Nov 302013
 

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food in North East Melbourne

Whether you want to eat local food, grow veggies in your garden or meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you!

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, takes place every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month.

Apr 192017
 

The first Wonga Park Farmers’ Market is on this weekend

Just a reminder:
When: 4th Saturday of each month, starting Saturday, 22nd April, 9am-1pm.
Where: Wonga Park Primary School (41 Dudley Road, Wonga Park).
Enquiries: Jenny Kelly by phone (0410 526867) or email.

Penny Woodward’s workshop on growing garlic is on this weekend

Just a reminder:
When: Sunday, 23rd April, 12.45-3pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $30 but free to members of Local Food Connect – join or renew your membership (from $10 pa).
More information: LFC calendar entry.

A new local stallholder at Eltham Farmers’ Market – My Fresh Menu

My Fresh Menu, from Research, will be selling rice paper rolls, spring rolls and pho at Eltham Farmers’ Market on 23rd April. They also provide local catering and delivery of a wide range of Vietnamese dishes. Welcome Mai Tu!

There will be two other new stallholders at the market. Boatshed Cheese will be selling a range of goat, cow, sheep and buffalo milk cheeses and, to celebrate their first market, they will be offering a special: buy 3, get a haloumi free. Selba Farm will be filling in for Hildebrand Grove (who have temporarily run out of olive oil) and will be selling pickles as well as olive oil.

Have your say on health and wellbeing in Nillumbik

Nillumbik Council has announced a consultation process on its health and wellbeing priorities. A Nillumbik Health and Wellbeing discussion paper (a Word file) has been developed and you can respond to it by either completing an online form or by emailing Diana Bell at the Council. Alternatively, you can complete an online survey. The survey and submissions both close on 7th May.

In thinking about your response, you might be interested in either the recently published Nillumbik Health and Wellbeing Profile and/or the previous Nillumbik Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Finally, at short notice, you might be interested in participating in the next Nillumbik Positive Ageing Information Forum. Discuss current health levels, future priorities and housing options for older people. Keynote speaker from ReSpin. Includes lunch and afternoon tea.
When: Friday, 21st April, midday-4.15pm.
Where: Hurstbridge Hub.
RSVP: Nillumbik Council by phone (9433 3157) or email.

Urban food volunteer gardener opportunity in Darebin

Join a thriving little team of diverse backgrounds and skills talent. Darebin’s DIVRS’ urban food team is a place where you can fully participate in horticultural design, production and distribution of edible food systems. If interested, contact Martin O’Callaghan by phone (9480 8200) or email.

Garden volunteer opportunity in Lower Templestowe

The Templestowe College permaculture garden is a learning environment for the students of the college. As well as providing a place to learn new skills, the garden serves as a contemplative and recreational space for students and staff. This volunteer role is to assist in the ongoing development and maintenance of the permaculture garden beds, including: weeding, mulching, watering, composting, digging, planting, staking and pruning. View/download the role description. View/download the application form.

Yes we can (grow soybeans)

In last week’s newsletter, I suggested that it is unlikely that soybeans could be successfully grown in urban Melbourne because of the street lighting. Well, Heather has proved me wrong (see the picture). As Heather says: “For the past few years I have been growing soybeans, latterly of the Edamame kind, and getting a decent crop. Whilst the garden doesn’t receive bright street lighting, it does, until late evening, normally receive some light filtering in from the two townhouses next door.

Crop Swap Boronia

Following the discussion in last week’s newsletter about Crop Swap Melbourne, Emma Trottman has written in to say that there is also a Crop Swap Boronia Facebook group.

Seed Swap Australia

Seed Swap Australia is a closed Facebook group which you might like to consider joining. Thanks, Cath Lyons, for joining me to the group.

Mac’s tip of the week

I have been amazed by how many people have been having trouble with rabbits in their gardens recently. I often suggest a mix of rabbit-proof fencing and barriers on individual plants. Rabbits are also deterred by the application (smell) of blood and bone, and dislike chilli sprays. Always be careful not to allow children or pets to eat their recent droppings though … unless (of course) … they peel off the colourful outer layer first! Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

Joke of the week

Did the grape cry when someone stepped on it? No, it just let out a little wine.

New events

Sauerkraut and wild fermentation workshop

What: Includes cabbage and all ingredients to make your own batch of sauerkraut to ferment at home. Gain the confidence to ferment everything. You will also receive a comprehensive handout about sauerkraut and fermentation. Please byo a large (up to 900ml) wide-mouthed jar.
When: Sunday, 23rd April, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $40.
Enquiries: Monique by phone (9389 0100) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Native plant sale

What: An annual event by the Australian Plants Society – Yarra Yarra. A huge range of native plants, tube stock to advanced, including indigenous and grafted stock. The various sellers have submitted the following plant lists Yarra Yarra Growers; SunValley Plants; Natural PlantScape; La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary Nursery; and Phil Vaughan Grafted Stock List.
When: Saturday, 29th April, 10am-4pm.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Really Really Free Market Preston

What: It’s a community gathering where participants give away usable items, skills, food, entertainment, games and many others things that a community can come together and share. The market is a 100% free and non-commercial event (no bartering or advertising). What’s on so far? Movies screenings, bowen therapy, clothes repair (sewing, etc), arts space, music, clothes, bric-a-brac, acro-toga, veggie seedlings, zines, food, food-not-bombs, and haircuts. How can you get involved? Just go along, no obligation to take anything.
When: Sunday, 30th April, 10am-3pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Food forest working bee

What: To celebrate International Permaculture Day, CERES is organising a community working bee in their food forest. Their food forest is home to their chooks and four rotational runs, terraces with fruit and nut trees and the newly built Honey Lane Hives bee display and teaching space. They would like to prep the area and plant some new trees to increase the number of productive plants and to create more shade options for their chooks. So go and get your hands dirty, help them plant around 500 plants and seedlings and learn more about the fundamentals of a working food forest. Their site horticulturalist, Belinda Kennedy, and organic farm manager, Meg Stewart, will be leading the day’s activities and will share their knowledge about working on an organic farm and at CERES.
When: Sunday, 7th May, 10am-3pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $10 (includes a light lunch and a short tour of CERES farm).
Enquiries: Melissa Lawson by email.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Healthy productive compost and worms

What: What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. Learn how to make great compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. You will also look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. You will also be shown how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.
When: Saturday, 3rd June, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: BAAG, Bulleen.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Winter fruit tree maintenance

What: What you will learn: pruning – formative and maintenance of new and established fruit trees plus selection and planting of new fruit trees; winter fruit tree maintenance practices for pest and disease prevention, control and treatment; and pruning tool maintenance. Presented by Angelo Eliades. The aim of this demonstration class is that you will leave it feeling confident to maintain your fruit trees. The preparation that is done in the colder months pays mighty dividends in the growing and harvesting seasons to come. Learn all of the pruning techniques and needs of individual fruit trees from apples and plums to persimmons and pomegranates. And hear about what not to do. Discover how to reduce and prevent pest and diseases that compromise your fruit production. Learn how to treat problems with different methods – organic/permaculture and conventional. They will also cover buying new fruit trees and will demonstrate how to clean and sharpen your pruning tools and other edged garden tools (spades etc). You have the option to bring one of your own pruning tools along and learn how to sharpen it.
When: Saturday, 17th June, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: BAAG, Bulleen.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Food as medicine with Naturopath Erin Loughnan

What: What if we could use our food as medicine? Imagine how our bodies would feel! Join qualified naturopath, Erin Loughnan, as she explores the amazing medicinal qualities of food and demonstrates how each of us can truly live healthier lives. You will come away with a sound knowledge of how foods can heal our bodies and ensure we are striving, not just surviving.
When: Sunday, 18th June, 2-5pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $50.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs).

Apr 122017
 

The world’s best marmalade is still made in Wonga Park

J.B. Shackleton’s, a local marmalade maker from Wonga Park, won Double Gold medal for the best traditional marmalade in the 2017 World’s Original Marmalade Competition in the UK! Their winning marmalade was “Luxury Grapefruit Marmalade with a hint of Honey”. In addition, they won silver medals for their Tahiti Lime and Orange marmalades, and a bronze medal for their Tangelo marmalade.

Following the awards, Lachlan Shackleton-Fergus was interviewed in the April edition of the Warrandyte Diary.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie feature in The Age

An interview with Ian and Leanne Neeland, the founders of Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery in Yarra Glen, was published in the 10th April edition of The Age.

Celebrities visit Yarra Valley Poultry in Eltham

Who: Karen and Ros from My Kitchen Rules (and also Diamond Creek).
Where: Yarra Valley Poultry, Eltham.
Why: Beef cheeks with parmesan mash and parsley oil.
When: Wednesday, 5th April.

‘Crop Swapping’ has come to North East Melbourne

Yarra Valley Crop Swap is a closed Facebook group which started in December and which already has 770 members. As they say “if you have fruit, veggies, eggs, honey, crafts, plants, etc that you’d like to swap, post your offerings and trade for something you need.” Its two co-founders live in Croydon North and Wandin East. They were interviewed in the 7th April edition of The Leader. Thanks to Tess Gardiner for bringing the group to my attention.

Crop Swap Melbourne is a public Facebook group which started in February and currently has 320 members. As they say “We are building local community, reducing food waste & eating better, for less. Join us to meet your neighbours, swap excess produce and fairly barter with other like-minded people for fresh, local and delicious food, edible plants, seeds or gardening goods.

‘Grow Free’ is coming to Melbourne

‘Grow Free’ is a movement “dedicated to making our food locally grown, organic and free” and they are currently “all about growing and giving away free organic, heirloom veggie/herb/flower seedlings for people to get their garden going“. The movement started out in Adelaide but is now coming to Melbourne. One of their carts can be found at 42 Zina Grove, Mooroolbark. To find out more, either join their Facebook group or listen to a ten minute interview with their founder.

So, if you are a home grower with a surplus, you now have a plethora of options:

EverGreen – a nature program for older residents in Banyule

Banyule City Council is currently piloting a new gardening program for older residents who no longer have the ability to be physically active in the garden. The program is designed to bring together people interested in gardening or being in nature, who are looking to meet new people. Two programs are being offered in May. Places are limited. If you are interested contact Sian Gleeson by phone (9457 9828).

Workshop 1
What: floral arrangements, potting of plants with school children, creating an autumn wreath, and morning tea. To participate, you must be able to navigate approximately 50m with or without walking aids.
When: Tuesday, 2nd May, 9.30am-midday.
Where: St Pius X Primary School, 419 Waterdale Road, Heidelberg.

Workshop 2
What: a small 100m nature walk, autumn seed cleaning, floral arranging, building nesting boxes, and morning tea. To participate, you must be able to navigate approximately 50m with or without walking aids and not have balance concerns.
When: Thursday, 4th May, 9.30am-midday.
Where: Old Shire Offices, 60 Beverley Road, Heidelberg.

City of Yarra Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee

Do you want to help shape and implement City of Yarra Council’s urban agriculture policies and actions, including the delivery of the Yarra Urban Agriculture Strategy? Expressions of interest are invited from people who want to join the Yarra Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee (YUAAC). Follow this link for more information and/or to download the application form. Expressions of interest close on Thursday, 20th April.

Pumpkin growing competition in Diamond Creek

There will be prizes for the biggest, prettiest and ugliest pumpkins. The weigh-in will take place at 2pm, Saturday, 29th April at Ellis Cottage, 10 Nillumbik Square, Diamond Creek. To enter, email elliscottage@gmail.com by Monday, 17th April. Enquiries Frank Phipps by phone (9715 0146) after 5pm.

Sylvester Hive Community Garden in Preston is up and growing

Sylvester Hive Community Garden (Pavilion School grounds, corner Dean St & Gray St, Preston) was built in a partnership between Darebin Council, The Pavilion School and local residents on land generously provided by the school. The garden was launched in November 2016. The garden committee meet regularly Thursdays at 7pm and Saturdays at 9am to plan working bees and organise community events in the space. If you are interested in being involved with the garden, please contact Hendrik Falk by phone (0420 353572) or email. For more information, see their Facebook page.

Pentridge Community Garden in Coburg is planned

Corner of Murray Road and Stockade Avenue, Coburg. If you would like to become involved, register your interest by email or on their Facebook page.

Mac’s tip of the week

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to prune your apricot trees. Winter pruning of apricots is not recommended because the dreaded gummosis (aka dead arm) disease can enter your tree via the pruning ‘wounds’ if the tree is dormant. Rather, always prune when the sap is still flowing. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands and better than sticky hands.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

Is now really the right time to plant garlic?

In this month’s excellent Sustainable Macleod’s newsletter (click here to read the newsletter or click here to sign up for future newsletters), Robin Gale-Baker ruminated about whether the recent warm weather means that we should be deferring our garlic planting. She and I have subsequently debated the subject in more detail. It is a tricky issue, with no clear answer. The salient facts are:

  1. In Melbourne, garlic is usually planted in April.
  2. Robin thinks that the soil is currently too warm for garlic planting.
  3. According to Gardenate, it is ok to leave the planting until May (or even June).
  4. Like onions, garlic plants are sensitive to the length of the day, with the start of bulb formation (and the end of leaf growth) being triggered by a day length exceeding X hours. (This website says that X=13 and this website says that this will happen on 13th October.)

If you plant too early (i.e. when it is too warm), a risk is apparently that the resulting bulbs don’t divide into separate cloves. If you plant too late, a risk is apparently smaller bulbs (because, per day length, the garlic starts trying to form bulbs when it is too young). One potential way around this paradox is to keep the garlic in the fridge for 30-40 days before planting. I am going to try all the possible options and will report back in due course.

Incidently, plants whose behaviour depends on day length are called ‘photoperiodic’. One way that they ‘know’ the length of the day (or, more accurately, the length of the night) is because they produce substances (X) in the dark which degenerate to other substances in the light so the night length is proportional to the maximum daily concentration of X. For many plants, day length is at least as important as temperature and this is one reason why so many plants can be grown over so much of the world. This subject is discussed in Chapter 9 of Science and the Garden: The Scientific Basis of Horticultural Practice.

Even more incidently: as per the article above, one of the plants that is most sensitive to light is soy beans. Indeed, if there is any street lighting in the vicinity, they apparently consider it to be daylight and often never flower. So, if you live in urban Melbourne, it seems unlikely that you can ever grow soy beans.

Not food but useful – critter identification

Last week, I saw a strange spider on my apple tree. I like to know the identify of all the animals in my garden so I took advantage of the free ‘ask the experts’ facility of Museums Victoria by sending them a photo. Within a few days, they provided a comprehensive reply, not only identifying the spider (garden orb-weaver, Eriophora biapicata) but also telling me all sorts of things about it. What a fantastic service!

Joke of the week

We don’t have any more vegetable jokes. If you have one, lettuce know.

Corrections and clarifications

Lucinda Flynn is rapidly becoming the unofficial proofreader of the newsletter. Maybe, in future, we should ask her to proofread it before it gets circulated rather than after. Anyhow, as she has pointed out, the home brewing workshop discussed last week had the wrong description. The corrected event, with the right description, is given below. Thanks, Lucinda!

Home brewing with Paul Rigby

What: What you will learn: make your own beer; all about full grain brewing; and the fermentation process. What you will get: samples of different beers; and recipes to take home. The workshop will be a practical demonstration of full grain brewing covering ingredients (including malt, hops, yeast and water), equipment, brewing theory, and (most importantly) the brewing process (including mashing, lautering, boiling, sanitation, fermentation and packaging). Samples will be available for tasting.
When: Sunday, 4th June, 10am-2.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $75.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / further information: WeTeachMe.

New events

Edible weeds walk

What: What if many of the weeds in our garden were just as edible as the vegetables we tend beside them? What if some of these these free, all-too-easy-to-grow uninvited guests were so nutritionally dense that they are just about the healthiest things you could possibly eat? What if many of them also had medical traditions dating back centuries? Well it’s all true! And if you know what to choose, they also taste great. Join Adam Grubb, co-author of The Weed Forager’s Handbook, for a fascinating walk on the wild side.
When: Saturday, 29th April, 11am-1pm and again at 2-4pm.
Where: Merri Creek Trail, Northcote.
Cost: $25 ($20 concession).
Bookings / Further information: their website – different pages for the 11am start and the 2pm start.

Winter apothecary and open studio

What: Learn to make simple and safe homemade recipes that help support us during winter, strengthen our immunity and protect us from general ailments. You will also have an opportunity at the end of the workshop to view/experience selected works from Rasha Tayeh’s previous art exhibitions, including audio portraits from “On Food & Memory” and short film screening “Growing Food Project” – with an opportunity to ask questions about her creative practice and the research behind “Spice Trails & Trade Routes”.
When: Saturday, 13th May, 2.30-4.30pm.
Where: MESMA Studio, Coburg.
Cost: $35.
Enquiries: Rasha Tayeh by phone (0403 843923) or email.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

Apr 052017
 

Another reason to join Local Food Connect

As discussed in more detail in the new events’ section, Penny Woodward is giving a workshop on growing garlic. Tickets are $30 but free to paid-up members of Local Food Connect. Click here if you would like to become a paid-up member of LFC, or renew your membership (from $10 pa).

Another free source of coffee husks

Knight Mattingly Coffee Roasters. 5 Milkman Way, Coburg North. Ring Ruth in advance (9383 2100). Minimum quantity: 240 litres. Pick up: Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Thanks to Marina Bistrin for developing this connection.

Note that coffee husks are not at all the same thing as used coffee grounds. Rather, the husk is the outer layer of the coffee bean that breaks away and gets discarded during the roasting process. So, whilst used coffee grounds are available from cafes, coffee husks are available from roasters.

As listed on our resources page, Quists Coffee, based on Research, are also a free source of coffee husks.

Mac’s tip of the week

There seems to be quite a bit of citrus leafminer around at the moment so head out and check the new growth on your citrus for the telltale tracks. Google ‘citrus leafminer’ for more info and organic control methods. Until next time, remember: short tips are often the most useful ones.

So, I googled as Mac suggested and two of my favourite sites have articles on the subject: Gardening Australia and Sustainable Gardening Australia. Then I noticed something very odd – both articles contain the following statement: “Spray with horticultural oil to deter the moth from laying new eggs. The oil won’t kill the larvae which is why it’s important to remove any infested growth. Spray first thing in the morning to avoid spraying beneficial insects which are less active at this time. This also reduces the chance of burning foliage.” Yes, that’s right, two articles by different (named) authors and one has clearly copied material from the other. So, as I said and Sophia Loren then copied from me (or was it the other way round?): “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.

A local winner at The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

As discussed in the 22nd March newsletter, newsletter reader Paul Morland displayed his Four R’s designed and built garden in the Achievable Garden category at The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. Well, he won 3rd prize! Well done, Paul!

What to plant when

Viv Bortot has written in to suggest that you might be interested in Gardenate.com. It has three different manifestations, for each of which you can choose your climate zone (e.g. ‘Australia – temperate’ for Melbourne):

  • The website itself: view a list of what can be planted in the current month or view a planting schedule for any veggie/herb.
  • An Android app: similar functionality to the website and (I think) it can also be used offline.
  • Their newsletter: subscribe to get weekly, fortnightly or monthly reminders of what to plant.

The list of veggies and herbs covered is comprehensive (more so than mine). Its planting schedule is similar to mine, with the exceptions of brassicas and cucurbits (where it is somewhat idiosyncratic).

A map of Eltham’s takeaways

I’ve now finished the third of my trilogy of Eltham eateries, namely a map of Eltham’s and Research’s takeaways. The map shows where all the 35 takeaways are, their contact details and their menus. Of the 35 takeaways, 7 also deliver. The most common takeaway is pizza (8 eateries).

This is the third, and last, map of Eltham’s eateries, with the other two covering cafes and restaurants. In total, there are 66(!) eateries in Eltham, Eltham North and Research.

If you want me to produce some maps for your suburb, just email me.

‘Crowd harvest’ tomatoes for Easter

People are invited to donate their homegrown excess tomatoes over the next week (up until 12th April). Anyone growing tomatoes in their own backyard usually produces excess. By contrast, Melbourne food relief providers are currently being faced with higher demand for emergency assistance than they can manage. Donate your excess via any of DIVRS, Preston, Liberty Church, Epping, STREAT, Collingwood or The Green @ St. Columbs, Hawthorn. They will then distribute, either fresh or preserved (as passata, chutney, sundried or dell’olio), through their food relief programs. Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Joke of the week

This week’s joke comes from Susan Palmer: Did you hear about the woman who drowned in a bowl of muesli? A strong currant pulled her in.

Edible leaves

I rather like this picture. Inter alia, it includes my current favourite veggie for home growing: golden frills, which is a variety of mustard greens.

New events

Mead making workshop (three sessions)

What: Over the course of three sessions, you will be guided to make mead. Notes and equipment will be provided. You will make your mead, starting in the workshop then continuing at home. At the end of the course, you will be invited to an Eltham Wine Guild meeting to share your mead with other winemakers and receive your Mead Making Certificate.
When: Saturday, 22nd April, Saturday, 20th May and Saturday, 17th June, all 9am-midday.
Where: Living and Learning Centre, Eltham.
Cost: $100 (for all three sessions.
Enquiries: Eltham & District Winemakers Guild by email.
Bookings: Eltham & District Winemakers Guild website (pdf).
Further information: LFC calender entry

Free plants day

What: Get yourself some free plants, or seeds, seedlings and cuttings. Bring the excess plants from your own garden so that they can find a new home and gather some new ones to take home. All welcome.
When: Saturday, 22nd April, 1-4pm.
Where: Ringwood East.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calender entry.

Herbal workshop – using food as medicine

What: Using food as medicine is an excellent and empowering way to keep you and your family well through the year. Join Libby Shaw, Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist, in exploring these traditional methods to nourish your body and deepen your relationship with the wonderful qualities of herbs. Learn how easy it is to incorporate them into your every day life. She will show you how to make: a herbal infused vinegar for gut and immune health; herbal infused bliss balls; and herbal syrup to support you through colds and flu.
When: Saturday 22nd April, 3.30-5pm.
Where: Nature’s Harvest, Hurstbridge.
Cost: $30.
Enquiries/Bookings: Libby Shaw by phone (0407 338647) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Growing garlic at home with Penny Woodward

What: In this workshop, Penny Woodward will be sharing her knowledge and experience on the topic of garlic, including: the history of garlic; characteristics of different types of garlic; soil preparation, planting, feeding, harvesting, and storing; show and tell on garlic types; and tips, myths and traps for the home gardener. Penny has published 7 books, writes articles for Organic Gardener Magazine and is a regular on 3CR’s gardening program. She is also on the board of the Australian Garlic Industry Association. Tickets are $30 but free to paid-up members of Local Food Connect. Click here if you would like to become a paid-up member of LFC, or renew your membership (from $10 pa). Members will be sent a booking code to book free tickets to the workshop. If you have not received your code please email us.
When: Sunday 23rd April, 12.45-3pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free (LFC members) or $30 (non-members).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Seed: The Untold Story (film)

What: Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. They have been worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seedkeepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. During the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers and indigenous seed keepers fight to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke and Raj Patel.
When: Thursday, 4th May, 6.45-10pm.
Where: Cinema Nova, Carlton.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Kellybrook Cider Festival

What: Scrumpy cider, live bands and lots of food is what the Kellybrook Cider Festival is all about. Set in the historic gardens and vineyards at Kellybrook’s Wonga Park property, the weekend will feature Kellybrook’s scrumpy and other ciders, beers and wines. There will also be tastings at the cellar door. This year’s band line up: The Teskeys, The Scrims, Mission Brown, Velvet Lounge and Ginger Pony. There will also be Morris dancers. Bring your picnic rug, invite your friends and celebrate the end of apple harvest.
When: Saturday, 6th May and Sunday, 7th May, both 11am-5pm.
Where: Kellybrook Winery, Wonga Park.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Orson by phone (0412 351296).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: Festival website.

Introduction to beekeeping

What: Learn about the importance of bees and how to set up and care for bees in your own backyard.
When: Tuesday, 16th May, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Beginners’ Italian cheese making class

What: During this hands on and interactive class run by Janelle, from Mad Millie, you will make fresh mozzarella and warm fresh ricotta using the Mad Millie Beginners Italian cheese kit. The kit has all the equipment you need (except milk) to make your own ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone, burrata, bocconcini and ricotta salata. Finish the class with a tasting of the cheeses created. Bookings essential. Places limited to 20.
When: Tuesday, 16th May, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Going Green Solutions, Hurstbridge.
Cost: $60 (includes a Mad Millie Italian cheese kit).
Enquiries: Going Green Solutions by phone (9450 2665) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

A journey through the world of tea

What: Go on a journey of tea tasting and exploration of tea culture, history, equipment and etiquette from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Sri Lanka and India. Presented by Sarah Cowell from Teasense. Teasense is a culmination of Sarah’s passion for tea, connection and sharing. Each year Sarah travels to the source – spending time on tea farms, absorbing tea wisdom from tea masters and finding inspiration in tea cultures around the world. Returning to Australia brimming with tea leaves and ideas, she creates intimate sessions weaving tea tasting and learning through stories from the tea fields.
When: Tuesday, 23rd May, 11am-12.30pm.
Where: Northcote Library.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

How to make sense of food labels

What: Tour a supermarket and learn how to read and make sense of food labels so that it is easier to make healthy choices. The tours are led by healthAbility’s qualified dietitian and open to anyone interested in healthy eating. Bookings (by phone) essential as places are limited.
When: Thursday, 1st June, 9.30-11am.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: $15 (includes a healthy shopping guide booklet).
Enquiries / Bookings: healthAbility by phone (9430 9100).
Further information: LFC calender entry.

Fermentation – an introduction to lactofermented fruit

What: What you will learn: all about lactoferments; improve your culinary knowledge; and how to ferment your own fruit. What you will get: recipes and samples. If you have tried your hand at sauerkraut and other vegetable ferments, fermenting fruits might be the next step in your fermenting journey. In this workshop, Monique will introduce you to next level fermenting. You will be sampling some fermented salsa/relish variations, discussing the subtle differences between fermenting low sugar vegetables and high sugar vegetables. You will be walked through the process before making your own batch to take home and ferment on your bench top.
When: Saturday, 3rd June, 3-5pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $55.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / further information: WeTeachMe.

Home brewing with Paul Rigby

What: What you will learn: make your own beer; all about full grain brewing; and the fermentation process. What you will get: samples of different beers; and recipes to take home. The workshop will be a practical demonstration of full grain brewing covering ingredients (including malt, hops, yeast and water), equipment, brewing theory, and (most importantly) the brewing process (including mashing, lautering, boiling, sanitation, fermentation and packaging). Samples will be available for tasting.
When: Sunday, 4th June, 10am-2.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $75.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / further information: WeTeachMe.

Worm farming workshop

What: Learn how to set up a worm farm. Bookings essential.
When: Monday, 5th June, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Thomastown Library by phone (9464 1864) or email.
Bookings: Yarra Plenty Regional Library website.
Further information: LFC calender entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

Mar 292017
 

A new farmers’ market at Wonga Park

The first Wonga Park Farmers’ Market will be held on Saturday April 22nd, 9am-1pm. It will then take place monthly on the 4th Saturday of each month. It will be at Wonga Park Primary School (41 Dudley Road, Wonga Park) and is effectively being run by the school. If you go to the market, you can also visit the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden. For further information, contact Jenny Kelly by phone (0410 526867) or email. Thanks for the info, Jenny and Kim.

More news about the organic provedore (aka shop) at Monsalvat

In last week’s newsletter, I talked about a new pop-up food and seedling shop at Monsalvat. Well, it now has a name (The Vat), a website page and a Facebook page. They have also added Stir Crazy to the list of local food producers whose produce they sell.

To celebrate such developments, The VAT is offering 20% off all KABUU seedlings and microgreens this upcoming weekend (Friday, 31st March to Sunday, 2nd April, 10am-4pm). You can also use their soil blockers for free. And there will be three workshops, two of them free:

  • Seed-raising for beginners (free): Saturday 1st April, 11am-midday, by Richard Lee from KABUU.
  • How to grow microgreens basics (free): Saturday 1st April, 1.30-2.30pm, by Richard Lee from KABUU.
  • How to grow microgreens successfully year round ($40): Sunday, 2nd April, 1.30–2.30pm, by Farmer Ted from KABUU.

A new cake maker – Blake + Fables, from Lower Templestowe

Read their Local Food Directory entry. They are an online cake, pie + treat delivery service. Offering a selection of flavours each week, and free delivery to your door, they make it easy for you to enjoy cake every day or to brighten someone else’s day with one. Welcome Celeste!

There are now 12 makers of sweet treats in the Local Food Directory, but only two who make cakes.

Just to clarify: when I say ‘new’ I mean new to our website, not (necessarily) new to the world. And people only ever get listed on the website if they have a) agreed to be listed and b) agreed their listing.

Leaf, Root & Fruit Gardening Services, from Hawthorn East

Leaf, Root & Fruit Gardening Services have been added to our list of people who build planter boxes, wicking beds or raised garden beds. Contact Duncan Cotting by phone (0423 003764) or email. Incidently, they have a really speccy website. Welcome Duncan!

I came across Leaf, Root & Fruit because, as discussed later, Duncan is running two edible gardening workshops in the near future in Box Hill, one on 1st April and the other on 8th April.

Want to see a compost house as art?

Newsletter reader and artist Felicity Gordon featured in the Leader this week for her compost house made up of 61 plants, 50 of them edible. The house is part of a new exhibition in Ivanhoe on water and climate change.

Mac’s tip of the week

From the weather forecasts, it looks like, from tomorrow (Thursday), the late Summer will truly be over and the Autumn will at last begin. It is now time to replenish your soil with composts and manures if needed in readiness for your autumn plantings. Also, keep an eye on your automatic irrigation if you have it as you will soon be able to substantially reduce, or even stop, your watering. Until next time, remember: whatever your partner thinks, dirty hands are good hands.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

What to plant in April (click here for more details)

Here is a list:

Beetroot
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Fennel
Garlic
Kale
Lettuce
Mizuna
Mustard greens
Pak choy
Peas
Radish
Rocket
Shallot
Silverbeet
Spinach

 
This is a pretty similar list to that of March, with the notable additions of garlic and peas.

The following 2016 articles by Helen Simpson are relevant:

Everything you ever wanted to know about wicking beds

Earlier this week, Pam Jenkins gave a presentation on wicking beds. I have added her notes to our wicking bed page.

Eucalypt Community Garden at Wollert

As envisaged in the 8th March newsletter, work has now begun on the development of the Eucalypt Community Garden at Wollert. They have built the first lot of beds, with a plan to complete a herbarium, an orchard and (maybe) a restored well. The garden beds will be shared beds and open to members of The Friends of Eucalypt Community Association. They are being assisted by a $5,000 grant from Whittlesea Council to consult with the community to plan and develop the garden and a $1,000 grant from Stockland. Simon Marshall Horticulture and Design are helping them. Thanks for the info, Alicia.

Vegetarian Victoria

Vegetarian Victoria promotes the benefits of vegetarianism and provides support and information to vegetarians, vegans and the general community. They also organise social events and some workshops.

Joke of the week

First things first – Jenny Shaw has submitted an improvement to last week’s joke: Why can’t you tell secrets in a community garden? Because the sweetcorn has ears, the potatoes have eyes, and the beans stalk. In passing, note the all-important Oxford comma. Thanks, Jenny!

This week’s joke has been submitted by Sabi Buehler: What do Wikileaks staff have with their Christmas turkey? An anonymous sauce. Thanks, Sabi!

Someone said that they found the jokes too lowbrow. So, for my highbrow friend, I am thinking about introducing a ‘proverb of the month’. Here is the first: Fine words butter no parsnips. Meaning: nothing is achieved by empty words or flattery (cf. buttering someone up). For a discussion, see The Phrase Finder.

Carved food as art

I’ve talked about the amazing Colossal website before. Well, have a look at their recent article on carved food as art.

New events – Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival runs from Friday, 31st March to Sunday, 9th April. The events listed below are some of those which are both in North East Melbourne and which cost less than $70.

Mallow (khabizat) workshop

What: Learn all about the edible weed, mallow. Monique will talk about identification, ecological use, medicinal uses and some culinary uses of Mallow. After this, Amne, will share her culinary and cultural knowledge on all things mallow (khabizat in Arabic). She will show you how to pick khabizat and how to use it; this will include how to prepare sautéed khabizat with a simple pilaf and how to make zatar bread to go with it.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $15 (suggested donation).
Enquiries / Bookings: Monique by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The flowing bowl

What: A beautiful bowl of punch creates the mood for any celebration. Enoteca Sileno welcomes Shaun Byrne, cocktail consultant and co-founder of Maidenii vermouth, to show you how it’s done. Includes a glass of each of the punches demonstrated, a tasting of a wide selection of spirits, liqueurs and amaro by Italian brands Varnelli, Beppi Tosolini, Lucrezio R. and Rossa Sicily to help you plan your own creations, plus a selection of Italian antipasti. Held under the vines in their courtyard, this event will be part cocktail class, part product sampling, but mostly just pure enjoyment of excellent punch cocktails.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 5-8pm.
Where: Enoteca Sileno, Carlton North.
Cost: $65.
Enquiries: Enoteca Sileno by phone (9389 7009).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Smorgasburb by Sand Hill Road

What: Seven of Melbourne’s favourite suburban locals will serve up their signature pub offerings: kombu cured cobia with yuzu kosho and cucumber (Garden State Hotel); bossan pork belly, oyster mayo and kimchi taco (Terminus Hotel); Brazilian spiced sticky pork ribs with Westmont pickles (Richmond Club Hotel); sardine katsu sandwich on brioche (Prahran Hotel); toast’d toasties (Bridge Hotel); and classic Italian piadina (The Posty).
When: Sunday, 2nd April, midday-7pm.
Where: Bridge Hotel, Richmond.
Cost: $29 (includes $30 of food vouchers).
Enquiries: Sand Hill Road by phone (9428 5333).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Celebrating festivals of Spain

What: Explore the top five Spanish festivals with an exciting course to represent each one. Some may be familiar to you, others unknown. Añada’s chefs will start the journey in Sevilla with Feria de Abril, the April fair, before moving to Bunol, a little town near Valencia to celebrate La Tomatina, the tomato festival. After that, one of the lesser-known celebrations, La Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán, the saffron rose festival, celebrated in the Castilla La Mancha region. And what would be a celebration of Spanish festivals without the world-famous San Fermines, the running of the bulls in Pamploma? You will finish your journey in Spain’s third largest city (after Madrid and Barcelona) – Valencia – celebrating Las Fallas, the fire festival.
When: Wednesday, 5th April, 6-11pm.
Where: Añada, Fitzroy.
Cost: $65 (includes food).
Enquiries: Añada by phone (9415 6101).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Build your own coffee blend

What: Uncover the secrets of creating the perfect coffee blend in the roasting factory. Under the expert gaze of Knight Mattingly Coffee Roasters roasting team, step through different flavour profiles of single origin beans, crafting a balanced combination that suits your tastes. Leave with a kilo of your own personalised coffee blend and its recipe.
When: Thursday, 6th April, 2-5pm.
Where: Knight Mattingly Coffee Roasters, Coburg North.
Cost: $53.
Enquiries: Knight Mattingly Coffee Roasters by phone (9383 2100).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Orange is the new Blanc

What: Tyler Preston and Adam Trengrove will presenting a four-course ethical Asian barbecue, cooked and served in the beer garden of Dr Morse Bar & Eatery, with an option of matched natural wines, celebrating all things biodynamic, oxidative and artisan. Ticket includes four courses of asian inspired barbecued delights.
When: Thursday, 6th April, 5-9pm.
Where: Dr Morse Bar & Eatery, Abbotsford.
Cost: $38.
Enquiries: Dr Morse Bar & Eatery by phone (9416 1005).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Pizzini pop-up barrel room

What: Have you ever wanted to taste nebbiolo from the barrel? Wondered what Vin Santo is? Heard of the grape variety canaiolo? Join the Pizzini family to taste a selection of their wines, some straight from barrel, others that have been ageing in the cellar, and some new vintages. The event will feature a prosciutto bar where guests will be able to enjoy a plate of freshly sliced prosciutto.
When: Friday, 7th April, 4pm-midnight; also, Saturday, 8th April and Sunday, 9th April, both midday-midnight.
Where: Project 49, Collingwood.
Cost: $28 (includes wine tasting and prosciutto).
Enquiries: Pizzini Wines by phone (5729 8278).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Asian cuisine workshops

What: Six cooking demonstrations over the weekend that collectively take a culinary journey around Asia using produce from Box Hill Central Fresh Food Market. The Centre’s own chefs will be joined by some well-known celebrity chefs to present a series of cooking demonstrations exploring the exotic, and eclectic, flavours of Asia. You will learn key techniques and how to use interesting ingredients at home. You will also be able to taste the dishes demonstrated – and take home a gift bag full of product from Box Hill Central’s local retailers.
When: Dumplings – Saturday, 8th April, 10.30-11.15am.
Celebrity chefs – Saturday, 8th April, midday-12.45pm.
Japanese cuisine – Saturday, 8th April, 1.30pm-2.15pm.
Sushi – Sunday, 9th April, 10.30-11.15am.
Vegan cuisine – Sunday, 9th April, midday-12.45pm.
Taiwanese cuisine – Sunday, 9th April, 1.30pm-2.15pm.
Where: Box Hill Central.
Cost: $33 per demonstration.
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

South East Asia Festival

What: An annual celebration, the ASEAN Festival unites communities from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam by sharing their culinary and cultural heritage through food, music and dance. The festival will feature community projects involving ASEAN communities around Victoria, as well as authentic foods from Melbourne restaurants, traditional music contrasting with contemporary performances from ASEAN students currently studying in Melbourne, dance, games, social clubs and kids’ activities.
When: Saturday, 8th April and Sunday, 9th April, both 11am-5pm.
Where: Argyle Square, Carlton.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Coffee workshop

What: Hosted by The Craft and Co’s in-house master coffee roaster, you will develop your knowledge and palate, gaining an appreciation of aromas, flavours and tastes. Understand the coffee making process, finishing with our house-made ricotta and pistachio cannoli.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 10am-midday.
Where: The Craft and Co, Collingwood.
Cost: $33.
Enquiries: The Craft and Co by phone (9417 4755).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Food photography masterclass

What: Together with Hunter & Barrel, Canon Australia and food stylist Kim Jane, Ringwood Camera House invite you to a food photography workshop where they will show you how to style, light and photograph food. Bring your mirrorless or DSLR camera.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 10am-midday and again at 2-4pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Ringwood Camera House by phone (9725 3816).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Harveast

What: Harveast will be a one-day food and wine event showcasing chefs, producers and suppliers from the local region. Activities will include: a cellar door showcasing boutique wineries; a producers’ market offering the district’s freshest produce; chef masterclasses; and live entertainment. Trading time for stallholders and masterclasses will be from 10am-5pm. Live entertainment will kick-off from late afternoon into the evening.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 10am-9pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Chef masterclass with Dan Wilson (Huxtaburger)

What: Get up-close and personal with Dan Wilson (Huxtaburger).
When: Sunday, 9th April, 11-11.45am.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Chocolate connoisseur tasting experience

What: What you will learn: the process of bean to bar chocolate making. Where does chocolate come from? How is it made?; Define various flavour characteristics in single origin chocolates sourced from around the world; and see and smell fresh cacao pods. Take a chocolate tasting flight as we travel through 12 different countries. Learn where chocolate comes from and the bean to bar process of making chocolate. Let them take you through the tropical regions of Madagascar, Venezuela, Vietnam, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, and even Australia as you taste the single origin chocolates from these regions.
When: Sunday, 9th April at 11-11.45am, midday-12.45pm, 1-1.45pm, 2-2.45pm, 3.3.45pm and 4-4.45pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: $10.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

An hour with Stephanie Alexander

What: Watch as respected cookbook author and real food advocate, Stephanie Alexander goes ‘in conversation with food writer, Richard Cornish to reflect on her career; sharing
stories from her life as a chef, author and founder of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. During the session, Stephanie will bring to life recipes from The Cook’s Companion using fresh local bounty. The session concludes with a Q&A at 1pm and book signing at 2pm.
When: Sunday, 9th April, midday-1pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Chef masterclass with Frank Camora (MoVida, Paco’s Tacos)

What: Get up-close and personal with Frank Camora (MoVida and Paco’s Tacos).
When: Sunday, 9th April, 12.30-13.15pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Beer workshop

What: Take your passion for craft beers to another level with The Craft and Co’s specialists, as they discuss the beer making process. Includes a tour of their micro-brewery, tastings of their house-brewed beers and their specialty charcuterie and cheeses matched to beer.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 12.30-2.30pm.
Where: The Craft and Co, Collingwood.
Cost: $33.
Enquiries: The Craft and Co by phone (9417 4755).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

Chef masterclass with Johnny Di Francesco (400 Gradi, Gradi East)

What: Get up-close and personal with Johnny Di Francesco (400 Gradi).
When: Sunday, 9th April, 2-2.45pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Meet the baker (Burnham Bakery)

What: Meet the Baker from Burnham Bakery.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 3.30-4.15pm.
Where: Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eastland Shopping Centre by phone (9823 6100).
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Prosciutto workshop

What: Join local artisan producers, including The Craft and Co’s own chef Dom Marzano, as they share their knowledge on everything from selecting your pig to processing and curing. Then enjoy the different styles of prosciutto with wines from their winery in Bangholme.
When: Sunday, 9th April, 3-5pm.
Where: The Craft and Co, Collingwood.
Cost: $33.
Enquiries: The Craft and Co by phone (9417 4755).
Bookings / Further information: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website.

New events – other

Edible gardening workshop

What: This workshop will focus on edible gardening in small spaces (courtyards, balconies, and backyards). Subjects to be covered include: site analysis – working out where in the garden is best to grow plants; vertical spaces and vertical gardens; raised garden beds – materials, design and wicking beds; soil and how to improve it; container gardening – common pitfalls for new gardeners; seeds vs seedlings and veggie patch layout; variety selection – heirloom vs hybrid vs GMO; organic fertilising regimes; mulch; and watering. Presented by Duncan Cocking, from Leaf, Root & Fruit Gardening Services. Duncan has a
science degree, majoring in Botany, and a Permaculture Design Certificate.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 11am-12.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Mall.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Daniel Vincent Smith, Whitehorse Council by phone (9262 6269) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to grow veggies the Italian way!

What: What you will learn: what does it mean to grow Italian? What’s it like gardening in Italy? how to set up your veggie patch at home; and how to best address problems in your veggie patch; such as pests and disease. What you will get: open forum to ask your gardening questions; guided tour of the farm; and packet of saved seeds. Optional extra ($40): lunch.
When: Sunday, 2nd April, and Sunday, 7th May, both 10am-1pm.
Where: The Farm Yarra Valley, Warrandyte South.
Cost: $65.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Edendale young farmers

What: A small group of children, 9- to 12-years-old, will have the opportunity to help Edendale’s farmers with the morning animal chores and experience what it is like to be a farmer. They will get up close to many of the farm animals and help in the daily care and feeding of these animals. The children will join in with a range of activities, including: letting out and feeding the poultry, collecting eggs and cleaning waterers; feeding the baby chicks; goat milking demonstration and feeding the goats; pony poo pickup and feeding the worm farms; hay feeding sheep, lambs, and Taffy the Jersey calf; and handling the guinea pigs and cleaning their cages. The children will need to come dressed in suitable clothing including long pants and solid footwear such as an old pair of joggers. A hat, raincoat, sunscreen and water bottle will also be required. A light morning tea will be provided. The children should understand that they are not here to play with the animals but are participating in important farm chores.
When: Thursday, 6th April, 9am-midday.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $30.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Passata demonstration with Jean Garita

What: Jean Garita, matriarch of Joe’s Market Garden, will talk about how to make passata the traditional way of the Garita family.
When: Saturday, 8th April, 10-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: donation.
Enquiries / Bookings: Joe’s Market Garden by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wild food and medicine walk

What: Join The Perma Pixie on an outdoor adventure that will focus on identifying edible and medicinal weeds and wild food. Discover the properties and actions these plants have to nourish and heal, and discuss recipes and ways to prepare these plants for palatability and practicality.
When: Saturday, 8th April, 10am-midday.
Where: Merri Creek Trail, Northcote.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Taj Scicluna by phone (0450 375528) or email.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible gardening workshop

What: This workshop, which is the second in the series, will focus on edible gardening in small spaces (courtyards, balconies, and backyards). Subjects to be covered include: seasonality, a basic discussion around what to plant and when; planting and harvesting for year-round abundance; bugs – their importance to gardens and how to help to get the right balance; pest control; reducing waste in the garden; perennial food crop systems and small backyard orchards; and edible forest gardening. Presented by Duncan Cocking, from Leaf, Root & Fruit Gardening Services. Duncan has a science degree, majoring in Botany, and a Permaculture Design Certificate.
When: Saturday, 8th April, 11am-12.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Mall.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Daniel Vincent Smith, Whitehorse Council by phone (9262 6269) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fundamentals of beekeeping (two-day)

What: This course is designed to provide new beekeepers with both the practical skills and the background knowledge to start beekeeping with confidence. The program encompasses both Langstroth and Flow hives and is suitable for all styles of beekeeping. No previous experience is required. The course runs over a full weekend with hive opening exercises each day. All sessions are highly interactive and include hands-on skill building. The course fee is $190. In addition, participants have to become members of The Beekeepers Club which, at a prorated cost, is around $17. Included in the course fee are a comprehensive handbook and a textbook (The Australian Beekeepers Manual). Lunches and light refreshments will be provided.
When: Saturday, 8th April and Sunday, 9th April, both 9.30am-4pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: $207.
Enquiries: The Beekeepers Club by phone (0481 392798) or email.
Bookings / Further information: The Beekeepers Club website.

Weeds, plants and people

What: Why do some people spend so much effort trying to eradicate plants in certain circumstances, while other people nurture those very same species for food, medicine, or simple enjoyment of their beauty? Could there be a better way for us to live alongside the many wild plants we encounter in our gardens, farms and landscapes, than to wage war on them? A talk on the history of common plants by Dr John Dwyer.
When: Tuesday, 11th April, 7.30-8.30pm.
Where: University of Melbourne, Burnley Campus.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Friends of Burnley Gardens by phone (9035 6815) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Nettles with Monique Eve Miller

What: Nettles are an incredible plant, and you will walk away from this workshop with a new perspective on this plant. Monique will talk about ecological uses, identification, medicine uses and culinary uses of nettles. This workshop will include a tasting of prepared nettles. Take home some nettles and an information sheet about this plant.
When: Saturday, 29th April, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries / Bookings: Monique by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Natural pest control with companion planting

What: What you will learn: learn which plants to grow together, and which ones not to; learn how to solve many common garden problems naturally; and learn how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together). Presented by Angelo Eliades. With companion planting, by knowing which plants to grow together and which ones not to, you can grow stronger, healthier and more productive plants, improve soil quality, and reduce pests and diseases in your garden. Learn which companion plants to add to your garden to solve many common garden problems naturally, and find out how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together) for more abundant harvests.
When: Saturday, 13th May, 9.30am-midday.
Where: BAAG Nursery, Bulleen.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG nursery by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: We Teach Me.

GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest

What: Featuring more than 600 beers and ciders, up to 180 specially brewed Festival beers and ciders, the thriving Dan Murphy’s Marketplace, The Local Taphouse Craft College, Ariston Food & Drink Experience, plus the Little Creatures Live entertainment program.
When: Friday, 19th May, Saturday, 20th May and Sunday, 21st May, all midday-5pm; also Friday, 19th May and Saturday, 20th May, both 6.30-11.30pm.
Where: Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: Festival website.
Further information: Festival website.

Bush foods & herbs for courtyards & balconies

What: What you will learn: which native produce-plants are suitable for growing in pots and small spaces; what to harvest and when; and how to use bush foods and herbs to flavour your dishes. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Australian native plants have flavour and aroma profiles unlike any others, and can be easily incorporated into your kitchen. Also, a wide range of them can be grown in Melbourne in pots or small and difficult spaces. In this class, which is ideal for those with limited garden space or even just a courtyard or balcony, you will explore the world of edible native Australian plants that are easy to grow in such spaces, attractive to look at and can easily add flavour and interest to your home-cooked dishes.All plants covered are suitable for Melbourne’s climate, and will be discussed in terms of how best to use and grow them in your garden.
When: Thursday, 25th May, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: BAAG Nursery, Bulleen.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG nursery by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: We Teach Me.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).