Oct 262016
 

Helen Simpson writes about how to grow mint

mintHelen’s article for the month of November is on how to grow mint. As she says in her introduction: “Mint (the Mentha genus) is well known for its rapidly spreading nature. But fewer people are aware that tens of species of mint – and hundreds of varieties – exist, many with their own distinctive properties. Mint is very aromatic, with the oil glands mostly on the underneath of the leaves. Rubbing or crushing the leaves gives off scent. Mint does well in a slightly shady position, although many varieties can be grown in sun, which creates a higher oil content in the leaves. Mint grows best in Spring, particularly with the ample rainfall we are currently experiencing. Come Summer and conditions are generally too dry for luxurious growth and the cold of Winter can cause some mint plants to be deciduous (but they are perennial and should re-grow in the Spring). Because of its invasive nature, many people grow mint in pots. But even in pots, it can sometimes spread due to its tendency to send out runners from the base of the pot.” She then goes on to discuss how to cultivate mint and the different types. Read the full article.

This is the 17th(!) growing guide that Helen has written for the newsletter and, perhaps not surprisingly, she is running out of veggies to talk about. She and I have discussed whether she should cover various leafy greens but have decided that there isn’t enough to say (coriander growing guide: plant the seeds, wait 4 months, then eat the leaves; rocket growing guide: plant the seeds, wait 4 months, then eat the leaves; silverbeet growing guide: plant the seeds, wait 4 months, then eat the leaves). So, instead, we are going to try something new: each month, Helen will interview a local home grower who we have reason to believe has something interesting to say and she will write up the results for the newsletter. So, we now need to find some local home growers who have interesting things to say. Can you help us? Just email me with some suggested names.

Mac McVeigh’s tip of the week

With the horse racing season upon us, I happened to be chatting to a jockey the other day at a gathering. I said it must be a wonderful feeling leading the pack but he said that, unfortunately, he mainly sees the backsides of the other horses. So, I turned the conversation to horse manure. Did you know that horse manure usually has more nutrients than either cow or sheep manure as horses are often fed supplements as well as grass? Also, mushroom compost typically starts its life as horse manure plus stable sweepings – and we know how good that is for our veggies. However, fresh horse manure often contains weed seeds and can burn roots. The trick is to use aged horse manure … and I don’t mean from an old horse! Heat from composting kills most weed seeds, and mixing horse manure into your compost gives great results. Ideally let it age 2-3 months. Until next time, remember: dirty hand are good hands.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips on our website.

Do snails cross copper tape?

snailI don’t think that mine do but Evan Gellert has reason to believe otherwise. And he has photographic evidence! As Evan says “the photo is of a large snail that wasn’t bothered by the copper film tape I fixed to my raised veggie beds around 2 years ago. The copper tape is still in good condition (it can be seen just below the upper plank of the raised bed, with a couple of nails through it). Although it is discoloured and oxidised, the tape still has physical integrity. The snail trail from below makes it pretty clear that the snail passed over the tape, and didn’t simply do a U-turn from inside the veggie bed.

Are you an experienced caterer?

Darebin Council has just released a tender seeking responses from experienced caterers that can deliver healthy food options for ad hoc Council meetings and events. It also recognises caterers who source ethical and sustainably produced, seasonal and local food/ingredients. The tender closes Thursday, 3rd November at 2pm. To view the tender document, either click here or email them.

Do you live near Clifton Hill / North Fitzroy?

Clifton Hill / North Fitzroy Community Bank Branch is offering 20 $250 vouchers for Northcote Nursery to community gardens in the area. To qualify, both you and the garden have to be located in one of the following postcodes: 3054, 3065, 3066, 3067, 3068, 3070, 3071, 3078. Click here to apply.

Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival brochure

A brochure of all the events has now been published, which you can download as a .pdf by clicking here.

As well as being able to book any of the events using the Eventbrite links on our website calendar, you can apparently also book by contacting Tina Stagg by phone (8470 8673) or email.

Pierross Pasticceria Italiana in the news

Pier Varel, owner of Pierross Pasticceria Italiana, was profiled in the 19th October edition of The Weekly Review. The best pizza I have ever had in Australia(!), but you can only buy it on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Coincidently, Pier will be making a rare public appearance on 13th December to demonstrate Italian Christmas cake decorating. Click here for the event details.

10 tips for eating locally and cutting the energy used to produce your food

Karyn Knight has written in to suggest that you might like to read this article.

New events

Vegetarian and vegan food truck event

What: Showcasing the best in meat-free and plant-based street food, their lineup will include: Babou Juice; Babu Ji; Bites On Wheels; Butterlake; CALIKO BBQ; Cheese & Bread; Grace Café, Fitzroy; Jerry's Vegiburgers; Lekker Lekker; Nem N' Nem; Pasta Face; Pierogi Pierogi; Rice and Dice; Señor Churro; Dolly's Sister Vegan Cafe & Bar; Sweet Forbidden Journey; The Butter Thief; The Real Jerk Food Truck; Two Fat Indians; Vegilicious; Von's Vegan Bake House; VUTU Nepalese; Woking Amazing; and Yo India.
When: Friday, 4th November, 5-10pm; Saturday, 5th November, midday-10pm; and Sunday, 6th November, midday-9pm.
Where: Preston Food Truck Park.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Preston Food Truck Park by phone (1300 162636).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Save Our Seeds screening with Seila Hierk

What: Join them as they view SOS – Save Our Seeds. Introduced by Seila Hierk, this documentary discusses the importance of saving seeds – for your garden and for a nation’s food security. Seila will also talk about his own experience as a school gardener, his wicking bed making skills and tips and tricks for saving your own seeds to get the best crop for your own garden.
When: Thursday, 17th November, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: Coburg North.
Cost: note donation.
Enquiries: Permablitz Melbourne by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: Permablitz website.

Joe’s market garden

What: In the run up to the Urban Agriculture Forum, this is one of several community gardening locations opening up to welcome visitors. You can read about Joe’s market garden on the Ceres website. They hold a farmgate stall each Saturday which stocks their produce grown onsite and a few other local organic producers.
When: Saturday, 19th November, 9am-1pm.
Where: Coburg.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Ceres by phone (9389 0100) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

FareShare garden

What: In the run up to the Urban Agriculture Forum, this is one of several community gardening locations opening up to welcome visitors. As well as the garden being open, there will be a session on integrated pest management from 10am to midday.
When: Saturday, 19th November, 10am-1pm.
Where: Abbotsford.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: FareShare by phone (9428 0044) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Ceres organic farm

What: In the run up to the Urban Agriculture Forum, this is one of several community gardening locations opening up to welcome visitors. Meet their propagators and market gardeners. Wander through their farm and learn about how they propagate and grow produce organically. A chance to get some garden advice and to participate in a propagation activity. Ceres organic farm consists of a certified organic market garden, a propagation enterprise that produces certified organic seedlings and is home to 200 Isa brown chooks. It is also utilised as an outdoor teaching space each week for hundreds of visiting school students.
When: Saturday, 19th November, 11am-3pm.
Where: Ceres.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Ceres by phone (9389 0100).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

3000 Acres Saxon Street garden

What: In the run up to the Urban Agriculture Forum, this is one of several community gardening locations opening up to welcome visitors. Includes a tour of the garden.
When: Saturday, 19th November, 1-3pm.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sustainable food garden tour

What: Go along to a sustainable garden tour of the Lambert Residence, winner of the 2015 Whitehorse Sustainable Food Garden Award. During the garden tour, you will have the opportunity to learn how they have created a food forest garden, including: over 50 types of vegetables, fruit, herb and indigenous species; a variety of gardening and composting systems; a greenhouse; a beehive; poultry; a pond; insect hotels; a gabion wall; a wicking bed; a capillary watering table; and a two-bay compost system. Bookings essential. Light refreshments provided (BYO mug).
When: Saturday, 19th November, 2-4pm.
Where: Forest Hill.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Whitehorse Sustainability Officer, Amanda Swayn by phone (9262 6333) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Rooftop honey

What: Go and hear the inspiring story of Rooftop Honey. They are beekeepers with a vision of bringing bees back to the city and suburbs. Their aim is to raise awareness of bees and the vital role that they play in our ecosystems and to be part of a global effort to help save the honey bee from the various threats of disease and human habitation. They will also have some of their produce for you to buy.
When: Wednesday, 23rd November, 7-8pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Watsonia Library by phone (9435 2397).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Gingerbread sleigh for Christmas

What: Irene Williams, from the Victorian Cake Decorating Society, will demonstrate how to make, assemble and decorate a gingerbread sleigh which will make either a beautiful centerpiece for your Christmas table or a great gift to fill with treats.
When: Friday, 25th November, 2-3pm.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Watsonia Library by phone (9435 2397).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Permablitz 191 (Richmond)

What: Dame Nellie Melba kinder, which just celebrated its 100 year anniversary, is located in a beautiful old house surrounded by garden and gum trees, has a very strong sustainability focus, has just put solar panels on the roof and is keen to get the garden beds planted out with edibles for the kids. So they are going to help them do it! Blitz activities on the day: building two bean teepees; constructing garden beds and propagation table; native garden beds and planting in the front and side of the property; and installing a new irrigation system. Workshops: propagation; and plant health and care.
When: Saturday, 26th November, 10am-4pm.
Where: Richmond.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Permablitz Melbourne by email.
Bookings / Further information: Permablitz website.

Crowd Harvest – Epping

What: Melbourne food relief providers are currently being met with higher demand for emergency assistance than they can cope with. FareShare provide 5,000 meals a day to people seeking assistance, yet they need to produce more. Liberty Church also provide a food relief service to Epping. Perhaps, if every individual contributes a little of their excess, food relief providers will have enough for everyone facing a crisis. If you would like to help, please bring any contribution to the FareShare refrigerated van outside Liberty Church.
When: Sunday, 27th November, 10am-2pm.
Where: Epping.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sylvester Hive Community Garden launch

What: Join them to celebrate community food gardening at the launch of the recently completed Sylvester Hive Community Garden. The garden is a joint project of the Pavilion School (recognised for their work with disengaged young people), Darebin Council and the local community. A ‘hive’ is a place where people meet and connect, and the garden will be a base for building relationships between school staff, students and local residents over time, as well as a place to grow delicious local organic food. Costa Georgiadis, from ABC Gardening Australia will give a talk about how growing food using permaculture can bring gardeners and non-gardeners alike together through the celebration of nature’s cycles and seasons, nurturing the soil and the soul. Costa will entertain and inspire through his personal anecdotes of other community gardens, schools and community groups and what makes growing food communally work. Bring a plate of food to share for lunch. Make your own free healthy, pedal powered smoothies with Bike n’ Blend. Free coffee and tea courtesy of Friends of Baucau – remember to bring your re-usable coffee cup or mug! This event is part of the Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival. Click here to download a .pdf of the full program.
When: Saturday, 26th November, 1-2.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Darebin Sustainable Food Officer Lee Tozzi by phone (8470 8392) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit tree propagating workshop

What: There is nothing more satisfying than propagating your own plants. In this workshop, Harry will demonstrate two propagating techniques: basic aerial layering and grafting for citrus and apple trees. You will gain an understanding of the tools and equipment and seasonal timing requirements for each technique as well as how to take care of grafts and propagated plants during their initial growing period. This event is part of the Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival. Click here to download a .pdf of the full program.
When: Sunday, 27th November, 2.15-3.15pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: $10 / $5 Concession.
Enquiries: Tina Stagg by phone (8470 8673) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Chocolate treats workshop with Santa

What: A great way for kids to get into the festive season! They will participate in a hands on facilitated workshop making a selection of Christmas chocolate treats to package and take home. Recipes are included as well as a visit from Santa himself! All materials provided. Suitable for primary school aged children. Note that this workshop requires a parent of guardian to be present.
When: Saturday, 3rd December, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Rivers of Yarrambat.
Cost: $27.
Enquiries: Rivers of Yarrambat by phone (9436 3215) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Homemade Christmas

What: Join Maria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden, and learn how to make preserves using seasonal produce to give away as thoughtful Christmas gifts from the kitchen. She will show some simple preserving and bottling techniques, and you may even go home with a little gift.
When: Thursday, 8th December, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Eltham Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eltham Library by phone (9439 9266).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Italian Christmas cake decorating

What: Pier, from local cafe Pierross Pasticceria Italiana, will show you how to decorate a Christmas cake, with an Italian twist. Learn the techniques – you may be the lucky one to take it home.
When: Tuesday, 13th December, 7-8pm.
Where: Eltham Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Eltham Library by phone (9439 9266).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
  • Composting and worm farming: Wednesday, 26th October, 7-9pm.
  • Green space health benefits: Thursday, 27th October, 11am-midday.
  • Vegan vegout: Thursday, 27th October, 5-11pm.
  • Become a junior chocolatier: Saturday, 29th October, 10-10.45am.
  • Backyard chooks for beginners: Saturday, 29th October, 10am-midday.
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar effectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

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