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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happiness dwells in the...soil. The secret to being happy is brown and dirty! (free workshop)

By normanack via Wikimedia Commons
"Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the...soil?" Democritus 
Well apparently Democritus said 'soul' but I reckon that quote works just as well if you swap 'soul' for 'soil' don't you?

Want to learn how to make healthy productive dirt? Come to a free workshop being held at the West Brunswick Community Garden in Dunstan Reserve and gain the practical skills you need to get your garden up and growing.

Presented by by qualified horticulturalists from Sustainable Gardening Australia and provided courtesy of Moreland City Council.

When: Sunday 13th January - 10.30-12.30
WhereDunstan Reserve in West Brunswick
Cost: FREE
Workshops are open to all residents and please book if you can. Call Council’s Operation Centre on 8311 4300 to reserve your place. See this flyer for more information.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

TIme change for today's Garden & Gather (23rd Dec - 10am - 1pm)

Hi everyone,
Due to hot weather (BOM are saying 39 degrees today!) today's Garden & Gather will finish at 1pm just in case if you were planning to drop by after that. We're still starting at 10am and have plenty to do including at 12pm we'll be allocating the personal plots.

Don't forget to bring a drink (we'll have an esky to keep it cool), gloves, a hat and suncream!

Hope to see you down there!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Dig #2, Personal Plots and Pixies (yep!)

Yikes, flying carrots!
Hi everyone,
Hope you're all well and coping OK with these bursts of heat. A few things for you...

Garden & Gather (Sunday 23rd Dec, 10am-4pm) Yep it's ON!

We've got a fantastic alternative to slogging through the Christmas queues in the city or at your nearest shopping centre - come to our next Big Dig. Let's face it, if you need to shop and you haven't done it by then, well you've still got Monday! It's our last get together for the year and we'll be digging in celebratory mood after what's been a big year for the food forest and the garden. Come down and get stuck in!

We've got a heap of stuff to do so of course we'd love to see you for the whole session but even a couple of hours will make a difference. No doubt we'll finish up with a cool refreshing drink so come and say hello.

As usual bring a plate, a drink, gloves, a hat and suncream!

Personal Plot Allocation

Oh, one more thing for the 23rd those who are successful in their personal plot applications will find out which is theirs! Surely you want to be there for this history-making moment.

Yarn bombing

We've had a visit from the yarn bombing pixies of Brunswick and they've done their bit to help make our fence look a bit less institutional (see the picture). Go down and check it out for yourself. Apparently they might come back if we grow lots of food.


We all owe a big thanks to the watering crews who're keeping things alive and growing down in the food forest and the big communal bed we planted a few weeks back. We're aware it's taking a pretty long time to get the communal bed watered.

Of course it'd probably be more pleasant (and certainly quicker) to have a couple of extra people there helping so if you're not on a crew and can help, let us know.

Enough for now, see you on the 23rd!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Dig Day #1: Wow what a day!

Panoramic garden making, who'd of thought?
I hope those of you who came along last weekend are pleased with yourselves. I reckon you're amazing! Most of our granitic paths are now laid and the west side communal garden bed was turned over, enriched, planted, mulched and watered. We even signed up a watering detail to keep the seedlings alive and had a good feed (again!).

A few tough souls braved the heat on Saturday to give us a great head start, getting lots of the path work done and then on Sunday around 30 of you turned up and worked non-stop from 10am until past 4pm. Thanks to all your hard work and patience we've planted some food in our community garden. It's pretty exciting stuff really.

If you didn't come along, make sure you keep the 4th Sunday of each month clear so you can get along and do your bit.

Here's a quick run down...
  • seedlings planted = 400+ (corn, pumpkin, zucchinis, squash, beans, lettuces, basil (sweet, thai), rockmelons, tomatoes and heaps more)
  • metres of paths laid = 120+
  • granitic sand moved and whacked = 20m3
  • soil/compost/manure mix moved and spread in the communal garden = 8m3

We also started to take applications for personal plots. I'll post separately on this in the next few days with information about how you can apply.

If you took photos or video, we'd love copies for our a record of the day and what we achieved. Please email them to or if they're too big, send an email and we'll work something out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Counting down to Big Dig Day#1 - Spread the word! - Sunday 25th November

Here's how our new garden will look (only bigger). Nice hey?
Not long now everyone and the excitement is building. Your community garden needs you (and all your friends and family)! The time is near.

We've put our Sunday event up on Facebook (oh yes, we have a Facebook page!). Share it with your friends and ask them to pass it on. Let's get as many people as possible down there on Sunday to help us have a great time making our new garden and get loads done. Many know the rest.

Here are some things that will make it an even better day for everyone:
  1. It's going to be a beautiful day weather-wise and we don't want your fond memories spoiled by a bad case of sunburn so bring suncream, a hat
  2. Gardening makes you hungry and thirsty so bring along some food to share and a drink
  3. Gloves are a super hero suit for your hands, they help you do things you didn't think were possible, bring some along.
  4. Digging in the dirt with your fingers is fun (when your 2 years old!) it's easier and you can do it for longer if you use a trowel or a fork, bring these along if you have them
Oh, and we're a little short on rakes and big shovels too so bring them if you have them.

Here are the details again:
When: Sunday 25th November - 10-4pm
WhereWest Brunswick Community Garden, Dunstan Reserve (enter via Everett St)

OK, enough. See you soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Your garden needs you! Big Dig Day - Sunday 25th November 10 am - 4 pm

Hi everyone,
Well, we're only a week away from our first big day in the community garden and things are picking up pace. Yep, it's finally happening and this weekend we need to see all those eager faces we saw when we got this ball rolling.

Come down this Sunday and help get things started. We're going to make a big start by getting our main paths laid and our first big communal bed planted with vegies. It's going to be good fun and we can all say we were there at the start.

Everyone is welcome, no experience necessary, there'll be something for everyone to help with. Bring a friend (or two)!  Share this with as many people as you can. Don't worry if you haven't been before, come along and get stuck in.

(A few of us will be there on Saturday 24th from 2pm preparing for Sunday. We could use a few extra hands so if you can't make Sunday or you're feeling extra energetic, come along!)

Here's a picture of the final design (we'll have a clearer version for you to look at on the day).

Here are the details for Sunday:
When: Sunday 25th November - 10-4pm
Where: West Brunswick Community Garden
Refreshments: Everyone bring a plate of food to share, drinks will be supplied

What are we going to do?

  • Lay paths and plant first communal bed, prepare seedlings for next time, tidy and water the food forest,
  • Show and explain the garden design,
  • People interested in a personal plot can learn about sizes and costs, confirm details and express your preference.

A few things to remember:

  • If the weather looks bad, check our website on the day and we'll let you know if we're going ahead
  • BYO gloves, hand tools, suncream, hats
  • We need a volunteer photographer to help record the big day
  • you don't need to RSVP but if you can drop us an email at to let us know if your coming that would be great
We look forward to seeing you all down there on Sunday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

In appreciation of our volunteers - that's you!

Hi everyone, hope your Spring is going well.

A quick note to let you know that a little while back we applied for a grant from the Federal Government Community Investment program (set up to support and encourage volunteers). Last week we found out that we were successful and have been offered just under $2000!

These funds will cover the cost of some bits and pieces that should make life a little more comfortable for us all as well as some practical stuff:
  • some gardening tools/equipment, 
  • some outdoor furniture,
  • a decent first aid kit, 
  • a whiteboard, 
  • a backpack sprayer to sprayt the fruit trees, 
  • an urn.
Nice eh? 

Anyway, hope to see you in a few weeks on the 25th November at our first big working bee in the community garden.

Friday, November 2, 2012

25th November - Big Dig Day #1 - the day you've been waiting for!

A quick note to say that we're on track to get started on the community garden on Sunday 25th November - Big Dig Day #1.

This is a truly exciting day for our garden, the one most of us have been waiting for.

We're going to prepare and plant the first of our big communal beds as well as establishing paths. You'll be able to see the final design we're working towards. We'll peg out the personal plots too so you can come along and see how big they'll be.

To put it bluntly though, how much we get done on the day will be up to you. If you haven't been involved over recent months, now is the time to get out of your chair and onto the dance-floor. Don't be shy, come down and share some of the fun. Be part of the start! Make it a day to remember. Bring a friend! There'll be something for everyone no matter what experience or ability.

Please clear the day in your calendar and let us know you're coming. 

More soon, I just wanted to get in and grab the 25th of November in your calendar (go on, do it now before you forget).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Free sustainable gardening workshops (including one at our garden!) - get in quick

I wanted to let you all know ASAP about some stuff Moreland Council is doing around sustainable gardening. 

In particular, we were offered the chance to host a workshop on Organic Soil Management on January 13th (the last one in the list below) - places are limited so get onto it! Read on for more info.

Moreland City Council is proud to release two new gardening booklets this spring:
  • Sustainable Gardening in Moreland - Tips and tools to help you develop your own sustainable garden haven 
  • Home Harvest - How to grow your own delicious fresh food
Download a copy of the booklets from Council’s website or visit one of Councils Citizen Services Centres for a hardcopy.

Sustainable Gardening workshops
As part of the release of these booklets, Council is offering a range of FREE gardening workshops in partnership with local community and garden groups across Moreland.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Garden & Gather reminder - Sunday 28th October 11am-3pm

This is just another quick note to remind you all that we have our monthly Garden & Gather session next Sunday (28th October) between 11am and 3pm.

Lots of you who came along in June are being a bit shy. Now we've got some nice weather, how about popping down to have a look around and to say hello even if you can't help out at the working bee.

This month’s event will focus on the food forest and will include:
  • Planting, mulching, weeding and tidying up
  • A chat about some of the plants in the Food Forest
  • Training of vines and tightening pergola wires
  • Tasty, refreshing afternoon tea and great conversation
  • A food swap where you can exchange any surplus home grown food you might have
Hope to see you there!

Help Wanted!

Hi everyone,

We hope you've been walking through the food forest and appreciating all your great work, it's looking fantastic. If you haven't seen it yet, why not drop by our next Garden & Gather Session on 28th October (11am-3pm) and say hello.

We are planning to start work on the community garden in November, we’re just finalising the design and starting to organise materials etc. It's very exciting!

There are a few things we need your help with, please have a look at the list below and see what you can do to keep our fantastic garden growing:

Lend a Hand #1 - Summer watering of the Food Forest

With the weather warming up and new, young plants growing in the food forest we need some helpers to keep the plants healthy. From the 1st November  we need to have a Summer watering schedule in place. If you have an hour available once a week or fortnight, in the morning or evening and would love to stand out in the beautiful surrounds of the food forest giving the plants a drink we want to hear from you! 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are our watering days and we someone for each of these days every week for the next 4 months. If you can help, email Libby at please include:
  • The day of the week you'd be available, 
  • Whether you'd be able to do once a week/fortnight/month,
  • Any periods you'd be unavailable.
We'll be running a very quick how to/where is at the Garden and Gather at 1pm on Sunday 28th October in the Food Forest, if you cant make this please mention it in your email and we'll organise another time.

Lend a Hand #2 – Catering at our Garden & Gather sessions

If you’ve been to a Garden & Gather session you will have noticed our fantastic afternoon teas. If you can bring along a plate to help out, either for the next event in October or for the future please drop Libby an email at

Contributions #1 - Cups, cutlery and other stuff

Continuing the catering theme... how long since you've had a clean out of your cupboards? Rather than using disposable cups and cutlery at our gatherings we need some unbreakable mugs and cups, teaspoons, plates and other items.  
Before we spend any of our funds on buying these things, if you have any of these that you can donate to our worthy cause, they would be very much appreciated. We also need a tub or two for washing up and some way of getting/keeping hot water (you know one of those pumpy thermos things?). We'll have power to the site hopefully by the end of the year so an electric urn would be fantastic but in the meantime a thermos or two would be great. 
Please bring them along to the Garden and Gather or email us if you'd like them to be picked up.

Contributions #2 – Tools

We are keen to expand the tool selection for all members use both in the Food Forest and the Community Garden.  We are especially in need of hand tools (trowels and hand forks) for small work.  As with the crockery etc., before we spend precious funds on tools, we thought it worth asking if you have any that are in reasonable condition and surplus to your requirements that you’d like to donate to the garden. If you do, we'd love to take them off your hands.
If you have anything to donate, please bring them along to the Garden and Gather or email us if you'd like them to be picked up.
There you go, a few different ways you might like to get involved or contribute. I hope at least one suits you!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Update - Garden & Gather #1 and Designing our Garden

We've had a busy time in September and things are moving along nicely now. Thanks to everyone who helped before and after with both of these events.

Our first Garden & Gather on 23rd September

Morning tea in Food Forest 23 Sept 2012
We had a terrific day down at the Food Forest. After early drizzle, the weather turned for the better. All in I think we had around 17 people, including 4-5 new faces and a few dogs. Lots of chatting and interested passers-by.

A few highlights:
  • We planted more than half of the plants on our planting plan
  • The mulch we had left has been spread
  • Another big pile of weeds came out and paths were rediscovered on the west side.
  • Our food swap table had a few pepinos, some lemons, sunflower seeds, chokos (for planting), parsley (literally bucket loads). 
  • We spread some compost donated by a local benefactor under this pergola and mulched around the plants that we put in.
The whole area looks well tended after now. We'll be getting in touch soon to ask for people who can help with a watering roster to make sure the plants all get through the Summer.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Exciting Funding News!

Council Partnership Grant Approval
I'm very excited and pleased to share the news that City of Moreland Council have awarded us a partnership grant of $25,000 towards our garden project which I'm sure you'll agree is fantastic news.

Ours was one of a handful of projects to receive partnership grants and one of several involving urban agriculture or growing food which says something great not only about the rise of urban ag in Moreland but also about Moreland Council's growing receptiveness towards these kinds of activities.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Community Garden Design Workshop - Sunday 30th September

Designing our community garden - Sunday 30th September 1.30 - 4.30pm

Update: the location for this workshop will be the Richard Lynch Senior Citizens Centre, 27 Peacock Street, West Brunswick

You've probably seen the picture above before, it's the draft garden plan we've been talking about for a while now. We know it's not there yet, there are things we still need to work out like how big the raised and in-ground beds should be, where they should go, how many personal plots and how big they should be, there's far too much green "grass", we've got compost bays to fit in, we need room for propagating plants etc.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Announcing our monthly "Garden & Gather" sessions starting 23rd September

Bee on Dandelion
Working Bee
Over the coming months there will be plenty happening down at the garden and food forest but whatever else is happening, starting on Sun 23rd Sept, we'd love you to come down on the 4th Sunday each month between 11am and 3pm.

These Garden & Gather sessions will be a chance for us all to catch up, share something to eat and drink and take care of some of the stuff around the garden to keep it looking good and running smoothly and we'll obviously have fun while we're at it.

Go on, mark your calendar now so you don't forget.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Continuing the food forest fun on Sunday 19th August

Some eating, drinking and being merry.
We made HUGE progress with the weeding and pruning in the food forest a few weeks back (the pics below don't really do it justice) and in a couple of weeks we'll head down there again.

Date: Sunday 19th August
Time: 1.30 - 4.30 pm
PlaceDunstan Reserve/West Brunswick Food Forest (between community garden and sports pavilion)

Jobs we'll take care of this time:
  • finish weeding and pruning
  • replace diseased trees that council removed
  • mulch, mulch, mulch
  • begin planting plants on our planting plan (betcha can't say that 5 times quickly)
  • some other bits and pieces
  • eat drink and be merry!

PLUS added bonus stuff:

  • We'll show anyone who wants to know how to plant a fruit tree
  • The food forest plans will be available to take a look at and provide feedback
  • Swap any excess home grown food, seeds or plants you might have at home

Come down and help or just drop in and say hello and have a chat about the food forest and community garden.

If you can come along, let us know so we can provide enough food and drinks (If you're reading this on the website, add a comment below or go to the Contact Us page. If you're reading this as an email, just reply.)

Food Forest before Weedfest 2012

Food Forest after Weedfest 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Progress Update & Community Gardens Tour (Sat 25th August)

You've been waiting very patiently to hear what's going on. Here's a bit of an update on where things are with the community garden. You'll also find details of a special tour of 4 other community gardens in Moreland that we've organised to give us all ideas for our final plan.

Progress Report
Before we can all start work, a few things need to be sorted out, including:
  • We need a lease for the garden. We've reviewed a draft and passed this back to council last week. We hope to have a version to sign this week. 
  • We're waiting for Council to clear stuff from inside the garden and remove the old fence in the next few weeks. 
  • Council have helpfully agreed to make us a new fence after the site has been cleared. 
  • We need to know exactly what we're building so we need to finalise our plans. 

Garden tour to help planning
Although there are some things we do know about our garden (e.g. a mix of communal and personal plots, no-internal-fences), there's plenty we haven't locked down yet, like how big will plots be? How many personal plots will there be?

Below are some steps that we'll all take to get to a final plan for the garden and answer these questions and more:

1. See examples and gather ideas
Most of us haven't designed a community garden before. We haven't seen the different ways that different gardens do things. With this in mind, we've organised an opportunity for everyone to visit 4 other community gardens in Moreland to see how they do things and hopefully meet some of their members.

When: on 25th August, 
Starting at 11am, stop for lunch at one the gardens, finish up at around 3pm.

Mark this on your calendar and please RSVP by post to PO BOX 59, Pascoe Vale South, VIC 3044 or by replying to this email ASAP if you're interested in coming. We'll work out transport and finer details once we know numbers.

2. Pool our ideas and make choices
We'll organise a workshop to share our ideas and make some decisions. This will be where we iron out the details and answer questions like those above. The date and venue will be confirmed, we expect to announce this before the tour happens.

3. Draw up a plan and refine it
These ideas and decisions will be collected, a plan will be drawn up, we'll refine it and then we can get building!
Sound like great fun eh? I for one can't wait. This will be an important part of us getting to know each other so it would be great for lots of people to get involved. We'll all need to be prepared to share ideas, patiently listen to others, find solutions to any problems and eventually reach agreement.

In the meantime, if you have concerns about the future plans or ideas, here's what you can do:
  • Add your comments to this post on our website (make sure you say who you are)
  • Come along to our get-togethers and we can talk about it
  • Email
  • Drop us a line at PO BOX 59, Pascoe Vale South, VIC 3044
Thanks for your patience and we hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's been happening at the Dunstan Reserve community garden and food forest

Nice to meet you
A BIG thanks to everyone who came to our meeting at the West Brunswick Community Garden on Saturday 16th June. Around 50 of us showed up which was fantastic to see!

What a terrific range of people of all ages, backgrounds and different levels of gardening experience. It was nice to see that pretty much everyone was very local. We made lots of new friends who want to share the garden and help make it happen and some who're just interested. It was great to see so many of you who have gardened here before, signing on to be part of the future of the garden.

The rain held off so we could all have a chat. Our food swap table was groaning under the weight of food (we'll run this each time we meet down there). The draft plans for the garden were up for viewing and we took down some good ideas.

I know you're all keen to know what the news is with the garden, I'm putting together an update on the community garden which I hope to get out to you in the next few days.

Sizzling Sausages
We had a very successful sausage sizzle at Bunnings a few weeks back. Thanks to the people who gave so much time to organise and make it happen. Until you've done one of these, I don't think you appreciate how much goes into it! The money we raised will go towards the garden, it's a great start.
Food Forest Action!
Last Sunday (22nd July), about 20 of us got down to the food forest beside the community garden to do some weeding, pruning and general cleaning up. As well as doing all the hard work, we heard about what a food forest is, discussed what we're planting and learned about sharpening our secateurs and pruning trees. It was another beautiful day and we got lots done then finished off with a cup of tea, lovely homemade lemonade and some awesome lemon slice. Most of the trees are now looking fantastic and it was very exciting to actually get down there and do some work after so long planning and waiting.

Thanks to all who attended and organised. Although we mentioned it at the June 16th meeting, our invitation didn't reach everyone. I'll spare you the reasons why and just say next time we'll make sure we get to everyone. Sorry if you missed out, we'll get better at this.

What's next?

While we wait to get on with the garden, we'll be down at the food forest again in the next few weeks to finish off the pruning and weeding and to start planting (hooray!). We're just getting a few things organised with Council then we'll let you know the date. Come down and get stuck in, meet your neighbours!

Food forest planting plans and a plant list will be posted here soon and you'll have an opportunity to give your thoughts/ideas.

As I mentioned I aim to send an update on the community garden in the next few days.

More soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our proposal to council for the West Brunswick Community Garden

Although our proposal for managing the West Brunswick Community Garden was posted amongst the papers for the February Council meeting, I realised that we haven't shared it with you here.

So, in case you're interested, here's a link to the proposal.

If haven't followed the story so far, our proposal was chosen by Council and we're holding a public meeting at the garden on June 16th at 2pm.

We'd love to see you down there.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting started at the community garden in Dunstan Reserve: public meeting 16th June at 2pm

Lots of you have been in touch, keen to be involved in the community garden in Dunstan Reserve, West Brunswick.

It's been so frustrating that we couldn't just say to everyone "Come down and we'll get your started!".

We've been waiting just like you.

Well now all the fun starts!

The garden has an exciting future but it needs you. It's up to all of us to make it so.

We're holding a public meeting down at the community garden at Dunstan Reserve in West Brunswick for everyone to come along to meet each other, find out more about the future of the garden and how to get involved.

Come down and chat with your neighbours, check out the plans and join the fun at:

2pm on June 16th 

  • Mark the date in your diaries and calendars now. 
  • Print out the flyer and stick it on your fridge.
  • Print a few more and share them around.

Spread it around and bring your friends too, even if they don't want to get into garden here.

P.S. If you'd like to help before or on the day, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a note via the Contact Us page.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

West Brunswick Community Garden has a future and we're excited to be helping

An update for you on what's happening with the West Brunswick Community Garden.

Council had a good response to their invitation for expressions of interest which is really heartening and supports their decision to find a solution that will keep this garden going. It also reinforces our sense of a building interest in gardening in the community.

Last Wednesday night's Moreland City Council meeting saw a report on the submissions from various groups interested in managing the garden.

The big news for our group is that we've been asked to manage the West Brunswick Community Garden! Council felt that our proposal best addressed the criteria they set down and so they recommended we be given a 12 month lease on the garden with options to extend from there.