Sep 182019

Judy visits St Johns Riverside Community Garden in Heidelberg

St Johns Riverside Community Garden recently installed a new type of wicking bed called FoodCubes and Judy Vizzari and I were invited to the installation event. As Judy says in her writeup: “there are 12 bins in total, each a metre square, connected by a pipe which extends the full length of the row and maintains a level of water in the reservoirs in each base. On top of each base is a moulded upper container with four hollow legs. The upper bins are filled with potting soil which is also packed into the hollow legs extending down into the reservoir below to enable water to be drawn upwards as required by growing plants. This system provides a constant water source adjusted by a single overflow valve serving all bins. Curved rods are placed into slots to support shade cloth or netting which will prevent insects and animals from ravaging crops.

We took advantage of the opportunity to look round the rest of the garden and talk with the ten or so members who were there on the day. As Judy discusses in her writeup, we were shown the extensive composting facilities, the beehives that the garden shares with The Beekeepers Club Inc and the varied artwork, as well as the veggie beds and fruit trees.

Read Judy’s full writeup.

Claire Hetzel, from 3000acres, discusses carbon farming

In August, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report entitled Climate Change and Land. Along with presenting some stark figures on agricultural emission rates, it discusses how changes to agricultural practices can help to produce healthier land, healthier food and healthier people, while also acting to reverse climate change.

It is not alone in seeing the potential for practice change to manage risks and reduce vulnerabilities in land and food systems. Close to home, there are some examples of regenerative agriculture initiatives that not only reduce emissions but also utilise living systems to capture carbon from the atmosphere. These include Gippsland farmer Niels Olsen, who is even getting paid for his efforts!

On a smaller scale, even our choices around local food production practices can potentially support reduced emissions and active drawdown of carbon. As research demonstrates, allotment soils in cities can show higher concentrations of organic carbon than arable soils.

So, as we tend our gardens this Spring, it would seem that we can cultivate more than food through simple practices like using living mulches, incorporating compost and diversifying annuals with perennials. Happy carbon farming!

Read more issues analysed by 3000acres.

Want a job?

CERES is seeking a part-time Urban Farmer to manage two micro enterprises – Honey Lane market garden and Honey Lane eggs. Working with volunteers, you will engage and educate the wider community about the benefits of urban food production and community food systems. Closing date: 30th September. Read more and apply.

Local food organisations in the news – Kevin Heinze GROW

Kevin Heinze GROW, in Doncaster, featured in a 5(!) page spread in the latest issue of Gardening Australia magazine.


Kevin Heinze GROW’s 40th Anniversary Spring Festival is on Saturday, 19th October, 9am-3pm at 39 Wetherby Road. If you go to the festival, make sure that you also have a walk around their amazing community garden.

Eltham Wine Show

The Eltham Wine Show is on Sunday, 17th November, 10.30am-2.30pm at the Veneto Club, 191 Bulleen Road, Bulleen. If you have never been before, it is a unique event, partly because of the large numbers of wines to taste and partly because of the large numbers of people who attend. It is Australia’s largest amateur wine show!

If you are a winemarker and would like your wine to be included, the closing date for applications is 20th October. Download the application form.

Does your Council have a ‘no spray’ register?

In Moreland, you can choose not to have any chemically-based herbicide spraying outside your property – see their website.

Two more articles from Angelo Eliades

Formative pruning, vase form – how to prune young fruit trees in the first three years.

Garden arches, vertical gardening for more growing area in small spaces.

Read more of Angelo’s food-related articles.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

ASRC’s food collection points.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Vince Rozmiarek: I saw a baguette at the zoo. It was bread in captivity.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Eating for energy masterclass: Thursday, 3rd October, 6.30-8pm; Chirnside Park Community Hub.

What: Led by Rosie Chehade. This class will provide an information session of the power of pure energy, clean eating 101, and 5 health hacks that will change your life. Learn about the power of real food as medicine, gain a balanced perspective of all things health and ditch the diet forever! Includes a mini smoothie demo.
Cost: $35.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Just Eat It (film): Thursday, 3rd October, 6.30-8.30pm; Preston.

What: Join them to mark the launch of Darebin’s food waste recycling service. Around 38% of the household waste bin in Darebin is food. From 7th October, Darebin residents will be able to add food waste to their existing green waste bin, along with garden waste. This includes fruit and vegetable scraps, meat and bones, bread, cheese and even those uneaten leftovers. Just Eat It is a documentary film about food waste and food rescue. We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing so much of it in the trash?
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Citrus care workshop: Sunday, 6th October, 2-5pm; Sylvester Hive, Preston.

What: Presented by Kaye Roberts-Palmer. The workshop will cover citrus botany (i.e. different types of citrus, organic pest control strategies and nutrient deficiencies. It will also include a shape pruning demonstration. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Macleod Organic Community Garden tour and talk: Wednesday, 9th October, 2-3.30pm; Macleod Organic Community Garden.

What: Robin Gale-Baker will give a tour of the garden and discuss adjusting planting schedules and plant care in the light of climate change. Afternoon tea at 3pm.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (0408 733683) or email.

Getting a harvest – Summer vegetables: Sunday, 20th October, 9-11am and again at midday-2pm; Camberwell.

What: Learn all you need to know to grow fresh produce at home in Summer. What you will learn: planning your Summer veggie garden – what to plant and when; soil maintenance in the Summer months; smart watering and managing hot weather; feeding and maintaining the patch for a great harvest; mulching; introducing sustainable ways to improve productivity – crop rotation and companion planting; starting with seeds and seedlings; tips for sustainably avoiding and managing pests and diseases; and harvesting.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite (9am, midday).

Bellfield Community Garden Festa 19: Sunday, 20th October, midday-4pm; Bellfield Community Garden.

What: Jointly organised by Bellfield Community Garden and Ivanhoe Garden Club. Demonstrations will include: growing Asian vegetables, composting, beekeeping, making insect hotels, making your own seed pots, flower arranging and bonsai pruning. Stalls will include: plants & seedlings, homemade preserves, local honey and Roving Refills. Also, wood-fired pizza, sausage sizzle and Devonshire tea.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Children’s day at Macleod Organic Community Garden: Saturday, 26th October, 10am-midday; Macleod Organic Community Garden.

What: Children and their families are invited for a morning of gardening, healthy food and learning about sustainable living. Click here to read about the garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Advanced mushroom growing: Saturday, 9th November, 10am-12.30pm; Central Ringwood Community Centre.

What: Led by Sena. The workshop will include topics such as: propagation of pure culture spore & clone; spore print and tissue culture; making agar master bank; agar to agar inoculation; making grain spawn; master & second generation sterilisation; laboratory equipment; and how to build and use your homemade lab.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).

Native fruit: Thursday, 14th November, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: the A-Z of growing native fruit; handy hints and tips from an experienced native fruit grower; and when to harvest native fruit, and different ways to use it. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Native produce plants – or bush food – are becoming increasingly popular. Whilst many native fruits can’t be grown in Melbourne, some can. You’ll learn how to grow, harvest and use such fruit, with a particular focus on what can be grown in pots.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Bees wax wraps: Thursday, 14th November, 7-9pm; Mount Evelyn.

What: Holly from Holly’s Backyard Bees will show you how to make bees wax wraps and will have a selection of Christmas fabrics for you to choose from.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: by phone (9736 1177).

Beekeeping workshop: Saturday, 16th November, 10am-1pm; Central Ringwood Community Centre.

What: Ben Moore from Ben’s Bees get you to suit up and learn about: cast systems; swarm control; disease identification & management; how to harvest bee products such as honey, pollen, bees wax & propolis; and how to grow a bee-friendly garden.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: by phone (9870 2602).

Farm tour and garlic harvest: Saturday, 16th November, 10.30am-midday; Sugarloaf Produce, Strathewen.

What: Sugarloaf Produce is a small non-certified organic farm located in Strathewen. Learn how they grow vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and eggs without the use of synthetic chemicals, and how they produce compost using a mixture of farm green waste, manure, and other organic materials.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Bee hive tour: Saturday, 16th November, 10.30am-12.30pm; Yarrambat.

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.
Cost: $75 (plus various packages for families).
Bookings: their website.

Farm tour and Spring planting: Saturday, 16th November, 2-3.30pm; Sugarloaf Produce, Strathewen.

What: Sugarloaf Produce is a small non-certified organic farm located in Strathewen. Learn how they grow vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and eggs without the use of synthetic chemicals, and how they produce compost using a mixture of farm green waste, manure, and other organic materials.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Native edibles – walk, talk, taste: Saturday, 16th November, 2-4.30pm; Karen Sutherland’s garden, Pascoe Vale South.

What: Presented by Karen Sutherland. There are many edible native plants that are easy to grow in urban gardens and pots. Karen’s own garden grows around 40 native edible plants and is a great place to see how they grow. You will look at lemon myrtle, her lesser known cousin cinnamon myrtle, native pepper, a range of salt bushes and some native fruits.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Spring food forest – walk, talk, taste: Sunday, 17th November, 10am-12.30pm; Karen Sutherland’s garden, Pascoe Vale South.

What: Presented by Karen Sutherland. Take a guided tour of Karen’s garden. Taste some new and interesting plants. You will receive a packet of seeds saved from the garden.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Eltham Wine Show: Sunday, 17th November, 10.30am-2.30pm; Bulleen.

What: Australia’s largest amateur wine show: around 700 wines available for tasting; wine awards and presentations; artisan olive oil sampling & sales; and free tasting glass.
Cost: $17.
Bookings: just turn up.

Introduction to permaculture (two sessions): 2 consecutive Sundays, 17th and 24th November, 10am-4pm; Edendale.

What: Facilitator: Donna Livermore. 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, spread over two weekends, will be beneficial to both those new to the concept of permaculture and for those thinking of undertaking a permaculture design course. You will be introduced to permaculture and gain a basic understanding of the principles and design methods associated with permaculture.
Cost: $125 for the two days.
Bookings: TryBooking.

New events – cooking

Ombre cake decorating workshop: Saturday, 12th October, 1-3pm; Chirnside Park Community Hub.

What: In this class you will learn: the ombre buttercream icing technique; the colouring buttercream method; the smooth buttercream icing technique; and flower placement & arrangement. The class includes: double dark chocolate mud cake; buttercream & flowers; and a
box for transportation home.
Cost: $95.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Cooking master class – ‘BBQ salads’: On Thursday, 24th October, 7-9pm and again on Friday, 25th October, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: chilli sesame chicken salad; lamb fillet & roast veg salad; and banana, caramel & meringue salad.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite (Thursday, Friday).

National dumpling day workshop: Saturday, 26th October, 6-8pm; Chirnside Park.

What: Learn how to roll, wrap, tuck and steam. Sample your masterpieces at the end. All proceeds will go towards the Treak community centre in Cambodia.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Indian cooking – Punjabi (two sessions): Tuesday, 12th November and Tuesday, 26th November, both 6.30-8.30pm; Hurstbridge Community Hub.

What: Tutor Taariq Hassan. Learn how to cook a healthy North West Indian vegetarian meal from scratch using authentic ingredients. Menu for the first session: daal (spiced lentil stew); raita (seasoned yoghurt based dip with chopped salad vegetables); and muttar chaaval (basmati rice boiled with peas
Cost: $90.
Bookings: their website.

Veggies in desserts with Mettle + Grace: Saturday, 16th November, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: foods which make your brain brighter; how to incorporate brain powering foods easily into your daily diet; and foods that can build and protect your gut microbiome and clear brain fog. Presenter: Melanie Leeson, from Mettle + Grace. Learn how to create healthier versions of your old favourites. The desserts are dairy-free and gluten-free using a variety of ingredients: nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains, fats, spices, legumes and unrefined sugars. The menu includes: chocolate kidney bean slice; spiced pumpkin donuts; rich chocolate beetroot truffles; lime + spinach cake; strawberry + cauliflower cheesecake; and sweet veggie mousse.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

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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