Thanks to the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Angharad Neal-Williams, Anne Shea, Ben Wrigley and Holly Gallagher.
A visual demonstration of the importance of good soil
Anne Shea has sent in a photo which clearly demonstrates how the quality of the soil used can dramatically change how well plants thrive.
The photo shows two boxes of lettuce. The right hand box is filled with a vege mix from Bulleen Art and Garden. The left hand box is an old bin planter into which, when Anne had some seedlings left over, she popped them in to save waste.
Both planters have been fertilised with seasol.
Have you planted all your Winter veggies yet?
Kevin Heinze Grow now have their Winter veggie seedlings available for sale. The punnets have all been grown by participants with disabilities without using chemicals, inorganic fertilisers or seed treatments. They include beetroot, brocolli, bush peas, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, radish, mustard, snap peas, snow peas and sweet peas. All punnets are $3. They are available from both their Coburg (512 Sydney Road) and Doncaster (39 Wetherby Road) nurseries.
If you go to their Doncaster nursery, try and have a look at their community garden.
The Darebin Fruit Squad
The Darebin Fruit Squad is back up and running after a couple of tough years of Covid restrictions.
They are now looking to hear from householders who have any types of fruit trees, even if they aren’t fruiting at the moment. They will record your details and then contact you when the appropriate season rolls around to ask whether you have any surplus that you would like to donate. If you do, they will send the squad around to harvest it and then distribute it via the DIVRS food relief program.
For more details or to sign up, contact Holly by phone (9480 8207) or email (email@example.com).
Yet more on repair cafes
Ben Wrigley has written in to say that their inaugural Montmorency repair cafe was a success. They first repaired a hard rubbish collected sofa, then a wicker easy chair with a local weed growing outside in the garden, then they re-upholstered and refurbished a dining chair. There were also lively discussions on darning, sewing and collar turning. Their next repair cafe on this coming Friday will include clothes repair and the art of sashiko (a form of Japanese embroidery). Friday, 20th May, 5-7pm at Monty Hub, 1 Mountain View Road, Montmorency.
Mac’s blast from the past – bare-rooted trees
[On this day in May, 5 years ago, Mac McVeigh wrote the following words for this newsletter]
It’s time for you to start thinking about what bare-rooted fruit trees you want to purchase this year, from whom, and when. Mid June is the best time to buy bare-rooted trees but the risk is that your favoured source might have sold out by then, or at least sold their best specimens. So, perhaps you should try and place a forward order with them.
When you purchase, you must not let the bare roots dry out. Some suppliers will have covered the roots with damp newspaper or sawdust (a process called ‘heeling in’), or even have them potted up in potting mix for you – this means a lot and is good. Otherwise heeling them in yourself can do the trick for a time but it is still best to get them into the ground asap. And don’t sit them in a tub of water until you get around to them – even though dormant, the roots still need access to air.
Hard pruning in the first year leads to more vigorous growth and better framework. So, try and get the tree pruned at the time of purchase by someone who knows what they are doing. Note that, if the tree in question is an apricot, the pruning should be deferred until leaf sprout to avoid gummosis.
When planting, look at the colours of the root system and trunk to try and discern the line where the tree was previously planted up to. If in doubt, don’t plant too deep.
Finally, note that bare rooted almond trees are notorious for not coming out of dormancy. So, keep your receipt!
Every newsletter needs a good picture
The image right is part of a 1970 exhibition called Staple cheese (a race) by a Swiss/Icelandic artist called Dieter Roth. The exhibition comprised 37 suitcases filled with cheese, one of which was opened each day. Its title was a pun on the word steeplechase, the idea apparently being to see how far the cheeses slipped and slid (aka raced) as they rotted. Over time, the stench grew and permeated out of the building. The exhibition became overrun with maggots and flies but the artist declared that the insects were, in fact, his intended audience!
The four cheese used were brie, camembert, cheddar and limburger.
A new article from Angelo Eliades
How to save tomato seeds for planting next year.
Read more of Angelo’s food-growing articles.
Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?
The most popular link in the last newsletter was the periodic table of fermented foods (this is the pdf version, which is the highest resolution and most readable).
Word of the month – Mageirocophobia
‘Mageirocophobia’, meaning fear of cooking. According to Wikipedia, it can be related to any or all of fear of spreading illness, fear of the cooking process, fear of recipes, fear of food knowledge or fear of food intake.
Read about previous words of the month.
Proverb (or phrase) of the month
A sledgehammer to crack a nut. Meaning: to use disproportionate force to overcome a minor problem.. Sledgehammers are large hammers with metal heads weighing 5Kg or more. They are often used in demolition work and are obviously totally inappropriate for cracking a nut. The first use of a phrase about using a sledgehammer to deal with something small was in an American newspaper in the late 19th Century (to kill a fly), with the first nut entering the picture a few years later (to crack a peanut), followed in the early 20th Century by gnats (to kill a gnat). The precise phrase a sledgehammer to crack a nut first appeared in print in the 1950s and could have been a re-wording of either the peanut or the gnat version.
Incidentally, the video with the most ever MTV video music awards is Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. Gabriel lay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video one frame at a time and said later “I was thinking at the time, ‘If anyone wants to try and copy this video, good luck to them.'” Watch the 5 minute video.
Gardening quote of the month
“To get best results you must talk to your vegetables” by Prince Charles.
Read more gardening quotes.
Joke (or pun) of the week
Have you heard about the restaurant on the moon?
Great food, no atmosphere.
Read more jokes.
Regular activities over the coming week
Upcoming face-to-face events – not cooking
Herb planting workshop; Sunday, 5th June, 10-11.30am; $55 ($37 per hour); Park Orchards.
The workshop will start by potting up herbs into terracotta pots and labelling them to create your own potted herb garden. Then there will be a walk through the community house garden and an opportunity to choose suitable herbs to make a tisane hot herbal drink.
Wicking bed workshop; Saturday, 11th June, 11.30am-1pm; $15; Macleod.
Learn: how to decide if wicking beds are right for you; what materials are required; how to assemble wicking beds; how to care for your wicking beds once constructed; and what to grow in a wicking bed. Presenter: Paul Gale-Baker.
Find out about housing options, feeding and choosing the right hens for the suburbs.
Learn about the magic of mulch, take away the mystery of what types of mulch to use and find out why you need to care about mulch.
The topics to be covered will include: the garden as an ecosystem for both wildlife and food growing; integrated weed management; integrated pest management; inviting beneficial wildlife into your veggie garden; and common garden pests and management strategies. Presenter: Richard Rowe. Following the workshop, there will be a guided walk and talk of Strathdon House’s garden compound.
Winter is the best time to prune most deciduous fruit trees. Join Justin Calverley and learn how to best care for your fruit trees for health and to maximise your yield for next season. Bring your gardening gloves, a hat and a pair of secateurs.
Much ado about compost; Saturday, 16th July, 10-11.30am; $59 ($40 per hour); Ringwood.
Go along and find out the dirt on composting. What can be composted, how and what other support and sustainable alternatives are available.
What you will learn: improve your gardening skills; how to produce new plants from seeds, cuttings and division; and seasonal timing for growth. Presenter: Olivia Caputo.
- Backyard beekeeping; Wednesday, 18th May, 7-8.30pm; free; Camberwell.
- Biodiversity and sustainable food systems; Wednesday, 18th May, 10am-4pm; $120 ($20 per hour); CERES.
- Fruit tree pruning and care; Thursday, 19th May, 6.30-7.30pm; free; Mill Park.
- Olive festival; Friday, 20th May, 11am-2pm; free; Coburg.
- Puss and Mew gin tasting, grazing platter and networking evening; Friday, 20th May, 7-10pm; $55 ($18 per hour); Nunawading.
- Edible forest gardening; Saturday, 21st May, 9am-midday; $10; Forest Hill.
- The art of espalier; Saturday, 21st May, 9.30am-midday; $55 ($22 per hour); Bulleen Art and Garden (BAAG).
- Mushroom foraging; Saturday, 21st May, 10am-2pm; $122 ($31 per hour); Forest Hill.
- In-depth mushroom cultivation workshop; Saturday, 21st May, 10am-4pm; $165 ($28 per hour); Alphington.
- Beeswax wraps workshop; Saturday, 21st May, 2-4pm; $20 ($10 per hour); Warrandyte.
- Growing fruit and veggies in small spaces; Sunday, 22nd May, 9.30am-12.30pm; $50 ($17 per hour); Bulleen Art and Garden (BAAG).
- Basic inoculation workshop; Sunday, 22nd May, 10am-midday; $87 ($44 per hour); Alphington.
- Community gardening in Moreland forum; Sunday, 22nd May, 10am-12.30pm; free; Coburg North.
- Mushroom foraging; Sunday, 22nd May, 10am-2pm; $122 ($31 per hour); Nunawading.
- Mushroom foraging; Friday, 27th May, 10am-2pm; $122 ($31 per hour); Forest Hill.
- Growing Winter veggies; Saturday, 28th May, 9.30am-3pm; $75 ($14 per hour); Eltham.
- Edible weeds walk; Saturday, 28th May, 10.30am-12.30pm; $25 ($13 per hour); Brunswick East.
- Beekeeping workshop; Saturday, 28th May, 1-3.30pm; $85 ($34 per hour); Brunswick East.
- Edible weeds walk; Saturday, 28th May, 1.30-3.30pm; $25 ($13 per hour); Brunswick East.
- Kitchen medicine – garden farmacy; Saturday, 28th May, 2-4.30pm; $75 ($30 per hour); CERES.
- Mushroom cultivation workshop; Sunday, 29th May, 10am-1pm; $70 ($23 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Mushroom foraging; Sunday, 29th May, 10am-2pm; $122 ($31 per hour); Forest Hill.
- Olive to oil harvest festival; Sunday, 29th May, midday-2pm; $10; Preston.
- Olive to oil harvest festival; Sunday, 29th May, midday-3pm; $10; Brunswick East.
- How to compost food and garden waste; Sunday, 29th May, 1-2.30pm; $20 ($14 per hour); Forest Hill.
- Home composting and worm farming; Wednesday, 1st June, 10am-midday; free; Whittlesea.
- Looking after our bees with Melbourne City Rooftop Honey; Thursday, 2nd June, 6.30-7.30pm; free; Watsonia.
- Grazing board making workshop for women; Saturday, 4th June, 2-4pm; $189 ($95 per hour); Warrandyte.
- Home composting for beginners; Saturday, 4th June, 2-4pm; free; Edendale.
- Herb planting workshop; Sunday, 5th June, 10-11.30am; $55 ($37 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Beeswax wraps; Sunday, 5th June, 10am-midday; $55 ($28 per hour); Park Orchards.
- The fungus amongst us; Sunday, 5th June, 10am-12.30pm; $55 ($22 per hour); Alphington.
- Wicking bed workshop; Saturday, 11th June, 11.30am-1pm; $15; Macleod.
- Beginners guide to backyard chickens; Thursday, 16th June, 7-8.30pm; free; Mill Park.
- Marvellous mulch – dive into the magic; Saturday, 18th June, 1-2.30pm; $59 ($39 per hour); Ringwood.
- Growing veggies in a wildlife garden; Saturday, 18th June, 1.30-3.30pm; free; Forest Hill.
- Setting up a worm farm; Saturday, 18th June, 2-3.30pm; free; Edendale.
- Growing berries; Saturday, 25th June, 10am-3pm; $115 ($23 per hour); CERES.
Upcoming face-to-face events – cooking
Vegan pizza making masterclass; Sunday, 12th June, 11am-1pm; $106 ($53 per hour); Northcote.
Edoardo Nicita, from Shop 225, will demonstrate how to create pizza dough from scratch and you will then make margherita and nutella dessert pizzas. At the end, you will eat the creations with your new found foodie friends!
Food for mind and gut; Saturday, 16th July, 10am-3pm; $115 ($23 per hour); CERES.
What you will learn: foods which make your brain brighter; how to incorporate brain powering foods easily into your daily diet; and foods that can build and protect your gut microbiome and clear brain fog. Presenter: Melanie Leeson, from Mettle + Grace.
- Truffle and praline workshop; Wednesday, 18th May, 6-10pm; $180 ($45 per hour); Blackburn
- Talking plant-based meals with Alice Zaslavsky; Wednesday, 18th May, 6.30-8pm; free; Box Hill.
- Preserving the season’s harvest; Saturday, 21st May, 10am-3pm; $115 ($23 per hour); CERES.
- The food of central Vietnam; Sunday, 22nd May, 10am-2pm; $160 ($40 per hour); Panton Hill.
- Blue cheese making; Sunday, 22nd May, 10am-4pm; $170 ($28 per hour); CERES.
- Dip day on the deck; Wednesday, 25th May, 1-2pm; $10; Greensborough.
- Cup cake decorating workshop; Friday, 27th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $60 ($30 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Sourdough bread workshop; Saturday, 28th May, 9-11.30am; $185 ($74 per hour); Brunswick East.
- Cheese making; Saturday, 28th May, 10am-3pm; $100 ($20 per hour); Yarra Glen.
- Indian cooking class (thermomix); Saturday, 28th May, 2-4pm; $27 ($14 per hour); Mooroolbark.
- Camembert and gourmet fetta cheese; Sunday, 29th May, 10am-4pm; $170 ($28 per hour); CERES.
- The mighty booch – DIY kombucha; Tuesday, 31st May, 6.30-8pm; $80 ($40 per hour); Collingwood.
- Truffle and praline workshop; Wednesday, 1st June, 6-10pm; $180 ($45 per hour); Blackburn
- Ladies in the kitchen; Thursday, 2nd June, 9.30am-midday; $32 ($13 per hour); Yarra Glen.
- Italian kids cooking class; Thursday, 2nd June, 10am-3pm; $35 ($18 per hour); Surrey Hills.
- Middle Eastern cooking; Friday, 3rd June, 6.30-9.30pm; $65 ($22 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Fire cider tonic making; Saturday, 4th June, 2-4.30pm; $75 ($30 per hour); CERES.
- Artisan bread making; Sunday, 5th June, 8am-2pm; $220 ($37 per hour); Abbotsford.
- A master class in Thai cooking on charcoal; Sunday, 5th June, 10am-2.30pm; $160 ($36 per hour); Panton Hill.
- Vegan cooking Italian style; Sunday, 5th June, 10am-3pm; $115 ($23 per hour); CERES.
- Gnocchi making masterclass; Sunday, 5th June, 11am-1.30pm; $106 ($42 per hour); Northcote.
- Men in the kitchen; Monday, 6th June, 6.30-9pm; $32 ($13 per hour); Yarra Glen.
- Indian cooking – Punjabi (two sessions); Wednesday, 8th June and Wednesday, 22nd June, both 6.30-8.30pm; $110 ($55 per hour); Hurstbridge.
- Sourdough basics; Thursday, 9th June, 6.30-8pm; $100 ($66 per hour); Collingwood.
- How to create almost vegetarian recipes; Saturday, 11th June, 10am-12.30pm; how-to-create-almost-vegetarian-recipes; Forest Hill.
- Vegan pizza making masterclass; Sunday, 12th June, 11am-1pm; $106 ($53 per hour); Northcote.
- One pot wonders of the World – Malaysian curry laksa from scratch; Friday, 17th June, 5-10pm; $85 ($17 per hour); Panton Hill.
- French patisserie workshop; Friday, 17th June, 6.30-8.30pm; $60 ($30 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Beginners cheese making class; Saturday, 18th June, 10am-3pm; $200 ($40 per hour); Thomastown.
- Triple cream brie cheese; Sunday, 19th June, 10am-4pm; $170 ($28 per hour); CERES.
- Truffle workshop at Ratio Cocoa Roasters; Sunday, 19th June, 11am-12.30pm; $75 ($50 per hour); Brunswick.
- Cannoli making cooking class; Sunday, 19th June, 11am-1.30pm; $106 ($42 per hour); Northcote.
- Truffle and praline workshop; Wednesday, 22nd June, 6-10pm; $180 ($45 per hour); Blackburn
- Sourdough bread; Saturday, 25th June, 10am-12.30pm; $65 ($26 per hour); Park Orchards.
- Gluten-free kitchen skills; Sunday, 26th June, 10am-3pm; $115 ($23 per hour); CERES.
- Sri Lankan street food experience; Sunday, 26th June, 2-4.30pm; $99 ($40 per hour); Fitzroy.
- Pickling and fermentation workshop; Thursday, 30th June, 6.30-8.30pm; free; Watsonia.