Nov 222017

Judy Vizzari interviews Evan Gellert

Some of you will know Evan Gellert through his involvement in the wicking beds at Eltham station and the vegetable planters outside healthAbility, or you might have met him at the Heritage Fruits Society in Templestowe. A lucky few of you will know Evan as a master cheese maker. Judy Vizzari has now interviewed Evan as a home grower. Here is how Judy introduces her write up: “Today I visited a green place which is known, unsurprisingly, as Green Place, but which is actually called Dulaiwurrong Village. Dulaiwurrong is an aboriginal word and was the name chosen by the estate’s developer, in consultation with the Wurundjeri people, when the land was sub-divided in the early 2000s. It means platypus and refers to the platypus population which once thrived in the nearby Diamond Creek. This tiny, almost hidden, ‘eco-village’, which backs onto the Diamond Creek, is just a short distance from central Eltham. Once the area was occupied by a single dwelling and was known locally as Connie’s Farmhouse. I was there to meet Evan Gellert, and his partner, Gillian Essex, who were amongst the first residents to build in the village.” She then describes her tour of their garden and Evan’s various volunteering activities. Read the full interview.

This is the first interview by Judy for this newsletter. Judy is an Eltham local with a passion for gardening, reading and writing and painting/drawing. Maintaining her large block of indigenous and introduced species, fruit trees and vegetables is a ‘learn-as-you-go’ affair with mixed results but constant pleasure. She is an enthusiastic member of Nillumbik U3A, where she has recently extended her interests in language, creative writing and the arts. Thanks for volunteering, Judy!

We are still looking for more people who are willing to be interviewed. If you are potentially willing, email us.

Mac’s tip of the week

I have started to notice the odd case of pear and cherry slug on a few trees. As their name suggests, they are commonly found on pears and cherries, but also on quince. On rare cases, they can also be on apples, plums and apricots. They are in fact not a slug, but the soft-skinned larvae of a glossy black sawfly (Caliroa cerasi), and will quickly skeletonise leaves if allowed. After feeding on leaves, they fall to the ground and pupate before appearing again as adults and re-starting the cycle. Control is recommended. You can treat initially by hosing them off. Also predatory insects like hoverflies, paper wasps, lacewings, spiders and insect-eating birds may help you out. Dusting the tree with dry ash, builders lime or even flour can often clean them up but make sure you stand up wind! If you can’t reach, or numbers are too many, you can use low-toxic, organic bacterial sprays such as Dipel or Success. Alternatively spray with organic pyrethrum or neem.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Have you grown Brussels sprouts successfully?

The Adams Farms, in Coldstream, are a Brussels sprout farm, perhaps best known for their annual ‘Sprout Fests’ held in the autumn of each year. Interestingly, as shown in this video, they have already started their plantings for 2018.

Aren’t Brussels sprouts a winter crop? If so, why are the Adams Farms planting them now?

Aren’t Brussels sprouts difficult to grow successfully? What do the Adams Farms do to make sure that they get lots of sprouts? Why do mine never form proper sprouts?

Is it a coincidence that both ‘Adams Farms’ and ‘Brussels sprouts’ both have more s’s than most people would spell them with? Incidentally, here’s a method for finding out which spelling of something is more common: simply do a google search and look at the number of results at the top of page. So, for example, ‘Brussels sprouts’ beats ‘Brussel sprouts’ by 12 million to 6 million. And ‘veggie’ slaughters ‘vegie’ by 120 million to 2 million (and by 1.4 million to 300,000 if the search is restricted to Australia).

If you can answer any of these questions, please email me. It would be absolutely brilliant if someone could tell the rest of us how to grow Brussels sprouts successfully.

New stallholders at Eltham Farmers’ Market

Last Sunday saw 4 stallholders make their debut: Gourmet Pies, from Brunswick (pies); Stir Crazy, from Hawthorn (crackers, shortbreads, oatcakes and cordials); Alpine Walnuts (walnuts and hazelnuts; and Curry Favour.

Now that future schedules have settled down, I thought that it would be a good time to publish an up-to-date list of stallholders. This is available in three different formats:

  1. As a jpg: the advantage of this format is that the list is available on the screen at the single touch of a button.
  2. As a pdf: the advantages of this format are a) that it is scalable and can thus be printed at high resolution and b) that each stallholder name is clickable, taking the user to more detail about that stallholder.
  3. On the website: the advantages of this format are a) that it will always be kept up-to-date and b) that it is both sortable and filterable.

In both the jpg and the pdf, the stallholders new since the market became weekly are highlighted in red and the stallholders who are based in North East Melbourne are highlighted by being on a pale green background.

Local food producers in the news

The 3 Ravens Brewing Company, from Thornbury, were recently the subject of a short video. A link to the video has been added to our local food producer videos page, which now has videos for 29 of our local food producers.

Frankie Spranger, from both Bee Rescue and Heidi Honey Hurstbridge, featured in an article about bee infestations in The Daily News.

Other local food news

You can now buy Warrandyte-based PoppySmack’s sauces from Rump Butchery on Tunstall Square, Doncaster East.

Which link was clicked most times in last week’s newsletter?

A busy person’s guide to watering systems for vegetable gardening.

Joke of the week

How do you stop bacon from curling in the pan? You take away their little brooms.

Read all the jokes.

New events

No-waste Christmas – cooking demonstration and meal planning workshop

What: Did you know that one in five shopping bags ends up in the bin, with over $3,800 worth of groceries per household each year? With the holiday season fast approaching, join Gaby and Jen from Plan Buy Cook for a Christmas cooking demonstration and meal-planning workshop designed to help reduce food waste. Get some tips for making a Christmas feast that doesn’t lead to a fridge full of sad leftovers that no-one wants to eat!
When: Thursday, 23rd November, 7-8pm.
Where: Preston Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mushrooms to mushrooms workshop

What: Learn how to grow your own oyster mushrooms as they take you through the steps of mushroom cultivation with a focus on using urbanly-available waste products. The workshop covers the production of mushrooms using non sterile techniques. You will learn about all the steps involved in mushroom production, from making cultures to creating spawn and fruiting substrates. You will learn how to create your own cultures using nothing but waste stem butts from fresh mushrooms. You will also learn to make mushroom spawn from recycled paper pellets and fruiting blocks using three different urbanly-available substrates: paper pellets, hardwood pellets and spent coffee grounds.
When: Friday, 1st December, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Montrose Town Hall.
Cost: $85 (includes mushroom spawn and fruiting kit).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Food, family, culture – Vietnamese coffee

What: Join Jack Ngo, from Super Duper Coffee, on the rooftop garden. Hear him talk about the unique role that coffee plays in Vietnamese family and culture, the different ways that coffee is served in Vietnam, and his experiences running his own Vietnamese coffee business in Melbourne.
When: Saturday, 2nd December, 2.30-3.30pm.
Where: North Fitzroy Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Growing avocados and other subtropical and tropical fruit

What: Presented by Angelo Eliades.
When: Sunday, 3rd December, 2.30-3.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Grafting workshop

What: Presented by John Pinniger from the Heritage Fruits Society.
When: Sunday, 3rd December, 3.30-4.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
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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