Jun 272018

Robin’s tip of the month – tending the raspberry patch

Now that winter is here, it’s time to tend the raspberry patch. First, you will need to know whether your raspberries are autumn varieties (e.g. Autumn Bliss, Autumn Heritage) or summer (e.g. Chilicotin, Chiliwack, Willamette) as they are treated in different ways. Both require wire supports. Autumn varieties prefer 2 sets of parallel wires each with 3 strands at intervals of 60cm and the taller summer varieties a single set of parallel wires with 4 strands at an interval of 50cm.

Autumn varieties fruit on first year canes called primocanes and are usually pruned to ground level after leaf fall – pruning earlier or much later than leaf fall reduces the crop the following season. After pruning, add well composted manure to the bed. Then, in the spring when the canes reach 60cm in height, tip prune them and tie them to one of the horizontal wires – this will result in branching and more berries.

Summer varieties fruit on second year canes called floricanes and are more complicated to prune. Canes that have fruited won’t fruit again, so look for dry, brown canes and prune these back to ground level. At the same time, look for new shoots or canes which will be green and tie them to your horizontal wire. Then tip prune them and fertilise with well composted manure.

Both autumn and summer raspberries sucker. The suckers should be removed to keep the strength in the main cane. Cut the suckers rather than pull them.

If you want to read more, Helen Simpson has an article about growing raspberries on our website.

Robin has also just written an article about growing apricots, which is on the Sustainable Gardening Australia website.

Read all of Robin’s tips.

What to plant in July

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

The shortest list of the year.

Community gardening news

Margot Meredith has sent in an update about the Watsonia Library Community Garden: “For the past few years, people interested in growing food with, and for, others in the community have been meeting weekly at Watsonia Library (4 Ibbottson Street) to plant, harvest, weed, chat, share knowledge, meet and make friends. Starting in July, this group will meet on Tuesdays (i.e. not Thursdays, as currently) between 10 and 11am. The library garden offers a relaxing place for people of all ages and we generally finish with a cuppa in the garden (or looking at it from the library).

Want a job?

A Local Baker St Andrews is looking for “a passionate, hard working, baker with a love of wild fermentation and wood fired baking“. Apprentices and novices welcome. Hours negotiable. Award wages. If interested, phone Sachin on 0430 535494.

A Study Of The Farmers’ Market Sector in the United States

Newsletter reader Prue Rothwell has just published a report entitled A Study Of The Farmers’ Market Sector in the United States: programs, regulations and emerging opportunities for the Australian sector. It sets our Prue’s findings from a 10 week visit to 28 farmers’ markets and the possible lessons for Australia. Read the report.

A sad story

Dani Venn is well known in the local food community. For example, earlier this month she was at Greensborough Plaza teaching children how to make tzatziki. And she once produced a video about Sachin Verma from A Local Baker St Andrews. Anyhow, it appears that Dani has recently been the victim of a major fraud. Briefly, she sold her house in Smiths Gully and the money was put into Australia’s new online property transfer system (called PEXA). Then, before she could remove the money, someone hacked her conveyancer’s email account, used this to reset the password to PEXA, then accessed PEXA and diverted the money ($250,000) into their bank account. Surprisingly, the owners of PEXA (which include the Macquarie Group, the big banks and the State government) are denying any liability. Even if she eventually recovers the money, she is faced in the short term with defaulting on the property that she and her family were buying with the monies from their sale. Read more. Donate to their fighting fund.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Helen’s article on growing ginger and turmeric.

Karen Sutherland sent in the following comments.

Re ginger: “a Sri Lankan friend, Ranjana, gave me this tip – he said he remembers his mother storing harvested ginger in dry sand in a glazed ceramic pot on the kitchen bench (or in the laundry, etc). He does this with his harvested ginger (he now lives in Brisbane).

Re turmeric: “I tried keeping my harvested turmeric last year in some damp, but not wet, potting mix in a 40 cm plastic pot, hoping it would keep some humidity around the tubers, and it worked really well. They lasted until the ones I hadn’t used were ready to plant again in spring.

Re galangal: “I’ve grown galangal for many years in my garden. The plants are healthy, although the tubers are smaller than tropically grown. I grew the original plant from a tuber that I bought and sprouted on my kitchen windowsill. I planted into a 20cm pot then, when the plant was fully established (in 6-12 months), I planted it out without dividing it. I find if I plant small pieces individually they die, so I use this method instead.

Proverb of the month

The apple of my eye. Meaning: something, or more usually someone, cherished above others. ‘Apple’ here refers to the pupil of an eye. This is a phrase that illustrates the age of the English language as it dates back to a work attributed to Alfred the Great of Wessex titled Gregory’s Pastoral Care and published in 885, where the phrase was probably meant literally. It was subsequently used in something like its current figurative meaning by Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and in the King James Version of the Bible (Deuteronomy 32:10, Book of Psalms 17:8, Proverbs 7:2, Lamentations 2:18 and Zechariah 2:8). Popularised by Walter Scott in 1816 (in the novel Old Mortality) and brought to my attention by Stevie Wonder in the 1970s (in You Are the Sunshine of My Life).

Incidentally, the word ‘pupil’ for the aperture in the eye comes from the Latin ‘pupilla’, meaning ‘little doll’ and referring to the tiny reflection one sees of oneself when looking into another person’s eyes. Note that ‘pupil’ meaning ‘a learner under the supervision of a teacher’ has a completely different etymology.

Read all the proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

Sweet, sane, still nakedness in nature! Ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more!” by Walt Whitman in Specimen Days, 1882.

Read all the quotes.

Joke of the week

How does a farmer mend his trousers? With cabbage patches.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Become a junior chocolatier

What: In a 45 minute ‘parent-free zone’, children aged 6–12 years can learn from their chocolatiers how to make their very own chocolate creations. Includes personalised badge, chef’s hat and apron, graduation certificate plus take home three chocolate creations to enjoy.
When: Tuesday, 3rd July (9am, 10am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm); Wednesday, 4th July (9am, 10am, 11am, midday, 1.30pm, 2.30pm); Tuesday, 10th July (9am, 10am, 11am, midday, 2.30pm); Wednesday, 11th July (9am, 10am, midday, 1.30pm, 2.30pm); Saturday, 21st July (9am); and Saturday, 25th August (10am).
Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.
Cost: $48.
Bookings and further information: their website.

Winter gardening

What: Learn all about: what to plant and when; soil preparation and maintenance; pest management; and harvesting tips & tricks.
When: Saturday, 7th July, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Brunswick Neighbourhood House.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by either phone (9386 9418) or email.
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: caponata bruschetta; chicken ratatouille; and chocolate mousse tart.
When: Thursday, 12th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Convivial Kitchen’s sourdough breadmaking demo

What: This is an event for Darebin people to come together and connect while learning some new home cooking skills. Join them for a slow food afternoon as she demonstrates sourdough breadmaking, from preparing the grain to baking bread.
When: Sunday, 15th July, 2-5pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cookie cake and fondant cookies with Emelia Jackson

What: You will learn: how to make the perfect sugar cookie that won’t shrink; an introduction to fondant – how to colour it, roll and cut it out to perfectly fit your cookie; how to decorate with watercolour painted fondant, marble fondant, embossed lettering and gold / silver leaf; how to make your own stencils and cut out a large cookie cake; and how to decorate and fill a large cookie cake. Snacks & sparkling on arrival, tart & bruschetta to eat while you watch, and cookies.
When: Friday, 20th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $64.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Boilermaker masterclass

What: What you will learn: taste your way through beers from The 3 Ravens range under the guidance of one of their brewery team; see behind the scenes of a fully functioning craft brewery; and learn 3 Ravens’ approach to boilermakers. Includes a sharing sit down style feast from A1 Bakery Fairfield.
When: Saturday, 21st July, 12.30-2.30pm.
Where: 3 Ravens Brewery, Thornbury.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Chocolate discovery class

What: This class includes indulging in a range of chocolate & truffle tastings, the chance to learn about how chocolate is made, and finding out about the inspiration behind each of their specialty ranges with their European Chocolatiers. Your chocolate education concludes with the chance to create your own personal chocolate bar and delve in giant lollipop making fun.
When: Saturday, 21st July, 12.45-1.45pm.
Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.
Cost: $48.
Bookings and further information: their website.

3 Ravens Brewery tour and tasting

What: What you will learn: see behind the scenes of a fully functioning craft brewery; taste your way through the The 3 Ravens range under the guidance of one of their brewery team; and learn what goes into beer, how it’s produced and how it gets in your glass.
When: Saturday, 21st July, 4-5pm.
Where: 3 Ravens Brewery, Thornbury.
Cost: $35.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mexican – tortilla making

What: Ana and Gaby are Mexican Aussies with a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience in cooking Mexican dishes. Immerse yourself in Mexican cooking techniques and culture. This workshop will cover tortilla making: making fresh tortillas and tacos y quesadillas.
When: Saturday, 28th July, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik, Diamond Creek.
Cost: $63.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cookbook roadshow

What: Join Tim White from Books for Cooks, Australia’s only bookshop dedicated to new and old books about wine, food and the culinary arts, as he talks about how cookbooks document social history. Bring along any cookbooks you think might be of value (or that just have an interesting story) and get them appraised.
When: Wednesday, 2nd August, 2-3pm.
Where: Carlton Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.


What: Learn all about microgreens from KABUU, who are local aspiring ecological urban farmers committed to growing sustainably. Find out about their micro-nursery where they grow vegetables, herbs, baby salads and microgreens and see their produce for yourself.
When: Tuesday, 21st August, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter fruit tree maintenance

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. 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).
When: Saturday, 25th August, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
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 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: Saturday, 25th August, 11am-1pm and again at 2-4pm.
Where: Merri Creek Trail.
Cost: $25 ($20 concession).
Bookings: their website (11am and 2pm).
Further information: LFC calendar entry (11am and 2pm).

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.