Expedition 44 crew members sample leafy greens grown on space station

Fresh food grown in the microgravity environment of space officially is on the menu for the first time for NASA astronauts on the International Space Station. Expedition 44 crew members, including NASA’s one-year astronaut Scott Kelly, are ready to sample the fruits of their labor after harvesting a crop of “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce Monday, […]

Hope for new longer flowering chamomile varieties

Chamomile is a medicinal plant used mainly in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases, including the field of veterinary medicine. Agricultural scientist Bettina Fähnrich from the Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds has been focusing on the genetics of chamomile (Matricaria recutita). She has been looking for chamomile varieties with a triploid […]

Urban gardens good or bad?

The issues surrounding food production in urban areas are outlined in a paper recently published by Wortman and Sarah Taylor Lovell in the September-October issue of Journal of Environmental Quality. The benefits of urban agriculture are many. Urban gardens are often built on previously unused lots, increasing the beauty and value of the neighborhood. They […]

Vego 101 the beginning

My venture into the world of vegetarianism was/is due to a combination of events. I’ve always dreamed of being a Buddhist. A dream that was unattainable in part due to a phone call that took place every Wednesday in the early hours of the morning since 2002. It went something like this. “Yeah bang them. Yeah kill them.” […]

Insect control with plant essential oils

Once you start enjoying the fruits; and, vegetables in your organic garden, it’s not long before you start receiving visitors.  Meet the arthropods.  Those freeloading vegetarians who come swinging their many limbs and whose intent it is to share the bounties of your hard labour. Organic gardeners have a few options. Ignore them — pray […]

Is this love?

Walking around the garden can unearth many story ideas.  On a recent walk I started to think about the practice of companion planting. There are libraries of books devoted to it’s study and endorsement.  I don’t disbelieve in its philosophies.  There’s many things I believe in that are intuitive and this article is anything but […]

The Sirromet experience

  Two thousand visitors a week either dine at Sirromet’s restaurant, visit the cellar door or tour the vineyard. Tourism is a successful way to add brand value as Susan Kirk discovers. Located in the spectacular Mount Cotton region, Sirromet Winery is spread out over a massive 255 hectares which includes a 12-hectare vineyard, a fully […]

Margaret River food and wine

  A booming tourist industry and a reputation for being one of the great wine-producing regions in the world create the robust Margaret River brand. Susan Kirk reports. The Margaret River region is in the South West of Western Australia, approximately three hours south of Perth and includes the Shires of Augusta, Margaret River and […]

Inland aquaculture a first in the Wheatbelt

  A research team from two WA TAFE’s and two industry partners have produced a technology called the SIFTS (Semi-intensive floating tank system) for seasonal production of trout and barramundi in the WA Wheatbelt.  Susan Kirk reports Open pond aquaculture in the State has not been viable due to low yields associated with harvesting issues […]