Jan 092019

NERP is apparently re-starting

Lucinda Flynn has written in: “Calling all local permaculture enthusiasts: NERP (North East Ranges Permaculture) is going to be re-invigorated! Some of you will remember when it was very active; if you don’t, it was a local interest group for members of Permaculture Victoria who live in North East Melbourne – Greensborough, Hurstbridge, Eltham, St Andrews, Warrandyte and surrounding areas. The group is still re-forming so it has no specific format yet but will most likely be for local members to meet, share skills, seeds, ideas and labour, and hopefully spread our enthusiasm for permaculture around our area. If you are interested in joining us, please email me (lucinda@goinggreensolutions.com.au).

A new local grower of exotic mushrooms – Melbourne Gourmet Mushrooms

Melbourne Gourmet Mushrooms, from Reservoir, grow oyster mushrooms (pink, white and blue), shiitake and lion’s mane. They sell these mushrooms at farmers’ markets, including Alphington Farmers’ Market,Coburg Farmers’ Market and Eltham Farmers’ Market (2nd and 4th Sundays). Read their Local Food Directory entry. Go and talk to them at next Sunday’s Eltham Farmers’ Market! Welcome Matt!

As discussed in my guide to local mushrooms, there are now 4 mushroom producers in our Local Food Directory and all 4 are stallholders at Eltham Farmers’ Market.

Native bees can take as long as a year to emerge

In January 2018, native bees visited my insect hotel and filled 8 of the holes (at a rate of roughly 1 hole per day for 8 days) – see top picture right. Over the coming months, nothing further happened (well, actually lots happened involving crickets, spiders, flies and ants, but that’s another story). In November, I happened to meet Katrina Forstner from Buzz and Dig and asked her why nothing had ever hatched. She advised me to wait until the summer. Sure enough, last week (and again at a rate of roughly 1 hole per day), all of the holes became unplugged and (presumably/hopefully) young native bees have emerged – see middle picture right.

Stop press! Yesterday (Tuesday), 3 or 4 days after the last hole was unplugged, I saw multiple native bees visiting the unplugged holes, going in both forwards and backwards repeatedly, and scrabbling around whilst in there. Presumably/hopefully laying eggs. See bottom picture right, which is a closeup of one of the holes. I sent this photo to Museums Victoria for identification and within the hour(!) they replied to say that it is a resin bee, genus Megachile. Or, as my wife said, what a cutie!

The 2018 Golden Seedling awards – more aftermath

Robin Gale-Baker has written in: “I was thrilled was to see the Lifetime Award go to Bruce Plain. Bruce is an outstanding person in the Banyule Community and shy of recognition (as we all know), but his contribution is ‘above and beyond’ and none of the community gardens in Banyule would be where they are today without Bruce’s generosity and wisdom.

Poop for plants

In last week’s newsletter, I talked about ShareWaste, a website which allows givers and receivers of kitchen scraps to interact. Well, it appears that there is a similar website for animal poop, entitled Poop for Plants. But it has only just started and does not yet have any providers of animal poop in Melbourne. Why don’t you be the first? Thanks to Jon Buttery for the heads up.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Here’s a photo of some tomatoes by someone called Uli Westphal. It is one of a series of cultivar photos, each devoted to a particular veggie: beans, cabbages, capsicums, cucumbers, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Perhaps most extraordinarily, accompanying each photo, he gives a list of all the named varieties of that veggie; so, for example, for tomatoes, he lists around 19,000(!) varieties – if you don’t believe me, see the list!

Recycle your Nespresso pods

Karen Moad has written in to say that people can recycle their used Nespresso pods at Rivers of Yarrambat (at a drop bin at the front of the cafe).

Karen’s email led me to investigate what other drop off points exist in North East Melbourne. It turns out that there are 13 in total:

  • Briar Hill: Sweet Pea Florist, Shop 2, 111 Mountainview Road.
  • Clifton Hill: Terrace Gardens, 338 Queens Parade.
  • Croydon North: Scentsational Flowers, 9 Exeter Road.
  • Hawthorn: Budz Flowers, 211 Riversdale Road.
  • Ivanhoe: Gloriosa Garden, 14/149 Upper Heidelberg Road.
  • Kew: Dandelion Floral & Foliage Design, 242 High Street.
  • Kilsyth South: Colchester Nursery, 315-317 Colchester Road.
  • Lilydale: Jumping Jonquils Florist, Yarra Valley Shopping Centre, 311 Main Street.
  • Mooroolbark: Blooms on Brice, 10 Brice Avenue.
  • Thomastown: Giardino di Fiori, Shop 3/132 Alexander Avenue.
  • Wandin North: Wandin Florist, 384 Warburton Highway.
  • Yarra Glen: Flowers of Yarra Glen, 7D Bell Street.
  • Yarrambat: Rivers of Yarrambat, 28 Kurrak Road.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The A4-shaped picture of what leaves can look like when particular micro-nutrients are lacking.

Not food, but good

One of the many reasons for going to Eltham Farmers’ Market is the live music. And if the first market of the year is anything to go by, that music just got better: watch and listen to the SoleadQ trio at last Sunday’s market. Thanks to Chris Chapple for making the video.

The re-gifted salt and pepper shakers

Last Sunday, Warren took possession of the re-gifted salt and pepper shakers on behalf of his partner Isabella

Joke of the week

Why did the fruit bat eat the orange? Because it had appeal.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Summer fruit tree pruning

What: Facilitated by Justin Calverley. Many of us focus on winter as the best time to prune our fruit trees but some fruit trees benefit much more from summer pruning (e.g. stonefruit). Learn how to best care for your fruit trees for health and to maximise your yield for next season. Bring your gardening gloves, a hat and a pair of secateurs.
When: Saturday, 9th February, 9am-1pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Heritage apple tasting

What: Sample the seasonal flavours of the heritage apple collection at an apple tasting afternoon at 5pm. Around 15 varieties will be available for tasting. An orchard tour is included. All funds received go toward the maintenance and expansion of the collection.
When: Sunday, 24th February, 5-7pm.
Where: Petty’s Orchard, Templestowe.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Decorating kids cakes with Emelia Jackson

What: You will learn: how to bake the cake; how to make Swiss meringue buttercream; tips on decorations and watercolouring; tips on working with chocolate; and ideas of different childrens themes. Prosecco & nibbles on arrival, bruschetta & a piece of savoury tart along with cake for dessert.
When: Friday, 1st March, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $91.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preserving summer produce

What: Part demonstration, part hands-on workshop (and with tastings too), they will talk you through a range of preserving methods, from bottled tomatoes to preserved fruit and jams.
When: Sunday, 3rd March, 10am-1pm.
Where: Fitzroy High School.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

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: Thursday, 7th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking master class – Italian feast

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: beef tagliata; truffle penne pasta; and raspberry jam crostata.
When: Thursday, 7th March, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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