There's nothing like an open fire to warm the body and ease the stresses of the day, and for clean-burning, natural Australian wood you can't beat red gum firewood. If you think all firewoods are created equally you're dead wrong. Here's your guide to evaluating the best wood Australia has to offer.
There are several key factors we can use in evaluating firewood. First, how much heat does a type of firewood produce as it burns? In general, hardwoods have more available heat than softwoods, although the volatile oils in some softwoods can increase the heat they put out. River and forest red gums have a potential heat content of 80 - 92%, stacking up beautifully against many other hardwood varieties.
Density is the next characteristic to consider, as the more dense a variety of firewood, the more heat it will produce, and the longer it will burn. While hardwoods in general, and gum varieties particularly, can take a while to ignite, they excel in density, and red gum firewood is a fantastic choice if you're looking to run your wood stove or slow combustion heater all night.
And how about moisture? For an efficient, low-smoke fire you need the moisture content of your wood to be below around 10-20%. Any higher and your fire will produce far less heat, and much of the energy you do produce will be wasted, evaporating water stored in the timber. Red gum firewood rates beautifully in terms of moisture content. Forest red gum has 5 - 8% moisture content, while the moisture held in river red gum is negligible. Remember, the drier your wood, the easier you'll find it to light, so cut, split and stack strategically, and ensure your firewood is stored in a well-ventilated area for at least six months before you put a match to it.
Finally, while you want your wood to ignite well and burn long, you also need to enjoy your fire while it is lit. Hardwoods far outstrip softwoods in minimising smoke and sparks, and the superb coaling ability of red gum firewood gives you a less intense, far more comfortable heat.
Whether you long to stretch your legs before an open fire, or you rely on fire for cooking or heating red gum firewood stacks up beautifully against the competition. With plenty of available heat, brilliant density, low moisture content and comfortable burning a red wood fire just can't be beaten.
I've always been interested in gardening, and when I bought my first home ten years ago, I knew I wanted the garden space to be used to grow food, but I also wanted it to look beautiful. I started researching edible flowers and read about using companion plants interlaced with vegetable plants to create stunning displays of colour throughout the growing season. I realised I could design a garden that was both functional and pleasing to the eye and now only grow edible plants and flowers, such as pansies, borage, violas, lemon verbena, roses and nasturtiums. I started this blog to connect with others who enjoy growing their own food and to share my tips for creating an entirely edible garden. I hope you find my blog interesting and enjoyable to read.