Jun 282017

Mac’s tip of the week

A question of arithmetic for you: when is a subtraction really a division? This week’s tip provides the answer.

Now is a good time to divide your perennial herbs and veggies. Dividing your plants will: help stop their spread into areas they are not wanted; promote more vigorous growth; provide you with more plants for other parts of your garden; and make for great gifts to others. The list that can be divided is long, but includes: asparagus, blackberries, chives, globe artichokes, marjoram, mint, oregano, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries and watercress.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Helen Simpson interviews Margot Meredith and Jim Cunnington

Some of you will know Margot through her involvement in the Watsonia Library Community Garden and Greensborough Food Swap. Helen has now interviewed Margot and Jim as home growers. Here is the first paragraph: “Walking down the side road to Jim and Margot’s corner block house, I immediately know I’m going to the house of creative gardeners. Masses of luxurious plants grow down the outside of their side street fence and, as I turn the corner and open the picket gate, I am delighted by the sun-dappled front yard with a number of fruit trees, a huge rhubarb plant, plus pretty bee attracting, flowering shrubs. Margot has made a delicious carrot cake, so we firstly sit around the table to chat over morning tea.Read the full interview.

Buying Certified Organic food in North East Melbourne

If you want to eat food that was locally grown or made, you have lots of choices. If you want to eat Certified Organic food, you again have lots of choices. But if you want to eat food that is both local and Certified Organic then, at least in North East Melbourne, your choices are very limited. Your options are discussed in a new article on the website. In summary:

Read the full article.

What to plant in July (see the website for details)

Here is a list:
Mustard greens

The shortest list of the year.

Local food producer news

Hibi farm, in Heidelberg West, featured in the June edition of pip magazine. There is also a podcast interview with prime mover Maria Cameron.

Cath Lyons, aka Tiny Trowel has been interviewed on 89.9lightFM. Listen to her interview.

Eltham Farmers’ Market needs a new theme song

For the last three years, the theme song has been Happy by Pharrell Williams. I’ve now been told that it is time to retire the song and choose a new one. Any suggestions? Email me. The chosen song should be: a) well known, b) upbeat, c) catchy and d) this century(!). Email your suggestions.

On a related issue, if you have any suggestions more generally for what music to play during the market, again please email me.

Fundraising drive for schools and community groups

KABUU are having a Spring garden fundraising drive for schools and community groups. See their leaflet pictured right.

Going Green Solutions

Going Green Solutions is one of the liveliest, local Facebook pages, with most of the content being about eco-friendly food-related equipment. They are based in Hurstbridge (929 Main Road) and you can also buy their products online on their website. Furthermore, you can subscribe to their newsletter. Their owner is newsletter reader, Lucinda Flynn.

Kevin Heinze GROW

Kevin Heinze GROW are based in Doncaster. They “work with children and adults of all abilities to provide, enhance and promote the benefits of horticulture based therapy.” and their “activities promote social inclusion, laughter and friendship.“.

Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter

If you are involved in any food-related activities at your local school, you might be interested in receiving the quarterly Nillumbik Healthy Schools newsletter distributed by healthAbility. Whilst some of it is specific to Nillumbik (and Banyule), around half of the material is more general. To subscribe, email them.

Website calendar enhancement

On the main calendar page, you have always been able to limit the results to a specific Council area by choosing that Council from the ‘locations’ drop down box, but now you can also go to ready made pages where this filtering has been done for you: Banyule, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

I have also written some code which can be used to display these sorts of filtered calendars on any website, drawing on the data from our database in real time. So, for example, your website could have a calendar of events for your Council, or just for your suburb, or just farmers’ markets, or whatever. Just email me if you would like such a calendar on your website.

Why you should pee in your garden

Susan Palmer suggests that you read this article. She tells me that she has done extensive testing and that everything in the article works as stated.

Proverb of the month

It’s no use crying over spilt milk. Meaning: There is no point worrying about a mistake or bad situation from the past. First known from a publication entitled Proverbs in 1659 by someone called James Howell. That publication also introduced to the world the famous proverb All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Joke of the week

Two more jokes from Meg Montague:

Why should you never enter a corn field? You’d get lost in the maize.

Why did the maize fail as a stand-up comedian? The jokes were just too corny.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Seasonal cooking: edible weed dips

What: Learn how to make two dips with two different edible weeds that grow at the garden: nettles and mallow. Interactive, edible and vegan friendly.
When: Saturday, 1st July, 10.30-11am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: by donation, $5-10 suggested.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The permaculture orchard

What: Go and learn how to design and manage a permaculture orchard. Whether you have a large property or a small garden you can grow the fruit you love at home. John Ferris, from Edible Forest Gardens, will cover tree selection, feeding, pruning techniques and pests & diseases.
When: Sunday, 2nd July, 1-3pm.
Where: Edible Forest Gardens, Wonga Park.
Cost: Gold coin donation.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Social media marketing for hospitality

What: Go along and meet Mark Khoder who specialises in social media for the hospitality industry. Hear him talk about how to drive the awareness and good word of mouth for your business using the power of social media. Ideal for all the local cafes, restaurants, wineries and other local food producers. Hosted by Nillumbik Business Network.
When: Wednesday, 12th July, 6.45-9pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wild fermentation and sauerkraut workshop

What: Sauerkraut is a fun, easy and tasty way to enter the world of wild fermentation. This workshop will cover: how to make and ferment sauerkraut at home; the basic principles and information about how fermentation works; and why fermented products are important in your diet. You will receive an information booklet. Please BYO apron and wide mouth jar (between 600ml-800ml) – any recycled jar will do.
When: Saturday, 22nd July, 2-4pm.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit tree pruning

What: Presenter Chris England. A workshop for beginners or as a refresher for more experienced gardeners. There will be a lecture/demonstration of pruning techniques for all sorts of fruit trees (apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, citrus). There will also be a supervised pruning session in the Burnley Field Station where Chris will instruct and help you. BYO cleaned secateurs, gloves and closed shoes. Morning tea included.
When: Saturday, 5th August, 10am-1pm.
Where: Burnley Campus, University of Melbourne.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: Friends of Burnley Gardens by phone (9035 6815) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Keeping chooks in the suburbs

What: Have you you always wanted to keep chooks in the suburbs? This workshop will go through how to feed and care for your poultry, the local laws, housing and your neighbours. You will also cover diseases, predators and pets. Also, how to handle your chook correctly (live chickens) and which heritage breed to buy and from where.
When: Tuesday, 15th August, 7-9.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

DIY water-wise wicking beds

What: Learn all about wicking beds and how they use less water than conventional garden beds to produce an abundance of veggies. Discover how to build one and get advice on which materials to use. Perfect for people who are conscious of their water use or are not able to water their gardens daily over summer.
When: Thursday, 17th August, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Balwyn Leisure Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

DIY worm farms

What: What you will learn: how to make a working worm farm from recycling materials; how to look after worms for maximum productivity; and how to use the worm by-products to best effect in your garden. What you will get: a worm farm that you set up on the day; the worms and bedding to start your worm farm; and notes so that you look after your worms well. Worm farms are a great way to recycle kitchen scraps but buying commercial ones is expensive. In this hands-on workshop, you will recycle materials to make decorated working worm farms. This workshop is suitable for parents with young children to work on together (for a single price).
When: Saturday, 19th August, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $70.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 19th August, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

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: Sunday, 20th August, 11am-1pm.
Where: Merri Creek Trail.
Cost: $25 ($20 concession).
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mooroolbark Growers & Weeders present – “an introduction to permaculture”

What: Claire Coutts, from Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap, will introduce you to the basic principles of permaculture, a concept originally created in Australia, covering sustainability and self-sufficiency. By applying these principles in our daily life, we can move from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. Claire will also explain how to make your garden more productive with less work.
When: Tuesday, 22nd August, 2-3pm.
Where: Mooroolbark Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Mooroolbark Library by phone (9800 6480).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sensational sourdough at home

What: What you will learn: how to start your own sourdough starter; how to maintain your sourdough starter without lots of waste; and how to use your starter to make, shape and score sensational genuine sourdough bread. What you will get: recipes sheets describing all of the techniques used; a sample of active starter for you to continue to maintain at home; a loaf that you shape, ready to take home to rise, score and bake; and batch of sourdough that you have mixed, for you to take home and continue the process on to baking. Anne, from The Mixing Bowl, will take you from the basics of making your own starter, through to our low-knead technique, using ‘stretch and fold’, the rising process and then the baking. In so doing, Anne will de-bunk a lot of the ‘rules’ surrounding making a good sourdough loaf.
When: Thursday, 24th August, 11am-3pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $98.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Winter fruit tree maintenance (Bulleen)

What: What you will learn: pruning – formative and maintenance of new and established fruit trees. Also, 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, 26th August, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

View the calendars for specific Council areas: Banyule, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

Read some help on how to view the calendar selectively. For example, search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs. Or search for events of a given type (such as markets).