Feb 012017
 

Helen’s second home-grower interview

Helen Simpson has now completed her second home-grower interview, this time with Chris Kent and Cathy Romeo from Eltham North. Here is the first paragraph: “Abundance is the first word that comes to mind as I sit with Chris and Cathy at their shaded outdoor table and we talk about their garden. From this vantage point, I can see their prolific vegetable garden, with fruit trees cascading with an abundance of fruit. I’m wondering how they use it all. A backdrop of treed hills as far as my eye can see completes the splendid vista.Read the full interview.

If you have any suggestions for people that Helen should interview, or would like to be interviewed yourself, email us.

Mac’s tip of the week

Whilst in the midst of your peak harvest period, take time to appreciate the ‘star performers’ in your veggie patch. If one of your plants is far more vigorous or productive than the others then, hey, why not collect the seed from that plant to sow in future years? Beans, capsicums, chillis, lettuce, peas and tomatoes are considered the easiest to save because they all produce seed in the same season as they are planted and all are self-pollinating. Only the seeds from open-pollinated, non-hybrid plants will produce a similar crop; in other words, they are the plants most likely to produce offspring (in the form of seed) that closely resemble their parents. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are still good hands in 2017.

As Mac points out, you should keep back the best seed for planting, rather than follow the obvious course of eating the best and planting the dross. Incidently, Richard Dawkins said (in The Ancestor’s Tale) that his father found this one of the hardest lessons to get across to farmers in Africa in the 1940s.

If you want to know more about seed saving, an excellent book is The Seed Savers’ Handbook. Both readable and comprehensive, it would be a nice gift for anyone at $32.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

What to plant in February (click here)

Here is a list:
Beans
Beetroot
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Carrot
Cauliflower
Chives
Fennel
Leeks
Lettuce
Mustard greens
Onion
Oregano
Parsley
Radish
Shallot
Silverbeet
Sweetcorn

Click here for guidance on how each of these veggies/herbs should be planted (direct, in seed trays, etc); how far apart to plant them; their lifecycle (annual, perennial, etc); their moon phase planting quarter (for those doing moon phase planting) and their crop rotation group (for those doing crop rotation). Click here for a complete planting schedule for North East Melbourne.

The plan is provide a planting list each month. In so doing, I have two, quite distinct, purposes:
1. To help people decide what to plant, when.
2. To seek feedback from people on what should be planted when. Please email me with any comments.

Your Council’s policies on urban agriculture

In 2016, Henry Crawford, from Sustain, mapped out the plans, policies and strategies of various local councils across Greater Melbourne that relate to urban agriculture. The Councils include Banyule, City of Yarra, Darebin, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

Melbourne’s community food guide

The City of Melbourne’s Community Food Guide is a booklet for anyone who wants information about how to access affordable fresh and healthy food. ?Whether it’s affordable meals, food vouchers, community kitchens in which to cook in a supportive setting or community gardens to grow your own produce, the guide captures the services that offer these things within inner Melbourne.

Plant nutrients explained

Have a look at this article from the Sustainable Gardening Australia website. It explains the roles of not only N, P and K, but also Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, B, Mo, Cu and Zn.

Joke of the week

What did the sweet potato say to the pumpkin? I yam what I yam.

Thanks for sending in the joke, Jenny Shaw!

An introduction to pizza tossing

Thanks to Marina Bistrin for introducing me (and now, you) to the previously hidden world of pizza tossing by sharing this amazing video on Facebook.

Someone called Tony Gemignani has apparently been ‘World Champion Pizza Acrobat’ a record 8 times. As well as pizza tossing tricks, his videos range from pizza tossing tutorials to hour long lectures about different types of pizza.

New events

Nourishing ferments & tonics – Kombucha and Jun

What: Learn how to nourish your body by learning the art and tradition of preparing delicious fermented beverages at home. This workshop will cover: health benefits of fermented drinks; making your own fermented drinks; infusing ferments with beneficial herbs, fruit & spices; advice and troubleshooting in home ferments; and tastings of a variety of fermented products. Kombucha and Jun are beautiful effervescent fermented drinks, rich in good bacteria for strong digestive health. In this workshop, you will focus on preparing these fermented teas and learn all about the techniques to make your own delicious tonics at home.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 2-4pm.
Where: Peppertree Gardens, Coburg.
Cost: $32.
Enquiries: Gemma Macri by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Bokashi bucket DIY workshop

What: A DIY workshop enabling you to process kitchen waste into ‘Bokashi’, a highly vitalising fermented fertiliser that can be used directly in the garden, as a base for Terra Preta or as food for a worm farm. You will learn how to build and use Bokashi buckets and how to propagate and use the micro organisms for the fermentation process. You will take home 1-2 Bokashi buckets and the needed micro organisms. Facilitated by Niklas Wagner, an urban gardener from Germany. He learned about Bokashi from Ernst Hammes, one of the leading experts in Germany on effective micro organisms, and through years of home application and experimentation. They need 80 food grade buckets. If you have a source, please share it with them.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 3-5pm.
Where: Olympic Adult Education, Heidelberg West.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Mikoto Araki by phone (9450 2665).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Nourishing ferments & tonics – water and milk kefir

What: Learn how to nourish your body by learning the art and tradition of preparing delicious fermented beverages at home. This workshop will cover: health benefits of fermented drinks; making your own fermented drinks; infusing ferments with beneficial herbs, fruit & spices; advice and troubleshooting in home ferments; and tastings of a variety of fermented products. Water and milk kefir are easy to prepare highly nourishing fermented drinks teaming with good bacteria to help with digestive cleansing. In this workshop, you will focus on preparing these fermented teas and milk and learn all about the ways to make your own kefir at home.
When: Saturday, 25th February, 2-4pm.
Where: Peppertree Gardens, Coburg.
Cost: $32.
Enquiries: Gemma Macri by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Learn to make pasta

What: Hilda and Laurie will teach us how to make perfect pasta with the guesswork taken out. As first generation Italians, they are passionate about their traditional cooking style that makes their food truly mouth-watering.
When: Saturday, 11th March, 11am-midday.
Where: Nunawading Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Introduction to permaculture (two day)

What: A two-day workshop, with the first day being on 17th March and the second day being on 24th March. Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a whole system approach to ecological planning and design for sustainable living. This workshop, spread over two weekends, will be beneficial to both those new to the concept of permaculture and for those thinking of undertaking a permaculture design course.
You will be introduced to permaculture and gain a basic understanding of the principles and design methods associated with permaculture.
When: Friday, 17th March and Friday, 24th March, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $115 for the two days.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Just Eat It – A food waste story

What: We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash? Filmmakers and food lovers, Jen and Grant, dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that have been discarded.
When: Thursday, 23rd March, 6.30-8pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Introduction to home wine-making

What: Are you interested in small scale wine-making? The Eltham & District Winemakers Guild will show you how to make wine using produce from your garden. Tastings will be on offer. Bookings essential.
When: Tuesday, 28th March, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Montrose Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Montrose Library by phone (9800 6490).
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Beginners’ Italian cheese making class

What: During this very hands on and interactive class run by Janelle, from Mad Millie, will make fresh mozzarella and warm fresh ricotta using the Mad Millie Beginners Italian cheese kit. The kit has all the equipment you need (except milk) to make your own ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone, burrata, bocconcini and ricotta salata. Finish the class with a tasting of the cheeses created. Bookings essential. Places limited to 20.
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6-8pm.
Where: Going Green Solutions, Hurstbridge.
Cost: $60 (includes a Mad Millie Italian cheese kit).
Enquiries: Going Green Solutions by phone (9450 2665) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Smarter living – preserving the harvest

What: Presented by Maria Ciavarella, of My Green Garden. Making preserves is an excellent way to transform the bounty of the garden at its seasonal best into delicious jars to adorn your pantry and see you through the leaner months. Go and learn some techniques to safely preserve fruits and veggies – with all natural ingredients.
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6-9pm.
Where: Manningham Civic Centre.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Manningham Council by phone (9846 0575).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Love food, hate waste

What: Did you know Victorians waste 25% of the food they buy? Learn how to avoid food waste and use leftovers more creatively. Local chef Duang Tengtrirat from Real Food Catering will provide a cooking demonstration and tips’ session. Get creative, make the most of your leftovers and show them the love they deserve!
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Growing fruit and veggies in small spaces

What: What you will learn: which produce plants are suitable to grow in small areas; coping with shade and sun for produce growing; and how to make the most of any available space for growing produce. Presented by Angelo Eliades. Do you only have a small garden or no garden at all? Would you still like to grow your own food? This class will inspire you to get started. Topics will include fruit, vegetables and berries for small spaces, growing produce in pots and containers, maximising productivity in any size space and plant selection.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden Nursery.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Yarra Valley Wine and Food Festival

What: A two-day (Saturday and Sunday) celebration of one of Victoria’s premium wine and food regions. 40 wineries, locally-produced beer and cider, the Yarra Valley’s finest food producers, top Melbourne food trucks, cooking demonstrations by well-known chefs from the Valley and beyond, tutored tastings by award-winning winemakers, live music and entertainment.
When: Saturday, 1st April and Sunday, 2nd April, both 11am-5pm.
Where: Rochford Wines, Coldstream.
Cost: $25.
Enquiries: Rochford Wines by phone (5957 3333) or email.
Bookings: their website, for the Saturday or for the Sunday.
Further information: LFC calendar.

The garden farmacy with Lisa Hodge

What: What you will learn: plant identification; medicinal uses for plants; and make your own remedy. What you will get: a remedy and a seedling. Take a walk through the CERES garden beds and bring the wisdom of traditional herbal medicines into a modern context. During this workshop, you will explore traditional and modern uses of the plants and ways that you can use these plants in self-healing and make an item to take home as well as a seedling. You will learn the basic ways of making your own medicines at home both topically and internally.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 2-4.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $70.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)