Aug 282019

Judy visits the garden of Emily Willocks

Some of you might know Emily through Macleod Organic Community Garden where, inter alia, she helped secure funding for their pizza oven. Judy Vizarri has now visited Emily’s garden and talked to her as a home grower. As Judy discusses in her writeup, Emily has a small but very productive garden. It contains a mixture of wicking beds, other raised beds, dedicated plots for perennial veggies, and a wide range of berries and fruit trees, many of which are dwarf. There is an automated irrigation system and Emily makes her own compost. Read the full writeup.

What seeds to plant in September

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



Other warm season veggies


Leafy greens

Mustard greens


Jerusalem artichoke

Other veggies

Globe artichoke
Spring onions


It’s Spring time! Time to get planting! I try and plant all my warm season veggie seeds in September – that way, if they fail to germinate, I can try again in October.

Helen Simpson has previously written ‘how to grow’ articles about many of the warm season veggies, namely: basil, chilli, cucurbits and tomatoes. Robin Gale-Baker has previously written about how to grow eggplants and capsicums. And Helen has written more generally about Spring veggie garden preparation.

A new maker of cheese – PowerHouse Cheese

PowerHouse Cheese, from Blackburn, make camembert and brie style cheeses. The owner, Barbara Power, was previously a microbiologist and she draws on this experience to experiment with, and cultivate, unique flavour profiles. You can buy their cheeses at: Blackburn Station Craft Market; Carlton Farmers’ Market; Treasures and Tastes @ Trinity (in Surrey Hills); Whitehorse Farmers’ Market; and, on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, at Eltham Farmers’ Market. So, they should at Eltham Farmers’ Market this coming Sunday. Read their Local Food Directory page. Welcome, Barbara!

Best bakeries of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

The Yarra Valley official visitor site has published an article about some of the best bakeries of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. They include A Local Baker St Andrews and The Providore at Meletos in Coldstream.

The Australian’s 2019 hot 50 restaurants

The Australian recently published a list of its hot 50 restaurants for 2019. 3 of the 50 are in North East Melbourne: Carlton Wine Room in Carlton, Etta in Brunswick East, and Greasy Zoes in Hurstbridge. The images to the right are what The Australian said about each of the restaurants. Thanks for the heads up, Evan Gellert!

Biochar – an update

Carol Woolcock has written in: “I had a go at making biochar at home. Not entirely successful but fun trying. I dug a metre by metre hole, started a fire the usual way, loaded it with fallen branches and covered the whole thing with a shallow layer of dirt. A week later, I removed the layer of dirt and ‘harvested’ the charcoal. There was quite a lot of ash so I suspect that the fire burned too quickly. I filled a 4 litre container of charcoal which has been dug into one of my wicking beds. I will plant a fruit tree in the fire hole as perhaps there will be some benefits in the soil.” Thanks, Carol!

Fruit trees with special pruning requirements

Yet another article by newsletter reader Angelo Eliades, this time covering how to prune figs, persimmons and pomegranates.

Read more of Angelo’s food-related articles.

The Wattle Festival

The Edible Hub Hurstbridge, NERP and Local Food Connect shared a stall at the Wattle Festival on Sunday. Pictured are newsletter readers Pam Jenkins and Nicole Johnston manning the stand.

Some re-purposing videos

Several people have suggested that I provide a link to this video about ‘hacks’ to re-purpose vegetable scraps by re-planting them.

The same people have also produced a video about ‘hacks’ to preserve your fruits and vegetables for as long as possible.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Angelo’s article on how to prune a fruit tree.

Gardening quote of the month

Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.” by D. H. Lawrence.

Read more quotes.

Proverb of the month

Jam tomorrow. Meaning: something good that someone promises you but that will never happen. Dates back to 27th December, 1871 when Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There was published. As part of some repartee with Alice, the Queen said “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.” As with lots of Lewis Carroll’s stuff, the words also contain some obscure puns. First, ‘iam’/’jam’ in Latin apparently means ‘now’, but only in the negative sense of ‘not anymore’; so never jam to-day also means not anymore today. Second, a slang meaning of ‘jam’ at the time was apparently ‘anything exceptionally good’; so never jam to-day also means never anything exceptionally good today. Billy Bragg, CS Lewis, John Maynard Keynes and Tony Benn are all known to have used the phrase in their speeches or writings.

Read more proverbs.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Olaf Falafel: Jokes about white sugar are rare, jokes about brown sugar … demerara.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Formidable Vegetable Eltham House Concert: Thursday, 5th September, 6-10pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Join Formidable Vegetable for a house concert. Arrive 6pm for a 7pm start. Listen to their well-known song, Yield. Listen to more of their music. Watch a sample video.
Cost: $22.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Herbs: Wednesday, 11th September, 2-3pm; Rosanna Library.

What: Felicity Gordon will guide you through growing herbs and give you cuttings to start your own herb garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Bee keeping for beginners: Saturday, 14th September, 9.30-midday; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: the A-Z of keeping your own bees; the equipment you’ll need to do so; and handy hints and tips from an experienced bee keeper. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. This class will help you understand the decisions needed before you start, and the amount of work involved.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Lakeside Good Earth Group – the Lilydale community garden project: Monday, 16th September, 2-3.30pm; Lilydale Library.

What: Join Benson from the Lilydale Community Gardens Steering Group who will discuss establishing a community garden in Lilydale. Also bring some plants, recipes or seeds to swap and join them for some refreshments.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Growing your veggies from seed: Saturday, 28th September, 2-3pm; Watsonia Library.

What: Robin Gale-Baker will show you how to growing your vegetables from seed.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Book launch – Plotting at Rushall Community Garden: Saturday, 5th October, 2-4pm; North Fitzroy Library.

What: Fifteen years ago, Rushall Community Garden harvested its first produce. This year, the garden will launch its book, Plotting, a collection of 150 seasonal recipes, gardening tips and ideas to make the most of your produce, shared by garden members. Join City of Yarra Mayor Danae Bosler as they launch Plotting and celebrate a flourishing gardening community’s commitment to sustainable organic gardening principles.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Growing tomatoes organically: Thursday, 24th October, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: a range of common and heirloom tomatoes for a variety of growing situations; and how to best prepare your soil, including the option of vegan soil additives. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design and author of the upcoming book Tomato – Know, Sow, Grow, Feast. Homegrown tomatoes are a world away from bland supermarket fruits, no matter whether they are common or heirloom. And growing heirloom tomatoes opens up a rainbow of possibilities. Growing your own from seed to harvest in Melbourne will earn you serious gardening cred. Learn some tricks to help you growing your own from seed to harvest.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Edible weeds: Saturday, 26th October, 10am-midday; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to identify edible weeds; and how do use them in your everyday life. You will get samples in class of prepared edible weeds. Presenter: Monique Miller. Learn about seasonal edible weeds that thrive in Melbourne inner north, and gain knowledge about the plants’ culinary, medicinal and ecological uses.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Dan Murphy’s presents – world vegan day masterclass: Saturday, 26th October, 2-4pm; Dan Murphy’s Eltham.

What: They will be looking at six of Australia’s best vegan-friendly wines to show that you can have a cruelty-free glass of wine.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: their website.

New events – cooking

Creative Chinese vegetarian cooking: Saturday, 14th September, 10.30am-midday; Watsonia Library.

What: The EZ Veggie cooking group will show you how to make tasty, healthy, vegetarian dishes and will offer tastings during the session.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Cook Indian by the creek: Friday, 20th September, 6.30-8pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Cook Indian by the creek came into existence with the idea of breaking the myth that Indian cooking is complex and difficult to nail. In each session, they will share their traditional recipes and go through the step by step cooking process. The classes are held in a private kitchen. Menu: chicken saagwala/palak paneer – spinach-based tender chicken or veg option.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: by email (

Cook Indian by the creek – kids special: Tuesday, 24th September, 11am-12.30pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Pack your own lunch – two hands-on dishes.
Cost: $49.
Bookings: by email (

Cook Indian by the creek: Friday, 27th September, 6.30-8.30pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Menu: lamb kashmiri and naan bread – lamb simmered in spices with soft naan bread.
Cost: $69.
Bookings: by email (

Cook Indian by the creek: Friday, 4th October, 6.30-8pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Menu: daal tadka and rice pulao – low calorie, gluten-free lentil masala with spiced rice.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: by email (

Creative Chinese vegetarian cooking: Saturday, 12th October, 10.30am-midday; Watsonia Library.

What: The EZ Veggie cooking group will show you how to make tasty, healthy, vegetarian dishes and will offer tastings during the session.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Seasonal ferments: kimchi + kombucha: Saturday, 12th October, 2-4.30pm; Bee Sustainable, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to cultivate, feed and keep your ferments for long and short term use; how to assess pH, sugar and alcohol levels; and relevant food safety and sanitisation for fermenting. What you will get: workshop notes; your own vegetables ferments to take home; and a sampling of fermented food. Presenter: Molly Bryson. Lacto-fermentation is a healthful, safe, low energy method of food preservation.
Cost: $85.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Knockout gnocchi: Saturday, 26th October, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Time to broaden your culinary expertise and meet pasta’s famous pillowy brother: gnocchi! They will show you how to make gnocchi at home through simple ingredients. From traditional potato to creamy ricotta and spinach, learn every nook and cranny that makes this classic Italian dish a favourite.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Handmade pasta workshop: Saturday, 26th October, midday-1.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: They will show you how to make pasta dough by hand and turn it into a variety of pasta types. They may even throw in sauce-making secrets for good measure.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Seafood paella: Saturday, 26th October, midday-2pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn to develop Spanish paella using traditional ingredients and equipment straight from the experts at this workshop. Get to know the history of Spain’s most iconic dish and its place in Spanish culture while you indulge your senses in its flavours and aroma.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Summary of upcoming events – not cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

Summary of upcoming events – cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.