Jul 272016

Helen Simpson writes about how to grow brassicas

Helen’s article for the month of August is on how to grow brassicas. As she says in her introduction “Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kohlrabi, turnip, collard greens, mizuna, tatsoi, pak choy, bok choi, wong bok – the list goes on – these are all part of the brassica genus. Described by one website as the ‘powerhouses of the vegetable kingdom’ because of their nutritional properties, they are diverse in both their range and in the way that they are eaten – either as roots, leaves, flowers or stems. Generally brassicas are cold-hardy vegetables and are grown over Autumn, Winter and Spring.” Particular brassicas which you can plant during August include kale, mustard greens, mizuna, tatsoi, pak choy and bok choi. Read her full article.

a href=”https://localfoodconnect.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/broccoli.jpg”>        brussels sprout                                

Local people who give away coffee husks, manure, wood shavings, etc

Thanks to both Pollyn Chan and Garrett Addison, there is now an additional organisation on the list: Charles Sandford Woodturning in Preston provide free sawdust in bales; bring your trailer and they will load it for you.

But, thanks to both Mala Plymin and Lee Tozzi, two of the listings have been taken off the list: Bundoora Park Visitor Centre has temporarily stopped giving away either coffee husks or wood shavings.

Mala has also provided the following two handy hints: “I recently agreed with one of the handymen who was mowing my neighbour’s lawn that he would give me the grass clippings for my compost. He used to take the clippings to landfill so he is now saving time and I am getting to make great compost with the extra grass clippings. Also, one less thing going to landfill.

I now plant my seeds in egg shells, so I no longer have to get small plastic pots. When ready, the seedlings in their egg shells can be planted straight in the garden. The shells biodegrade and provide the soil with calcium. When I crack the eggs, I make sure I do it close to the top.

How do coffee husks and grounds actually help your compost?

Marina Bistrin gets free coffee husks from a roaster and coffee grounds from a cafe. Read her experiences thus far. But she can’t do proper trials in her small backyard space so she is interested in other people’s experience of using coffee grounds and husks as compost additions. How does this compost work for growing vegetables? Is it any better than normal compost? Does it hold water better? Is it more nutritious? How is the texture/tilth of it in soil? Do you feel it helps the composting process itself? Email us with your thoughts.

Fancy some Persian desserts?

behi cakesRead the Leader’s article about a new shop – Behi Cakes – in Greensborough.

Edible weeds

Read Doris's recipe for potato and onion weed soup. Our next door neighbours are currently growing a whole field of onion weed and are more than happy for people to pick it for free!

The Common’s latest Facebook post

Is about bread.

Which brands do the big food and beverage companies own?

10 companiesKaren Olsen has suggested readers might be interested in this graphic (pictured right) which shows which brands the big food and beverage companies own. The graphic is from a 2013 Oxfam briefing paper entitled Behind the brands: food justice and the ‘big 10’ food and beverage companies. In support of this paper, Oxfam has also set up a behind the brands website which, inter alia, allows you to select a brand and see how it rates against a variety of criteria.

New events

Fruit tree pruning workshop

What: Practical demonstration on the fruit trees in Robert’s back yard. Bring sharp secateurs if you have them. Limit of 10 people. Bookings required.
When: Saturday, 30th July, 10am-midday.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Robert Stringer by phone (0418 419742) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to use citrus in the kitchen

What: Join Kate, from The Urban Pear, to find out how to use citrus in the kitchen and around the home. Together you will transform this zesty delight into marmalade and then discover how to make an amazing orange cleaning vinegar. Bring along two clean jars to take home some citrus goodness.
When: Sunday, 31st July, 2-4pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries/Bookings: Tiffany by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Grafting and apple tree sales day

What: Learn techniques for grafting or budding fruit trees. Select suitable rootstocks. Have new trees grafted or budded by Heritage Fruits Society members. Buy heritage fruit tree scion wood for home grafting. Buy one-year-old grafted trees. Discuss your fruit tree needs.
When: Sunday, 7th August, 10am-midday.
Where: Templestowe.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Heritage Fruit Society by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

All Nations Kitchen Garden second birthday celebrations

What: activities include: a fruit tree pruning workshop by the Darebin Fruit Squad, 10–11.30am; birthday cake, 11.45am; and free tool sharpening.
When: Sunday, 7th August, 10am-1pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit tree grafting

What: John Pinniger of the Heritage Fruits Society will run a ‘masterclass’ in grafting for those who would like to improve their skills – or learn the basics. It will involve learning the reasons for, and the science of, grafting, and then having plenty of time to practice. Budding will also be discussed (although winter is not the best time to do it). This will be a hands-on workshop, so bring a sharp knife if you have one. They will concentrate on apples but will also discuss a wide range of plants. There is no cost, but the third hour of the three-hour session will be assistance with the grafting of Heritage Fruits Society’s trees, including potting, labelling, etc (part learning, part application).
When: Wednesday 10th August 9am-midday and again at Sunday 14th August 1-4pm.
Where: Fairfield.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: John Pinniger by email with your preferred date and the subject line GRAFTING.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Heritage Fruit Society: orchard maintenance workshop

What: Work with their experienced volunteers and learn some new skills. They will be checking the watering system, pruning trees and performing various other maintenance tasks. Possibly grass cutting by mower and whipper-snipper. Some weeding in the nursery. They may lift some nursery trees for planting in the orchard. Newly grafted trees will need to be heeled in at their nursery. Wear sturdy boots and clothing, as well as a hat and sunscreen. If you wish, you can bring a pair of gardening gloves and your own secateurs. Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.
When: Sunday, 4th September, 9am-midday.
Where: Templestowe.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Heritage Fruit Society by phone (0449 508318).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Lebanese feast

What: Learn how to make some well known and popular Lebanese dishes with culinary teacher, Bernadette Cheet, owner of My Lebanese Kitchen Cooking School. Bernadette has developed a strong passion and love for Lebanese food, its aroma, unique flavours and earthy colours from growing up with three generations of experienced Lebanese cooks. Presented in conjunction with the Coburg Traders Association.
When: Thursday, 22nd September, 1-2pm.
Where: Coburg.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Moreland City Libraries by phone (9389 8600) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
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.