How to grow ko­mat­suna Stir-fried ko­mat­suna with hon­eyed chicken

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

If you want to try ko­mat­suna you will prob­a­bly need to grow your own as it is not com­mon on mar­ket shelves. Seeds seem un­com­mon too – I only found two va­ri­eties avail­able through Kings Seeds: a green ko­mat­suna called Mus­tard Spinach and a red va­ri­ety, Ko­mat­suna Red Leaf F1. The red va­ri­ety was de­vel­oped for baby leaf pro­duc­tion, and mine were low grow­ing and less vig­or­ous than the green va­ri­ety.

Ko­mat­suna, like other fast-grow­ing bras­si­cas, needs high lev­els of ni­tro­gen and wa­ter to crop well. An open site is pre­ferred and soil should be fer­tile and mois­ture-re­ten­tive. Work in plenty of or­ganic mat­ter and cover with mulch, prefer­ably or­ganic, to con­serve mois­ture.

If plants seem less vig­or­ous than ex­pected, a sea­weed liq­uid feed will boost growth. About a month after plant­ing is a key time for sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing. METHOD Dry roast the co­rian­der seed and grind to a coarse pow­der. Dry roast the sun­flower and pump­kin seeds then cut, grind or use the food pro­ces­sor (like I did) to break them up into small chips, about the size of rock salt crys­tals. Mix the ground co­rian­der, seeds and salt and mix to­gether. Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes. Chop or crush the gar­lic. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and add the honey to the oil. Add the chopped chicken and gar­lic to the hot oil and honey mix­ture and stir-fry un­til about half cooked (3-5 min­utes). Drain off any liq­uid and re­serve – you should end up with about 1-2 cups of com­bined oil, honey and wa­ter from the chicken. Put the udon noodles in a pot of boil­ing salted wa­ter for a few min­utes and stir to sep­a­rate the noodles, then drain and set aside. Re­turn the drained chicken to the heat, add the soy sauce and toss well. Con­tinue stir-fry­ing un­til cooked (another 3-5 min­utes), adding the ground seeds and ko­mat­suna stalks about 1 minute be­fore the chicken is cooked. Add the drained noodles and stir to bring them back to heat. At the end, add the ko­mat­suna leaves, stir­ring sev­eral times to mix them in and then re­move from the heat. If us­ing older leaves, stir-fry on heat for 1-2 min­utes. Pour over the re­served liq­uid, stir­ring once or twice, then serve.

There are many good rea­sons for mow­ing the or­chard in sum­mer: ease of fruit col­lec­tion, free air cir­cu­la­tion around trees, neat, tidy aes­thetic looks, and easy ac­cess to flow­ers by bees and other pol­li­na­tors.

But there some good rea­sons not to mow too. By leav­ing it you can: • grow hay; • cre­ate preda­tor in­sect habi­tat; • al­low wild flow­ers to at­tract pol­li­na­tors; • plant and har­vest medic­i­nal herbs; • im­prove the soil fertility us­ing a pas­tureim­prov­ing ley.

Long bits you leave to grow over sum­mer can be mown off later at the end of the year, and the mulch raked around the trees.

On our block in mid-sum­mer, we hand weed around the trunk of our trees, then mow around the base to make sure no dam­age is done by the weedeater, free­ing the im­me­di­ate area around trees from the di­rect com­pe­ti­tion of long grass. The re­sult­ing mulch helps to re­tain mois­ture. Our geese are kept out to keep them off the fruit, then al­lowed back in dur­ing late sum­mer to strip all the grass seed.

You might use a weedeater, a scythe, or a comfy ride-on mower, but it’s al­ways eas­ier to leave some un-mown strips. Just miss a few passes on the ride-on and leave a tall strip of grass to go to seed along the rows of trees. If you have a huge com­mer­cial or­chard, leave the edges and head­lands (field cor­ners) un­cut to en­cour­age wild flow­ers, in­sects and pol­li­na­tion. You can cut it all short again in the win­ter after graz­ing to stop it com­ing away in weeds.

But for the sum­mer sea­son, a mixed herbal ley can ben­e­fit both trees and an­i­mals on the block. A mix of fod­der is good for graz­ing an­i­mals who need va­ri­ety

This book gives you easy, stepby-step lessons on how to make your own de­li­ciously flavour­ful breads, the equip­ment you need, flour and gluten-free op­tions, plus recipes from top ar­ti­san bread­mak­ers for ci­a­batta, sour­dough, baguettes, bagels and more. 100 pages All the ba­sic cheese­mak­ing pro­cesses, in­gre­di­ents and equip­ment, plus there are easy step-by-step recipes for more than 20 cheeses.

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