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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!