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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