Sep 042019

Want some cheap limes?

Wayne Tonissen, from Weeping Grevillea Nursery in Kangaroo Ground, has written in to say that he currently has a serious surplus of Tahitian limes which he is selling at $4 per Kg or $40 for a 20 litre drum. Their address is 355 Kangaroo Ground-St Andrews Road, and they are open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am to 4pm. They also have various other citrus fruit for sale.

In passing, as their name suggests, Weeping Grevillea Nursery’s main business is growing and selling weeping grevilleas. These are prostrate grevilleas grafted onto robust grevillea stock which, over time, then grow down to the ground (see the example picture right, which is one that I bought from them some time ago). You have a choice of heights and species.

Want some casual work?

Newsletter reader Susan is looking for a couple of energetic people to spread some mulch around her garden in Eltham. $30 per hour. Around 60 cubic metres. Timing will depend on when the mulch is actually delivered. Email me and I’ll pass your message on.

Want some veggie scraps?

Deb Graham, from North Warrandyte, is looking for someone to take her veggie scraps. If interested, email Deb.

Community gardening news – Willsmere Kitchen Garden

Willsmere Kitchen Garden, in Kew, now has its own page on our website. The garden is located in Yarra Bend Park – the largest area of natural bushland near the heart of Melbourne. The garden is membership-based, where membership is a $50 one-off fee plus a yearly subscription fee depending on the size of the garden beds you have access to. They welcome everyone in the community to enjoy the garden, but ask that you respect the produce of individuals. Read about Willsmere Kitchen Garden. Welcome Cam and colleagues!

In passing, the garden is very close to Melbourne’s main colony of fruit bats. If you have never seen these bats at dusk, you really should do so: watching thousands of them leave their tree roosts and fly in all directions in search of food is a unique experience. A good viewing place is the Bellbird Park picnic area. [Before publishing these words, I wanted to check that the bats are still there. They are and the picture on the far right that I took proves this.]

Food swap news

On Saturday (7th September), Warrandyte Food Swap will be celebrating its 4th birthday. There will be both live music and cake.

Food justice news

The first Community Grocer market in Heidelberg West will be taking place on Saturday (7th September) at Bell Street Mall, corner of Oriel Road & Bell Street. There will be live music, kids’ activities and an official opening with speeches.

A water movement will (hopefully) be sweeping Nillumbik

Nillumbik Shire Council, healthAbility and the North East Healthy Drinks Alliance are working together to create a local movement to increase consumption of water and other healthy drink options across Nillumbik. Whether you are an early childhood service, school, workplace, community agency, sports club, leisure facility, supermarket or service station, they want to partner with you. This program is a key action in promoting healthy eating and sustainable food within the Nillumbik Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-2021. If you want to know more, contact Keera Weise by email (

The program is part of a wider Water Friendly Challenge covering Banyule, Darebin and Nillumbik. Find out more or register today.

A new maker of sweet treats – Esme and Marj

Esme and Marj, from Briar Hill, make cupcakes, macarons and brownies. Currently, the only place where you can buy their stuff is Eltham Farmers’ Market on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. So, they should be there this coming Sunday. Read their Local Food Directory page. Welcome, Rachel!

Local food producers in the news

Lawrence Chang, Managing Director of Eltham-based Organic Times has been interviewed by The Fashion Advocate. Organic Times make Certified Organic chocolate & other products and Lawrence discusses various aspects of their organic and sustainability philosophy.

2040, Join the Regeneration, Greensborough on Wednesday, 9th October

As discussed later, XR Nillumbik is trying to organise a screening of the film 2040, Join the Regeneration (film) in Greensborough on Wednesday, 9th October, 7-8.30pm. $22 per ticket – click here to purchase. Two points. First, in order for the screening to go ahead, they need to reach a ‘tipping’ point of 59 tickets sold by the 27th September; so, purchase your tickets now rather than in October. Second, a limited number of free tickets are available for people who would like to go but do not have the financial means to; if you are in this situation, email Tina.

Some gardening tips

Can worm farm worms survive in the garden?

Brenda has written in to ask if you can transfer worms from worm farm into the garden. Her worm farm is full and she needs to empty it. Will the worms survive?

Here’s my answer: it depends. Compost worms are not the same as garden earthworms and, unlike earthworms, they stay on the surface. So, they can only survive if you have a surface layer of fresh organic material like manures and mulch which both provides them with food and gives them a moist environment.

How to get more broccoli/cauliflower

Here is a tip from Good Life Permaculture (also see picture right): when you harvest heads of broccoli or cauliflower, cut the main stem into quarters. This encourages four smaller heads to grow back.

Some articles

A Spring planting guide

Leaf, Root & Fruit's Spring planting guide for Melbourne discusses how to grow capsicums, cucumbers, eggplants, pumpkins, sweetcorn, tomatoes watermelons and zucchini.

Using (or, rather, not using) gravel in potted plants

Like many other people, I habitually put gravel into the bottom of pots in the belief that it will improve drainage. Well, according to this article, it's a myth. Read the article and email me with your thoughts.

Not food but important

Major Roads Project Victoria is planning a major change to the Fitzsimons Lane / Main Road roundabout intersection in Eltham, including replacing the current roundabout with traffic lights. For some reason, the public consultation period went unnoticed by most people. Read more on the Major Roads Project Victoria website. In part due to the preliminary design of the proposed intersection on the Major Roads Project Victoria website (see graphic right), Eltham Community Action Group (ECAG) have concerns about the environmental impact of the project – Read ECAG’s views.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The visit to the garden of Emily Willocks.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Vince Rozmiarek: Why do cows have hooves? Because they lactose.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Introduction to mindful eating: Tuesday, 24th September, 7-8.30pm; Heidelberg Heights.

What: Tired of overeating, dieting or both? Ready to break your eat-repent-repeat cycle? Join licensed Am I Hungry facilitator and dietitian (APD) Tess Gardiner (aka The Sustainability Dietitian) for an introduction to mindful eating. Learn how you can develop the effective thoughts and positive feelings necessary to make decisions about eating, physical activity, and self-care that support your optimal health. This inside-out approach changes thoughts and feelings first, so changes in behaviours will last.
Cost: $6.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Mental Health Week – food for every mood: Wednesday, 9th October, 6-9pm; Kathleen Syme Library, Carlton.

What: Food has the ability to impact our emotional and mental well-being in a variety of ways. Whether it is seeking ‘comfort food’ when you’ve had a bad day or cooking to relieve stress, food and our eating habits really do affect our mood. In this workshop, you will learn about a few ways that food is connected to emotional and mental health, and you’ll leave equipped to more effectively utilise the relationship between food and your mental health. Of course, there will be food there to be shared!
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

2040, Join the Regeneration (film): Wednesday, 9th October, 7-8.30pm; Hoyts, Greensborough.

What: In 2040, director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatised sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Watch a trailer. In order for the screening to go ahead, they need to reach a ‘tipping’ point of 59 tickets sold by the 27th September. Organised by XR Nillumbik.
Cost: $22.
Bookings: their website.

Getting ready for the Summer harvest: Wednesday, 16th October, 7-9pm; Manningham Civic Centre.

What: Producing a bumper summer harvest begins in Spring. Learn about how to start a new veggie patch and choose the right summer vegetables for your garden. This session will provide practical, down-to-earth and sustainable gardening knowledge and information to get your garden ready for the summer growing season. Includes free seeds to try at home.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Worm farms and composting systems: Tuesday, 22nd October, 7-9pm; Manningham Civic Centre.

What: Learn how to recycle your organic waste at home with a compost bin or worm farm. Recycling organic materials has environmental and gardening benefits including: improved soil quality; reduced waste going to landfill; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; improved water savings; and cost savings. You will also learn how you can get 60% off the retail price of a compost bin, worm farm, or bokashi bin plus free delivery.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Bee hive tour: Saturday, 2nd 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.

Native edibles for companion planting: Thursday, 7th November, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: a range of edible natives that are easy to grow in Melbourne; basics of companion planting; and which plants to choose in your garden planning, and how to grow and care for them. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Non-indigenous Australians are waking up to the edible plants around us and wondering why we didn’t use them before. Knowing what will grow and also produce a harvest, as well as how to use it, is difficult as most of us aren’t yet familiar with apple berries or native mint. In this class, you will learn how to incorporate some easily grown edible native plants into your garden so that they work in harmony with your existing plants, as well as a variety of ways to use these plants in your kitchen.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

New events – cooking

Maltese sweets: Thursday, 19th September, 7-8.30pm; Mill Park Library.

What: Author of Traditional Sweet Recipes from Malta, Sharon Spiteri will discuss the significance of traditional Maltese sweets with demonstrations and tastings.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Cooking master class – ‘festive faves’: Wednesday, 16th October and again on Thursday, 17th October, both 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: asparagus & ham puff tart; mustard roast pork loin; and pudding ice cream.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite (Thursday, Friday).

Tapas – taste of Spain: Sunday, 3rd November, 11am-12.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn how to prepare and perfect the flavours of a variety of Spanish tapas, from the traditional to the modern.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Knockout gnocchi: Sunday, 3rd November, 11am-12.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Time to broaden your culinary expertise and meet pasta’s famous pillowy brother: gnocchi! They will show you how to make gnocchi at home through simple ingredients. From traditional potato to creamy ricotta and spinach, learn every nook and cranny that makes this classic Italian dish a favourite.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Handmade pasta workshop: Sunday, 3rd November, 1-2.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: They will show you how to make pasta dough by hand and turn it into a variety of pasta types. They may even throw in sauce-making secrets for good measure.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

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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