May 022017

Really Really Free Market Preston – a brief review

I went to the first Really Really Free Market Preston last Sunday. It’s an unusual concept so I thought that you might be interested in a brief review. The main point to make is that it really was as it purported to be: everything was free! So, for example, there were free massages (more accurately, Bowen therapy), free yoga lessons, free use of a sewing machine and free food. And they were completely free: no donation options, no swapping or anything. My (free) lunch comprised dahl, roast potatoes, a green salad and chocolate cake. There were 5 marquees and around 100 people were there whilst I was there. The majority were the younger side of 40 and most did not seem to know each other. Kudos to both the organisers and everyone who contributed stuff. My understanding is that they intend to repeat the event on the last Sunday of each month, so the next one will be on 28th May. I’ll post more details as and when I know them.

According to the Anarchist Cookbook, the first Really, Really Free Market took place in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2001.

Finally, on the subject of free stuff, the Free Stuff Melbourne Facebook group has 74,000 members!

Feed Melbourne appeal

The Feed Melbourne appeal has now started. Read about it either in the picture right or online. For more information, go to the Feed Melbourne Appeal website. There are three ways to donate:

  • Via the Feed Melbourne Appeal website.
  • By phone (9428 0044), Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, using your credit card.
  • By cheque (Feed Melbourne Appeal, FareShare Foundation, 1-7 South Audley Street, Abbotsford, 3067).

‘Crowd harvest’ for Mother’s Day

Is your garden producing more than you need? Would you like to be able to help others who are experiencing food crisis and insecurity? People are invited to donate their homegrown excess over the next week or so (up until Mother’s Day, 14th May) to DIVRS, Preston. They will then distribute, either fresh or preserved, through their food relief programs. Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Mac’s tip of the week

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to turn your irrigation off. Until next time, remember: sometimes the best tips are the shortest ones.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Do you have an olive press?

Eltham-based Colin Cook has lots of olives this year. Do you have an olive press that he could use? If so, email Colin.

Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival

You can now view/download a pdf of the full program.

Golden Ball dessert

As reported in The Leader, Michelle Lukman, from Box Hill, apparently wowed the MasterChef Australia judges with her Golden Ball dessert.

Pruning raspberries (part 2)

Heather has written in with a few points about my words from last week’s newsletter. Thanks, Heather!

First, she points out that an alternative name for ‘everbearing raspberries’ is ‘autumn bearing raspberries’ (although, strictly speaking, ‘summer and autumn bearing raspberries’ would be more accurate) [Ed: and, in my case, ‘summer and autumn bearing raspberries which didn’t bear much fruit this year and look a bit skanky all year round’ would be even more accurate!].

Second, her ‘autumn bearing raspberries’ haven’t yet finished flowering and fruiting and she is seeing big sweet berries every day at the moment. Last year, she picked her final fruit for the season on 30th July! (although they were not as sweet as the earlier ones). So it’s too early to cut these productive canes back. What she has done is tip prune them where the fruiting top segments of the canes have died but where more fruit is developing lower down these same canes. She has also removed other canes which were dead all the way down. And given the remaining canes some light fertiliser.

In talking about pruning raspberries in late Autumn, I was effectively following Louis Glowinski from his book The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia. But, as several people from Permaculture Victoria have suggested, the pruning is actually easier if you leave it until after all the leaves have dropped off (i.e. some time in Winter).

Surprising pics that show how food looks before it’s harvested (part 2)

This time, I thought that I would include the actual hyperlink(!): 30 pictures of ‘unusual’ fruit and veggies (across 3 pages). How many of them have you grown and with what success?

How to eat an avocado seed

Did you know that the seed of an avocado is the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit? I didn’t until I watched this video. Thanks to Marina Bistrin for the link.

Proverb of the month

Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs. Meaning: think long-term and look after future generations. From the 17th Century and obviously based on the supposedly long time before pear or walnut trees bear fruit. The contemporaneous he that plants trees loves others beside himself arguably has a similar meaning.

Incidently, “apples and pears” is cockney rhyming slang for “stairs“. So, they (the apocryphal, archetypal cockneys) then drop the “and pears” and say “I’m going up the apples” to mean “I’m going up the stairs“.

Joke of the week

I’ve just written a song about tortillas – actually, it’s more of a rap.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Kalorama Chestnut Festival

What: Savour the abundant chestnuts, gourmet food, Devonshire tea, coffee, artisan beer and mulled wine. Explore the diverse range of stalls showcasing locally-made handcrafts and produce. Children can enjoy the fun rides and adventure play space. The activities will include: delicious roasted chestnuts; poffertjees; Devonshire tea and home made cakes; sausage sizzle; local restaurant food stalls; artisan beer (including chestnut beer!) and mulled wine; coffee, tea and chai; bungy jump trampolines; train rides’ flying swings; petting zoos; old-fashioned kids games; raffles; local handmade crafts; local produce; and live music and performances.
When: Sunday, 7th May, 10am-4pm.
Where: Kalorama Memorial Reserve.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: their website.

International Permaculture Day – introduction to edible forest gardening

What: To celebrate International Permaculture Day, you are invited to a presentation on edible forest gardening. The presentation will be given by John Ferris of Edible Forest Gardens Nursery. John will talk about the layers of a forest system and how to implement some of these ideas into your garden/property. He will also introduce you to some unfamiliar perennial plants that he is really passionate about.
When: Sunday, 7th May, 1-3pm.
Where: Edible Forest Gardens, Wonga Park.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their Facebook page.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Keeping chooks in the suburbs

What: Have you you always wanted to keep chooks in the suburbs? This workshop will go through how to feed and care for your poultry, the local laws, housing and your neighbours. You will also cover diseases, predators and pets. Also, how to handle your chook correctly (live chickens) and which heritage breed to buy and from where.
When: Tuesday, 9th May, 7-9.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Nillumbik community wellbeing expo

What: Discover, and engage with, all the local activities, groups and services in Nillumbik that can support your wellbeing. The expo will comprise exhibitors, presentations, interactive spaces and demonstrations, healthy food stalls and a ‘kids zone’. The expo will include a gardening workshop with Vasili from Vasili’s Garden, probably at 1pm. By rumour, someone from Local Food Connect will also be making a presentation.
When: Sunday, 21st May, 10am-3pm.
Where: Eltham High School.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit trees

What: Have you always wanted to grow your own fruits at home but weren’t sure where to start? Let them take you through the basics of fruit and berry growing. This workshop will cover: selecting the ideal fruit; growing berries, fruit trees, nuts and vine fruits;, improving soil fertility; controlling pests and diseases without chemicals; and pruning and propagation methods.
When: Tuesday, 13th June, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $30.
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.

Read some (recently updated) help on how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs).

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