May 012019

Food Swap news – Coburg

There is a new food swap in Coburg. The 4th Saturday of every month, 11am-midday. Reynard Street Community Garden, Robinson Reserve, 104B Reynard Street. Read their Facebook page.

That brings the total number of regular food swaps in North East Melbourne up to 30. See the map and list.

Community gardening news – Hurstbridge

Pam Jenkins writes in about the wicking beds at Hurstbridge Community Hub: “Most of the plants died over the summer so we have re-planted using the following rotation system: legumes; leafy greens and brassicas; alliums; and ‘other’. There are two additional beds for herbs. As in Diamond Creek, we planted numerous edible flowers among the vegetables, partly to assist with pest control and partly just to look pretty. In case you want to taste test the flowers, alyssums, pansies, calendulas and nasturtiums are all edible (snap dragons are not known to be poisonous but they don’t taste nice).

“I would like to thank my fellow volunteers for all their input, ideas, seedlings, seeds, work and company. I would also like to thank Local Food Connect for their funding, Nillumbik Nursery for their quality seedlings, and Allira Haeusler for re-hydrating the beds. If you would like to become involved, or to find out more with helping at Hurstbridge Community Hub, please join the Facebook page, Friends of the Hub Edible Garden.

Are there bits in your compost?

Evan Gellert writes in: “I recently bought some unbagged ZooGro composted soil conditioner from my local nursery and it had solids in it (e.g. timber chunks, plastic bottle remnants, plastic mouldings, jute and bones – see picture). The bagged equivalent from GrowBetter doesn’t have such bits. I wrote to the nursery to ask them why. They replied that, whilst the unbagged and bagged material come from the same source, the bagged material is then processed by GrowBetter to screen/filter the product for bits and to get it down to the fine state in the bags. They also said that both the bagged and unbagged material has been through a ‘hot rot’ machine and is therefore safe for use in the garden.

Another video about Kat Lavers’ garden in Northcote

Watch the video, which is from the 19th April episode of Gardening Australia.

Recent articles by Angelo Eliades

Angelo has just published two articles on his website.

The first is entitled raised garden beds – what size is best? (Spoiler alert: the answer is 1.2 metres by 2.4 metres!)

The second is entitled why citrus fruit drops and flowers fail to develop.

Read more of Angelo’s food growing articles.

Permablitz’s hero of the month – the mushroom

Autumn has arrived and it’s finally mushroom season! At this time of year, every walk in the forest is like a treasure hunt. You never know what beautiful, rare or even tasty treat might be hiding behind the next tree.” Did you know that native truffles make up 80%-90% of the long-footed potoroo’s diet? Read the full article.

Read more Permablitz heroes of the month.

Beekeepers: it’s time for hive beetle precautions

As some of you will remember, Jane Dyer, from Backyard Honey in Surrey Hills, wrote in a few weeks ago about the hive beetle. Here’s a reminder: “Melbourne beekeepers may be aware that the hive beetle is becoming more common. One solution to help eradicate hive beetle when packing down your hives for winter is to freeze all the bee frames and boxes planned to be used again next season. Freezing frames and boxes to less than -12C for more than 6 hours will eradicate all stages of small hive beetle and wax moth.

“Backyard Honey provide both a freezing service (-17C for 3 days for hive components) and sealing service (bagged for winter storage) for hobby beekeepers during May. The costs: $20 for the first box of frames; $15 for the second and subsequent boxes; and $5 each for excluders, lids and bases.

If interested, or for more details, email Jane.

Fun facts: rocket/arugula

Many plants, vegetables and fruit have multiple common names, with one name being common in the UK, another in the US, and one or both in Australia. For example, pumpkin(UK)/squash(US), aubergine(UK)/eggplant(US) and swede(UK)/rutabaga(US). One such is rocket(UK)/arugula(US). Interestingly, both ‘rocket’ and ‘arugula’ appear to be derived from the same Latin word ‘eruca’, but by different routes. Rocket: from the Latin eruca through the Northern Italian ruchetta and then the French roquette to the British rocket. Arugula: from the Latin eruca through the Venetian rucola and then the Lombard arigola to the American arugula. It is actually quite common for two words which both sound different and mean different things to have the same root. For example salad/salary (from the Latin ‘sal’ meaning ‘salt’) and mortify/mortgage (from the Latin ‘mors’ meaning death). But are there any examples other than rocket/arugula, where the words come from the same root, sound different but have the same meaning?

Amazingly, the first recorded usage of the word ‘arugula’ is from the 1960s, only 50 years or so ago. By contrast, rocket has been eaten since Roman times, as evidenced by Virgil’s poem Moretum which includes the line “the rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people“.

Read more fun facts.

What are you doing on World Naked Gardening Day?

As you may know, World Naked Gardening Day is on next Saturday (4th May). Last year, a photo of some of the men was the most viewed newsletter photo of the year, so here is another.

A list of public parks and gardens to visit

Open Gardens Victoria have put together a list of 33 public parks and gardens in Victoria that you can visit. How many have you visited?

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Judy’s interview with Justin Calverley.

Joke of the week

Why did the M&M go to school? Because he wanted to become a smartie.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Beeswax wrap making class: Saturday, 18th May, midday-1.30pm; Ringwood.

What: Facilitated by Caitlin Ludwig. You will learn how to make your own beautiful, re-usable and natural food wraps. All materials (beeswax, resin, jojoba, coconut oil) will be provided to make 3 completed wraps per ticket. DIY kits will also be available to purchase.
Cost: $41.
Bookings: EventBrite.

World Bee Day events: Saturday, 18th May, 1-4pm; Warrandyte Neighbourhood House.

What: Celebrate World Bee Day with them. The event will include: a beekeeping workshop presented by an experienced apiarist; a demonstration of making bees wax wraps; making your own hand-rolled bees wax candles (fun for kids); a honey baking activity (fun for kids); and making a bee hotel.
Cost: $15 (free for children).
Bookings: their website.

World Bee Day celebration: Sunday, 19th May, 9.30-10.30am; Alphington Farmers’ Market.

What: Learn how to build a native bee hotel with Buzz & Dig. Afterwards, there will be free face painting.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Introduction to natural beekeeping (two-day): Saturday, 25th May and Sunday, 26th May, both 10am-5pm; Mitcham.

What: Suitable for beginners, and ideal for the backyarder, this two-day event is designed to provide participants with the information they need to start natural beekeeping with confidence. It will cover such subjects as: legislation, diseases, hive management, hive siting, equipment, honey extraction, and how to use of a smoker. Your tutor will be Andrew, an experienced beekeeper. The event is being run by the Natural Beekeeping Group of Permaculture Victoria.
Cost: $200 for members of Permaculture Victoria; $250 for non-members.
Bookings: by email

Permablitz 217 (Croydon): Sunday, 26th May, 10am-4pm; Croydon.

What: On the day, they will be: clearing a privet forest, and using the timber for the hugelkultur; levelling the ground for 2 veggie bed locations; adding 3 raised veggie beds, hugelkultur style; weeding; planting natives; irrigating the new garden beds; adding a trellis for vines; adding a raspberry trellis; and making a pond. There will also be two workshops: applying hugelkultur methods to a raised garden bed; irrigating your garden beds.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Sylvester Hive roasted chestnuts and mulled wine get together: Sunday, 2nd June, 2.30-5.30pm; Sylvester Hive Community Garden, Preston.

What: Go along for a social afternoon gathering with locals and enjoy some freshly roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. Take a plate to share, BYO drinks. Roasted chestnuts available to purchase on the day.
Cost: gold coin.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Fruit tree care: Tuesday, 25th June, 6.30-7.30pm; Fawkner Library.

What: Fruit trees require seasonal care to keep them healthy and productive. This talk will cover pruning techniques, seasonal fertilising, pests to watch out for, and how to get the most out of your backyard fruit trees.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

SEEDs Winter Soup Festival: Sunday, 30th June, 11am-6pm; SEEDs Communal Garden, Brunswick.

What: Join them in celebrating SEEDs Communal Garden at their annual ‘winter soup’ fundraiser – with live music and performers, food prepared using SEEDs-grown produce, chai, coffee and mulled kombucha, locally brewed craft beer, communal weaving, sewing with boomerang bags, children’s activities and a mini market.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

New events – cooking

Learn to make baklava: Tuesday, 4th June, 6.45-7.45pm; Preston Library.

What: Arzu Yilmaz will demonstrate how to make traditional Turkish baklava. Includes tastings and a copy of Arzu’s recipe.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Cooking master class – ‘fill me up!’: Wednesday, 26th June, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

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: zucchini & bacon soup; dukkah beef; and chocolate caramel rice pudding.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

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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