Jul 192017

Mac’s tip of the week

Mac has now been providing a tip every week for almost a year now. I know from discussions that lots of people agree with me that his tips are interesting, timely and pertinent. Thanks, Mac! Anyhow, this means that some of Mac’s tips from a year ago are now relevant again and he and I have decided that we will selectively repeat some of them. This is the first such repetition.

The citrus gall wasp can start hatching in late Winter so now is a good time to prune off existing galls (i.e. those galls without holes) and consider hanging sticky traps. I wrap my traps in bird wire or mesh: the traps seem to attract all insects (and birds that eat them), which can unfortunately also stick in the traps, but the wire/mesh should keep many of them out. By contrast, gall wasps are only 2-3mm and so will still get through. An experiment worth trying until the end of November, when they can be removed.

Note that Leaf, Root & Fruit have just blogged about an alternative approach to treating citrus gall wasp, which involves both less pruning and less fertilising. Now there’s an attractive approach for lazybones such as myself!

Sustainable Gardening Australia also has an interesting article about citrus gall wasp. And Karen Sutherland has a 6 minute video.

Everything you wanted to know about worm farming but were afraid to ask

Felicity Gordon, from Watsonia Library Community Garden, has written some tips about using worm farms. For example: “Do not feed worms citrus, garlic, onion or chillis (all of which which make the farm too acidic and the worms don’t like them), or dairy or meat scraps (both of which can attract flies).” and “Do not over-feed the worms – add regular small amounts of food chopped into 1-2cm size pieces, in a layer 1-2cm deep, so that the worms can eat through this without there being too much that might turn into a slimy mess.Read the full article.

And the winner is …

The winner of our little competition from last week is Carol Woolcock. Here is her tip: “Dog owners have an ongoing dilemma of how to dispose of doggy do other than placing it in their council waste bin. I came across a Bokashi product called Ensopet starter. It is supposed to be used with an Ensopet composter (a plastic upturned bucket gizmo) which costs around $70. I achieved the same result by using a 30cm plastic pot with the base removed. I dug a hole about 30cm square and 40cm deep and placed the upturned pot, with the base removed, in it about level with the surrounding ground. Dog poo goes in it and is sprinkled with Ensopet starter. I cover the pot with a heavy stoneware dinner plate. The holes are dug on the uphill side near the drip line on my fruit trees. I have 4 holes at present and simply dig another when they are near full. The ingredients in Ensopet starter include “beneficial microorganisms, wheat, sawdust, zeolite, molasses”. It costs $13 for 1kg and has lasted me for around 6 months. So no dog faeces in my bin, no odour and the fruit trees get a boost.

As her prize, Carol has chosen to participate in the Sensational sourdough at home workshop.

Videos from Edible Forest Gardens nursery

John Ferris, newsletter reader and owner of Edible Forest Gardens nursery in Wonga Park, has started posting regular videos on his Facebook page. The videos are effectively mini growing guides and the subjects covered to date include: turmeric, canna lily, yacon and society garlic.

2017 Australian Food Awards

The Australian Food Awards are an annual, rolling set of awards where roughly half the awards for 2017 have now been made. Congratulations to the following winners from North East Melbourne:

Name Suburb Highest award Food group
Ardor Food Co Thomastown Gold Pasta
Aura Co. Mernda Bronze Ice cream
Billy van Creamy Fitzroy North Gold Gelato and Sorbet
Blue Pear Pantry North Warrandyte Silver Sausage roll
Chokamour Macleod Silver Chocolate
Cunliffe & Waters Croydon Bronze Jam and Sauce
Fritz Gelato Richmond Silver Gelato and Sorbet
Gelati Sky Brunswick Gold Gelato
JZ Business Enterprises Coburg North Bronze Snack
Marisa’s Kitchen Alphington Gold Soup and Dip
Montefiore Cheese Thomastown Silver Cheese
My Little Country Kitchen Kinglake West Silver Sausage roll
Okka Pies Bayswater Silver Quiche
Pantalica Cheese Company Thomastown Gold Cheese
Plough to Plate Fine Foods Thomastown Gold Preserve and Sauce
PoppySmack Warrandyte Bronze Sauce
Ranch Hand Foods Blackburn Gold Sauce
Select Harvests Thomastown Gold Almonds
St David Dairy Fitzroy Gold Milk and Butter
Sweet by Nature Heidelberg West Gold Cake
That’s Amore Cheese Thomastown Gold Cheese
We Feed You Hawthorn East Bronze Ready meal
Yarra Valley Dairy Coldstream Silver Cheese

Thanks to Deb Graham for the heads up.

Local food producer news

Kings of Kangaroo Ground’s recent medal wins in China made it into the July edition of The Warrandyte Diary.

The Asian sauces of PoppySmack, from Warrandyte, can now be purchased from McCoppins Clifton Hill.

Organic Empire, from Mt Evelyn, have blogged about how to store different fruit and veggies.

Joke of the week

Another contribution from Meg Montague: Why did the cucumber blush? Because it saw the salad dressing.

And, as a bonus: What did the mayonnaise say when someone opened the fridge door. Close the door, I’m dressing!

Read all of this year’s jokes.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

So, here’s one of a carved apple. More pictures of carved fruit can be found on the Colossal website

New events

Cooking master class

What: Menu – baked brie; green minestrone; and lemon meringue pie. Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included.
When: Monday, 24th July, 11am-1pm and again on Thursday, 27th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: / Further information: Eventbrite – 24th July and 27th July.

Cooking master class

What: Menu – spiced crispy chicken; Moroccan veg pot pie; and fig bread & butter pudding. Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included.
When: Friday, 4th August, 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: / Further information: Eventbrite.

Herbs for digestive health

What: Are you confused about which herbs to use for digestive health, want some simple and effective ideas? Do you want to understand why some herbs may be more appropriate for you than others? Suffer from bloating, nausea, indigestion and fatigue? Libby Shaw, Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist will run through some of her favorite herbs to help support digestive health, so you have a better understanding of their energetics, when they appropriate to use and when they are not. These are simple effective herbs, some can even be grown in your own garden. Libby will also share a few of her go to herbal recipes. Bookings are essential.
When: Saturday, 5th August, 3.30-4.30pm.
Where: Nature’s Harvest, Hurstbridge.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (0407 338647).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Swipers Gully Restaurant guest chef Stephen Mercer

What: Swipers Gully Restaurant welcomes back the annual guest chef Stephen Mercer, of Mercer’s Restaurant, for an evening of delicious food matched to their Swipers Gully wines. Five courses. Bookings essential.
When: Thursday, 24th August, 6.30-10pm.
Where: Swipers Gully Restaurant, Kangaroo Ground.
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by phone (9437 2222).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter fruit tree maintenance

What: What you will learn: pruning – formative and maintenance of new and established fruit trees. Also, selection and planting of new fruit trees; Winter fruit tree maintenance practices for pest and disease prevention, control and treatment; and pruning tool maintenance. Presented by Angelo Eliades. The aim of this demonstration class is that you will leave it feeling confident to maintain your fruit trees. The preparation that is done in the colder months pays mighty dividends in the growing and harvesting seasons to come. Learn all of the pruning techniques and needs of individual fruit trees from apples and plums to persimmons and pomegranates. And hear about what not to do. Discover how to reduce and prevent pest and diseases that compromise your fruit production. Learn how to treat problems with different methods – organic/permaculture and conventional. They will also cover buying new fruit trees and will demonstrate how to clean and sharpen your pruning tools and other edged garden tools (spades etc). You have the option to bring one of your own pruning tools along and learn how to sharpen it.
When: Saturday, 26th August, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Annual agribusiness dinner

What: It’s time again to gather the City of Whittlesea farming community together, celebrate a successful year and to bring in the busy Spring ahead. Enjoy an evening of local food and wine, conversation and music. Launched on the evening will be the City of Whittlesea’s Land Capability Assessment online maps, which will be a decision making tool for farmers, investors and policy makers. Dr. Rob Faggian from Deakin University will be presenting the maps and you will have the opportunity to try them out for yourselves. But the evening is mostly about music and celebration. James Blundell, Australian country music icon, will play while you share a cocktail party style dinner and drinks, with plenty of time to chat, mingle and maybe even have a dance.
When: Saturday, 26th August, 6-10.30pm.
Where: Growling Frog golf course, Yan Yean.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wicking beds

What: Join Jeremy from VEG Wicking Beds to learn all about wicking beds – what are they, what do they look like, how to make them, and how to look after them.
When: Saturday, 2nd September, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vegan day out in Melbourne

What: Local cafes and businesses in Fitzroy will be slashing prices, giving away samples and putting special vegan products on the menu. Here is how it will works: a map of all the participating businesses will be created. Collect your map and vouchers from the Cruelty Free Shop. Then enjoy spending the weekend walking around redeeming the vouchers. At the Cruelty Free Shop, they will have storewide discounts on hundreds of items and special offers plus free food tastings all weekend long.
When: Saturday, 2nd September, 9am-6pm and Sunday, 3rd September, 10am-5pm.
Where: Fitzroy.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to grow the perfect tomato

What: What you will learn: how to raise tomatoes from seed, seed saving, soil preparation and pruning; how to cook and preserve the harvest; and how to choose the right tomato for the right purpose, from the many standard and heritage varieties. What you will get: a bowl of pasta with homemade sauce; a sample of heritage tomato seeds sown during the class; and detailed class notes. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. The class will go through the basics: choosing varieties for different purposes, growing from seed or seedling, soil preparation for the garden or in pots, watering, fertilising and then finally the eating, with some ideas on how to cope with the quantities you are bound to get! You will do some seed-raising as part of the class.
When: Thursday, 7th September, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Veggie gardening – beyond the basics

What: What you will learn: tips on growing specific herbs and vegetables; and growing from seed, crop rotation, soil pH. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. This class is for those who have already dabbled in some veggie growing but want a little bit more knowledge.
When: Thursday, 14th September, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Chinese cooking with Jenny Chua

What: Join Jenny Chua, from Cooking with Jenny in Melbourne, as she explores some favourite authentic Chinese cooking techniques. Learn how to make Chinese dumplings the authentic way. Includes tasting.
When: Saturday, 16th September, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Nunawading Library.
Bookings: their website.
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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