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TAS Country : September 2nd 2010
mber 3, 2010 17 mond, top left, in the distance. Pictures: KAROLIN MacGREGOR amily life It's hard to imagine looking at it now, but when we first started it was just a horrible muddy stream with almost nothing growing along the banks, and erosion was a big problem.' A large climate-controlled nursery, which includes underground heating, was built on the property about two years ago. The nursery, which is fully automated and irrigated, means the Nicolsons now have the capacity to grow about one million seedlings a year. The Nicolsons grow about 500 different plant species, and one of the most popular at the moment is saltbush. Mrs Nicolson said the original material for the saltbush they are now growing came from Midlands property Brookdale, where it was believed to have been planted in about 1889. Now the Nicolsons are growing thousands of saltbush plants for farmers across the Midlands for planting in saline or extremely dry areas. Mrs Nicolson said saltbush was tough and highly palatable with very good protein levels and was readily eaten by stock. Once mature it can also provide some shelter for livestock. Native plants grown by the Nicolsons are also sold to nurseries and many are also used for revegetation work by farmers and land owners across the state. Native food and herb plants are another area in which the Nicolsons specialise. As well as selling actual plants, in 2006 they also branched out into the dried herbs and herb oils business. Mrs Nicolson said many Tasmanians did not know just how flavoursome some of our native plants such as mountain pepper, native sea parsley and native mint could be. They are also now experimenting with native herb-flavoured biscuits with unique flavour combinations such as parmesan cheese and native sea parsley, mountain pepper and leek, lemon boronia, mountain pepper and native mint. Mrs Nichols said the dried herbs, flavoured oils and biscuits were all different ways of diversifying their business using the fantastic native plants they had growing in their garden and on the property.
August 26th 2010
September 9th 2010