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Saturday, December 26, 2015

What's on in January


Here are the times in the coming month when you're likely to bump into other gardeners down at the garden and garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions:

Sun 27th Dec 9am -1pm - Garden & Gather and food swap
(Note 9am Summer start to beat the heat!)
Fri 1st Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 8th Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 9th Jan 10am-1pm - General pottering in the Food Forest **
Sun 10th Jan 10am-12pm Communal Gardening Group working bee **
Sun 17th Jan 6.30-8.30pm - Garden in Company (evening) **
Fri 15th Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 22nd Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 24th Jan 9am -1pm - Garden & Gather and food swap
(Note 9am Summer start to beat the heat!)Fri 29th Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **

  • Members can obviously visit the garden when they want to including any of these sessions
  • If you're interested just come along
  • Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things
  • Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on what's to be done in communal growing spaces
  • Members who have not yet visited should come down on one of these days to meet the garden (and a few gardeners) and get shown around
  • If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know and we'll add it to the list

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What's on in December

Here are the times in the coming month when you're likely to bump into other gardeners down at the garden and garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions:

Fri 4th Dec 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 6th Dec 6.30pm-8.30pm - Evening Garden in company **
Fri 11th Dec 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 12th Dec 10am-1pm - General pottering in the Food Forest **
Sun 13th Dec 10am-12pm Communal Gardening Group working bee **
Fri 18th Dec 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Wed 23rd Dec 10am-12pm - Garden in company **
Sun 27th Dec 9am -1pm - Garden & Gather and food swap
(Note 9am Summer start to beat the heat!)
Fri 1st Jan 10ish - Friday Meetup **

  • Members can obviously visit the garden when they want to including any of these sessions
  • If you're interested just come along
  • Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things
  • Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on what's to be done in communal growing spaces
  • Members who have not yet visited should come down on one of these days to meet the garden (and a few gardeners) and get shown around
  • If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know and we'll add it to the list

Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's on in November

Here are the times in the coming month when you're likely to bump into other gardeners down at the garden and garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions:

Fri 6th Nov 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 8th Nov 9am - Seed saving session
Sun 8th Nov 10am-12pm Communal Gardening Group working bee
Fri 13th Nov 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 14th Nov 2-5pm - General pottering in the Food Forest **
Thu 19th Nov 10am-12pm - Garden in company **
Fri 20th Nov 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 22nd Nov 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and food swap
Fri 27th Nov 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 4th Dec 10ish - Friday Meetup **

  • Members can obviously visit the garden when they want to including any of these sessions
  • If you're interested just come along
  • Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things
  • Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities
  • Members who have not yet visited should come down on one of these days to meet the garden (and a few gardeners) and get shown around
  • If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know and we'll add it to the list

Friday, October 9, 2015

What's on in October

Here are the times in the coming month when you're likely to bump into other gardeners down at the garden and garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions:

Sun 11th Oct 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Fri 16th Oct 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 17th Oct 2-5pm - Garden in company
Thu 22nd Oct 10am-12noon - Garden in company **
Fri 23rd Oct 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 24th Oct 9am-1pm Garage Sale!!!!!
Sun 25th Oct 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
Fri 30th Oct 10ish - Friday Meetup **

  • Members can obviously visit the garden when they want to
  • Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things
  • Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities
  • Members who have not yet visited should come down on one of these days to meet the garden (and a few gardeners) and get shown around
  • If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know and we'll add it to the list

Monday, September 14, 2015

Helping our garden: Reground and The Green Centre

Our garden has always been fortunate to benefit from the generosity of individuals and organisations (both commercial and not-for-profit) and this past month we've been approached by two quite different organisations offering us help with our soil. Given 2015 is the International Year of Soils that seems pretty appropriate.



Reground is a small business that collects used coffee grounds to divert them from landfill to be used for a worthwhile purpose. Ninna got in touch looking to see if we might be able to use some coffee grounds.

Amongst other things, coffee grounds can improve soil condition, adding organic matter to improve structure and help with water retention. They're high in Nitrogen and contain Phosphorous and Potassium all of which would be useful for our food growing efforts when added in the right proportion.We can also use it in the food forest and around perimeters. It deters slugs and snails etc. Anyway, we had a chat about how to manage this and agreed to give it a go. So now you'll see a black wheelie bin near the compost palace with with Reground logo on top full (although steadily emptying). The Friday session are handling feeding it into the compost bays.





The Green Centre are a family run business supplying residential, commercial and landscaping customers with quality organic garden supplies, instant turf products and red gum firewood delivery across Melbourne for over 20 years.

They recently got in touch looking to donate some soil, mulch or compost to us as a sort of sponsorship. We were interested of course but we've been caught in the past when buying commercial soils so we wanted to make sure what they were offering would be suitable for us. They were kind enough to deliver us a sample and it checked out so last Friday they dropped off a few cubic metres of their organic veggie mix for us! This soil can be used by personal plot holders to top up their plots, it'll be fed into the compost and used around the communal plots too.

So, a big thanks to our two newest partners. Cheers for helping us out and may our partnerships be long and fruitful!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's on in September

Here are the times people will be down at the garden this month.

Fri 28th Aug 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 4th Sept 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 11th Sept 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 13th Sept 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Thu 17th Sept 10am-12noon - General pottering **
Fri 18th Sept 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 27th Sept 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **

If you're a member you can obviously visit the garden when you want to. These are times when you are likely to bump into other gardeners and garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities. Members who have not yet visited should come down on one of these days to meet the garden (and a few gardeners) and get shown around.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What's on in August


Here are the times people will be down at the garden this month.

Fri 14th Aug 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 15th August 7.30pm - Winter Dance
Fri 21st Aug 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 23rd Aug 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
(inc. 1.30pm - Annual General Meeting)
Fri 28th Aug 10ish - Friday Meetup **

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but these are times when you are likely to bump into other gardeners plus garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

No Work, Just Fun: West Brunswick Community Garden celebrates 3 years with a community dance Sat 15th August

West Brunswick Community Garden is celebrating three successful years with a mid-winter community dance and fundraiser.

We have a very special celebration coming up and you, your friends and family (and anyone else really) are all invited to help make it an event to remember for years to come!

When: 7.30pm on Saturday 15th August

Where: Our Lady Help of Christians Church Hall, 49 Nicholson Street, East Brunswick.

Cost: The entrance charge is $25, concession $15, children $10, families $50.
Food/Drink: BYO soft drinks or alcohol. Finger food, tea and tasty Wild Timor Coffee provided. 

Profits go to our garden. This will be a key fundraising event for us this year so please get behind it, share it around, get a bunch of people together and come along.

BookingYou can book here now!

Klezmeritis
We'll be getting together for a community dance where we'll be treated to amazing music from Klezmeritis and Bohemian Nights performing a mix of Gypsy, Klezmer, European, jazz and Middle Eastern music. Led by Ernie Gruner on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, they also feature Phil Carroll on accordion, ney and vocals, Ron Hansen on double bass and experienced dance-caller Audrey Fine, who will teach everyone the dance steps (no previous experience needed!). There will be line dances, square dances, circle dances and more.

While they're playing, we'll be dancing, eating, sipping, talking all things gardening and generally having a great time. 

Save the date, invite your friends, have a bit of fun and support your garden!

There will be no weeding or compost turning at this event.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Some changes to communal gardening at the West Brunswick Community Garden

Our Board and Organising Committee have agreed to slightly change the way we approach the communal growing areas of our garden. Below we'll explain what the changes are, why we're making them and what they mean.

First a bit of background. Our garden’s communal growing areas include:

  • the two large growing beds (along the West and North fences)
  • the two long, skinny, raised beds near the greenhouse
  • the spaces around the inside of the garden fence (perimeter)
  • the ground cover plantings and fruit tree beds in the Food Forest
  • Triangle herb bed near the north gate

Here's a map showing them all (in purple).

Communal gardening has been an important part of the West Brunswick Community Garden since the garden re-established in 2012. We’ve created various ways and spaces to garden together to help people meet and connect, pursue their interests, and to enable more people to garden (with communal gardening areas, you can get started - you don't have to join a waiting list as you do for individual plots). Gardeners can learn together from more experienced gardeners or from those with different gardening traditions, and people can participate casually, when life allows.

All our communal growing areas are managed by small groups of volunteers who work out what people want to grow and plant, and plan for that to happen. They are organised seasonally for propagation, planting, pruning, mulching etc (rather than everyone planting things wherever they like). To find out how to get involved with communal gardening join us at a working bee on the second or fourth Sunday of any month or get in touch.

What are the changes?


  • Plot holders no longer need to pay an additional fee to be part of communal gardening activities, only the normal annual membership plus the relevant individual plot fee. Other non-plot-holder gardening members still pay a contribution of $40 each year (concession card holders pay what you can - we suggest $25) 
  • All garden members (including plot holders) who participate in communal gardening tasks can harvest from communal growing areas
  • There will no longer be separate groups for the communal veggie beds and the Food Forest. Instead think of these as activities. You might be interested in fruit trees rather than annual vegetables, for example, so you can join in with Food Forest activities.

Why are we doing this?


  • We believe that this'll make our garden feel even more like a community. 
  • It'll make membership and structure simpler to understand and manage, and bring us together more often. 
  • Gardeners will be able to learn from each other and share information more readily as we work together

What does this mean?


  • Key volunteers (or small groups) will still take on regular tasks or roles, such as compost management, planning propagation and planting, watering, communications, rosters, shed management, OH&S etc.
  • We can all discuss issues that affect any of the communal gardening areas at our monthly Garden & Gather events and annual brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and priorities – so we’ll work things out together.
  • There is a working bee on the second Sunday of each month to look after the large communal growing beds. The tasks are planned by communal gardening volunteers.
  • Seasonal, substantial or special tasks and activities that need doing in any communal growing areas can be done at our Garden & Gathers or other working bees
  • Larger events to carry out major seasonal tasks, such as pruning of fruit trees, will be co-ordinated by the Organising Committee as always.

Of course if you have any thoughts on this please we'd love to hear them so get in touch by emailing us or talk to a member of the organising committee at the garden.


Friday, July 10, 2015

What to plant in July

Hope you've had a chance to get out in the winter sunshine, it's shaping up to be very cold over the next few days.

It can be hard to get some seeds going in colder weather, but if you're a member you can use the greenhouse at the West Brunswick Community Garden. If you don't want to try sowing seed, there are plenty of seedlings around now to get your winter garden off to a strong start. Here are a few things you can try:
  • Bok choy
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Chicory 
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Onion
  • Pak choy 
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rocket
  • Shallots
  • Silverbeet or ruby/rainbow chard
  • Tatsoi


You can also plant tubers of Jerusalem artichokes, crowns of asparagus and rhubarb, and you'll find strawberry runners and seed potatoes in the nurseries now. It's probably getting too late for the standard varieties of broccoli and cauliflower, but you can find green and purple varieties of 'sprouting broccoli' that grow more quickly and provide lots of small tender heads,  as well as year-round cauliflowers.

The odd frost is hard on flowering peas and the tender young shoots of potatoes (and on gardeners' fingertips and ears), so choose your position for these carefully or be prepared to cover them on frosty nights. A good layer of mulch such as pea straw or lucerne hay can help keep the soil warmer too. On the other hand, a good crunchy freeze is excellent news for Brussels sprouts and kale. It's all swings and roundabouts in the winter garden.

- Kelly

Seed saving group starting at West Brunswick Community Garden


We've started a seed bank and seed saving group at the West Brunswick Community Garden and you're invited to join.

We are looking at saving and stocking locally grown and heritage seeds for the use of the garden and members. Seeds from plants grown in the garden or in the area can be kept for growing more plants next season.

Although seeds come at any time to the garden through member's donations or Communal Crew gardening, the seed saving group meets during the second Sunday of every month at the WBCG, during the communal working bee. On this day, we collect seeds if available, process them and pack them, and check the stock. Activities might include seasonal sowing.

Seed saving is a restful and meditative group activity, where we learn about self-sufficiency and chat around a cup of tea while our hands are busy. Anyone can join the group for updates and participate as much as they want, even dropping in during Communal Crew.

If you or someone you know saves seeds or would like to learn how, why not join the group? You can send us emails on westbrunswickseedsavers@gmail.com and join the email list to stay in touch.

We will be setting up a facebook group sometimes soon but if you are not on facebook and wish to receive email updates, let us know on the email address above.

Talk to you soon,

- Juliette from the Seed Savers Group


Sunday, July 5, 2015

What's on in July

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but we have times each month when garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Here are the times people will be down at the garden this month.

Fri 10th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 12th July 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Fri 17th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 18th July - 11am-12.30pm - Garden in company
Sun 19th July - 2-4pm - Garden in company
Fri 24th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 26th July 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
Fri 31st July 10ish - Friday Meetup **

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

What's on in June

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but we have times each month when garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Here are the times people will be down at the garden this month.

Fri 5th June 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 12th June 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 13th June 2pm - Food Forest pottering
Sun 14th June 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Thu 18th June 10am-12noon - General pottering **
Fri 19th June 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 26th June 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 28th June 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May Garden and Gather

Our wonderful worms in our black-gold
compost
 In glorious sunny weather, a group got together to sort through a small list of to-do's.

On the list was regular compost turning, weeding (this is a perennial task!), finding and shaping the paths around the communal beds and mulching around personal plots.We also got to oiling our beautiful benches that have become a feature of our gorgeous communal working-bee lunches.
Pepino fruit
We factored in a new feature - a final 'ooh-aah' walk at the end of the day, which entails walking around, taking in the sights of all that has been accomplished throughout the day.
Great weather and great benches!
Lunch was a feast of home cooked and carefully transported delights. We also shared some pepino fruit from plot holders Eli and Enda.
Everyone took home newly harvested lettuce, tomatillos, pumpkins, left overs from lunch and chillies and lemons from Richard. The next G&G is June 28th, 11-3pm.
One of our communal-garden-grown pumpkin.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What to plant in May


It's definitely autumn in our neck of the woods, with shorter days and those cooler nights that make the deciduous trees decide to drop their bundles.


Here are some of the vegetables you can plant or sow now:
  • Bok choy 
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts (seedlings, but check the label - it may be getting too late)
  • Cabbage (seedlings, rather than seed)
  • Carrot (seedlings, but check the label - it may be too late for some varieties)
  • Cauliflower (seedlings)
  • Celery 
  • Chicory & radicchio
  • Endive (seedlings)
  • Garlic 
  • Jerusalem artichoke (tubers or seedlings)
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce 
  • Mizuna 
  • Mustard greens 
  • Onions 
  • Parsnips 
  • Peas 
  • Radishes 
  • Rocket 
  • Silver beet or rainbow chard
  • Snow peas 
  • Spinach 
  • Swedes
  • Tatsoi 
  • Turnips.


It's also a terrific opportunity to plant some herbs such as:
  • Chives
  • Coriander 
  • Dill
  • Mint (in a pot, as it can ramble)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley 
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary. 
But most importantly, this is one of the loveliest times of the year for gardening.

So what are you waiting for?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weed Tea - Creating Fertiliser from Green Waste.

Compost Bays 4 and 5 - make black gold.
I have posted a little bit before our compost down at WBCG, but I also wanted to let you know about 'weed tea', another feature of our composting set up at the garden.

Although with a distinctly suspicious name, weed tea is a fantastic and spectacularly easy addition to your garden and soil cultivation.

What is weed tea? It's a liquid fertiliser made from literally making a 'tea' from all those obnoxious weeds that you can't put in your compost for fear of them seeding through your newly-mulched veggie patch. These sort of weeds - running and grassy weeds, usually just end up in your council green bin.

Create your own Weed tea: Get a container (anything with a lid will do, like a common plastic bin, see photo) - anything form 50L to 80L is a great start - but it depends on how many weeds you have. Fill the container with weeds: even dandelion, oxalis, sorrel, couch grass. Fill the bin with water - ensuring to cover the weeds submerge the weeds – It’s called death by drowning! You can weigh down the weeds with a brick too, if you wish.

Immature tea.
Then, simply leave the tea to 'steep' for about 6 weeks (for a fast but weaker solution) to 3 months. By that time, a beautiful, brown-green bubble sludge appears and the weeds are completely dead. This is your tea concentrate.

Use. Drain the tea from your bin, or extract the dead weeds with a pitch fork. Dilute your concentrate with water in a watering can until it look the colour of a weak cup of tea (about 10:1 parts water : weeds concentrate). Use the tea as a liquid fertiliser. You can also put it on the compost heap, so the nutrients accelerate the composting process and make it happen faster.

Refuse: Put the weed debris into the compost heap so that it continues to break down. The weeds are now totally benign and dead.

Making weed tea is really a win-win situation. It’s possible to get rid of a green waste and from that create a rich, liquid fertiliser for use in the garden. Permaculture in action folks!

Happy garden.


Friday, May 1, 2015

What's on in May

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but we have times each month when garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Here are the times people will be down at the garden in May.

Fri 8th May 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 9th May 2pm - Food Forest pruning, planting, pottering etc.
Sun 10th May 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Fri 15th May 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 16th May 10am-12pm - Food Forest pottering
Fri 22nd May 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 29th May 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 24th May 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Plotter Profile #2 Richard

Richard planting out broccoli seedings
Richard has been involved to varying degrees for the last three year.
He doesn't have a plot at the WBCG, as he has a bit of space at home which he tends.
He lends his strength to both the communal crew and more recently the garden's organising committee.

Richard is not a 'fussy' gardener, as he professed his fascination for all plants. When pressed, he mentioned that he was very fond of beans, as they were so prolific in nature: From just one bean seed there can be a whole plant with kilos to harvest and then more to save for seed.

mouse cucumbers
Being involved with a community garden for Richard came from a love of gardening and a desire for experimentation and "more space". His own garden is not big enough for larger vegetables and shrubs like pumpkins and zucchini.

Since joining the garden he has delighted in discovering new plants - tomatillos, amaranth, mouse cucumbers, and finger limes - and sharing the produce and knowledge of plot holders and from the communal beds.

Richard is also the WBCG gardener in charge of the Friends of Aileu coffee project.

A tip from Richard - don't be afraid to ask the other gardeners questions; they have a wealth of knowledge which they love to share!

-Monique

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Double Happiness - support a good cause with your cuppa.

West Brunswick Community Garden is now a part of a growing network of the Friend of Aileu East Timor Partnership Program. And we've got a tasty slice - selling some of this fantastic tasting, organic East Timorese coffee. Coffee sales through the WBGC help the coffee growers in Timor Leste, and some of the proceeds from every bag sold will go to us at the WBCG.
So it's both a delicious brew and good deed all in one.

What's available?
  • Coffex Friends of Aileu blend (ground only): $8 per 250g pack
  • Wild Timor Friends of Aileu freshly roasted weekly, single origin, organic (ground or beans): $12 per 200g pack but also available in 500g, 1, 2 or 5 kg packs (price on request).

How to order?
Our garden member and former Friends of Aileu Project officer Richard is your man.
Give him an email to place your orders! He'll work out payment and handover details.

The Background the The Friends of Aileu:
In early 2012, four Australian soldiers were sent as part of a peace keeping force to help with the stabilisation of East Timor as part of a long standing friendship between Australia and East Timor which spans back to World War II.

After 30 years of neglect during Indonesian rule, coffee that was originally planted by the Portuguese some 200 years ago, was discovered by peace keepers in remote villages, as they patrolled the area.

The now 'wild' coffee that grows in the mountain regions of Maubisse and Aileu is thriving. The former soldiers have become loyal friends of the farmers who once fled their crops but are now tending to the coffee. The soldiers have now returned to Australia with coffee from the same plants for everyone to enjoy and also to ensure that their friends in Timor Leste are finally beginning to enjoy the fruits of their struggle for independence and are receiving a fair and equitable price for their product.

This is supported and facilitated by Friends of Aileu, a joint activity of the Moreland City Council and Hume City Council, and their communities, partner organisations and supporters; it operates as part of the Councils’ East Timor Partnership Project. Go here to read more.

Friend of Aileu are also on Facebook.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stop: It's Pumpkin Time! Everything you ever needed to know...

Pumpkins. They're coming out of our ears at the WBGC. In communal and personal plots, pumpkins of many varieties are expanding like balloons in the autumnal dew. Gardeners across the temperate region are patiently waiting next to ovens, ready to turn the knob to gas mark 6: roast.
But when is the best time to harvest? And how does one store a pumpkin? For how long? After a bit of research, it turns out the politics of pumpkins is more complex than you might think from this simple but versatile vegetable.

When to harvest your pumpkins
  • Pumpkins should be left on the vine for as long as possible.
  • A mature pumpkin will have a hard skin (test your pumpkin: When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin's skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe)
  • Often when pumpkins are ready, the vines will be drying back (although this is not true for all regions and varieties)
How to harvest your pumpkins
  • cut the pumpkin from the vine so it has 10cm or so of vine still attached to the pumpkin. This will increase storage time.
  • use a sharp knife to sever the vine.
  • Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
Ideal pumpkin storage
  • Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin.
  • Then, stores in a cool, dry, dark place —anywhere around 10-15 degrees.
  • Pumpkins are best stored on a board or piece of cardboard.
  • Do not store the fruit on a cement floor, as they tend to rot.
  • Do not store the fruit on a good rug in case it was to rot, as it would ruin the rug. 
  • Make sure that the harvested pumpkins are not touching each other where they are stored.
  • In general properly harvested and stored pumpkins will keep for up to 3 months.
Happy pumpkin harvest!

Monique

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What's on in April?

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but we have times each month when garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions. Here are the times people will be down at the garden in April.

Fri 3rd Apr 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 10th Apr 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 12th Apr 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Thu 16th Apr 10am-12noon – Garden in company **
Fri 17th Apr 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Fri 24th Apr 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 26th Apr 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Celebrating Amaranth

If you're anything like me, you probably know amaranth as the baby sister of quinoa. Amaranth, the little seed/grain that when boiled is a sticky, slightly malty side-dish. 

At the WBCG, were growing a lot of amaranth, and over the past summer, i have received an education on amaranth. It turns out you can eat the leaves too, and I have been eating a lot! 
And who wouldn't want too! Amaranth leaves are nutritionally similar to Swiss chard and spinach, but are far superior. Amaranth leaves contain three times more calcium and three times more niacin (vitamin B3) than spinach leaves.
Amaranth is much closer genetically to its wild ancestors than our over developed and nutritionally depleted typical vegetables. Amaranth leaves are an excellent source of carotene, iron, calcium, protein, vitamin C and trace elements. Even comparing 100g of Amaranth leaves to 100g of rump steak is pretty interesting: 
More potassium, less sodium, vitamin A, C, calcium and comparable iron! That is a pretty nutritious and vegetarian-friendly plant. 

It grows really well to. Heading down once a week to water my own plot, I would pick more bouquets of leaves from the same plants over and over, as they seemed to only need the week to sprout new foliage to the same height (some plants are more and 1.5m tall!)

What have I been cooking? Well, using it much like silverbeet or spinach (it has a similar way of cooking down but a more earth and less 'irony' taste), it's been a rotation of amaranth omelettes, amaranth and carrot (or pumpkin) soup, amaranth in stir fry and amaranth steamed and tempered with coconut oil, pepper, chili and garlic. 

The gardens amaranth is now going to seed, in glorious, droopy magenta baubles. I'll be sorry to see the last of this annual, but luckily, it self-seeds! I'm sure to have it in my own garden next year. 

Hope all is well,

Monique

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to Ripen your Tomatoes in Autumn.

Tomatoes hanging out to ripenSo, if your tomatoes were anything like mine, they stopped ripening as soon as we had our first dew (the 27th of February in my backyard), or as soon as the sun said "It's been 7 weeks since the longest day."

Still with a good 20-odd tomatoes left to savour, sitting dormant and green on my vines, I came across a strange trick to ripen them on the Milkwood Permaculture website.

The trick was: Pull out the tomatoes, and hang them upside down; then, the tomatoes should ripen.

Slightly sceptical (and with housemates passing me odd looks), I did what I was told, and hung them over our indoor clothesline in our toilet. (photo 1).

Two days later I was beginning to see things changing. Sure enough, a week later,
I have tomatoes that are just about ready to eat.
(photo 2) I am pretty impressed to say the least, and the housemates have gotten used to them.

You can read Milkwood Permaculture's full blog post here. They are full of good suggestion as to what you can do with your green tomatoes, and have lovely pictures to go with them.


All the best,
Monique.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's on in March

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know. Here are the times people will be there in February.

Fri 6th Mar        10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 8th Mar       10am-12pm Communal Crew Working Bee **
                            2-3.30pm - General pottering
Thu 12th Mar      10am-12pm - General pottering **
Fri 13th Mar        10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 14th Mar        1-3pm - General pottering **
Sun 15th Mar       2-4pm - General pottering
Fri 20th Mar        10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 22nd Mar      11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap ** (note the time change)
                             We'll also be throwing around ideas for the coming year

Wed 25th Mar      7-8pm - General pottering
Fri 27th Mar         10ish - Friday Meetup **

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's Harvesting at the WBCG?

Good question! With that first delicious dew of the season on the 27th, Autumn is just around the corner, and high-summer crops are seeing their end. We are just now farewelling the tomatoes, witnessing the demise of our zucchini crops to the wiles of powdery mildew and the hardening-off of our corn.

Bush beans
Amaranth and companion flowers
What's on offer now to the seasonal gardener are festoons of chilli, capsicum, bush beans, and amaranth.

Eggplant
Pumpkins...perhaps Jap?
We've also got pumpkins peeking through the understory (although with the rate that they are growth, glaring might be a more appropriate verb).

Then there are also the eggplants of various shapes and sizes bejewelling the plots of plotters and the garden beds of the communal crew.

Last but not least - and in a few weeks, mind - we'll welcome the coveted mouth-puckering freshness of the Tomatillo (see below).
Tomatillo!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What's on in February

If there's a time your available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know. Here are the times people will be there in February.

A special mention for 21-22 Feb, don't forget, even if you aren't volunteering to help at Karen's Open Garden in Pascoe Vale, come along and check it out for inspiration and information!

Sun 8th Feb     10am - 1pm - Communal Crew working bee **
Fri 13th Feb     10ish - Friday Meetup **
                         6pm - dark - Food Forest - Summer Fruit-tree pruning tutorial (and practice)
Sat 14th Feb     2-5pm - General pottering**
Fri 20th Feb     10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 22nd Feb   9am - 1pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
                         (note the time change for Dec, Jan & Feb)
Fri 27th Feb     10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 28th Feb    10am - General pottering

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cinnamon Banana Muffins

Communal-Crewer Kim provides this delicious recipe that the WBCG sampled at the last Garden and Gather.

Cinnamon Banana Muffins

1 tsp ground Cinnamon
40g of Coconut Sugar or Rice Malt Syrup to taste
300g ground Almonds (Almond Meal)
4 Eggs
80g Coconut Oil
2 ripe Bananas

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
Divide mixture into greased muffin baking trays.

Cook at 180 degrees for 15-25 mins (cooking time depending on the size of the muffin tray)


A bitter and sweet Garden and Gather.

Welcoming new faces, saying goodbye to Thomas and cake
The incredible Compost Cake
Grace's Hedgehog
Below: Apple Cake make with
Apples from the Food Forest
Sunday the 25th saw 2015's first Garden and Gather. It was a bitter sweet gathering, as we of the WBCG bade farewell to our dedicated Compost King, Thomas.

Thomas has been the stalwart of the Composting Crew who has coaxed, crooned and lovingly aerated the WBCG to a fecund chocolate richness for over two years. Thomas now is moving back to his native UK. He will be sorely missed. In honour of the day, Libby created her own 'compost cake', which was a incredible feat of baking-based engineering. The compost cake joined a hot of other treats which where proffered by the attendees.

Now, it should be said that we don't spend all the time at the Garden and Gather eating.

This month, the list of jobs wasn't long but it was full of important and lengthly jobs - namely watering, turning the compost, attaching hessian sacks to the fence, harvesting zucchini the size of toddlers and cleaning up and tending the Food Forest next door.

Wind-breaking Hessian Sacks
The hessian sacks on the fence, seen [left] with Julia and Grace doing the watering, are there to help create a wind break. If anyone had ANYTHING growing through those windy days in early January, they know that wind can be worse than lack of water!

The one that got away
All who attended shared the loot: Amazing cakes, good company, more zucchinis, more tomatoes, snake beans and delicious Red Kuri pumpkins.

The 5-year-old-size zucchini was left to its own devices and will be harvested for seed.

The next garden and gather will be on the 22nd of February.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Communal New Year

Sunday the 11th of January saw the ringing in of a new gardening year with the first Communal Crew day down at the WBCG.
Due to the great response to the weed emergency of last week, there wasn't a huge list of things to do, but as any gardener knows, once you're in the garden, suddenly more little jobs and adjustments become apparent.
 Encouraged by premium weather, compost was turned, rampant parsley and amaranth was diplomatically thinned, lettuce seeds sown, tomato seedlings planted and a bean-bed was staked.

 Cup-a-tea time was shared by a discussion about rust and a phantom tomato-wilting disease that exists in the soil. Libby diligently passed around samples of rust-effected marigolds (to be disposed off off site now) and a wasted tomato plant.
Marigold rust.
Through out the morning the harvest table was slowly added too with the end result a veritable bounty of various tomatoes, kale, zucchinis, amaranth and chinese cabbage. (See below).

We also welcomed a new comer to the garden, Jessie, who turned up just in time for cake and tomato planting.

The next communal crew day is on the 15th of February, if you feel like coming down.


The vegetable loot of hard labor. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Did you know it's Veganuary?

Did you know it's Veganuary?

The Veganuary movement encourages people to 'try' vegan in the month of January.
Ripening Tomatoes at WBCG
You don't have to become vegan for the whole month, but the idea of veganism can help you consider increasing your intake of veggies, and think more about where your food comes from and how it comes to you.

With a great many tasty veggies available throughout summer months, like zucchinis, beans, capsicums, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, many leafy greens, squash etc, it's easier than you think to 'veganise' a meal or two during the week. We've got heaps of these growing down at the West Brunswick Community Garden.

The key to 'veganising' is not to forget to replace the protein. Meat can be replaced by Tempeh, Tofu or nuts, and cheese can be replaced by avocado, nut cheese and savoury yeast flakes.
New Zucchini's at WBCG 
In baking, full-fat coconut cream can replace dairy-cream, it whips into stiff peaks just the same to top your vegan cakes. Eggs can be replaced by arrowroot & cornflower, or flaxseed meal.

Go on, why not experiment in January.
Here is some blog inspiration:

Vegan Richa.
Happy.Healthy. Life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WBCG Pictorial Update

Artichoke flower.
Hi all,
Have a look at our midsummer garden!
Zucchini patch in the communal beds. 
Hessian sacks helping to block wind through the fence.
Tomatoes and interplanted pumpkins.
Some private plots.

Summer growth - Kale, potatoes, pak choi.

Parsley going to seed.