Mar 022016

A guide to buying local veggies

vegetableI’ve finally written a guide to buying local veggies (i.e. veggies grown in North East Melbourne). It may not be my best work, perhaps because I am largely self-sufficient in veggies, but it does list all the local veggie farmers that I am aware of, what they sell and where their stuff can be bought. Feel free to email me with any suggested additional content.

To summarise the local veggie situation: it is rather like the local fruit situation, with around 10 local farmers, but with only 3 of these growing a reasonably wide range and the rest being specialised. The 3 generalist farmers are Just Picked from Yan Yean, Kinglake Vegetables from Kinglake, and Sugarloaf Produce from Strathewen. Just Picked and Sugarloaf Produce are both stallholders at Eltham Farmers’ Market. Read the full guide.

A bonus byproduct is that the guide also lists those retailers of Certified Organic veggies who are either a) in our Local Food Directory or b) certified themselves as a retailer (i.e. their processes are Certified Organic as well as the produce that they sell).

Finally, read the other guides to buying local food: cheese, chocolate, fruit, marmalade/jam, mushrooms, seedlings and wine.

Want some ducks?

ducks4 Silver Appleyard ducks looking for a good home: 2 drakes and two female adults. Maybe some 8 week old babies too, sex unknown. They are pretty and lay big eggs all year unless when breeding occurs (when laying stops for a couple of months once the chicks hatch). They make a great natural fertiliser if you use their water on the garden. They need a water source that they can dip their head into. They also need to be put in a fox proof house at night. As they have been raised in a yard, they won’t fly away. If interested, contact Sophie Miller by phone (0422 989035).

Where the newsletter readers live

In terms of suburbs, we now know where most of the newsletter readership live. The maps on our website summarise this information. Key points:

  • 25% live in Eltham, 25% in other parts of Nillumbik, 25% in Banyule and 25% from the rest of North East Melbourne (and elsewhere).
  • The geographic spread has increased substantially in the last two years. More specifically, the proportion of new readers who do not live in Nillumbik or Banyule:
    • 2009-2013: 10%
    • 2014: 25%
    • 2015: 35%
    • 2016 (thus far): 50%
  • This increased spread is good(!) – the newsletter aims to cover the whole of North East Melbourne.
  • The following suburbs have more than 1% of their population being newsletter readers: Arthurs Creek, Bend of Islands, Eltham, Kangaroo Ground, St Andrews and Strathewen.
  • The three suburbs with the most newsletter readers are: Eltham, Macleod and Montmorency.

New events

Good bugs

What: Learn how to identify your garden helpers such as ladybirds and lacewings in various life stages. Run by Integrated Pest Management, based in Hurstbridge, and facilitated by Angelica Cameron.
When: Saturday, 5th February, midday-2pm.
Where: Watsonia.
Cost: $5 (kids are free).
Enquiries: Marina Bistrin by phone (9434 6717) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Composting at home

What: Learn how to get the best out of your compost bin at home. Learn how to set it up and how to use it so that you not only reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill (and so reduce pollution and household contribution to climate change), but also create high quality fertiliser which enriches your soil and helps your plants grow big and strong!
When: Sunday, 6th March, 2-3pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Darebin City Council by phone (8470 8373).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Using a worm farm and bokashi bin at home

What: Learn how to use and maintain your worm farm and/or bokashi bin at home. Worm farming and/or using a bokashi bin not only reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill (and so reduces pollution and household contribution to climate change) but also provides high quality fertiliser which enriches your soil and helps your plants grow big and strong!
When: Sunday, 6th March, 3-4pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Darebin City Council by phone (8470 8373).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wicking bed workshop

What: The workshop will give you hands-on experience of building a wicking bed. It will include theory as well as practical experience and tips. It will be led by Paul Gale-Baker, member of Sustainable Macleod. Please bring lunch to share. Morning and afternoon tea provided.
When: Sunday, 13th March, 9.30am-4.30pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Robin by phone (0408 733683) or email.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The herb and chilli festival

What: A two day festival celebrating all things related to herbs and chillis. The festival brings together a variety of cuisines and cultural elements from around Melbourne and beyond. Visitors to the festival will see, smell, taste and imbibe food and wine in a multitude of forms. They will meet and talk with passionate producers who will teach them about their cuisine. There will be demonstrations, talks, tastings, music, dance and even competitions to enter. Activities for all ages.
When: Saturday, 19th March and Sunday 20th March, 10am-5pm.
Where: Wandin.
Cost: $24 per person per day.
Enquiries: Clive Larkman by phone (0414 242710) or email.
Further information: Herb and chilli festival website.

Introduction to horticulture – 9 session course

What: This 9-week hands-on course will introduce you to a range of topics in the field of horticulture. The course runs at Edendale in Eltham, and places in the course are government-subsidised, so it is a great starting point for people thinking about turning their passion into a career in horticulture, or simply for home food growers who want to learn more – only $130 for a 9-session course! No prior experience is necessary. The course will be run by Justin Calverley, a horticultural expert with over twenty years’ experience. Inter alia, Justin is a lead trainer in adult education at CERES, where he has presented workshops on topics ranging from fruit and vegetable production to bush foods, and from garden design to sustainable gardening.
When: Saturday, 19th March – Saturday, 4th June, 9.30am-3pm. Also, Monday, 18th April – Monday, 27th June, 9.30am-3pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $130 for all 9 sessions ($73 concession).
Enquiries/Bookings: Living & Learning Nillumbik’s website.
Further information: Living & Learning Nillumbik’s website.

Sustainable home-grown garlic

What: Sustainable Gardening Australia is working with Penny Woodward to bring you this class on growing garlic sustainably. What will be covered: types of garlic, its diversity, groupings and cultivars; how to choose your garlic; soil preparation, planting, growing, harvesting, curing, storing and using; characteristics of different types of garlic; and solutions to common problems.
When: Saturday, 16th April, 2-3.30pm.
Where: Forest Hill.
Cost: $30.
Enquiries: Richard Rowe by email.
Bookings: Weteachme website.
Further information: Weteachme website.

Permablitz 179 (Doncaster)

What: St Gregory the Great primary school is looking forward to starting a veggie garden. Last year, students voted on the most sustainable garden bed – the majority of students opted for wicking beds, with many also showing an interest in worm tunnels. The permaculture seed has been planted and now it’s time to grow! During this blitz you will be making things happen! You will be resurrecting a currently unused area of the school, transforming it into an educational edible paradise.
When: Saturday, 23rd April, 9am-4.30pm.
Where: Doncaster.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Permablitz website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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