Want to find out how you can do it – read on.

ABOUT POTATOES
Potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes,eggplant, capsicum, the Solanaceae family so remember one of the rules of gardening – don’t plant anything from the same family in the same spot twice in a row – this is called rotation.  Why? – because they need similar nutrients from the soil and repeat crops will fail to thrive AND particular pests of that family will build up numbers if they have successive host plants – common sense isn’t it?

Technically, it is illegal in most states of Australia to grow potatoes from anything other than certified seed potatoes – this is to stop the spread of diseases, so if you live in a potato growing district follow this advice.  However, people have been growing potatoes for centuries from their own potatoes – just be sensible and use healthy looking potatoes to start with.

Chitted potaoes – ready for planting

You will find that many supermarket potatoes WON’T sprout in the pantry – this is because they have been treated to stop them doing so – like sterile tomato seedlings from the hardware store.  This is to stop the home gardener doing what we have always done – saving seed and regrowing another crop. (This is another capitalist trick – like printer cartridges and mobile phone paraphernalia, grrrrrr!).  Fortunately, while I had been away, a few forgotten potatoes had been sprouting away in my pantry – just ready for me to plant after I had dug up the last lot.

NOTE:  A cool, dark place – like a pantry, is the ideal spot to get your potatoes to start sprouting – ONLY PLANT THOSE THAT HAVE

WHEN TO PLANT POTATOES
This depends on where you live, but they are pretty forgiving about most growing conditions – they just won’t thrive in the depths of winter, so if you get frost plant when the last frost is over.

Our summers, up here near the Queensland border, are way too hot and wet for potato growing during the summer months and they are generally grown as an autumn/winter/spring crop – and I usually get in at least two crops a year because they only take from 60-90 days from planting to harvesting.   However, I have just been visiting my mother in Suffolk,UK and fields of more temperate summer grown potatoes were being harvested everywhere – their winters being just too cold for the spud.

HOW TO GROW POTATOES
The potato is a tuber – a root crop, and the developing potatoes grow off the stem and need to be grown in deep soil because any near the surface will turn green and these are poisonous.


Potatoes are heavy feeders with a pH below 6 (slightly acid) – so don’t add lime.  They will not grow in heavy clay and like a friable, rich soil.  I just use compost with a handul of pelleted chook poo.


Heres how I do it – it’s really simple!

1.  Prepare a bed of straw/grass clippings/composted weeds THAT IS IN FULL SUN.


2.  Make a hole about as deep as your elbow to your hand – this is gardeners measurement!


3.  Place the ‘chitted’ potato in the bottom of the hole – this is what a potato is called when it has sprouted.


NOTE:  You can grow potatoes in just about any container that has drainage holes and is LARGE ENOUGH e.g. old garbage bins with holes in the bottom, free-form piece of wire mesh made into a circle, hessian sacks.  I am not a fan of the rubber tyre potato stack – I worry about the chemicals from the tyres.

 4.  Get some well rotted compost and add a handful of organic fertiliser.  I use Organic Life – which is mostly chook poo but has other things added to ensure that all the major and micro nutrients are present.


You will not need to feed this crop again after that.


5.  Because my soil is solid clay – I put some gypsum in the bottom of the hole as well – this flocculates the clay particles i.e. helps to break it up. You won’t need to do this unless you have similar beige pudding for soil like mine



6.  Be generous in filling your potato holes with soil because the size of your potato crop is directly related to the quality and amount of soil that they have grown in.


7.  Give the ground a good water and then just don’t worry about it for about two months.


8.  You will know when the potatoes are ready to harvest because the green plant, that has shot out of the potato above the ground, will begin to die-down and wilt.


9.  This is the fun part – digging up potatoes, like jewels from Aladdin’s cave – was what first turned me on to gardening when I was a child and helping my dad on his allotment.




Now who has been paying attention?  Explain the terms rotation, chitting and flocculate?

Please follow and like us:

Winter Care of Citrus and Orchard Meadows

Soon the citrus harvest will be over with just a few fruit left hanging on the trees SO……. it’s time to get busy – that’s if you want a bumper crop next year.  Time to sharpen the loppers, buy some trace elements, bales of mulch and get out there.

It is time to PRUNE, FEED and MULCH those hungry citrus trees – and it doesn’t matter whether they are in pots or in the ground – this advice applies to ALL CITRUS.

PRUNING
I recently went to help a friend of mine prune her old, but prolific, citrus trees and she reckons we are in for a wet winter so it’s time to get those outdoor jobs while we can.

BEFORE

1. Branches hanging on the ground.
2. Crossing branches in the middle which rub together and then can be a site for pest and disease attack.
3.Tree getting too tall to be able to reach fruit.
4. Dry, cracked and bare ground under the tree.

AFTER
1.  Taking out some the large inner branches, as well as lifting the skirt off the ground, allows for better airflow through your citrus and helps to deter diseases.
2.  My retired farming friend, who used to be a commercial citrus grower, says not to be too timid when pruning and was just about to take to this tree with a pair of shears “just to give it a final haircut”.  Her tip – don’t let your trees get too tall so that you can’t reach the fruit.

Preserved Limes and Lemons

  • FACT: Pruning actually encourages more growth and flowering – and that means more fruit.TOP TIP:  Gardeners are often reluctant to prune while there is still some fruit on the tree, immature or otherwise – but you have to do it sometime!  If you leave it until late in the winter you will be cutting off the developing flowering buds.  Here are a couple of ways I use up that excess fruit.
    1.  Juice the fruit and make frozen ice cubes which you can store in the freezer until you need them.
    2.  Make preserved lemons and limes, which will keep for ages, by salting them.  Here’s how: 
    *Cut the washed fruit into quarters and stuff into sterilised jars – salt the bottom first.
    *With every layer of fruit add some salt.
    *Top up with squeezed fresh juice.
    *Weight down with a stone that you have cleaned with boiling water so that all the fruit is under the liquid.
    *100g salt per 500ml jar.
    * I add bay leaves to the lemons – you can add cloves and cinnamon.
    * Ready to use in a month or so.  Wash the preserved fruit and discard the fruit pulp and white pith – you just want the skin – slice thinly


    HOW TO USE:  Preserved Limes – with fish and seafood.  Lemons – Couscous, Middle Eastern dishes, tagines.  Try this delicious lamb tagine dish – it needs 2 preserved lemons.
The street where we used to live in Sydney copping a huge storm

FEEDING and MULCHING
1.  The whole of the east coast of Australia has just experienced a terrific storm with some folk on the North Coast, where I live,  getting over 400mm in 24 hours (annual average 1,500mm) which means, for us gardeners, that many of the nutrients in the soil get washed away (along with the assortment of shoes from the flooded front porch!).  SO – with the portent of a wet winter, it’s time to care for your citrus trees – AND the best way to do that is by caring for the soil – that means FEEDING it and not leaving the soil bare, and MULCHING.
2.  Note the tree in the top photo after we had finished. No more bare earth under under the trees.  Each tree has been mulched out to the drip line – in this case with spent straw from a horse stable, but you can use anything; wood chips, composted grass clippings, spent sugar cane, lucerne – just about whatever you can lay your hands on.

3.  An organic, pelleted, slow-release fertiliser (macronutrients) is the way to go together with a dose of trace elements (micronutrients).


TOP TIP: Grow your own mulch!  Plants some clumps of COMFREY and LEMON GRASS around your orchard – these can be slashed regularly and used as a green mulch.  WHY – COMFREY has a long tap root and mines up minerals from deep in the soil, it also has a low carbon to nitrogen ratio so can be used fresh – unlike most green material – it won’t rob the soil of nitrogen as it breaks down. LEMON GRASS has essential oils that act as a passive pest control when the fresh leaves are used as mulch – for its size it also produces a lot of leaves.


AND NOW – for all of those folk who have an orchard and are interested in making a smaller footprint – READ ON

From This


TOP TIPS for A HEALTHIER ORCHARD:
Making our patch more like a living organism and less like an artificial, unsustainable experiment just makes common sense to me – do yourself and the environment a favour and eliminate the need for ALL OF THE ABOVE; continual mowing, weeding, feeding and mulching.


HOW: by making your orchard, less work to maintain, more productive AND more beautiful.

To This

COVER CROPS provide a living carpet of perennial plants for orchards.  A ‘living mulch’ of low growing legumes,  grasses and other wildflowers can provide many advantages, especially compared to exotic lawn grass (kikuyu,couch and buffalo) which aggressively competes with your fruit trees for water and nutrients – and you have to mow it!  


The best way to start is with a LEGUMINOUS COVER CROP.  Legumes are plants such as lucerne, pea and bean family, medics and chickpeas.

WHY IS THIS A GOOD IDEA FOR ALL ORCHARDS?: How about feeding the soil with the plants that are growing there?

  • Legumes have the ability to fix nitrogen from the air onto their roots which then becomes available, via the soil, to other plants.  Nitrogen is a major element needed for plant growth.
  • Protects valuable topsoil from rain and wind erosion.
  • Suppresses weeds without the use of herbicides.
  • Improves the health of your soil by increasing organic matter, earthworms and vital microorganisms.
  • Reduces compaction of the soil by frequent mowing.
  • Prevents hardpans and soil cracking and brings up minerals from deep within the soil.
  • Improves water, root and air penetration of the soil.
  • Provides nectar and pollen for beneficial insects and reduces populations of pests by providing a more balanced, diverse and natural habitat.
  • Looks wonderful – if you would rather have the buzz of insects than the sound of a mower, and the flit of butterflies and birds on the wing – then this is for you.
  • Is ultimately less work and saves you money – have you seen the price of a bale of lucerne lately?
 

  • NITROGEN NODULES on the roots of broad beans
HOW TO DO IT?
 
1.  It’s obviously much easier to do this when establishing a new orchard as you need bare earth to sow the seed in.  Seeds are available from any rural seed supplier.
2.  How to get rid of existing grass:
  • There are new organically certified herbicides on the market that are based on pine oil called Weed Blitz – though I have yet to try it. (Recommended by Green Harvest Company that also sells cover crop seeds)
  • Hire a steam weeder to kill the grass – being used more and more by Councils and road side authorities as alternative to harmful herbicides.
  • For smaller areas – sheet mulch with cardboard and straw.
3.  Now for an important little bit of science.  The fixing of nitrogen by legumes from soil air require the presence of species specific bacteria (rhizobia) so it’s important to buy seeds that have already been inoculated with the relevant rhizobia as your soil will probably be deficient in these important bacteria.
 
4.  Make sure you have summer (e.g. cowpeas, lab lab, soybeans, desmodium, siratro) and winter ( e.g.lupins, vetch, oats, ryegrass) growing crops as you want year round cover. 

5.  Add a grass seed to your cover crop –  including native grasses and others like oats, barley and ryegrass – has many benefits including; increasing organic matter and carbon input, encourages smaller seed eating birds and more beneficial insects. 


6.  Orchards with a lot of shade (macadamias, mangoes and avocados).  The DPI (Department of Primary Industry) recommends the native Smothergrass Dactyloctenium austral and Amarillo peanut Araelus pinto.

Cover crop seeds for sale in our local Rural Co-op
 
MAINTENANCE
 
1.  Once your new meadow is established slash as required!!!!  This may only be a couple of times a year!!!!!  Important to do it once in the late summer to encourage re-seeding.  Leave anything you have slashed to rot down.  Re-seed any bare patches – then just sit back and ENJOY IT.
 
 
Go to this link by the NSW DPI for lots of useful information.
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/119803/cover-crops-subtropical-orchards.pdf
 
 

Guess what Prince Charles gave his mother to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation (no, it wasn’t a corgi) – a MEADOW in every county rescued from abandoned waste ground.

http://coronationmeadows.org.uk 

  

Please follow and like us:

Top Plant: Turmeric

BOTANIC NAME: Curcuma domestica
COMMON NAME: Turmeric, Curcuma, Indian Saffron, Yellow Ginger, Karmin 
FAMILY NAME: Zingiberaceae
ORIGIN: SOUTH EAST ASIA

 

Curcuma domestic in flower in the middle of summer.  This is the plant that has the yellow ginger root from which we derive turmeric powder – the aromatic curry spice.
 

Just about every where I turn these days I am hearing about the benefits of turmeric and tonight, when I had the family for dinner, both my son-in-law and daughter came in with a recipe for ‘turmeric chai’ or ‘turmeric milk’ espousing the health giving benefits of this yellow spicy ginger. (See below for recipe)

So what is it all about?  It’s definitely time now for me to get down on paper what I know about this wonderful plant – wonderful for it’s health giving properties and its use as a landscaping plant in the sub-tropical garden.

Freshly dug turmeric

Description
A perennial plant of the ginger family, native to India and parts of Asia.
Propagated in spring from knobbly roots, called rhizomes, which have thick, finger-like side-shoots. Leaf stalks rise to 1 metre or more high. Vibrant green leaves are lance-shaped. Floral spikes 20cm long, with thick clusters of pale green pockets with creamy/yellow foxglove-like flowers peeping out of each pocket, and a mild spicy aroma.

When to harvest: The leafy parts of the plant begin to yellow and die down in autumn – this is the time to harvest the edible yellow rhizome.  If you leave it in the ground it will re-shoot in the spring with the clump increasing in size over time and the turmeric root becoming more yellow and aromatic – that’s why I usually harvest it after the second year when the flavour and colour has intensified.

Uses in Landscaping: It’s a great addition to any sub-tropical garden with its lush green spear-like leaves and striking delicate flowers.  There is also a pink-flowering variety that is native to Australia with a very attractive red stripe up the mid-vein of the leaves.

It’s happiest in moist, rich soil away from the intense heat of the midday summer sun.  Just remember where you have planted it so you don’t crowd it in with taller plants that will hide its’ loveliness when it pops up again in the springtime.

Curcuma australasica – the native Australian variety.  I haven’t tried eating the root, but I’m sure you can, but it is not yellow.
 
Preparation

 

This is a job for some sunny weather!  After digging up your turmeric clumps you have to give them a good wash to get all the soil off and trim off any roots and stems.  The fingers of turmeric will easily break off from the main stem.  Leave them to dry in the sun before you cut them.  Then, you simply slice them up and put them on baking trays out in the sun.  You will have to turn them over a couple of times.  When the turmeric slices have dried completely they shrink dramatically, usually after a couple of days.  I then use my electric spice grinder to turn it into powdered gold!  It’s very easy.

Health Benefits
First, let me say that this ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient is actually really old and has been an important part of the diet of Sub Continental and South East Asian cuisines for centuries – where would any curry be without turmeric?


NOTE: On my frequent travels to Indonesia,where I have been the guest of a family, they always have a jar of turmeric jamu (medicine) in the fridge – which consists of grated fresh turmeric, fresh lime juice, honey, water and often fresh chilli.  This is left to intensify for a few days and then a tablespoon of the liquid is taken with water.  This is their all round, every day tonic. 


Turmeric is recognised as being an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound. 


In addition, as a recognised powerful antioxidant  current research is showing help with everything from heart disease to Alzheimers.  


“It is a possible aid in preventing chronic degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”


“In fact, the high intake of turmeric in the Indian diet has been attributed to their rates of Alzheimer’s disease, which are amongst the lowest in the world”. Professor Marc Cohen, head of Complimentary Medicines at RMIT quotes from his latest research.  He also has this to say:


“Omega 3s in turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, are “blockbuster nutrients”, 

“Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which stops lipid oxidation and is anti-inflammatory,” 

Cohen, who suffers from osteoarthritis, is such a fan of the spice that he takes it daily.


Another recent article in the Guardian quotes new scientific studies that also confirm that the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin was more effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis than prescriptive anti-inflammatories. 



Importantly, it has also been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

NOTE:  From all the current research that I have read it is stressed that taking turmeric in its natural state, either freshly grated or in its powder form, is far more effective than taking it as a manufactured supplement.  You have to eat your way to good health and not expect it from a pill because the benefits and complexities of whole foods, and how the body metabolises them, is still in the early stages of scientific understanding.


To quote Cohen again: “A key challenge we have faced in the past is how to ensure curcumin is absorbed into the body to provide therapeutic benefit.” As well as using it in curries (where it is responsible for the yellow colour) and smoothies, he often has it with milk as the fat, he explains, helps absorption.



“I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated cur cumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and auto-immune conditions.”

Taking the natural-first approach, is also backed up by Melanie McGrice, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia.



“I think it’s always better to try natural food sources before turning to medications,” she says. “Turmeric certainly has a lot of health benefits, especially because it is so rich in antioxidants.”


Golden Milk: As effective absorption from the gut has been one of the issues with turmeric’s abundant benefits, and an understanding that fat assists with this, 
trendy cafes worldwide are now offering ‘ginger chai’ or ‘golden latte’ with a similar recipe to the one below.  Golden Milk or haldi ka doodh has, in fact, been used in Indian natural medicine as a winter drink to heal coughs and sore throats for longer than big beards and hipster baristas have been around. 


An anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic healing cuppa.
½ teaspoon of turmeric (fresh grated or powder)
½ teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
2-3 peppercorns
2 cups of milk
Spices (optional) cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper
Honey to taste
Combine all ingredients except the honey in a pot. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain. Add the honey once the mixture has cooled a little.

I have a bung knee so I’m off to boil up a golden brew!

My home grown turmeric powder
Please follow and like us: