Apr 272016

staffordshire bull terrier eccleWell, what do you think was the most clicked link in last week’s newsletter? Yes, your guessed it(!): the market dog gallery again!

Since you last looked at the gallery, 11 new pictures have been added.

Here is a comment by Sue from Locheilan Farmhouse Cheeses: “As a stallholder, one of my pleasures is seeing the happiness brought for so many lovely dogs and their owners by their Sunday morning outings.

And, finally, here is an event on at the weekend recommended by Marie from Poppys Kitchen: The Dog Lovers Show; Friday, 29th April to Sunday, 1st May; Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton. Features Dr Chris Brown (Julia Morris: “The thought of returning to the jungle with Dr Chris Brown makes me both swoon and explode in equal measure. The fact that he is so hot has become my new normal.“).

How to grow strawberries

strawberryHelen’s article for the month of May is on how to grow strawberries. As she says in her introduction: “With the leaves now falling from the trees, some plants will be starting their winter dormancy in a few weeks. Strawberries are one of these plants. This means that it is an excellent time to plant strawberry runners.” She then goes on to discuss runners or seeds, soil preparation & aspect, pest & disease management, fruiting and varieties. Read the full article.

As many of you will know, Helen has previously written articles about growing basil, chilli, garlic, rhubarb, tomatoes and lesser known herbs.

Help a fellow gardener in Kangaroo Ground by answering two quick questions

Helen Gillies is moving from Kangaroo Ground to Healesville in the near future and has to decide which fruit trees to take with her. She asks:

  1. What variety of fig is shown in the pictures, noting that it only crops once a year? (Chris Newman thinks that it is a White Adriatic but Helen doesn’t think so.)
  2. When transplanting fruit trees, what are the key success factors?

fig1    fig2

Email Helen with your answers.

Help a fellow gardener in Greensborough by answering two quick questions

Sue Hill has recently moved to Greensborough. She asks:

  1. Where should she be sourcing her soil from?
  2. Should she be planting seeds or seedlings?

Email Sue with your answers.

Do you live in Darebin and want some free seeds?

seedbankKerrie Ludekens and the Northcote Library Food Garden are offering seeds to Darebin home gardeners free of charge. Collect them from: Northcote Library Food Garden at their working bees (next door to Northcote Library, second Sunday of the month at 10am, except long weekends); Northcote Library (32–38 Separation Street, Northcote); Preston Customer Service Centre (274 Gower Street); Kiln Cafe (85C Clyde Street, Thornbury); or the Darebin Information and Volunteer Resource Service (285–287 High Street, Preston). For more info, contact Kerrie by phone (8470 8888) or email.

Angelo Eliades has written a comprehensive article on this Free Public Seed Bank Project.

It appears that Diamond Valley Library are working towards something similar for Banyule and Nillumbik. If you are potentially interested in being involved, email Dione Fisher. Also, go along to their seed saving workshop, Tuesday, 17th May, 11.30am-12.30pm.

The winners of our boots’ photo competition claim their prizes

The winners of our boots’ photo competition came to claim their prizes on Sunday.

karin    lucy

Karin (pictured left) chose eggs from Top Hundred Acres, strawberries from Spirli Strawberries, honey from Heidi Honey Hurstbridge and vegetables from Little Feet Farm, Peninsula Fresh Organics, Sugarloaf Produce and Weyhill Farm.

Lucy (pictured right) chose champagne cider from Hazeldean Forest Farm, cheese from Blue Bay Cheese, gnocchi from Alberto’s Delicacies, honey from Heidi Honey Hurstbridge, a mushroom kit from The Mushroom Shed and vegetables from Peninsula Fresh Organics.

Is this a good rule?

Vegetables that grow underground – start off in cold water; vegetables that grow over ground – place in boiling water.

It comes from the Farmers’ Almanac Facebook. Here is their rationale:

  • Cooking corn, peas, etc. simply entails softening their cell walls to make them more palatable and easier to digest. Because most green vegetables are small and/or thin, this does not take long. So you add those to boiling water.
  • Root vegetables contain a great deal of starch, which needs to be dissolved before they can be eaten. It takes a while for the heat to penetrate the vegetables. Starting root vegetables out in cold water, and heating the outside layers, gradually allows the cell walls get reinforced and become more resistant to the effects of overcooking. This works especially well on starchy root veggies, like potatoes, since the gradual temperature change keeps the outer edges from overcooking and turning mealy.

I tried Googling to see whether others agreed with the rule. I found a number of sites in support (e.g. Cooking manager). I also found some that said one should always steam rather than boil (to lessen vitamin leaching), and a few that advocated adding things to the water (e.g. fat and citrus, as well as salt)

New events

Native plant sale

What: An annual event by the Australian Plants Society – Yarra Yarra. A huge range of native plants, tube stock to advanced, including indigenous and grafted stock.
When: Sunday, 1st May, 10am-3pm.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Australian Plants Society Yarra Yarra by phone (9439 7228) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Official opening of the EPIC garden

epicWhat: The activities include: 11.30am – see the Edible Food Forest come into existence; 11.45am – step into their imagination on a “vision walk” of the proposed gardens with the EPIC permaculture specialists; 10.30am–1.30pm – get the kids involved in the ‘magic of nature’; and 1pm-1.30pm: learn how to build the winning ingredient for any garden – hot compost.
When: Sunday, 1st May, 10.30am-1.30pm.
Where: Sherbrooke.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Rick Colasacco by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

‘No dig’ garden workshop

What: A wonderful way to avoid digging, cope with couch grass and produce some rapidly growing vegetables. Organised by, and located at, St Johns Riverside Community Garden.
When: Sunday, 15th May, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: $5 (free for members).
Enquiries: Katrina Philip by phone (0422 735213) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Seed saving

What: Join Robin to find out the keys to saving your valuable seeds. A great way to not only save money but ensure the quality of your plants.
When: Tuesday, 17th May, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Greensborough.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Raising healthy seedlings from seeds and cuttings

What: Local horticulturalist Helen Simpson will explain how to economically start your herb and veggie seedlings from seeds and cuttings. Learn a variety of easy methods and see practical demonstrations.
When: Tuesday, 24th May, 11am-midday.
Where: Watsonia.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Watsonia Library by phone (9435 2397).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Permablitz 181 (Kilsyth)

What: Linda is a working mum of two teenage boys and has a dream of creating an edible forest garden, with a long-term view to creating a community garden next door. She has a massive space to work in, so there will be activities in the front and back yard areas.
When: Sunday, 29th May, 9am-4.30pm.
Where: Kilsyth.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Permablitz website.
Further information: Permablitz website.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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