Nov 202018

A new local food producer – iVi’s Chevaps

One of the most beautiful parts of Europe is the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. And one of the most beautiful towns on the Dalmatian Coast is Dubrovnik. And one of the best things about Dubrovnik is the chevapi (ready-to-eat meat patties with garlic and spices served in bread). Well, you can now buy chevapi in North East Melbourne!

Doreen-based iVi’s Chevaps are a new startup who are selling their ready-to-eat chevapi at Eltham Farmers’ Market every Sunday. And they offer free tastings! Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Marie and Ivica!

Show them your galls (please)

Leaf, Root and Fruit are trying to figure out the best ways for backyard gardeners to manage their citrus gall wasp problem. They think that pupation is beginning to happen now and they want to know what is happening in your garden, namely whether your wasps are currently at the larvae stage (i.e. white) or pupating (i.e. black). Post your answers, together with a photo, on their Facebook post about the subject.

Do you want some bird netting?

Apted’s Orchards in Arthurs Creek have recently replaced large areas of bird netting due to storm damage. As a result, they have wool bales full of the portions removed that are unsuitable for use in the commercial orchard. Each bale contains a large amount of bird safe netting that would be ideally suited to a group of growers willing to share the netting and reinstate at multiple sites. $50 per bale. Pick up can be arranged with Ben Apted (0400 088769).

Templestowe College farm mini market

As some of you will know, there is a permaculture garden at Templestowe College where they grow quite a lot of food. The college has just announced that they are opening a ‘farm mini market’: “The market will run fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons from 1.30pm in the nursery area. Students will be selling fresh garden produce, herb and veggie seedlings, succulents and other plants as well as cute posies and edible flowers.

Can tamarillos be grown in pots?

Stephen Brennan has written in to ask: “can I grow tamarillos in pots like I can do with tomatoes?

It would be great if someone could email me with their views on the subject for me to pass on to Stephen. But, in the meantime, here is my answer to him: “Yes, but only if the pot is large as your tree can get to around 2-3 metres tall and 1-2 metres wide.Read an article about growing tamarillos by Bulleen Art & Garden nursery.

Want to create your own bee hotel?

Newsletter reader Katrina Forstner (aka Buzz and Dig) has written an article on how to build a bee hotel and encourage some native solitary bees into your garden.

More fun facts about bananas

Yosefine Deans has written in to point out that, whilst commercial bananas are seedless, wild bananas have seeds and these have to be pollinated by bats or other animals for the fruit to set. See, for example, this article on the Bat Conservation International website. (the picture right is from Wikipedia)

Whilst we’re on the subject, here’s another fun fact: once a banana plant has fruited, it will never fruit again. So you should cut it down to make room for the other suckers. Has anyone got a machete that I could use?

Want some spent coffee grounds?

Darebin’s ‘Café to Garden’ program enables residents to pick up spent coffee grounds from participating Darebin cafes. The following cafes are currently participating:

  • Cafe Qtee – 287 Broadway Street, Reservoir; 9462 5440.
  • Harvest Food Store, 108 Station Street, Fairfield; 9481 4718.
  • Miss Margaret – 14C Gilbert Road, Preston; 8592 6910.
  • Red Bean Coffee – 121 Plenty Road, Preston; 9416 8612.
  • Sartoria – 115 Plenty Road, Preston; 9480 5664.
  • Tasties Cafe – 356 High Street, Preston; 9470 2260.
  • The Tea Rose – 25 Railway Place, Fairfield; 9486 3518.
  • Three Locals – 127 Station Street, Fairfield; 9078 6579.

Another cafe is Nourish Me Cafe – 131 Burnley Street, Richmond; 9429 4477.

Or, if you want greater quantities, you can get them delivered by Reground – 0466 242575; email. Minimum delivery quantities: 2 bins if you live in inner Melbourne or 7 bins if you live in outer Melbourne.

Finally, you can also get coffee husks from the following two roasters:

In most cases, you have to call in advance and take your own containers. See the local resources page on our website for more details.

Is your soil safe?

Stimulated by an article in this newsletter from a few weeks ago, Stuart Rodda submitted his soil for testing by VegeSafe and has just received his results. “I am relieved to say that my results are all well within what is considered as ‘safe’ for food growing by the Australian Government’s published standards.” The results from VegeSafe are set out in the table below, together with the Australian standards that Stuart and I have agreed are the best ones to use (VegeSafe sent Stuart a table with seven different sets of standards from around the world but it is a real dog’s dinner with the different standards being for completely different things and it has taken Stuart and I a considerable amount of time to work out that the most appropriate standards to use are the so-called ‘Australian NEPC Health-based investigation levels (Residential A).) The numbers are all in mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram), which is the same as ppm (parts per million).

  Mg / Kg
  As Cd Cr Cu Mn Pb Ni Zn
West veggie patch 4.9 0 51 22 210 24 0 55
East veggie patch 15.5 0 66 40 277 69 0 152
Raised bed 7.5 0 45 22 201 17 0 76
Old orchard 8.0 0 57 15 304 51 0 28
North end 5.2 0 42 24 261 19 0 347
Health-based investigation levels
(Residential A)
100 20 100 6,000 3,800 300 400 7,400

Here’s Stuart’s commentary: “In thinking about the results, I have found this paper from Cornell University very helpful. The elements of most interest from a human health point of view are arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr) and lead (Pb). Copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) are all essential for plant growth and human nutrition so, unless exceptionally high, are not generally a concern. My land was previously used as an orchard (around 40 years ago) so there was the potential for residues of toxic materials in the soil from sprays, etc. The test included samples of the ‘original’ orchard soil and two vegetable growing beds which I have heavily modified with imported manures, mulches, lime, gypsum, and more recently coffee and lignite (brown coal). There was no cadmium detected. The ‘East veggie patch’ (which is at the bottom of the valley) had consistently higher levels of As, Cr and Pb than the ‘West veggie patch’ (which is part way up the hill), which makes sense if the elements present leach downhill over time or tend to accumulate in the bottom of the valley. Note that chromium and arsenic are two of the elements which are used in ‘treated pine’ as a preservative and these products are no longer recommended for use where there is human contact.

The VegeSafe program is run by Environmental Science staff at Macquarie University and offers a very cheap ($20 donation) say of getting your soil tested for metal and metalloid contaminants. Read more. Submit sample.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Permablitz’s article on the Ebbings silverberry.

Joke of the week

If corn oil comes from corn, what does baby oil come from?

Read all the jokes.

New events

Book launch – Tomato: Know, Sow, Grow, Feast

What: Tomato: Know, Sow, Grow, Feast is a new book by Karen Sutherland, Janice Sutton and Penny Woodward. At this launch, Karen will talk and then there will an opportunity to pick up a signed copy plus some drinks and nibbles.
When: Thursday, 6th December, 6-8pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Community Leaders in Sustainability Course information session

What: Darebin and Banyule Councils are offering a free 12 week course on project management, resourcing and communication for local environmental community projects. The course starts in February and finishes in April. Course participants need to live, work or study in Darebin or Banyule Councils. Participants can apply as an individual or as a team. To find out more, go along to this Information Session where you will hear about Councils’ environmental strategies and get some guidance on possible project ideas.
When: Thursday, 13th December, 6-8pm.
Where: Darebin Council Chambers.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kombucha tea workshop

What: Learn to make your own kombucha tea with Dayle Barnett. Dayle is a chemistry major who often has many different brews fermenting in all corners of the house and enjoys experimenting with kombucha, jun, kefir and ginger beer.
When: Saturday, 15th December, 10-11.30am.
Where: Central Ringwood Community Centre.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602) and pay at the door.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Diamond Creek Christmas lunch

What: A community lunch at the Uniting Church Hall on Christmas Day, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where everyone is welcome. Door-to-door transport is available if needed.
When: Tuesday, 25th December, midday-3pm.
Where: Uniting Church Hall, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Graham by phone (0419 361487) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cook Indian by the creek

What: 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.
Friday, 7th December, 6.15-8pm. Daal makhani and naan bread. $50.
Friday, 14th December, 6.15-7.45pm. Chicken saagwala, palak paneer, spiced rice and mango lass. $45.
Friday, 4th January, 5.30-7.15pm. Butter chicken and masala lassi. $45.
Friday, 11th January, 6.15-8pm. Flatbread stuffed parantha with chutney and raita. $45.
Thursday, 17th January, 5.30-7.15pm. Street food (chaat) and gulaab jamun. $50.
Monday, 21st January, 5-7pm. South Indian (dosa, sambhar and tomato garlic chutney). $60.
Where: Diamond Creek.
Bookings: by email.
Further information: their Facebook page.

Cook Indian by the creek – kids specials

What: 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.
Thursday, 3rd January, 11am-12.30pm. Flatbread roti. $35.
Thursday, 10th January, 11am-12.30pm. Samosa. $35.
Monday, 14th January, 11am-12.30pm. Seekh kebab rolls. $35.
Where: Diamond Creek.
Bookings: by email.
Further information: their Facebook page.

Bee hive tour

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.
When: Saturday, 19th January, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Rivers of Yarrambat.
Cost: $50 ($79 for a family).
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.

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