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Community Greening Growing Friends

The Growing Friends that volunteer at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney are very generous to the Community Greening program.

It is not unusual to receive trays of begonias or some other special plants that are excess to the nursery's needs or a bit long in the tooth and in need of some tender loving care. We quickly share these with our community gardeners and community nurseries. We really appreciate that you think of Community Greening when you have excess stock so we can spoil our grateful gardeners.

Summer is always an exciting time for gardeners when tomatoes are in season. This year the Growing Friends kindly grew trays of heirloom tomatoes for the Community Greening team to share. Plants with labels like Green Zebra, Tigerella, Jaune flamme and Black grape tempt gardeners with visions of exciting summer salads.

Top Tip: Don’t forget that you can save the seeds of heirloom tomatoes ready for sowing again in August.

Some of our gardeners are already sharing seed via our Greening and Growing Together newsletter. Angie from Bidwill Community Garden is a very keen vegetable gardener and cook. Much of what Angie growsnfinds its way into a delightful Italian-inspired dish. The Bidwill Community Garden had great success with their snake bean crop last summer and Elizabeth from Community Greening saved some seed to share with others. Sandra from Soldiers Settlement Community Garden in Matraville was just one of the recipients of these seeds (pictured) and as you can see she has a green thumb and a bumper crop of beans.

Snake Beans can be added to just about any recipe where beans are suggested however below we have a very special recipe from Angie’s mother in-law.


Did you know...

Snake beans are also known as the yardlong bean, bora, bodi, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean or Chinese long bean? It is grown primarily for its strikingly long (35-75 cm) immature pods and has uses very similar to that of the green bean. Angie will also say it can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiled with pasta.


Spaghetti and Snake Beans with Tomato Sauce. (serves 4 people)


2 x 400ml cans of diced tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic (or more if you like)
basil (fresh if you have it is best)
salt and pepper
olive oil
400 grams of spaghetti
2 bunches of snake beans (each bunch has about 12 snake beans) - remove the ends of the snake beans not the pointy heads



Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes (but not brown) then add the basil and the 2 tins of the diced tomatoes with the salt and pepper.  Cook this on medium heat for about 45 minutes. 

In a large saucepan bring water to the boil, add some salt and the snake beans. Bring to the boil again and then add the spaghetti. Cook until the spaghetti is done, strain and mix the spaghetti and beans with the tomato sauce. When dishing up add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top of each individual plate.

Buon Appetito