May 272015

Montmorency Farmers’ Market

I can confirm that Montmorency Farmers’ Market has ceased, at least for the time being. Here is a statement from Montmorency Primary School: “As you may be aware, the Montmorency Farmer’s Market is temporarily not in operation. However, there are plans for its revitalisation with a bigger, better and more invigorated market come the Spring. Watch this space …

Helen’s guide to growing garlic

garlicFollowing my plea a few weeks ago, the LFC newsletter now has its first journalist! Many of you will know Helen Simpson, from The Mushroom Shed, either from some of the food swaps or from some of the local farmers’ markets (including Eltham). And, as you will see, Helen both knows her veggie growing and can write well. Welcome Helen!

Helen’s first article is on growing garlic in your garden. As she says in her introduction: “With wintery weather underway, it can be difficult to find something cold hardy to plant in the veggie patch. But garlic loves the cold weather. In fact the more it receives, the better, as the cold is essential for large bulb formation. Garlic can be planted in Melbourne from early April to late June. Surprisingly it’s a perennial, but usually grown as an annual and harvested from late November into December. The downside of growing garlic is it takes up space in the veggie patch for around six to seven months. However its advantages include being relatively free from pests and (as long as it’s kept well-weeded and receives reasonable rainfall) pretty much fuss free.” She then goes on to discuss garlic selection, planting, pests, maintenance and harvesting & drying. Read the full article on the LFC website.

Did you know that elephant garlic is actually a variety of leek?

If you want to know what else you can be planting now, have a look at our local planting schedule.

Guy’s guide to local mushrooms

mushroomAs her company’s name implies, Helen makes her living by selling mushrooms. So that is a perfect segue for introducing my guide to local mushrooms. Whether you want to buy local mushrooms or grow your own from a kit, you are in luck, particularly if you frequent Eltham Farmers’ Market:

If you have never grown mushrooms from a kit, I highly recommend it (i.e. it is easy!).

Conversely, I have never had success growing shiitake mushrooms in logs. If you have, please tell us about it!

Susan’s guide to local seedlings

As well as selling mushrooms, Helen also sells a variety of seedlings. So, in another perfect segue, have a look at Susan’s guide to local seedlings. Again, you have two high quality offerings, particularly if you frequent Eltham Farmers’ Market:

  • Standard seedlings: The Mushroom Shed, from Montmorency.
  • ‘Soil block’ seedlings: KABUU, also from Montmorency.

kabuu2KABUU’s ‘soil blocks’ comprise a mixture of compost and coir fibre, with a single seed per block. This ‘pot-less’ approach has a number of advantages:

  • Each seedling is ready to plant as it is. No need to divide seedlings and tease apart roots, saving you time.

  • The seedlings undergo minimal root disturbance during planting and are not root bound. This results in reduced transplant shock.

  • Reduced plastic waste.

  • When purchasing, you can mix and match varieties without additional cost.

Your opportunity to buy a ‘soil blocker’ at a discount

soilblockerKABUU (aka Richard Lee) sells the ‘blockers’ for people to make their own blocks but he has recently sold out. So, he needs to place a bulk order to the manufacturers. As an offer to LFC newsletter recipients, KABUU is offering the soil blockers at a 10% discount if you order before 30th June (see the KABUU online shop for the standard pricing). You will then receive your blocker in August, ready for the all-important spring plantings. Contact Richard by email, phone (0422 606026), via his website or at Eltham Farmers’ Market.

I have one of Richard’s soil blockers (the Mini 5) and use it for growing most of my seeds. One of my best purchases of 2015.

So, from growing garlic to mushrooms to seedlings to soil blockers. Three perfect segues in a row! As Sid Waddell used to say: “That was like throwing three pickled onions into a thimble!

New events

Composting and worm farming

What: Learn how to set up a worm farm and the environmental benefits. Get hints for happy worms and go into a draw to win a worm farm or a compost bin.
When: Thursday, 11th June, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Getting the most from your winter harvest

What: Tony from Mitre 10 will run a session on what you need to have a bountiful crop.
When: Tuesday 16th June, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Dione Flegg by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Setting up and maintaining a worm farm

What: A worm farm can be one of the best ways to dispose of food scraps and at the same time produce vermi-juice (worm tea) and vermicast (worm castings) for use on the garden. Learn how to set up a worm farm and the easiest methods to manage and care for these most hard working of creatures. Discounted worm farms will be available on the day.
When: Friday, 19th June, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Edendale website.
Further information: Edendale website.

Winter Wine Fest 2015

What: Enjoy wine and food in warm and cosy settings. Celebrate with 6 family-owned boutique Nillumbik wineries: Hildebrand Ridge Organic Winery, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Redbox Vineyard, Shaws Road Winery and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard. View/download their brochure.
When: Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June, 11am-5pm.
Where: Various Nillumbik wineries.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: 1300 660072.
Further information: 20th June and 21st June.

Change makers

What: This event aims to energise volunteer groups, create social cohesion and provide networking, peer to peer learning and ‘passion mashin’ opportunities for the environmental movement in Banyule. They are asking for rsvps by 9th June if possible.
When: Wednesday, 15th July, 6-9pm.
Where: The Streeton Room, The Centre Ivanhoe.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Upcoming events from previous LFC News

Over the next week


Over the next month