May 302018

Judy visits the garden of Lucinda Flynn

Many of you will know Lucinda through her ownership of the the eco-lifestyle shop, Going Green Solutions (if you’re not aware of the shop, treat yourself by either looking at their website or, better still, visiting them in Hurstbridge; you could also subscribe to their rather lively newsletter – to help you decide, click here to read the latest newsletter). Judy Vizzari has now visited Lucinda’s garden in Hurstbridge. Here is how Judy introduces her write up, when she first sees the garden: “I gaze at the garden and am entranced by its magical blend of levels and plots and winding paths – no regimented borders here, no driveway to mention, just a meandering arrangement of thriving herbs, vegetables, fruiting trees, vines and plants which spill out in blue, lavender, red, pink and green hues. This is a garden where I can imagine fairies dancing in moonlight and wonder whether frogs might nestle beneath the sharp leaved Vietnamese mint in its water garden. I imagine them mirrored by moonlight and waiting for princesses to transform them into charming princes. Anything can happen here.Read the full interview.

We are in danger of running out of people to interview. If you would be happy being interviewed, or if you want to suggest someone else to be interviewed, email us.

Robin’s tip of the month – quick composting of leaves

Nature is currently providing us with an abundance of raw nutrients for next season’s garden in the form of leaves and grass clippings, both excellent ingredients for composting.

Deep-rooted trees pull trace minerals from deep in the soil and deposit them in their leaves. Leaves contain twice as many minerals as the same weight of manure. The main problem with using leaves is that they mat and this creates a barrier to air circulation and water absorption and consequently slows the composting process or, in some cases, stops it altogether. There is an easy solution to this: mow or shred your leaves. This reduces their size and creates many leaf edges that are then easily accessible to microbes that break down the leaf structure. A rotary mower, shredder or even a whipper snipper will do the job.

To begin your compost heap, select a site directly on soil and start building layer by layer. Begin with a layer of shredded leaves about 100-150mm thick, then add 50-100mm of fresh grass clippings. By the next day, the clippings will have created considerable heat. Add some animal manure. Fermented vegetable scraps can be added next (such as the contents of a Bokashi bin – Bokashi mix is full of microbes and a scattering of this alone will speed up composting).

Repeat these layers until the heap is 1-1.5 metres high and has a similar width. Make sure you water each layer as dry material will not compost. Add a ‘heavy’ layer to the surface to prevent any leaves blowing away – this could be soil, hessian bags or chicken wire.

The final step is to turn your heap regularly and, as the leaves are light, this won’t be heavy work. Leave the heap for a fortnight, then turn every 3 days for rapid composting until you have a rich, black humus which you can either dig into your soil or add as a layer of mulch.

Read all of Robin’s tips.

What to plant in June

Here is a list (see the planting guide for more detail):
Broad beans
Mustard greens

The list is pretty short. It’s your last chance to plant broad beans and garlic, and arguably too late for them.

Would you eat wild mushrooms?

Carol Woolcock has written in: “Nature has provided extras next to the tanks and fruit trees. I know that they are safe to eat as we have been doing so for decades. They are a little later this year due to the delayed rain.

News about community gardens

Sylvestor Hive (Preston)

It’s been a busy week for the Sylvestor Hive community garden in Preston.

A week ago Monday, they were the setting for an interview with Paul West from River Cottage Australia and, last Wednesday, they were the backdrop for the picture on the front of The Preston Leader.

Then, on Sunday, they held a well-attended open garden followed by a presentation on how to preserve chillies and beans. I attended and it was good to meet newsletter readers Hendrik, Jack, Kim, Lou and Michelle.

Whilst there, I was told that the Council had borne the entire set up costs of the community garden. When it comes to food-related initiatives, Darebin is streets ahead of most of the other Councils in North East Melbourne.


Incredible Edible Eltham

Thanks to Bev Robertson, the railway station beds now have snazzy yellow information signs telling the commuters about each plant that is growing in the beds.

News about local food producers

Coburg Farmers’ Market has moved to Coburg Primary School at 92 Bell Street, Coburg.

In the 2018 Dairy Industry Association of Australia awards, That’s Amore Cheese, from Thomastown, won best pasta filata cheese and Fritz Gelato, from Richmond, won best gelato.

Kooinda Boutique Brewery, from Heidelberg West, are now a stallholder at The Fitzroy Mills Market.

You can now buy Sugarloaf Produce’s veggies and mushrooms at the St Andrews General Store and Post Office. Sugarloaf Produce are from Strathewen.

You can now buy My Goosey Gander’s granola at Organic Fix, Eltham. My Goosey Gander are from Eltham.

Yarra Valley Gateway Estate, in Coldstream, now sell Coldstream Dairy’s cheese.

Leader local grants

The voting has opened for the latest Leader local grants, with the voting period ending on 8th June. Here are some of the food-related applications from around North East Melbourne:

‘Crowd harvest’ – winter citrus

Lemon trees are often heavily laden in the middle of winter. Gardeners with excess are invited to give them to one of the not-for profit organisations listed below who will, in turn, provide them to facing food insecurity. DIVRS in Preston, Now and Not Yet Cafe in Warrandyte or STREAT in Collingwood. If you want someone to harvest the lemons for you, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Transforming suburbia

This debate was recorded at the Sustainable Living Festival in February. Features David Holmgren, Costa Georgiadis, Kat Lavers and others. Thanks for the heads up, Fay Loveland!

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The No Grainer Facebook post.

Proverb of the month

Bread always falls butter side down. Original meaning (1832): bread falling buttered side down causes bad luck. Subsequent meaning (1835 to now), the converse: bad luck causes bread to fall buttered side down. In other words, the same meaning as Murphy’s law or Sod’s law, namely: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Relates to people who are glass-half-empty (i.e. pessimistic) rather than glass-half-full (i.e. optimistic) in their approach.

So, considering it literally, is there any truth in the saying? Per Manchester University, ‘yes’ but only if dropped from a table around a metre high and starting butter side up (the argument being that it only has time for a half turn before it hits the floor). In 1996, someone won the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for analysing the issue (the nature of Ig Nobel Prize is illustrated by the fact that the 2017 prize for Fluid Dynamics was for a paper studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing when a person walks backwards while carrying a cup of coffee).

Together with Gulliver’s Travels (cf. the correct end to crack an egg), the saying was the inspiration for the 1984 Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss, where the Yooks eat their bread with the butter-side up while the Zooks eat their bread with the butter-side down.

Read all the proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Read all the quotes.

Joke of the week

Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That’s not a miracle. That’s tapas.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Wow it’s Italian – Italian minestrone + pasta

What: Enjoy a social evening of cooking demonstrations and food tasting. Take away healthy recipes and tips for entertaining, favourite family meals, simple sauces and pasta dishes. Menu: Italian minestrone with homemade pastas.
When: Thursday, 31st May, 7-9pm.
Where: Chirnside Park.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sylvester Hive – roasted chestnut get-together

What: Join them for a social gathering with locals and enjoy some freshly roasted chestnuts. Take a plate to share. BYO drinks. Roasted chestnuts will be available to purchase on the day.
When: Saturday, 2nd June, 2-4pm.
Where: Sylvester Hive Community Garden, Preston.
Cost: gold coin.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible weeds of Melbourne

What: Learn the most common edible weeds of the season, how to prepare them and some of their medicinal properties. This workshop will teach you how to identify weeds that are local, edible, and/or medicinal in the greater Melbourne area. Eating weeds allow us to connect more deeply with our local ecology, understand the role of weeds in the human and plant environment, and expand our culinary possibilities. Monique Miller will walk you through the weeds at Joe’s Market Garden and down by the nearby Merri Creek.
When: Saturday, 16th June, 10-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Medicinal herbs workshop

What: Do you like to grow your own herbs? Would you like to find out how you can use them for medicinal purposes? Then go along to this hands-on workshop, presented by Doris Pozzi, to learn about natural alternatives that can be grown from your own backyard. Also, take the chance to network with other local community gardeners and share some of your own home grown herbs and veggies.
When: Saturday, 23rd June, 10am-1pm.
Where: Greenbrook Community House, Epping.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9408 0916) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Eating green

What: John and Sunday Reed created Heide as a self-contained realm with an emphasis on holistic, sustainable living. Join Alexandra Pyke, founder of plant-based eatery The Alley, for a tour of Heide’s kitchen garden followed by a cooking demonstration and a discussion of vegan protein and superfoods.
When: Sunday, 24th June, 10am-1pm.
Where: Heide, Bulleen.
Cost: $46.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

SEEDs Winter Soup Festival

What: Join them in celebrating SEEDs Communal Garden at their annual ‘winter soup’ fundraiser – with live music and performers, food prepared using SEEDs-grown produce, chai, coffee and mulled kombucha, locally brewed craft beer, communal weaving, sewing with boomerang bags, children’s activities and a mini market. See how much the garden has grown over the last three years.
When: Sunday, 24th June, 11am-4pm.
Where: SEEDs Communal Garden, Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Heidi garden club

What: A monthly (last Wednesday of the month) gathering of like-minded people who enjoy chatting about all things garden, in particular productive gardening. Set in the Heide I kitchen garden, join them for a chat and a light morning tea, including a Heide produce tasting. Facilitated by Heide gardener, Katie Grace.
When: Wednesday, 27th June, Wednesday, 25th July and Wednesday, 29th August, all 10am-midday.
Where: Heide, Bulleen.
Cost: $14.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Creative soups in your thermomix

What: Soups are a staple for winter. They will share their favourite soups, from simple tasty broths to more complex asian style soups. From sharing tips for getting the most flavour through to healthy preservative-free soups in under 20 minutes, you will come away with plenty of ideas, recipes and be sampling throughout the evening.
When: Wednesday, 27th June, 7.30-9.30pm.
Where: Kilsyth.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking master class

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: winter greens minestrone; smokey barbeque pork; and sticky date rice pudding.
When: Friday, 29th June, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking master class

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: roast mushroom soup; gnocchi; and apple & pear crostata.
When: Thursday, 5th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sauerkraut and gut health workshop

What: Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage (combined with many other vegetables) that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. As it’s naturally fermented with living bacteria, sauerkraut is a probiotic and prebiotic food, with benefits such as improved digestion, immunity, aiding mental clarity and mood stability. Giving attention to gut health is a great way to promote both physical and mental health. This workshop will cover the history of sauerkraut, how to make it, what can go wrong with it and how to fix it. You will also cover how to make it even healthier and more delicious with the addition of different species and seasonal vegetables.
When: Tuesday, 24th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Hawthorn Community House.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.