Failsafe gardening



Getting vegetables into children

Preschoolers who work in a vegetable garden may change their attitude to vegetables, a study from Texas suggests. The researchers asked 22 children aged four and five to garden for 30 minutes per week. The children planted four types of vegetables including green beans, then watered, weeded and helped with composting every week. After eight weeks, the children became less likely to refuse the types of vegetables they had grown, and ranked green beans higher in order of preference than they had at the beginning of the study. Lorenz S and others, 85th Annual Meeting of the American Dietetic Association October 25, 2002.

See more about vegetables and children

Grow your own vegies, warns vegetable grower

Worsening drought conditions in Australia will mean soaring prices for fresh fruit and vegetables. Tony Maggio, of Country Fresh Fruit & Vegetables in Moonee on the mid north coast warned recently that the average consumer will not be able to afford fresh produce within 12-18 months unless there is a solution to the water crisis. Meanwhile, prime minister John Howard urged ABC radio listeners to ‘pray for rain’. Coffs Coast Advocate, Produce set to skyrocket by Kate Mullard; PM tells nation “Pray for Rain”, April 21, 2007, p8.

Vegetables in cities

You don’t have to have a garden, or even any soil, you can make your own soil and plant in containers on concrete, see

In Howard’s garden

gardenall Rhubarb, corn, beans

April (temperate to subtropical)

August (just after midwinter)

November- January (early summer)

 May - June (autumn)



Brussels sprouts



green beans

green peas

carrots (contain salicylates, not suitable for your strict elimination diet)


Potatoes (planted at midwinter from the Diggers Club) have just come up, several white fleshed and brown skinned varieties.


Iceberg lettuces (seeds and seedlings are now available from Bunnings, thanks to Catherine). Carrots.


potatoes (Sebago); pumpkin (Butternut seeds available from Bunnings); corn - both the new white sweetcorn and the old yellow variety - we will be interested to see if the white could be any lower in salicylates. Fresh corn on the cob was rated as 0.13 mg of salicylates per 100 gm (tinned was double that), compared to carrots at 0.23 in the Swain et al 1985 analyses.



Cabbages (use organic pesticide), carrots, spring onion






green beans (frozen at the end of summer)


carrots (contain salicylates, not suitable for your strict elimination diet)

tamarillos (beautiful dark red sweet ripe fruit high in Vitamin C, contain salicylates, not suitable for your strict elimination diet)

rhubarb (contain salicylates, not suitable for your strict elimination diet)



Green peas (contain small amounts of glutamates, not suitable for your strict elimination diet)





Our cabbage crop did well and we’ve been eating a lot of cabbage stirfries! Our Brussels Sprouts must be the World's Smallest, but they too go well in stirfries.

Now harvesting: Rhubarb, peas, beans, carrots, leeks, shallots, chives, garlic and parsley


Mangoes and tamarillos start to ripen (both moderate to high in salicylates, small quantities every second day)

gardentomato Yellow tomato

gardenspring  Spring onion,

gardencabbage  Cabbages

gardentamarillo  Tamarillo (tree tomato)

gardenchoko Choko

Tamarillo trees are flowering in October-November, fruit ready in January - May. They are more like shrubs than trees: they grow quickly, fruit quickly and die off quickly. The others (persimmon, mango) will probably have some fruit this year but not much. 


Thanks to several failsafers who have written about the grafted 'fruit salad' trees at A mixture of Golden and Red Delicious apples and Packham and Bartlett pears would be good if you live in a cold climate. Packhams are the main pear variety grown in Australia closely followed by Bartletts (also called WBC or Duchess). Both rated 0.00 mg of salicylates per 100 gm in the Swain et al 1985 analyses.

Further information

Planting calendar and gardening hints from

Diggers Club beginners workshops, display gardens, hints, preserving old varieties of vegetables

City and container gardens

Ask your nursery about planting for your local conditions.

Introduction to food intolerance

The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians 

© Sue Dengate update January 2013