Jul 052017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

With the frosty mornings of the last week, you are likely to have a few blackened leaves and tips on your plants due to frost burn. As tempting as it may be to prune off and tidy your plants, it is best to leave the damage there to protect the lower growth from more frosts yet to come. Wait until after the last frost to remove. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are numb hands.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Local food producers in the news

The FareShare kitchen garden featured on Landline on ABC on 2nd July, mainly discussing their growing of sweet potatoes. The episode is available on iview until 1st August – the relevant part of the programme starts at 34:18 and goes on 17 minutes.

I can personally confirm that sweet potatoes can be successfully grown in Melbourne. Plant in October or November and harvest when the vines die back in, say, March or April.

Local food producer news

Blue Pear Pantry’s ready made meals are now available from Switchback Cellars, Chirnside Park.

If you are a local food producer and you have some news, just email it to me.

The Eltham planter boxes have gone to good homes

Bev Robertson would like to give a huge thank you to Kaye Saunders, Nada Cunningham and Vicki Jordan who, between them, have recycled all the components.

More about peeing in your garden

The link to the article about peeing in your garden in last week’s newsletter turned out to be one of those popular but controversial links.

In terms of popularity, it was clicked by 10(!) times as many newsletter readers as my article on buying Certified Organic food.

In terms of controversy, it received a critique from Stuart Rodda about its inaccuracies:

  • Urine is not a rich source of uric acid, but urea. Bird droppings are full of uric acid, which is what makes them white. If we have too much uric acid in our bodies, we get gout, due to uric acid crystals in the joints.
  • “Urine is not ‘acidic’ as quoted in that article. Indeed, if it stands too long then it becomes alkaline because urea breaks down to ammonia and CO2 (e.g. the ammonia smell of baby nappies left on too long).
  • “The Romans knew about this and used stale urine for washing clothes because alkalis are good at removing stains (which is why we use ammonia, or sodium carbonate / washing soda). I’m not sure if stale urine is a weedkiller, maybe worth testing.

Stuart has also commented on the little vignette about urea from my article on organic certification from two week’s ago. “Synthetic urea is supplied as a ‘pure’ solid whereas urea from urine is a dilute solution along with other organic nutrients, minerals etc. Applying solid urea to soil is thus quite different from watering in urine or diluted urine in its effects on soil life, soil structure, and plants. In theory, synthetic urea could be diluted to the same weak levels as in urine (e.g. 1%) or even lower. However, it can be contaminated with byproducts of manufacture such as biuret, which is toxic to plants by foliar application. So, if you have a choice, it is probably better to avoid sourcing your nitrogen from synthetically manufactured urea. Nitrogen can also be sourced from decomposing organic matter (usually compost or recycled organic material such as blood and bone), or made on site by nitrogen-fixing plants, or from worm juice etc.

Finally, Susan Palmer has told me that she has personally never done any testing of the techniques discussed in the article. I’m sorry that I gave the wrong impression and retract my words unreservedly. #FakeNews

Know where to get kefir grains?

Nicole Johnston has written in to ask whether anyone knows where she can find some kefir grains. Email me and I’ll pass your email onto Nicole.

The van Gogh exhibition ends next week

Just a reminder that the van Gogh exhibition at the NGV ends on 12th July. Inter alia, he is the only(?) prominent painter ever to have painted potatoes.

Have you started to preserve your olives yet?

From Mrs Louca via Maria Ciaverella: a fast way to preserve your olives.

Joke of the week

From Callum via the Herald Sun and Chris Kent: How many eggs are there in a French omelette? Just one, because one egg is un oeuf.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Paleo Pure & Bod Kombucha shout brunch

What: One Saturday every month, Pure & Bod Kombucha opens its doors to the public and puts on a free brunch for those who wish to come and try their range. You’ll be able to feast on organic breaky bowls from Paleo Pure, made with their hand made grain free granola, fresh fruit & coconut yoghurt as well as Bod Kombucha to wash it down. There’s no need to stay the entire time; rather, pop in for a chat, take a seat, and leave when you want.
When: Saturday, 8th July, 10am-1pm.
Where: Fairfield.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Seasonal cooking: leczo (Polish marrow stew)

What: Leczo is a Polish dish which combines Polish sausage with marrow (cukinia, over-grown zuchini!). Iwona will walk you through how to make this dish and finish with a sample of the dish.
When: Saturday, 8th July, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: by donation, $5-10 suggested.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mushroom talk

What: It is the season for mushroom foraging, so they have Robin Hallett, a mushroom enthusiast to speak about them. Though he is enthusiastic about foraging for mushrooms, he is quite aware of how difficult it can be to identify edible fungi with certainty. So he will share with you some simple ways of growing mushrooms at home. Robin will also discuss his experiments using cardboard, barley, straw and coffee grounds to produce mushrooms. And the great thing about growing mushrooms this way is that you don’t even need to have a garden. The talk will follow the Warranwood Food Swap, which will start at 10am.
When: Sunday, 16th July, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Warranwood Primary School.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Family recipes from Malta

What: Sharon Spiteri will prepare Maltese dishes for you to sample while she discusses her book Traditional Sweet Recipes from Malta. Books will be available for purchase at the event.
When: Thursday, 17th August, 6.30-8pm.
Where: Lalor Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

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, 2nd September, 2-4.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $70.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Absolute beginners to vegetable growing – your patch from scratch

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, 26th August, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $50.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Absolute beginners to vegetable growing – seasonal vegetables

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, 9th September, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $50.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Absolute beginners to vegetable growing – soil and pests

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, 23rd September, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $50.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Vegan vegout

What: The food trucks offering vegan food usually include: Bomba Wood Fired Pizza; Lady Rawsome; Pierogi Pierogi; Taitas falafels; The Kind BBQ Co.; The Real Jerk Food Truck; and Yay!
When: the 1st Wednesday of every month, 5-10pm.
Where: Welcome To Thornbury .
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
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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