Sep 142016

Eltham Farmers’ Market video stars competition

The farmer starring in this week's video is Peter Apted from Apted’s Orchards. Click here to watch the video and enter the competition. peter-apted
The winner of the first week’s competition (The Mushroom Shed) has now been selected (by random draw). Congratulations, Jane Glynn. jane-glynn

Another new source of free coffee grounds

Nourish Me Cafe, 131 Burnley Street, Richmond, tel: 9429 4477. Thanks, Adrian O’Hagan! Click here for the full, updated list of sources.

So, are coffee grounds actually helpful to growing veggies? Marina Bistrin thinks that the answer is “yes” and has submitted into evidence a paper evaluating a trial in Vietnam which concludes that coffee husks are a good addition to compost. In an article published by Sustainable Gardening Australia, Sarah Hardgrove agrees re compost but warns against adding uncomposted coffee to the garden.

Marina is rapidly becoming a regular contributor to this newsletter. This week, she has also reviewed a book entitled The Intelligent Gardener – Growing Nutrient Dense Food, which is particularly relevant for those with clay soils. Read her review on our website.

Rock dust

Stuart Rodda writes in: “An ‘organic’ source of many minerals, including potassium, is finely ground rock dust, particularly basalt rock. There are various suppliers of rock dust-based soil additives, such as Munash, but most of them have other additives to enhance the overall effect and are thus quite expensive (upwards of $2/Kg). If one just wants basalt rock dust, it can be bought at some local garden suppliers, but it is often quite coarse and would take a long time (decades) for the larger grit to break down in the soil and release its nutrients. Thus it is quite important that it is finely ground. I have one source of quite fine basalt rock dust and, while it is dearer (per cubic metre) than a lot of other garden soil additives, it is much cheaper than specially manufactured and packaged ‘rock dusts’. It is from Mercuri Garden and Building Supplies at 2, The Concord, Bundoora, and costs about $105 per cubic metre. This equates to around 10 cents per litre and, because it is quite dense (heavy), this is less than 5 cents per Kg, or thus a tiny fraction of the cost of packaged rock dusts. I am not sure what they would charge for small quantities but, for people like me with larger gardens who buy loose materials by the trailerload, it is a bargain.

Do you, or can you, hatch chickens?

Sherborne Primary School in Briar Hill is looking for help to hatch some chickens. They have a budget for outside assistance. If you are potentially interested, email me and I’ll put you in contact with the relevant person.

Mac McVeigh’s tip of the week

After good winter and early spring rainfall, it is now time to spread a bit of fertiliser. I prefer organic, pelletised for slow release or powder for a quicker supply of nutrients if your plants are crying out. Organic not only feeds your plants, but also your soil micro-organisms which then, in turn, help your plants.

Yes, it depends on what you are feeding. Natives may need nothing … or a light sprinkle of blood and bone. Yellowing native leaves might call for a shot of Iron chelate. For fruit trees, perhaps ample slow release pellets. Vacant veggie beds could have cow manure and/or mushroom compost/pellets dug through for future spring plantings.

A Local Baker St Andrews with some news

A Local Baker St Andrews is now a cafe as well as a bakery.

Some local food organisations in the news

Old Evropa in the 14th September edition of The Weekly Review. old-evropa
Nature’s Harvest Hurstbridge in the 7th September edition of The Weekly Review. They sell products from a number of local food producers: Hildebrand Grove (olive oil), Organic Times (chocolate) and Under The Pickle Tree (relishes, sauces and pastes). natures-harvest
Blue Pear Pantry in the September edition of The Warrandyte Diary. blue-pear-pantry


New events

Special information session for Victorian schools and centres with Stephanie Alexander

What: Stephanie Alexander and Foundation CEO Ange Barry will be delivering groundbreaking news on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation’s (SAKGF’s) collaboration with the Victorian State Government, aimed at giving more schools and learning centres access to pleasurable food education. Learn about the Foundation’s new Pleasurable Food Education Package, subsidised by funding from the Victorian Department of Education and available to Victorian schools and early learning centres from mid-September. The Package is a heavily subsidised complete kitchen garden toolkit of educational resources, professional development and support that gives you all the information you need to start growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal, delicious produce, and delivering a range of health, learning and wellbeing benefits to children and communities. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you are an early years educator, teacher, principal, school administrator, volunteer or interested family member.
When: Wednesday, 14th September, 5.30-6.30pm.
Where: Collingwood College, Collingwood.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: SAKGF by phone (8415 1993) or email.
Bookings / Further information: SAKGF website.

Burnley bees and Backyard Honey

What: The Friends of Burnley Gardens invite you to join them for a talk with Peter Dyer, from Backyard Honey. Go along and learn how to cultivate your own hive. Peter has developed an innovative apiary service to provide local city dwellers with the skills and equipment necessary to host bee hives and obtain pure local honey from their own backyards. Their own ‘Burnley honey’ will be for sale.
When: Wednesday, 14th September, 7.30-8.30pm.
Where: University of Melbourne, Richmond.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries/Bookings: Friends of Burnley Gardens by phone (9035 6815) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Moving feast – entree

What: Celebrating the cultural diversity in the Whittlesea community, your libraries are bringing the flavors of the world to you, with progressive cooking demonstrations and tastings. Enjoy tasty treats at Whittlesea Library at 11am and/or delicious dishes at Mill Park Library at 1.30pm.
When: Saturday, 17th September, 11am-midday.
Where: Whittlesea Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Jack Chan by phone (9437 8189) or email.
Bookings: Yarra Plenty Library website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Moving feast – main meal

What: Celebrating the cultural diversity in the Whittlesea community, your libraries are bringing the flavors of the world to you, with progressive cooking demonstrations and tastings. Enjoy tasty treats at Whittlesea Library at 11am and/or delicious dishes at Mill Park Library at 1.30pm.
When: Saturday, 17th September, 1.30-3pm.
Where: Mill Park Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Jack Chan by phone (9437 8189) or email.
Bookings: Yarra Plenty Library website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible weeds walk

What: What if many of the weeds in our garden were just as edible as the vegetables we tend beside them? What if some of these these free, all-too-easy-to-grow uninvited guests were so nutritionally dense that they are just about the healthiest things you could possibly eat? What if many of them also had medical traditions dating back centuries? Well it’s all true! And if you know what to choose, they also taste great. Join Adam Grubb, co-author of The Weed Forager’s Handbook, for a fascinating walk on the wild side.
When: Saturday, 24th September, 2-4pm.
Where: Merri Creek, Brunswick East.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: Very Edible Gardens website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Backyard Honey apiarists

What: Display hive, apiary information and bee nutrition plus raw unheated mutlifloral Melbourne honey and Victorian varietals honey tastings.
When: Saturday, 8th October, 10am-2pm.
Where: Bunnings, Brunswick.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Jane Dyer by phone (0425 727987) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; and Baker’s percentage and hydration. During the workshop you will be hands on: mix, knead and fold the dough; shape loaves; score and bake; and maintain a starter.
When: Saturday, 8th October, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik Panton Hill by phone (9433 3799) or email.
Bookings: Living & Learning website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Permablitz turns ten!

What: Join them for an afternoon in the sun as they thank the founders, the designers, the former hosts, the Collective members from both then and now, those that inspired them and, of course, the volunteers that make it all possible. There will be food, drinks, music and games. And it wouldn’t be a Permablitz event if they didn’t have some workshops.
When: Sunday, 23rd October, 11am-4pm.
Where: PepperTree Place, Coburg.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Permablitz Melbourne by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Open Cellars of Nillumbik Wineries

What: Visit any or all of 16 small family-owned wineries in Nillumbik, each with an individual style, where the grapes are hand-picked and hand-crushed by family and friends in the traditional style, with wines developed on site. This is a chance to sample exquisite wines from the artisan wine-makers of the western Yarra Valley, at wineries not always open to the public. You will also find excellent food to complement the wine, as well as live music and artworks from local artists at some venues. There is no entry fee, or tasting fee, at any of the venues. The 16 wineries participating in 2016 are: Buttermans Track, Diamond Valley Vineyards, Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard, Kings of Kangaroo Ground, Massaros, Naked Range Wines, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Punch – Yarra Valley, Shaws Road Winery, Stockman Wines, Swipers Gully Vineyard, Watson’s Creek Wines, Wedgetail Estate and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard.
When: Saturday, 15th October and Sunday, 16th October, both 11am-5pm.
Where: various around Nillumbik.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Nillumbik Tourism Association by phone (1300 660072).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to permaculture (two day)

What: Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a whole system approach to ecological planning and design for sustainable living. This workshop will be beneficial to those new to the concept of permaculture or for those thinking of undertaking a permaculture design course (PDC).
When: Saturday, 19th November and Saturday, 26th November, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $85 for the two days.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
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. how to search for events in a given suburb).

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