Nov 132019

A veggie growing tip from Robin – harvesting garlic

From the latest Sustainable Macleod newsletter: “Garlic will be ready to harvest late November – mid December but we need two dry weeks so that the bulbs are not damp when pulled. If they are, dry them in front of a blow heater. Don’t knock the bulbs together to remove soil as this bruises them and they deteriorate quickly.

Garlic is ready for harvest when the bottom 4 leaves have withered and there are 4-6 green leaves remaining. This is roughly half brown, half green. The green leaves extend down into the bulb forming the skins. The more ‘skins’ you have, the longer the shelf life. Note that, as the lower leaves wither, they can be hard to see as they shrivel to almost nothing which can lead to harvesting too late in the mistaken belief that this process has not begun.

More on tomato growing

In reaction to last week’s discussion, Lyn Richards has written in: “I select to find a good balance between flavour and resilience to pests & neglect. What my mother called Darwinian gardening! This year, I’ve planted Sweetie (bugs ignore it), Kotlas (for early cropping – new experiment) and Amish Paste (for passata).

Lyn also adds: “To all grandparents of baby yoghurt eaters: never throw away those tiny tubs! Two holes in the bottom and they are perfect for growing tomatoes from seed: the round base curls roots so they don’t tangle, and the seedling slips easily from the pot. Wash, store out of direct sunlight and they last at least 6 years.

Queensland Fruit Fly in Victoria

Penny Grose, who is from Rosanna and co-convenor of Transition Warringal, has written an article about Queensland Fruit Fly in Victoria on our website. As Penny says: “Every home grower of fruit trees (as well as susceptible veggie fruits like tomatoes) should watch out for Queensland Fruit Fly, use monitoring traps and be ready to manage it with traps, baiting and exclusion (netting).” She then goes on to discuss other precautions and also provides a list of available resources on the internet. Read the full article.

Corrections and clarifications

The Drawing and watercolour workshop in an edible garden at Murundaka in Heidelberg Heights, is on Saturday, 23rd November, 10.30am-12.30pm, not Sunday, 23rd November as previously stated. Sorry Mikoto, Maria and Felicity.

Home Harvest Picnic 2020

The annual Home Harvest Picnic at Edendale will be on Sunday, 1st March, 2020, 3.30-7pm. This joint Nillumbik and Banyule Council event is a celebration of home grown produce and local food. Home growers are invited to supply some home grown produce which will be turned into a picnic by trained cooks to be shared at a community afternoon at Edendale Farm. Register now as a grower, spend the summer growing and then supplying some of your produce, and you will receive a prepared basket at the picnic for you and up to three guests. Local Food Connect is a partner in this event.

Community gardening news

Links Community Garden Lalor has installed a ‘tree of love’ sculpture.

A new collector of bee swarms

Justin Brasier, 0407 515 482, based in Heidelberg.

That brings the total number of local bee swarm collectors listed on our website to 19.

Want some cheap herbs?

On Sunday, 23rd November, all herbs will be 30% off at Nillumbik Nursery. There will also be a jumping castle.

Listen to some podcasts

Paul West, from River Cottage Australia and, until recently, a resident of Thornbury, has been interviewed by PIP magazine. Listen to the podcast.

Did you know that a third of public green space in Melbourne is apparently nature strips? And that, whilst nature strips are public land, their upkeep is the responsibility of private citizens (e.g. the people who live next to the strip)? Listen to someone called Adrian Marshall debate whether nature strips should all be turned into gardens.

National Recycling Week

This week is apparently National Recycling Week. This has prompted Hurstbridge-based Going Green Solutions to send out a newsletter on the subject. One of the things in the newsletter is a list of drop off points for recycling particular products:

On a similar theme, City of Yarra Council has published a zero waste map, which is an online directory of places around City of Yarra relevant to “reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling“. Thanks for the heads up, Fay Loveland!

A number of lists entitled something like remember your R’s are currently doing the rounds. For example:

  1. Refuse.
  2. Reduce.
  3. Reuse.
  4. Repair.
  5. Repurpose.
  6. Regift.
  7. Recycle.
  8. Recover.

Rather a useful list, I think.

Idly musing about the list whilst I was weeding the other day, it struck me that there was something a bit odd about it. In some cases (reuse, repurpose, regift, recycle), the word means to do something again, where the ‘re’ prefix means ‘again’ (e.g. reuse = re-use = to use again). But that is not true of all of them (e.g. how can one ‘duce’ again?). So, I’ve looked up the etymology of each of the 8 words. In the other 4 cases (refuse, reduce, repair, recover), the original Latin was indeed re-something, meaning to do something again, but the something never made it into the English language. So, for example, ‘refuse’ comes from the Latin ‘refundere’, which means ‘to pour back’, and which in turn came from the concatenation in Latin of ‘re’ (meaning ‘again’) and ‘fundere’ (meaning ‘to pour’).

Australian Pollinator Week

As you might guess reading the list of upcoming events later in this newsletter, 10th-17th November is Australian Pollinator Week. As part of this, you’re invited to watch a flowering plant for 10 minutes and submit your observations of insect visitors to the Wild Pollinator Count website.

National Cheese Omelette Day

In a few weeks’ time, National Cheese Omelette Day will be on 1st December. As always, there will be a complete lack of events or activities to mark the occasion. Newsletter readers are encouraged to have their own private celebrations at lunchtime on the day.

Our website has a calendar of international food days – 24 in total.

Invite of the week

I’ve just been invited to participate in a conference in Romania on “Changes in quality and microbial succession of lightly salted and sugar-salted blunt snout bream (megalobrama amblycephala) fillets when stored at 4 degree Celsius.” To the right person, this could be a dream come true. Anyone like to take my place?

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Victoria’s ban on lightweight plastic bags explained.

Joke of the week

Why did the pie go to a dentist? Because he needed a filling!

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Buzz in workshop: Saturday, 16th November, 10.30am-12.30pm; Brunswick Neighbourhood House.

What: This workshop will demonstrate methods for pollination and planning for bee habitat, including bee-attracting plants and how to encourage urban diversity. You will learn about the co-evolution of bees and native plants, what common bees look like and native bee nesting. You will also get to make a bee hotel using natural materials to take home.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: by phone (9386 9418).

Make your own composting system: Saturday, 16th November, 11am-12.30pm; Brunswick East.

What: Using found/upcycled materials and some Brunswick Tool Library tools, you will create a composting system tailored to you and your living circumstances.
Cost: $12 (free for members of Brunswick Tool Library).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Environmentally friendly beeswax wraps: Saturday, 16th November, 12.30-3.30pm; Mitcham Community House.

What: Learn how to make beeswax wraps. All equipment and materials will be supplied by the tutor.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: by phone (9873 4587).

Bee Shed launch party: Sunday, 17th November, 10am-1pm; Melbourne Innovation Centre, Alphington.

What: This is the launch of the Bee Shed and Bee School project funded through the Pick My Project program. Celebrate the open of this new community space where you can learn about bees, pollinators and backyard beekeeping. Apiary tours and demonstrations. Face painting and games. Scones and honey.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Build DIY food waste solutions: Wednesday, 20th November, 6-7.30pm; Brunswick East.

What: Go build your own food waste solution using upcycled materials. Also learn about composting.
Cost: $12 (free for members of Brunswick Tool Library).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Tea anyone? Christmas craft and easy edible gifts with Carol: Thursday, 21st November, 10.30am-midday; Lilydale Library.

What: Make a Christmas teabag wreath to admire all season. Carol from Kazzy’s Kitchen will show you how to make a tea bag wreath and some homemade tasty Christmas surprises. Tastings and refreshments provided.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Composting workshop: Saturday, 23rd November, 10-11am; St Johns Riverside Community Garden, Heidelberg.

What: Learn all the tips and tricks to making great compost. Find out about different composting containers, worm farming and Bokashi buckets. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9490 4222).

Medicinal gardening (two day): Saturday, 23rd November and Sunday, 24th November, both 10am-3.30pm; Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.

What: Learn to design and plant a medicinal garden with Western medicinal herbs. The course will cover herbal germination, cultivation, harvest and medicine making. It will also cover growing conditions of individual plants, creating fertile soil, and basic botany & plant identification. Facilitated by Taj Scicluna (The Perma Pixie) and Willow (Herb-Nerd).
Cost: $220.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Demonstrating effective blackberry control techniques: Saturday, 30th November, 10-midday; Smiths Gully.

What: Nillumbik Council and the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce invite you to a demonstration of effective blackberry control techniques including mechanical, chemical and drone demonstrations, planning and resources. The event will be followed at midday by a free lunch.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Tomatoes and more – tomatoes in your edible garden: Saturday, 7th December, 2-3.30pm; Bee Sustainable, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to sow grow heirloom tomatoes; how to breed your own heirloom tomatoes; and some of the possibilities to prepare and share your tomatoes. Karen Sutherland will lead you through growing organic heirloom tomatoes from seed to the final tomato. Issues of feeding, pruning and training will be discussed. Karen will share some stories of passionate growers and how they have overcome problems.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Garlic braiding with Farmer Incubator: Saturday, 14th December, 10am-midday; Yarrambat.

What: Farmer Incubator will be visiting SEEDs Communal Garden to braid some of their recently harvested garlic. Go along and learn this skill for yourself. Bulbs of organically-grown Farmer Incubator garlic will also be available to purchase on the day.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Bee hive tour: Saturday, 14th December, 10.30am-12.30pm; Yarrambat.

What: Your tour, led by Nathan Stewart, a professional Doreen-based beekeeper from Maya ‘Xala Honey, will include suiting up in protective gear, lighting a bee smoker, and spending two hours as real life beekeeper. Initially, Nathan will give you some tips on what to look for inside a hive including how to spot the Queen and where to look to potentially witness the birth of a new worker bee. Then, together you will lift the lid of a busy hive, watch bees at work creating honey, pull out a frame of honey ready for extraction, and get up close with more than 100,000 bees! After the lid is closed, you will sample some of the honey direct from the hives while enjoying a refreshing honey tonic.
Cost: $75 (plus various packages for families).
Bookings: their website.

New events – cooking

Chinese vegetarian cooking demo: Sunday, 17th November, 11.30am-1pm; Macleod Organic Community Garden.

What: Helen Chen and her friends will be demonstrating some vegetarian home-cooked Chinese food (which is very different from Chinese restaurant food), namely spring rolls and salad. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: $15 (free for members of Sustainable Macleod).
Bookings: just turn up.

Cook Indian by the creek: Friday, 29th November, 6.30-8.30pm; Diamond Creek.

What: Menu: chicken tikka / paneer tikka; chicken kebab / veg kebab; chick peas salad. Cook Indian by the creek came into existence with the idea of breaking the myth that Indian cooking is complex and difficult to nail. In each session, they will share their traditional recipes and go through the step by step cooking process. The classes are held in a private kitchen.
Cost: $79.
Bookings: by email.

Sourdough bread and pumpkin damper making: Saturday, 30th November, 1.30-2.30pm; Macleod Organic Community Garden.

What: Terry Wesselink will demonstrate how to manage your sourdough starter and make bread using the pizza oven. Bring along a sterile jar, as for jam making, with a hole in the lid to take home some starter. In the same session, Patty Boxhall will make a moist pumpkin and herb damper for all to sample. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: $15 (free for members of Sustainable Macleod).
Bookings: just turn up.

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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