Another month, another article from Helen, this time about how to grow chillies. As she says in her introduction: “Anyone who has tasted or handled a hot chilli will be familiar with their stimulant effects – increased perspiration, burning sensation in the mouth, running nose and eyes and laxative effect – dare I go any further. These sensations vary with the type of chilli and are due to the amount of the chemical compound ‘capsaicin’ contained in the chilli. This compound varies from negligible in the standard capsicum to a significant amount in the very hottest chillies. Chillies and capsicums all belong to the Capsicum genus, which contains several different species and are native to Central and South America. Numerous varieties exist – some pointy and small, others round, oval and fleshy and some look like miniature hats (e.g. the Emperors Hat or Scotch Bonnet). Colours include green, yellow, red, purple, orange, chocolate and black.” She then goes on to discuss how hot different chillies are, how to grow them, how to harvest them, common varieties and chilli heat management. Read the full article.
Elodie writes in to say she may have found a solution for her quest to grow enough strawberries to be self sufficient without planting out half the garden. She makes strawberry towers (see the picture). Each tower holds around 35 strawberry plants. The large bottom pot is on wheels for obvious reasons but it also makes it hard for the crawling critters to get in, as does the copper tape (it acts as an electric shock barrier). There is a good layer of scoria for drainage in the bottom, with geo fabric in between the soil layer. The middle pot has its bottom cut out, so is really just a retaining wall for the next level. Coir mulch is used to hold back the soil in the pipe holes. A few sticks in the top can support a bird net draped over the whole lot.
Going Green Solutions are in Eltham during December
Going Green Solutions are going to have a pop-up shop in the Eltham Village Shopping Centre from December 2nd until Christmas Eve (they will still be open as usual in their Hurstbridge shop). For those who don’t know, Going Green Solutions sell a wide variety of eco-friendly products, including catering supplies and food & drink containers.
The RipeNearMe website – reader feedback
6 newsletter recipients are currently listed on the RipeNearMe website as either selling or giving away some produce. I have discussed the website with 4 of these 6 people over the last week. Only 1 of the 4 has ever managed to sell (or give away) any of their produce. It feels like a website that is a good (and, arguably, really good) idea in principle but which, for one reason or another, doesn’t (yet) really work in practice, at least around us. Perhaps mentioning it in this newsletter will stimulate more people to join.
The ‘u-pick trail’ comprises 9 farms in the Yarra Ranges where you can pick (and then consume) fruit. Click here for a pdf with a map plus addresses and descriptions for each of the farms.
Cooking session & tastings with Jo Richardson, The Kitchen Therapist
What: This workshop feature TV foodie Jo Richardson, from The Kitchen Therapist. Jo’s cooking demonstration will include her tips on festive food styling and how to reduce food waste over the festive season. The workshop is free but bookings are essential. And membership of the Food Know How program is essential to participating in the workshop – you can sign up for free at the workshop itself.
When: Wednesday, 2nd December, 6.30-8pm.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.
Summary of all upcoming events
The events are now quickly winding down prior to Christmas, so the lists below are much shorter than usual.
Over the next week
- Cooking session & tastings with Jo Richardson, The Kitchen Therapist: Wednesday, 2nd December, 6.30-8pm.
- Christmas cake decorating (Thomastown): Thursday, 3rd December, 10.30-11.30am.
- Warrandyte business Christmas party: Thursday, 3rd December, 7pm-late.
- St Andrews Food Swap: Saturday, 5th December, 11am-1pm.
- Delicious Suburbia Open Studio: Saturday, 5th December, 1-3.30pm.
- Guided tour – Cara’s garden: Sunday, 6th December, 10.30-11.30am and again at 1.30-2.30pm.
- Little Feet Farm open day: Sunday, 6th December, 2-5pm.
- Christmas cake decorating (Whittlesea): Monday, 7th December, 10.30-12.30pm.
- Cake decorating: Tuesday, 8th December, 10.30-11.30am.
- Making gingerbread houses: Tuesday, 8th December, 1-2.30pm.
Over the next month
- Italian Christmas gnocchi: Friday, 11th December, 10.30-11.30am.
- Festive season cooking demonstration: Saturday, 12th December, 1-2.30pm.