Sep 112019

Want some cheap mushroom blocks?

Simon Hughes from Heidelberg Heights has written in: “I have a lot of spent mushroom blocks I will sell for $5 each. Some are $10 as they’ve only had one flush of mushrooms and will keep producing for the next couple of months.” If interested, contact Simon by phone (0468 306615) or email (

Using (or not using) gravel in pots – an update

Following last week’s article, Tracey Bjorksten has written in: “This is a topic that always seems to get people talking, I think because the physics feels counter-intuitive to many. This old research paper has some pictures that illustrate the phenomenon of the perched water table. The degree to which the raising of the perched water table by a layer of gravel is going to cause a problem will vary according to pot size, shape, particle size of potting mix used, watering habits, the tolerance of the plant to waterlogging, etc and I suspect this is a reason why people are reluctant to give up their gravel.”

Angelo Eliades has also weighed in: “The short answer is that generally it’s a bad idea to use gravel at the bottom of plant pots. For a longer answer, see the new article on my website, which goes heavily into the science, delving into the physics and physical chemistry.

Got any excess fruit?

Dassana wrote in to ask where she could donate her excess tangelos (see picture). I spoke with the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC) and they said they would be delighted to receive them. ASRC’s various collection points are listed on their website.

As Dassana said after dropping off the tangelos: “It was a good thing to do. Good for me. Good for the people collecting the donations. And good for the people receiving the donations.

Free spent coffee grounds for your garden – another update

A third Eltham cafe has now contacted us to offer their spent coffee grounds: Organic Fix, 937 Main Road. Just visit and pick up from Lynn-eva.

It seems like many cafes would like to give their spent coffee grounds away. So, if you want some, my suggestion is that you simply call in at your local cafe and ask.

A new maker of sweet treats – Salt N Caramel

Salt N Caramel, from Mernda, make cake slices, tarts and cookies. You can buy their stuff at
Eltham Community Craft and Produce Market
, South Morang Farmers & Makers Market or (on 3rd Sundays) Eltham Farmers’ Market. So, they should be at Eltham Farmers’ Market this coming Sunday. Read their Local Food Directory page. Welcome, Meleena and Riccardo!.

Community gardening news

SEEDs Communal Garden in Brunswick has published a video about their garden.

There are now videos of 43 different local food producers on our website. Plus 12 videos of different home growers

Food swap news

Peppertree Food Swap

The Peppertree Food Swap in Coburg is back! Saturday, 5th October, 10am-1pm.

St Andrews Food Swap

St Andrews Food Swap has moved and is now at A Local Baker, 83 Burns Street.

Want to look after some bees?

Viola Pythas has posted on Facebook: “I’m posting on behalf of my elderly father, George, who has been a passionate registered beekeeper for approx. 20 years. He has 15 hives between 2 sites in the Donvale/Warrandyte area that he needs assistance to manage this year. He’s offering anyone who would like to learn beekeeping an opportunity for free mentoring to build confidence and experience by helping with spring inspections, splits, harvesting etc. All equipment provided. Just need to be available approximately 1-2 days per week (weather dependent) and eager to learn/help. There’ll definitely be some honey benefits. Please message me if interested.

Applications for the 2019 Fair Food Week are now open

Fair Food Week will run from 12th to 19th October. You can apply to organise an event. Read more and apply.

Applications for the 2020 Sustainable Living Festival are now open

The 2020 Sustainable Living Festival will run throughout the month of February. You can apply to organise an event, be an exhibitor, play music or volunteer. Closing date: 31st October. Read more and apply.

The Community Grocer stall in Heidelberg West

As the picture illustrates, the first Community Grocer stall in Heidelberg West passed off successfully. I bought some mandarins, which were yum. The stall is every Saturday, so the next stall is next Saturday.

Not local but interesting – Knox Community Gardens

Knox Community Gardens in Boronia will be celebrating their 35th birthday on Sunday, 13th October, 9am-4pm. There will be market stalls, community stalls, kids activities, workshops, music and guest speakers, with more detail hopefully available on their Facebook page nearer the time. The gardens are substantial, with around 150 plots and raised beds of various sizes.

Not food but interesting – Banyule carbon emission reduction plans

Fay Loveland has written in to point out that Banyule Council is running two focus groups to discuss how to reduce carbon emissions, one in Heidelberg on 10th September at 6.30-8.30pm and the other in Greensborough on 12th September at 6.30-8.30pm. Registration is free but essential. As Fay says, “ It would be great if Banyule-based newsletter readers could head along and tell the Council about all the food-related initiatives they are doing to reduce carbon emissions – like growing food at home, buying locally grown food at farmers’ markets, composting waste, etc.

Permablitz hero of the month – lettuce

Lettuce is an annual plant, most often grown as a leaf vegetable, and is most often used for salads – yum!Read the article.

Read more Permablitz heroes of the month.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Leaf, Root & Fruit’s Spring planting guide.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Cally Beaton: I regret rubbing ketchup in my eyes but that’s Heinz sight.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Preparing a Spring/Summer veggie garden: Saturday, 14th September, 12.30-2pm; Buna Reserve Community Garden, Heidelberg West.

What: Facilitated by Robin & Paul Gale-Baker and organised by Transition 3081. There are groups of vegetables that comprise the spring/summer veggie garden. Each needs different soil preparation and pH, some are planted from seedlings and some direct, and they have different watering requirements. This workshop will cover soil preparation, how to test and rectify pH problems, and give tips for the successful growing of each family of spring/summer vegetables.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: Humanitix.

Edible weeds: Thursday, 19th September, 3-4.30pm; Heide, Bulleen.

What: Join weed forager Adam Grubb and Heide Head Gardener David Murphy for a guided tour of edible weeds in the Heide gardens. Finish with garden-inspired canapes and glass of wine.
Cost: $32
Bookings: EventBrite.

Peppertree Food Swap: Saturday, 5th October, 10am-1pm; PepperTree Place, Coburg.

What: The Peppertree Place Food Swap is back! Listen to live music, enjoy coffee and food from the cafe, pick up a plant from the nursery and don’t forget to bring your empty containers because Roving Refills will be there too. You can also learn more about Kevin Heinze GROW and their therapeutic horticulture model available onsite at Peppertree.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

The art of watering: Saturday, 12th October, 12.30-2pm; Bellfield Community Garden.

What: Facilitated by Robin Gale-Baker and organised by Transition 3081. Learn how to assess the watering needs of vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and bushes, and plants in pots. Both under-watering and over-watering are a waste of water and it is important to water such that plants grow healthily whilst also conserving water as much as practicable.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: Humanitix.

Urban chickens 101: Saturday, 12th October, 2-4pm; Central Ringwood Community Centre.

What: Presented by Olwyn Smiley from The Backyard Vegetable and Jess Ness from Bedford Park Community Garden. With so many varieties of chooks, there’s a chook for every size of yard. They are enormously rewarding pets so if you’ve ever considered having them, or perhaps you’ve recently purchased chooks and need a little advice, go along for a discussion on the basics of urban chook raising.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).

Kevin Heinze GROW 40th Anniversary Spring Festival: Saturday, 19th October, 9am-3pm; Kevin Heinze GROW, Doncaster.

What: Perennials, herbs, succulents, natives, fruit trees and vegetable seedlings for sale. Also, homemade cakes & preserves, Devonshire teas, secondhand book stall, kids’ corner with face painting, coffee cart, BBQ, jazz band, flower stall, icy poles and KHG merchandise. There will also be a series of workshops: 10-10.30am – worm farming for beginners; 11-11.30am – growing great tomatoes; 12-12.30pm – the art of composting; 1-1.30pm – live lighter – waste and recycling; and 2-2.30pm – fruit tree pruning.
Cost: Free to attend. Workshops are $5 each online or $10 on the day.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Backyard beekeeping: Monday, 21st October, 6-7pm; Coburg Library.

What: Morgan from 3000 acres will discuss keeping honey bees in urban Melbourne and how to help bees even if you don’t keep them. This session is for bee beginners.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Make your own beeswax wraps with Emma Grace: Saturday, 9th November, 10am-2pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make and maintain their own beeswax wraps; learn skills that are transferable to the home environment; and bundling techniques. What you will get: take home your beeswax wraps. Presenter: Emma Grace. You will learn how to make and maintain their own beeswax wraps for keeping food fresh and hygienic without the use of single-use plastics such as cling-wrap. This is a hands-on workshop where participants will make their own washable and re-usable ready-to-use beeswax wraps.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Intro to permaculture (3 sessions): on Saturdays 9th November, 23rd November and 7th December, each 10am-4pm, 10am-4pm; Park Orchards.

What: Trainer: Cass Groves. Learn about permaculture design principles to make your garden more sustainable and abundant. The course includes a brief history of permaculture, zone planning, soil health, companion planting, energy and water harvesting.
Cost: $195 ($85 ACFE funded).
Bookings: their website.

Chooks in the city: Sunday, 10th November, 10-11am and again 12.30-1.30pm; Northcote.

What: Led by Jessamy Miller, this workshop will explain all about keeping well-nourished, safe and happy chooks in an urban garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Kitchen medicine – the garden farmacy: Sunday, 10th November, 2-4.30pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: an introduction to herbal medicine making; plant identification; guidelines for foraging and wild-crafting; medicinal uses for plants; and how to introduce medicinal herbs into the kitchen for medicine. What you will get: a remedy and a seedling. Presenter: Lisa Hodge. Take a walk through the CERES garden beds and bring the wisdom of traditional herbal medicines into a modern context. During this workshop, you will explore traditional and modern uses of the plants and how to introduce these plants into the kitchen as medicine. You will make an item to take home as well as a seedling.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Beeswax wrap workshop: Wednesday, 13th November, 6-8pm; Balwyn North.

What: Learn how to make eco-friendly beeswax wraps. The wraps are made with all-natural ingredients and can be used instead of plastic bags or cling wrap. You will make 4 wraps on the day (2 x small, 1 x medium, 1 x large) and learn how to make more at home. Notes will be provided.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: their website.

New events – cooking

Lunchbox made easy in the Thermomix: Monday, 30th September, midday-2pm; Chirnside Park.

What: Learn how to make veg and cheese scrolls at a fraction of the cost, healthy muesli bars and muffins. Be a lunchbox warrior. Tastings available on the day. Kids are welcome they will have a playdough station set up on the day.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: EventBrite.

One meal many ways: Thursday, 3rd October, 10-11am; healthAbility, Eltham.

What: Join healthAbility’s resident qualified chef Mel us for a cooking demonstration and find out how you can create a basic meal into multiple recipe options. Followed by morning tea.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9430 9100).

Kids in the kitchen: Friday, 4th October, 10.30am-1.30pm; Panton Hill.

What: Facilitated by Kerry Meredith from Under The Pickle Tree. Get your kids in the kitchen for spring school holidays. Learn how to make delectable Vietnamese spring rolls ha noi style. Whereas southern rolls are slim, the northern version is fat and filling. Also make an authentic Vietnamese dipping sauce, homemade Vietnamese lime sodas and finish with a coconut ice-cream sundae. Your kids will learn about food safety and hygiene and cook you a delicious meal.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: their website.

Cook and feast with Audra Morrice: Saturday, 5th October, 11am-12.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Join Audra Morrice, former MasterChef Australia finalist, as she cooks up recipes from her new book Cook and Feast.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: their website.

Thermomix eat well – demonstration-style cooking class: Tuesday, 8th October, 6.30-8.30pm; Eltham.

What: The recipes to be demonstrated are all gluten free and will include: mango muesli with plain yoghurt; seeded tahini crackers; turmeric, lemon and ginger tea; either steamed salmon or hunters stew; white bean dip with chimichurri; quinoa with mixed greens and yoghurt dressing; smoky Mexican bean soup; carrot cake bliss balls; and ricotta and pistachio cheesecake. Tastings will be available throughout the evening. You will also receive a copy of all the recipes.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Vegan cooking demonstration: Thursday, 31st October, 7.45-8.45pm; Brunswick Library.

What: Are you vegan or thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? Learn how to cook some Italian vegan and gluten-free dishes with Head Chef Edoardo from Shop 225.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Authentic Mexican with Matt Baker from Whe-Eat: Saturday, 9th November, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: Mexican cuisine; improve your culinary skills; and work with seasonal ingredients. Presenter: Matt Baker from Whe-Eat. Menu: blackened chicken thighs with quinoa; Mexican corn on the cob; Mexican white bait fritters tortillas with salsa crude; cactus and tomatillos salsa; crispy pulled pork carnitas; and dark chocolate mole.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Vegan cheese making with Nase Supplitt: Sunday, 10th November, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make your own vegan cheese; and how to make vegan milks, creamy spreads and dairy-free desserts. Presenter: Nase Supplitt.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Yoghurt and kefir making: Tuesday, 12th November, 7-8.30pm; Hawthorn Community House.

What: Yoghurt and kefir can be a healthy part of our everyday diet. Learn how to make your own fresh yoghurt and kefir, how use it in smoothies, ice-cream, dips or to make kefir cheese. There will be a yoghurt and milk kefir starter to purchase on the day (cost $10 for the yoghurt and $15 for the milk kefir).
Cost: $25.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Healthy summer eating (thermomix): Tuesday, 12th November, 7.30-9pm; Kilsyth.

What: Don’t wait for Summer to get here before you develop good eating habits. Make the most of the seasonal fruit and vegetables with this summer healthy eating class.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.

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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