NSW Education LIVE – Costa Georgiadis

This page is a transcript of the video NSW Education LIVE with Costa Georgiadis.

Duration – 21:02

Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis shares his tips on gardening around the home.


Costa Georgiadis

Good day, girls and guys, how're you going? It's Costa here. You may know me from Gardening Australia or you also might know me off the telly in Dirtgirlworld as Costa the Garden Gnome in Get Grubby TV. Anyway, I'm here to take you for a bit of a wander around my place. And look, I know that things are pretty crazy at the moment. All your routines have been thrown out, school, no school, staying at home, it's pretty crazy times and I just want to take you for a bit of a wander around my place and show you that there's plenty of stuff that you can be doing around your place that will get you up and active and also creating some awesome things, around nature, with nature. And, of course, create some gifts that you can give to people because, at the moment, we really need to look after each other. I'm sure you've heard it a million times. We're all in this together, so on and so forth.

But anyway, let's get on with it. This is rosemary, who likes rosemary potatoes? Oh, that smell–you use this in your cooking. Well, I want to show you how, with a pair of scissors, a couple of snips. And you get these, these fresh, young shoots, not the woody ones because they're growing really nicely. And I'm going to show you how you can turn these cuttings into your own plants and do what I did, which was create a hedge of it here on my neighbour's place. And I also created a hedge of it on my place. So anyone in the street, when they're walking home, they can just go snip, snip, and have it ready – they don't have to buy it, it doesn't have to be transported. So some of these things I wanna talk to you about are really all about how we can care for the planet, through our day to day actions. And in caring for the planet. We're caring for ourselves, because the more we connect with nature in our food, the more we look after our inner health and our mental health. So come on, let's go I gotta put these pocket.

Now, speaking of cuttings, what about this? This is aloe vera, you can put that on stings or on burns, and it's really a great soothing ointment and it grows like a crazy cactus. Look at these big succulent things. Again, all you need to do to propagate this is take a cutting. I'm gonna go in there oops, I missed. I can take a cutting like this. There you go, you can say moist and succulent it is in there. I'll leave that outside for a couple of weeks. Just to go dry, put it in a pot, away we go. Oh, he agrees with me big time. Now what you see he is my nature strip. This is land that's by the side of the road, and I've turned it into this awesome garden. And all of the plants you see at the moment, this amaranth, it just grew up on its own. We call that volunteer, freebies, freebies. And you can actually take these leaves off like that. Steam them, all I do is cut the toughest steam out, steam that and it's a beautiful green to have with your dinner. Now over here I want to tell you a couple of interesting stories. 'Cause nature's crazy, nature gives you every year the seeds for the following year. It's pretty cool, it's really cool. So I had this parsley plant now you can see all these parsley leaves here, look at that. Oh, so fresh, now I've got nice-smelling breath. Anyway, I had these parsley plant here, now when it was finished, rather than as it's started to go brown and die. What happens is it goes to seed. And rather than pull it out and say it's dead now I let it go to seed. And what happened, it dropped all its seeds all around here, they blew around. So instead of having to become a nurseryman and grow the seeds in a pot or a container, I let them grow up like this, I dig them up, and then I transfer them to where I want them. It's kind of like a free little nursery on my nature strip.

But here's a really good story about this. Imagine the plant was here, and parsley, when it goes to seed it gets this head, which is like an umbrella – it's called an umbel. And when all the seeds dried and started to fall off, there's this structure there. I call it the architecture of death. Because it's it's like almost like a mausoleum, like a tombstone. Here stands the parsley. Anyway, I left it there because I wanted to allow it to go from life right back to death, but you know what happened. And I'll show you this awesome Instagram video that I posted. I came out one day and there was this black sort of cluster there and I thought, what's that? I had a closer look and it was what they call cluster bees and they're native bees, you can't buy them, you can't build a home for them. Well, you can, I built a home for them by leaving something to go through its full lifecycle. It's not like you say, oh, well, you grew up, we got to pull you out you're getting a bit old. No, just leave it there. And that's what I did, that's what I did with the amaranth. And that's come back, each year I get a free feed from it.

So in terms of the big picture, to get this street garden growing, I need fuel and that fuel is compost and humus. And that comes from food scraps. So I actually get my neighbours from both ends of the street, they bring me their food scraps plus a couple of other people. And I put them into this, which is an old bathtub. So there is another way we can look at the big picture. How can we deal with waste? How can we stop throwing everything into landfill? Reuse it, so I made this frame and is an old door look, the door handle still there hello. Hey worms can I come in? This is a worm farm bathtub. Now you can get the smaller ones, these are smaller ones that you can buy. And if you live in an apartment, if you've got a small courtyard, you can just get a small one like this. You can even have this in the garage because they don't smell when they humming along. You don't have to do anything, just maintain them and they're beautiful, Have a look at this. This worm farm is loaded with worms have a look, come in. Come and have a close look at this wow. There's an eggshell in there that they love to go inside the eggshells. This, worm farm turns food scraps. Like you know this is slowly breaking down this bit of you can see look at them in there just going. Oh yeah, a little bit of wombok or cabbage, whatever it is. Yeah, look, it's tangled there maids just eating its way through the roof. I love oh, look, this is like just pure worm meat. Look, there's so many in there. And the more you feed them the more they multiply, which is really cool.

But the key thing out of this is you create humus and that's this beautiful, rich soil and that soil holds moisture. So when I put it on the sandy soils where I live, it holds moisture and that's how I get a beautiful garden to grow. But let me show you something else underneath the worms, they actually wee. They were they released a liquid and why capture it in a bucket and put it in here. And that's worm juice. And you can dilute that and pour it on your plants and your plants will grow like no tomorrow which is really easy way to get your own fertilizer again for nothing. Now as you can see I've got a second worm farm here, oh this plant, again, another succulent. So all I need to do if I wanna make another free plant out of these, I take a cutting. I can take a small cutting or I can take a large one. Let's see it's drop dripping that sap you don't want to put that in the soil. You got to let it skin over. So when I ever have to cut this back, I just leave them here on the top of the worm farm and then they go nice and woody. They dry and once they dry, guess what? You've got a plant. Now this is going from one-on-one to serious gardening. This is expert level. So once you've got this, you get a pot with some soil is a very involved process come a little bit closer. You get the plant, you ponder the plant. You install a hall with a very high tech mechanism (whistles) and place the plant in there deep enough that it stands tall, and there's a plant that you can give to someone. That's what propagation is about. It's really easy, but if we're going to propagate, if we're gonna propagate plants and grow plants to eat. We need our pollinators.

And there's my street library. There's lots of good books in there on pollinators, insects and things like that, but I actually turned it, I pimped it up, I put a rooftop garden on my street library, and I also built this cool bug hotel. Now bug hotels are really easy, all you got to do is go out get some paperbark, get some needles, off a pine tree or you can get some clay and put client a and then you drill some holes and when you drill the holes, insects will come, our native bees will come and make their homes in there for their babies because they don't live in a honey box like in a beehive. They live in hollows, they live in the soil and live in the ground. Now you can do that just with a simple plastic pot or if you've had soup one night or a tin of something, get the tin, put some bamboo pieces in there, find some bamboo, chop it up, find any of those things, put some clay in there, make a millimetre long hole, eight-millimeter wide hole and stick it in there so that they can come along a little bit of wire. If you do that little bit of wire around it. I mean this is the stuff that, you know, you've probably got sitting around, oops. (laughing) Anyway, it doesn't matter if you get a message. (laughing) But then you can just hang this. Then what you can do is actually put that around twice. You know, I mean, it's really simple stuff. You can do it with a piece of string. If you haven't got any wire, just do that. Put that like that. And you can hang that. But I wanna take you upstairs now to show you a few things that you can do, even if you don't have a garden because you can actually do it inside using your windowsill. And the first thing I'll show you is what's the next step with this rosemary smell that that smells so good and that it's getting a little closer to cooking here in the kitchen. Now I brought you up here because this is my windowsill farmer, he keeps an eye on everything, does Costa the Gnome and these really simple things that any of you can do, and actually harvest the raw materials from the kitchen every day.

For example, if you're cutting up some shallots for dinner, cut it a little bit longer so that you can then put the roots into some water and it'll regrow and once that's regrown and you get a bit of shoot about two or three centimetres long, you can plant it back in the ground and keep harvesting them not just once, twice, three times, five times you'll have those. Here I've got celery, it's you see inside the green there, it's starting to pop out. These are fennel, fennel is there and there. This is another celery, that's a lettuce you can see it starting to reshoot and there is beetroot, I only put them in the day before yesterday after chopping the tops off. And look it's a great fun experiment. It's just the way of saying we can reuse plants we don't have to just compost them even though composting is better than putting them in landfill. Now, what else can you do down there near my worm farms I plant a whole lot of this bush basil because it emits a nice smell. All I do chop cuttings like I did with this rosemary put them in a jar with water that's a week and look at the roots there. I can then put those into pots put more out along the verge, I can give them to friends really simple gift. Here, sprouting some different seeds, microgreen sprouting, this is mung beans, soaking them in water for hours, then rinse them twice or three times a day for about a week. And you can add those to salads or to a stir fry. Just eat them raw, they're fantastic.

Now, this is a chili that sort of on the turn, but these seeds in there, nature you crazy, you give everything away, I love you. So all you have to do is open it up. And there's all the seeds around the center. So I squeeze them out onto a paper towel okay, I didn't have paper towel this is a tissue, but that's good enough, let them dry on the windowsill. And then you can put that in a jar and actually plant the whole thing in a pot. And those seeds will pop up and you've got them for next year. This guy, this little dude swears by them. Now to the rosemary, I want to show you what you can do with this. But before I do failure, I had a little bit of a failure and that's good. Just as a general rule, girls and guys don't worry about failure because that's the place where you have your best learning. Because then you have to think about why didn't it work now, I bought these ones, these were growing on the windowsill. I brought them out too quickly. I didn't ease them out. And then I was away one night didn't water them for a day and a half and they drooped a little, but look, the fennel still coming good. The leek, look at this leek, I'll be able to cut another leek and redo the process again. These are endives, so you know failure is not a bad thing, because that's where you learn your best lessons. Sunflowers, sunflower seeds, totally edible ready to eat like that and good for you. But you can actually sprout them to about centimetres high and eat them as pure sunlight, beautiful, nutritious sunlight, which is good for you really, really good, healthy, fresh food. All you need to do is put them in a tray and away you go. So I'm gonna show you how to do that. Here's a tray here that I've got with some soil. You can just use some garden soil if it's not clay if it's sandy otherwise you can get seed raising mix but try and do this stuff. I like to try and do this stuff with what I've got and give it a go and see how you go. I cut out this bit of cardboard and that just flattens out the soil so that I can lay the seeds out quite evenly. So now all I do that's about grams of seeds in this container. So all I'm going to do is spread them over. So this is to grow really thick, really dense. Because then as you need them you cut them off. They're awesome so there we go. That's a pretty even spread. I'll just tamp them down and you can see look at how they popping up pushing up through the soil. It's like oh, I'm coming up, I'm coming up. I love you guys, I love you, wait till your taste them. You're gonna love them. And then to finish off just a little bit of soil over the top, just enough to cover them not too much. Now sunflowers are pretty strong, smaller seeds, you don't want to put too much soil on the top, because they might not have as much strength to push out. So just do that. And then I'll just tamp them down again, make sure they covered and you remember that worm juice here's it's chance. Now warm juicy, you dilute about one part of these to parts so so you know about one litre to nine litres. Doesn't matter if it's a bit more. But anyway, these are two-litre containers. So I'll put about half a litre in because it's only half okay. And then you can just give them a bit of a drink. And in about, and looking for a bit of soil exposes just cover it up. In about days, you'll be harvesting.

And finally, the rosemary. This is a really cool little project this one, and I got this idea from my friend Nev. And you can look up his page, he's called Under the Choko Tree. And that's what I love about sharing websites and sharing ideas because that's where we can all learn to do things and get new skills. So Nev showed me this simple little way. So what I've got here is a pot and I've sealed it up. You can use silicone or a bit of type and that's basically a water well. So that sits like that. And then I put sand around the outside. And what happens is the pot's porous, so the water goes out and waters the seedlings, sorry, the cuttings, the rosemary cuttings. So I'll just fill this right up. Doesn't matter if you get a little bit of sand in the pot, because you can just pull it out like watch this, I can just pull that out, tip that in there and away we go. So now I've got that nice little area to grow. I may as well use some of my worm juice in there because that'll feed them even a bit better. I'll just go like this. Now with your rosemary, all you need to do is take off and don't strip it that way because you rip all the skin, just turn it sideways and those leaves will come off like so. Before you put it into the pot, just dip it in a little bit of honey. You could use a hormone powder but don't worry about that a little bit of honey will do the job. And that seals the cut and we'll give it a little bit of carbohydrate to kick it off so it's as simple as that. And then I'll do a couple more that I've already prepared. And we just put them in and that's it.

Simple ways that you can do little projects around the house, grow, things, create a bit of hope. 'Cause when you plant a seed, you got to have a bit of hope that something's gonna happen. You can share, you can understand nature. Think about all the different people that I've spoken about Junior Landcare, Gardening Australia, Dirtgirlworld, Get Grubby, Under the Choko Tree. There are lots of websites, there are lots of people, you can go out there and get lots of information from because nature, it's all around us. And the more we get to speak her language, the more we'll benefit all together. So get out there enjoy the great outdoors. I love it, I love growing stuff, gardening rocks.

End of transcript.

Return to top of page Back to top