Mar 262019
 

Judy interviews Vicky Shukuroglou, from Eltham

Vicky lives on a 10 acre property close to Warrandyte State Park. Here’s how Judy Vizzari introduces her interview write up: “Vicky is a gardener with an obvious love of plants and expertise in food production but this garden isn’t just about produce or pretty spaces – it’s clear that Vicky has a deep love of her environment. ‘For me, gardening is about biodiversity – my number one priority is to maintain habitat.’ Hers is a holistic approach – it’s evidenced in the way that she cares for land and its inhabitants, in the work that she devotes to returning her land to its natural state and in her efforts to maintain, not only its vegetation, but also the life it supports.Read the full interview.

Some videos of local food gardens

3000acres has been interviewing some prominent local food gardeners and have started publishing the videos that have resulted. Each video is around 2 minutes long. The first three are:

Yes, that first one is me! This is how they introduce the video: “Nestled amongst gumtrees, Guy’s edible garden has a no-kill policy, making for a very happy insect population! Guy leaves it up to nature, believing that he will get his fair share of food. His biophilic approach creates harmony in his garden, an experimental space where he grows a huge variety of fruits and vegetables.

On the subject of videos, I’ve just seen this video that Banyule Council have been using to advertise Home Harvest Picnic 2019 on Sunday, 31st March. How many newsletter readers can you spot?

And here is a rather odd video of Ben, from Ben’s Bees (Blackburn North), interviewing Adrian O’Hagan, from Permablitz Melbourne.

Robin’s veggie growing tip of the month: plant annual herbs in autumn

It may sound odd to plant annual herbs in early April but I have come to the conclusion that it is a good idea. Herbs such as dill, florence fennel, summer savoury, coriander, chervil and German chamomile (the variety used for chamomile tea), all of which are used for their fragrant leaf, bolt during the hot summer months. Climate change has caused a shift in seasons so that once cool March and April are now warm – certainly warm enough to germinate seed – but not too warm to cause bolting to seed. You may not get seed head development but you will get foliage in autumn, winter and spring. Another advantage of autumn sowing of annual herbs is that this is also the time you can collect seed from last year’s plants, giving you fresh seed to sow.

Parsley, while technically a biennial, is usually grown as an annual and can be added to the list. It takes longer than the other herbs to germinate (up to 2 months compared to 10-14 days) but you can speed up the process by soaking the seed for 24 hours. If you are adventurous, you might also plant basil seedlings but, unlike other annuals, basil will succumb to cold weather and be killed off completely by frost. Having said that, my basil lasted into July last year.

Sow seed of all annual herbs directly into your garden so as to avoid setback through transplanting. Cover the seed in some way to prevent birds scratching it out and eating it up. And remember to water well from the time the seed is sown until the plant is well established.

Read more of Robin’s tips

Live in (or near) Northcote and want some compost?

Kate Sage has a composter which generates 20 litres of compost every month or so. She would like to give this compost to either a community garden or individual in Northcote. She is happy to deliver it. If interested, email Kate.

Live in Diamond Valley and want some compostable waste?

Diamond Valley Greenwaste Share is a new Facebook page which aims “to connect people with compostable waste – e.g. cafes/restaurants – with people who want it – e.g. community/home gardeners.” Thanks for the heads up, Isabel Nalato!

Community gardening news

Incredible Edible Eltham is planning to do some autumn planting on the morning of Tuesday, 9th April and they really do need some of you to join them. They will be meeting at the edible garden at the railway station at 10am to start the planting and then moving on to the bed on Main Road outside healthAbility later in the morning. Why not go along to do a bit of planting, have a bit of a chat and drink a bit of coffee? Contact Guy by email or phone (0411 520850)

There has apparently been some vandalism at Bedford Park Community Garden in Ringwood. A scarecrow has been burnt to the ground and some plants have been destroyed. See their Facebook post announcing the news.

Want a job?

Wholemilk Continental Cheese Company, in Heidelberg West, wants to employ a casual factory worker to help with: the manufacturing of a variety of cheeses; moving and packing cheese; basic cleaning; and stock rotation. Read more and apply.

Can you save seeds from unripe tomatoes?

In response to Eric’s question in last week’s newsletter about whether you can save seeds from unripe tomatoes, Dan Milne replied: “As a rule of thumb, it’s best to select seeds from the biggest, ripest, most beautiful specimens. In theory, using the seeds from unripe fruit selects ‘unripe’ or ‘late to ripen’ as a quality for next year’s plants. If you have space, I recommend hanging up the plants to finish ripening. See www.milkwood.net/2015/03/04/hanging-green-tomatoes-upside-down-to-ripen.

Here’s my response: “Tomatoes continue to ripen after being picked so, if there is even the slightest blush on the tomatoes, pick them and hopefully they will ripen, with the seeds also maturing. If they don’t ripen, there is still a chance that some of the seeds are viable, but only if a gel has developed around them. In addition to visual inspection, you can test for gel by trying to cut the seed with a sharp knife – if it is easily cut then there is no gel, but if the knife tends to slip off the seed then there is gel.

White cabbage moth decoys

The debate about how to keep the white cabbage moth away from your brassica seedlings continues. Liz Hudson has written in: “I use this Word document, which someone shared on Facebook ages ago. [Editor: also, see the picture right]. I laminated the sheet, cut the butterflies out very carefully, stuck them on top of skewers and dotted them around the garden. I’m ambivalent about their success – but they are a cheaper option than the nursery.

Preventing sun scald on apples

Newsletter reader Angelo Eliades has written a short article on apple tree problems – sun scald.

Read more of Angelo’s food growing articles.

Permablitz hero of the month: oregano

A hero in the garden, a hero in the kitchen and a hero in the medicine cabinet! Oregano really is an all ’round hero herb!Read the article.

Read more Permablitz heroes of the month.

What seeds to plant in April

Here is a list (see the planting guide for more detail):

Brassicas

Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Mizuna
Mustard greens
Pak choy

Cool season veggies

Broad beans
Coriander
Fennel
Garlic
Peas

Leafy greens

Lettuce
Rocket
Silverbeet
Spinach

Other

Beetroot
Carrot
Chives
Parsley
Potato
Radish
Shallot

April is a good month to plant your cool season veggies. So, plant those broad beans, peas, garlic and brassicas. Also, plant some leafy greens.

Read Helen’s 2016 articles on growing brassicas, growing garlic and on autumn plantings.

Proverb of the month

Parsley seed goes nine times to the Devil. Meaning: germination of parsley is slow and unreliable. Variants: change the number and the recipient to whatever you want; for example, “parsley seed goes seven times to the Old Lad” (D.H. Lawrence, 1962). A colourful expression for a prosaic thought. Goes back to Yorkshire in the 17th Century. The idea is that the Devil keeps most of the seeds (i.e. the ungerminated ones) for himself. As someone called Adele Nozedar said in her 2008 book entitled ‘Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols’: “If sowing parsley, the only day on which it can be done that does not throw the immortal soul of the gardener into serious risk is Good Friday, when Satan has no jurisdiction over the soil.

Read more proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” by A.A. Milne.

Read more quotes.

Joke of the week

As submitted by Jamal Clifford: Why could Granny Smith not drive? Because she was an apple.

Read more jokes.

Melbourne Good Beer Week

Melbourne Good Beer Week is May 10-19. There are a gazillion events, mostly around the CBD. Download the program.

New events – not cooking

The eclectic garden (garden tour): Saturday, 6th April and Sunday, 7th April, both 10am-4.30pm; Nunawading.

What: Within this garden – where every space is utilised, both horizontally and vertically – not everything is seen at once. There is a rich diversity of botanical specimen trees, selective foliage plants and perennials. ‘Cloud pruning’ of olive trees creates a visual interest. Plantings include many vireyas, begonias, various succulents, edible plantings such as various citrus trees, different currant bushes, and seasonal vegetables. There are meandering paths and quirky garden art pieces. The front garden, with its circular lawn, is surrounded by dense plantings which creates an intimate feeling. Another special feature is that artist Jo Reitze will be painting the garden over the weekend whilst it is open.
Cost: $8 (students $5, under 18 free).
Bookings: just turn up.

Autumn Gin Market: Sunday, 14th April, 11am-8.30pm; The Craft & Co, Collingwood.

What: Around 12 stallholders will showcase their gins, including: Imbue Distillery (Eltham), Patient Wolf Distilling Co. (Brunswick) and The Craft & Co. (Collingwood).
Cost: $10 (includes free tastings).
Bookings: their website.

Pruning fruit trees with Karen from Edible Eden part two: Wednesday, 1st May, 6.30-9pm; Forest Hill.

What: Karen Sutherland, from Edible Eden Design, will focus on maximising yield through disease management, pruning techniques and cultivar selection to get the most out of apples, pears, grapes, fig, mulberry, persimmon, kiwi and berries.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Composting to improve your soil: Thursday, 16th May, 11am-midday; Fawkner Library.

What: Facilitated by Tash van Velzen. Understand what is really going on in the compost heap and worm farm.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Edible weeds walk: Saturday, 18th May, at 11am-1pm and again at 2-4pm; Brunswick East.

What: What if many of the weeds in our garden were just as edible as the vegetables we tend beside them? What if some of these free, all-too-easy-to-grow uninvited guests were so nutritionally dense that they are just about the healthiest things you could possibly eat? What if many of them also had medical traditions dating back centuries? Well it’s all true! And if you know what to choose, they also taste great. Join Adam Grubb, co-author of The Weed Forager’s Handbook, for a fascinating walk on the wild side.
Cost: $25 ($20 concession).
Bookings: their website (11am and 2pm).

Sticky date with the Backyard Honey beekeeper: Saturday, 18th May, 11am-2pm; Bunnings, Nunawading.

What: Facilitated by Peter Dyer, from Backyard Honey. Watch a live honeybee colony at work. Taste raw cold-pressed Victorian honeys and discover what you can do to sustain healthy bees and pollinators in our community.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

New events – cooking

Miso paste making: Saturday, 6th April, 11am-1.30pm; Preston.

What: Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae). You will make your own high protein and enzyme rich miso paste following traditional Japanese methods.
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by email.

Shio koji making and cooking: Sunday, 7th April, 11am-1.30pm; Preston.

What: Shio koji is a Japanese fermented seasoning made with rice koji (cooked rice that has been inoculated with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae).
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by email.

A touch of Thai (vegan cooking class): Sunday, 7th April, midday-4pm; The Beet Retreat, Smiths Gully.

What: A selection of Thai inspired dishes will be demonstrated, plus practical staples – 5-8 dishes in total. Everything will be vegan, based around the core staples of fruit, veg, starches, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Cost: $100 (includes sit down 3-course meal).
Bookings: their website.

Nuka zuke – rice bran pickling: Saturday, 13th April, 11am-1pm; Preston.

What: Nuka zuke is a famous Japanese fermented pickling technique using rice bran. In this workshop, you will make your own Nuka medium/bedding so that you can keep pickling at home for years and years!
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by email.

Thai inspired vegan cooking class: 3 occurrences – Sunday 14th April, Sunday 12th May, and Sunday 19th May, each midday-4pm; The Beet Retreat, Smiths Gully.

What: A selection of Thai inspired dishes will be demonstrated, plus practical staples, including cashew yoghurt, plant-based milk and nut parmesan sprinkle. Everything will be vegan, based around the core staples of fruit, veg, starches, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Cost: $100 (includes sit down 3-course meal).
Bookings: their website.

Ganache and truffles – let’s play!: Thursday, 18th April, 6.30-7.30pm; Eastland, Ringwood.

What: What you will learn: how to temper chocolate to create a shine and crispy snap; how to create ganache; and let your creativity shine through as you decorate your truffles. What you will get: a box of truffles that you have handcrafted; and a starter pack – apron, dipping tool, chocolate, recipes. Once you know how to temper and how to work with chocolate, your imagination will be your only limitation. They will make a ganache for the filling, revealing the small tricks that ensure a smooth outcome.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Vegan brunch cooking class: 3 occurrences – Monday 22nd April, Thursday 25th April, and Sunday 26th May, each midday-4pm; The Beet Retreat, Smiths Gully.

What: Learn how to create healthy, practical, everyday vegan dishes that look as good as they taste. It will include such dishes as plant-based milks, creamy lemon dream porridge, waffles, pancakes, scrambled tofu, chia puddings and smoothie bowls.
Cost: $100 (includes brunch).
Bookings: their website.

Miso paste making: Sunday, 5th May, 11am-1.30pm; Preston.

What: Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae). You will make your own high protein and enzyme rich miso paste following traditional Japanese methods.
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by email.

‘Everyday vegan’ cafe style cooking class: Sunday, 5th May, midday-4pm; The Beet Retreat, Smiths Gully.

What: A selection of dishes will be demonstrated, plus practical staples, including cashew yoghurt, plant-based milk and nut parmesan sprinkle. Everything will be vegan, based around the core staples of fruit, veg, starches, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Cost: $100 (includes sit down 3-course meal).
Bookings: their website.

Nuka zuke – rice bran pickling: Saturday, 11th May, 11am-1pm; Preston.

What: Nuka zuke is a famous Japanese fermented pickling technique using rice bran. In this workshop, you will make your own Nuka medium/bedding so that you can keep pickling at home for years and years!
Cost: $95.
Bookings: by email.

Summary of upcoming events – not cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

Summary of upcoming events – cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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