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Monday, December 23, 2013

Opportunities to garden together over the next month

Below is a reminder of gardening sessions planned for the next month or so, mark them on your calendar. You're very welcome to come to any or all of these activities. See you there!

Communal Crew Summer Twilight Gardening (byo food/drink if you wish)
Tuesday 7th January   7 pm - 8.30 pm
Tuesday 21st January 7 pm - 8.30 pm

Communal Crew and Friends of the Food Forest Monthly Working Bees 
Sunday 12th January  10 am - 12 pm

General gardening meet-up sessions (byo food/drink if you wish)
* You are welcome to work in the communal beds, or on your personal plot, or both, or just come to say hi, look around and relax.
Friday 3 January   10 am - 12 pm
Friday 10 January   "   "
Friday 17 January   "   "
Friday 24 January   "   "
Sunday 5 January   9 am - 1 pm
Sunday 19 January  "   "

Garden & Gather (byo food/drink for morning tea or lunch)
* Working bee with specific tasks needed to develop or maintain WBCG and the Food Forest, plus social.
Sunday 26 January        "    "

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Garden & Gather, last week's picnic, twilight gardening, plant support, visitors and some stuff you might find interesting

Don't forget Sunday 22nd (today!) is our last Garden & Gather for 2013 starting bright and early at 9am. We've got a few things to do if you can fund some time to come down, bring some food/drink, gloves and a hat.

By all accounts last Tuesday's twilight gardening session was a big success both socially and horticulturally. Plenty of work done and an enjoyable feed/drink to finish it off. There are a couple more planned on Tuesdays 7th and 21st January from 7.00-8.30pm.

The Permablitz picnic last Saturday was a fine affair. Probably around 20 happy folks came along, some for the first time, and we sat around under the stone pine and ate a nice lunch then Adam did a bit of a pruning and fruit tree care demo. 

We've bought some more steel mesh for climbing plant support and some more stakes to hold them up.
We'll cut this up for use this weekend and hang it on the south fence by the shed.

We've had some more interested visitors over the last month or so including a field trip group from the Agrifood 2013 conference, some folks from the Yarra Urban Agriculture Advisory CommitteeMater St Community Garden in Collingwood and the 3000 Acres project.

Catherine sent me some photos to show what it looked like a year ago, what a difference!

Looking South from near the small gate.
Looking East towards the child care centre - now personal plots
Looking North from beside the shed - now greenhouse and propagation area

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Community Recipes: Lucy's Spicy Roasted Broad Beans

We're happy to kick off the Moreland Community Garden recipe series today with a delicious-looking recipe from Lucy - many thanks for sending it in! A glut of fresh broad beans can be tricky to use up, and these look like a treat.

Don't forget, if you have a seasonal recipe to share you can send it to Happy cooking!

Lucy's Spicy Roasted Broad Beans
spicy roasted broad beans recipes
Image: Lucy Best

"Last year we ate broad beans in a salad until we had really had enough! This year I grew less but still found a lack of enthusiasm from the family! So yesterday I made spicy roasted broad beans! Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Steam and then peel the broadbeans.
3. Rinse off in cold water.
4. Toss through some olive oil and spices of your choosing – I used some homemade smoked chilli powder along with a pre-made cajun spice mix.
5. Roast for around 30 mins.

The result is some crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside spicy nibbles! Enjoy! These would probably keep quite well in an airtight container but we didn’t have any leftovers to find out!"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Coming up in the next 10 days - Permablitz Picnic, Twilight Gardening, Garden & Gather and more...

What is it about December? Busy busy busy.

We all need to take a break from the hustle and bustle even if it's just for a few hours. What better way than to head down to the garden. Here are a few things we've got going on over the coming weeks.

Permablitz Picnic 

(Tomorrow - Saturday 14th Dec 12pm)

We're all invited to the end of year Permablitz picnic/pruning party is on this Saturday, in the West Brunswick Food Forest from 12pm onwards.

It's a chance to reflect on the year that soon was, meet each other and members of the Permablitz community and catch up with people you've met at previous blitzes.

Please BYO food and drink (please note there are no BBQ facilities). The forecast is indicating light showers, but we can always huddle under the many trees (before they're pruned!) if that's the case.

Twilight Gardening with the Communal Crew 

(Tues 17th Dec from 7pm)

A lovely way to wind down after work, this will be a social occasion, so bring something to eat and drink if you would like, but we'll also get some work done in the cool of the evening.

Two key activities:
  1. Transferring the remainder of the compost pile to the communal plots and covering this with pea straw. We'll clear exhausted veg before the compost goes on top. NB. This is a hint re jobs to do if you happen to go to garden before Tuesday.
  2. Sowing seeds in punnets in the greenhouse (these will be popular veg from the 'What to Plant?' survey list, using seed we have on-hand).

December Garden & Gather 

(Sun 22nd Dec 9am-1pm - NOTE earlier time for Summer)

Looking for respite from shopping centre mayhem? This is it!

We have a few jobs that really need doing (putting the shade system on the greenhouse, watering, chatting, drinking tea) so please come along. 

To tempt you we're organising a special cook up for everyone using whatever food we're given (by communal crew or personal plotters). If you can spare anything bring it and yourself along.

And not forgetting...

Of course Sunday and Friday mornings between 10am and 12pm are building into nice, casual little sessions. Drop by and dig or just drink coffee.

See you down there!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Calling all Cooks: the Moreland Community Cookbook Needs You!

Kale, lemon and mint salad - local and seasonal summer produce
Preparing for my favourite summer recipe... find out later this week. 

Up to your ears in summer produce? Don't know what to do with your kale or broad beans? Never fear... the Moreland Community Cookbook project is here.

We are looking to feature your recipes for local and seasonal garden produce on this blog!

We've shared recipes in the past, but we're hoping to make it a regular feature in 2014. If there is enough interest, your favourite dishes and family recipes may even be published in a cookbook at the end of the year.

If you have a seasonal recipe you'd love to share, send it to at and watch this space. If you have photos, go ahead and send them too!

Garden and Gather is an excellent example of how food is at the centre of our social lives and communities: people coming together over homemade dishes and a job well done, even if they've never met each other.

Sharing these recipes is just one more way for us to forge connections with each other and the community around us, so let us know how you're preparing and sharing your summer harvest.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What to sow or plant in December

Summer's started with a blast of warm weather, hasn't it?

While the temperatures and rainfall will be up and down over the coming weeks, we'll be watering, mulching, weeding and harvesting, but there's still plenty of time to get more summer, spring and even winter produce underway.

Here are some of the things you'll find in your local nursery at the moment, either as seedlings or seeds:

  • Beans (climbing and dwarf)
  • Beetroot
  • Canteloupe 
  • Capsicum
  • Carrot
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Chillis
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Globe artichokes
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnip 
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes 
  • Rhubarb (crowns)
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet
  • Spring onions
  • Squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini.

Why not add a few gorgeous and hardworking flowering plants such as borage, sunflowers, marigolds, nasturtiums, cosmos or alyssum which help keep the insect population humming along? The marigolds and cornflowers in the community beds are magnificent at the moment, and the bees love them.

It's also a great time to plant all those tough Mediterranean herbs as well as dill, horseradish, French tarragon, savoury and basil.

And then ... eat them!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Calling Communal Crew and Food foresters (and anyone else really)! Sunday 8th Action!

Hi there,
If you're not coming to the Permablitz picnic on Saturday 14th from 12pm or to the Garden & Gather on Sunday 22nd from 9am-1pm  (let's face it, the shops will be packed and the garden will be lovely!), this Sunday 8th we have a few things happening and we'd love to see you down at the garden.

We'll be getting underway at 9am with tea, coffee and maybe a biscuit or a slice of cake. We have three main things on the go:

  • Communal Crew working bee - all you communal gardeners, come along and lend a hand, meet your fellow crew members
  • Food Forest working bee - all those of you who've said you were keen to help look after the Food a Forest, let's see you!
  • The kids from the child care centre next door to our garden will be coming with their parents to plant their stepping stones in the paths
By the way, our friends next door at the Moreland Child Care Centre won the Environmental Education in Early Childhood award which the stepping stones were a part of! How fantastic is that?!?!?

Bring an edible treat, a hat, gloves and sturdy shoes.

See you down there!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Growing Food Project: screening as part of Melbourne Now at NGV (30th Nov @ 3pm)

For anyone interested, our lovely Food Forest (and some of our lovely gardeners) features in this.

Growing Food Project will be screened as part of Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) on Saturday 30th Nov at 3pm.

Melbourne Now celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect Melbourne’s extraordinary and unique cultural landscape.

This film screening will be followed by a panel discussion with artist & nutritionist, Rasha Tayeh alongside other inspiring designers & architects discussing Food & the Built Environment – inviting viewers to discuss the benefits of supporting local food systems & how we can better design cities around food and bring it closer to us.

Panel speakers include:
The film screening & panel discussion will kick off at the Clemenger BBDO Auditorium (NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne) at 3pm and will be followed by a tour of the Foodscape designed by Urban Commons at the NGV garden.

This event is free. No booking required.

Photo: Growing Food Project 
For more information about the Growing Food Project visit:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Next Weekend: a couple of ways to scratch your community gardening itch

Itching to see community gardening in action, meet some awesome, likeminded locals and get your hands dirty? Well, this weekend there are a couple of great opportunities you might like to avail yourselves of that should well and truly scratch that itch.

Saturday from 11am - Moreland Community Gardens Tour

Come along and checkout the other community gardens in Moreland on this tour.

I think anyone who went on last year's tour would tell you it was an interesting and fun way to spend a few hours.

We're meeting at  Luscombe St Community Garden at 11am on Saturday.

It's free and places aren't unlimited but please RSVP by emailing so we can send you more info about times and maybe you can catch or give someone a ride.

Sunday from 11am - Our monthly Garden & Gather

Last month's Garden & Gather was my favourite yet. 

There was just a fantastic mood about the day, it was warm, some new faces and plenty of regulars, lovely food, the waft of compost being turned - oh and we got loads done including an induction, a compost workshop, mounting our new gate blackboard, building our outside propagating tables, ramping the sand in front of the greenhouse, sorting out some hazards and trialling  our salt and vinegar weed killer.

This month we've got plenty to get done before the hot weather and holidays set in:
  • an induction/orientation for anyone who's recently joined or just wants to attend
  • you can come and pay your membership fees
  • we'll run a compost workshop
  • lining and filling the raised beds we built recently
  • fitting the shade system to the greenhouse
  • watering everything!

Note to personal plotters - Remember one way we ask you to contribute is to come along to at least a couple of Garden & Gathers each year to help with the care and maintenance of our garden. We're hoping to see a few people getting their first in for this year.

Remember everyone: Bring a plate, suncream, a hat and gloves.

See you down there!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Permablitz Picnic/Pruning Party at the West Brunswick Food Forest (Saturday 14th December at 12pm)

The lovely folks at the Permablitz Collective (who came to visit in June and helped us achieve so much) have elected to hold their end of year picnic under the fruit trees at the West Brunswick Food Forest and we're all invited!

If you haven't been down since the blitz in June, come and check out the Food Forest in full leaf.

When: Saturday 14th December at 12pm
Where: West Brunswick Community Garden and Food Forest
Bring: something to eat (please note there aren't any BBQ facilities) and drink.

It's a chance to reflect on the year that soon was, meet other members of the Permablitz community and catch up with people you've met at previous permablitzes.

There will even be a pruning workshop—educational!

Friends/animals/babies most welcome!

We look forward to seeing you there :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your garden needs you!

Do we need to appeal to the riot police to help?
Hi, me again. I know it was only a few days ago that I asked for volunteer waterers but I'm back to ask again. It's important.

Imagine standing out in the cooling evening, sprinkling some water on happy plants, sighing and thinking 'This is the life'. That's what it's like. Really.

So far we have 15 lovely people who've put their hand up which is fantastic but we need 15 more.

Don't the plants look happy?
You want our plants to be happy too right?
I can't think of a more elegant, less cliched way to say "many hands make light work". Simply put, if we don't get more of you to help it means more work for the few people who have volunteered.

If you're one of our 70 members who hasn't volunteered we really need you to do an hour of watering every couple of weeks.

If you'd like to help but you're not a member don't let that be a barrier, let's talk!

Please reply to this email (if you're reading this in an email that is) or email us at with your name and days of the week you can water.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What to sow or plant in November

It really felt like spring today. And then it felt like winter. Then summer. Then winter again.

But that's November in Melbourne for you.

In spite of the alternating sunburn and frostbite, it's one of the busiest months in the garden. We're planting tasty summer crops, but also those autumn and winter crops that need long growing times.

It's officially tomato planting season now there's enough warmth in the soil to give them a good head start, along with all the other plants we often cook with tomatoes like capsicum, chillies, eggplant, zucchini and basil. The biggest decision for November is which tomato variety to choose. We planted tree tomatoes in the community garden today - apparently they can grow to eighteen feet high!

So let's take a look at the long list of all the goodies you can get going now:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Capsicum
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chilli
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mitzuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Parsnips
  • Pumpkin and squash
  • Radishes
  • Rocket
  • Silver beet or rainbow chard
  • Spinach
  • Swede
  • Tatsoi
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watermelon and rockmelon
  • Zucchini.

Along with all the mulching, watering, propagating and weeding, there's plenty to be going on with.

Happy digging!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ways to get involved 1-2-3!

1. Come to the next Friends of the Food Forest get together on Sunday 10th November between
10am and noon. Maintaining and improving the Food Forest.

2. Come to the next Communal Crew working bee also on Sunday 10th November between about 9am and noon. Maintaining and improving the communal beds.

3. We need lots of waterers for the communal garden, food forest and perimeter/greenhouse watering. Can you spare 1 hour to water about once every 2 - 3 weeks (more often is OK too)? If you can then please reply to this email (if you're reading an email) or email us at with your name and days of the week you can water.

See you down there!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Moreland Community Gardens Tour 2013 - all welcome!

Hi everyone,
Last year in August, to give us some ideas for how our garden could look and work, we organised a tour of 5 community gardens for the members of the various gardens. It was lots of fun, a bit exhausting for those on bikes and I certainly made some new friends as a result, I reckon others did too.

We've managed to organise another tour of the same community gardens this year and agreed on Saturday 23rd November as THE DAY.
The inspirational Merri Corner Community Garden

It will be really interesting to see the gardens more than a year since the last tour and also at a different time of year. It'll also be useful to see how the other gardens tackle the challenges we face now which were only theoretical a year ago.

I hope you can come along. Here's the timetable:
  • 11am Luscombe St CG East Brunswick
  • 11.45am Merri Corner CG East Brunswick
  • 12.30pm PepperTree Place Coburg (BYO Lunch)
  • 1.30pm West Brunswick CG
  • 2.15pm Mulberry Garden Glenroy

The big difference this year is that we agreed we will share the tour with a wider audience so we'll be opening the tour up to everyone. 

It'll be a chance for others to come and see what we're all up to at our various gardens in Moreland and find out how to get involved.

Please RSVP by emailing and let us know if you need a lift or you're able to give others a lift.

We'll get in touch with those who RSVP to provide more information closer to the date.

I hope you can make it and start spreading the word! (hmm that sounds strangely familiar…)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Exciting addition to this Sunday's G&G (making clay signs) and a minor whoops

We've been talking about making some signage for the communal beds to let people know what's what, what to pick and what to leave. Thanks to Susan who has been trying to get this done. Today, one of our new members got in touch today with a brilliant idea.

Sophie is a potter and also teaches hand-building and throwing. She was thinking we could make these signs out of clay, she'll then take them home, glaze and fire them for us and then we can write on the glazed surface in texta and then rub it off when you want to change the sign! Like I said - brilliant. Oh and fun.

Sophie will be coming along this Sunday to the Garden & Gather with clay, tools, a work table and we'll have a go. Everyone is welcome, kids too.

Oh and the correction I mentioned in the subject.

When I listed the different sessions we have organised over the course of each month, I made a couple of grammatical errors. It should have read:
  1. Midweek meetups - every Tuesday and every Friday 10am-12pm
  2. Sunday sessions - every Sunday (except 4th Sunday) 9am-12pm
  3. Communal Crew sessions - 2nd Sunday of every month -10am & 3rd Tuesday of every month - 7pm-8.30pm (Summer only)
  4. Friends of the Food Forest - 2nd Sunday of every month - 10am-12pm
  5. Garden & Gather - 4th Sunday of every month 11am-3pm

If you want to know more about any of these, get in touch!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Garden & Gather (Sunday October 27th) - Other News & Requests

Well, if today (Sunday) was anything to go by, we've got some work ahead of us this Summer! Still we made it through last Summer successfully and this year we've got another year of gardening under our belts and more people to help. Gotta be better this year. Right?

Next Sunday 27th October between 11am and 3pm we have our monthly Garden & Gather where we get together, have a laugh, something to eat and do some work together to make the garden better. It would be great to see a few more people down there, if you haven't been down for a while, come and say hello, tell a joke and lend a hand.

NEW!! This time, and every month from now on, we'll do an introduction for new members where we'll provide some background to the garden, explain how it works, show you around - that sort of thing.

So, here's what we'll be doing:
  • 11.10 - Intro for new members
  • 11.30 - Compost workshop
  • installing the steel tables outside and anchoring them
  • putting together the remaining staging for inside the greenhouse
  • spreading the remaining sand near the greenhouse
  • some other bits and pieces around the garden
Remember - bring a plate of something edible to share, a hat, suncream and gloves.

In other news...

More ways to be involved - TICK!
When can I meet others at the community garden? Let me count the ways...

  1. Midweek meetups - every Tuesday and Friday 10am-12pm
  2. Sunday sessions - every Sunday (except 4th Sunday) 9am-12pm
  3. Communal Crew sessions - every 2nd Sunday -10am & 3rd Tuesday 7pm-8.30pm (Summer only)
  4. Friends of the Food Forest - every 2nd Sunday - 10am-12pm
  5. Garden & Gather - every 4th Sunday 11am-3pm

Hold our AGM - TICK! 
Thanks to those of you who came along to our AGM last week. It all went very smoothly and was most convivial. There have been some new faces elected to our board, we'll post something soon about this soon.

Build the last of our raised beds - TICK!
Yesterday (Saturday) Barish, Thomas, Nico and Fergus built the last of our raised garden beds, the ones we've been calling our 'access beds'. These beds are:
  • a little higher (so you can garden more comfortably sitting in a wheelchair or standing up), 
  • narrower (so you can easily reach the middle if you're reach is limited),
  • surrounded by firm granitic sand paths (a flatter, more stable surface)
It was a tremendous effort on a pretty hot day. In the next few weeks, we'll have some soil delivered for filling them and we can get growing in these too. 

Some boxes arranged to represent some garden beds
Four of these will be personal plots (we'll allocate them according to our normal criteria/process) and the two long skinny beds will provide some accessible communal growing space.

Some requests...

  • If you bring newspapers for the compost, please make sure they are stacked neatly inside the shed. If they're left outside, they get blown about by the wind.
  • We don't have a rubbish collection at the garden so please take any rubbish home with you.
  • We don't have a shed cleaner/tidier - Had a cuppa? Put your teabags in the compost, wash/put away what you use. Put some plants in? Stack your pots neatly with the others or take them home and put them in your recycling bin.

Look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What to plant or sow in October

Spring. Beautiful one day, freezing the next. It's a very confusing time for all those little seedlings - not to mention the gardeners out in all weather.

But it's splendid for growing, and one of the busiest times of year in the veggie patch. So let's look at a few things you can get into the ground now:

Bok choy
Potatoes (late)
Sliver beet or rainbow chard
Spring onions
Sweet potato*

*if you're confident the last frosts have passed - and right now it's hard to tell.

Whew! That ought to keep you going for a while.

You can also plant herbs like basil, dill, fennel, tarragon and parsley now.

We've had a few people ask about which tomatoes to plant. There's no right answer to that question. It depends on your own taste and also what you use them for: salads, pasta sauces, preserving or gobbling straight off the vine. Perhaps you want an all-rounder? Do you want to go for volume or taste? Prefer some different colours?

This year Hungarian Heart and Jaune FlammĂ© took the honours at the Diggers tasting in Adelaide. Last summer I decided to test out a few different heritage varieties, having always grown standard Roma and First Class for sauces and Sweet Bite for salads. The surprise for me was Amish Paste - I grew it for making pasta sauce but its taste fresh from the garden was divine - and it bore kilos and kilos of fruit per plant. Tommy Toe is a prolific variety with small fruit about the size of an apricot that often win the Diggers taste tests and explode with flavour in the mouth. Black Cherry looks and tastes great, but in my test didn't bear as much fruit as expected. Tigerella not only looks great, with its orange and yellow stripes, but it bears well and the flavour is sensational too. The heritage varieties seem to win the flavour - and appearance - stakes every time.

How about you? Have you got any favourite tomato varieties you can recommend? And any great tips for getting the most out of your spring and summer crops?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nearly half of Moreland's landfill waste is food! Can you Zero your Waste for a Week?

Food waste is a huge problem, locally, nationally and globally. In Moreland around 29,000 tonnes of waste goes to landfill annually, almost half of this is food waste!

Australians throw away an estimated $5.2 billion worth of food every year, or one in five bags of the food they purchase.

When food waste breaks down in landfill it produces the harmful greenhouse gas, methane. This gas is 23 times more potent than the carbon dioxide that comes out of your car exhaust.

Using a compost bin or worm farm for the food waste you do produce is a great way to reduce waste to landfill and recycle nutrients back into your garden. However, what is even better than recycling your food waste is to avoid creating it in the first place.

Food waste avoidance saves all the water, energy and non-renewable resources that went into getting that food from the farm to your plate. Food waste avoidance means only buying what you can use, being creative with what you have in the cupboards and getting your storage right to get the most out of your food.

Moreland residents! Take the Zero Waste for a Week Challenge this November and reduce your landfill waste to zero for one week. 

It’s not as hard as it sounds, changing the way you buy goods and produce, composting food scraps and recycling more all make a huge difference. 

Free workshops will be available throughout November on food waste avoidance and composting to help you cut your waste to zero. 

For more information or to register call Council on 9240 1111 or go to...

Please note that registration for the challenge is only open to Moreland Residents but information is open to everyone, visit the website for some great Zero Waste tips!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Of interest: Significant tree tour - Sat 19 October

F  r  i  e n  d  s    O f    B  u r  n  l e  y    G  a  r  d e  n  s    inc.
Saturday  19th October  2013


Led by former National Trust Project Officer and FOBG Chair, John Fordham, we are offering the opportunity to visit a number of wonderful trees in their spring glory located in the inner Melbourne and west of Melbourne area.

Many of the trees we will visit are listed on the National Trust’s Significant Tree Register which records unusual trees, historical trees, best examples of species and particularly large trees.

  • We’ll board the bus at Burnley and proceed to the University of Melbourne’s main campus in Parkville. There we’ll look at trees on the Significant Tree Register and also those that were classified last year by the City of Melbourne. From there we’ll take a walk (or bus it) to the Melbourne General Cemetery to look at a pine on the register and have a brief talk about the cemetery.
  • We board the bus again and head to Werribee Mansion for lunch. You can bring your own picnic or settle in to the Mansion cafĂ©  (own cost). After lunch we’ll look at the trees on the Register in this magnificent garden. We’ll have some time to explore the formal gardens (thought to have been designed by William Guilfoyle), the Mansion Heritage orchard and State Rose garden with 5000 roses on display.
  • On the way home we’ll stop at the Domain (next to the Royal Botanic Gardens) and look at the trees on the Significant Tree Register and then return to Burnley.It promises to be a packed day and as usual booking early is wise. Bookings close on the 8th  of October.

COST : $ 100 (members FOBG) $ 125 (non-members)
TIME : The bus will leave from Burnley at 8.30 am and will return by 6.00 pm approximately.
ENQUIRIES: John Fordham 0407 330303 or Andrew Smith 9035 6861
BYO: Mug, water and walking shoes. Bring a picnic lunch (if desired).

BOOKINGS and PAYMENT: Bookings close Monday October 14, 2013 (early bookings appreciated).
by EFT
BSB 063420
Account No = 10018095
Account name = Friends of Burnley Gardens Inc
Please notate with your name

Please cut off this section and send a cheque payable to Friends of Burnley Gardens.

Please include your NAME:
Friends of Burnley Gardens Inc.
500 Yarra Boulevard
VIC 3121
Significant Tree Tour - Day trip- Saturday October 19, 2013
Name (for tag)..………………………………………………………………………

Contact details (phone/email)…….…………………………………………….

Friday, September 27, 2013

Building a greenhouse in just over a minute? No worries!

Thanks must go to the funny, hardworking, co-operative, helpful and truly AWESOME people who made time to come and help us build our greenhouse a couple of weeks back.

Watch our time-lapse video of the build. It's pretty cool.
(Thanks to Phil for working out how to do the time-lapse bit) 

Of course it wouldn't have happened in the first place without the financial support we received from Landcare as part of our Be Natural Grant as well as the funds from our Moreland City Council Partnership grant.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Communal Crew Early Spring Planting - This Saturday (21st) from 9am-ish to12pm-ish

What is it ?

This Saturday the Communal Crew will be starting the rejuvenation of some of our late summer and autumn plantings. We have some donated seedlings from CERES (lettuce) as well as some additional seedlings we plan to buy

As wells as planting there is some maintenance and watering to do and if anyone is interested in starting on signage or discussing seed saving we can get cracking with that too.

All invited

Whoever you are in WB Gardens, whether your a plot holder, composter or food forest fanatic you can help too if you fancy some light activity and stimulating conversation on Saturday. If you are not currently part of WB Gardens come along anyway and enquire with us about joining up, if you are interested.

Just reply to this post if you plan to drop by.

Hope to see you Saturday. The Communal Crew.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Special Celebratory September Garden & Gather - Sunday 22nd September from 11am

In August last year we ran a tour of other Moreland community gardens to get our cogs turning on ideas of how our garden could be. It's been an amazing year since then and we've all worked pretty hard to get the garden to where it is.

July 2012
There's one thing that I reckon we haven't done well enough during the last year - CELEBRATE - and we're going to start to address this deficiency at our Garden & Gather on Sunday 22nd starting at 11am.

If you're one of the over 100 people who've had a hand in getting the garden to where it is we want to see you. Come and see what you've helped to build and say hello, have a bite to eat and a drink.

August 2013
We've got a few little jobs to take care of but then we're tipping the balance in favour of fun, interesting, relaxing and social with some workshops, live music and an extended lunch.

First the fun stuff:

  • 11.30am - a fruit tree training primer
  • 12.00pm - a compost workshop
  • 12.30pm - make milk bottle butterflies to scare away the cabbage butterflies
  • 1.00pm - Lunch! We're even going to see what we can drum up from what's ready to eat in the garden
Bring your friends/family/kids, some food to share and if you want a glass of wine or a few beers bring them too.

If you want to make some butterflies bring a plastic milk bottle and some scissors.

(Oh and the jobs: finishing the pruning of the fruit trees around the fence; reorganising the North East corner of the northern communal garden bed.)

We promise to do a better job of addressing the celebration side of things.

See you down there!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This Sunday: Greenhouse Building a few more hands might be...well handy

Perhaps you saw that this Sunday a few of us will be assembling our new greenhouse?

We've got 5-6 of us lined up but could do with 2-3 more people for the day to really make a big start and hopefully knock it all off in a day.

We'll be kicking off at 9am and would love to see you down there.

Can you help? If you can drop us an email at and let us know.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What to sow or plant in September

Really feels like Spring now, doesn't it? The Community Garden and the Food Forest are looking spectacular.

It's hard to know, nowadays, whether to expect more frosts or wild weather. But let's play it safe and assume this will be a normal spring with plenty of wind, hopefully a bit of rain, and more of these lovely warm days.

It's a busy time. Winter veggies that have finished or bolted can come out (let's face it, if they look daggy and caterpillar-infested, you'll feel a whole lot better when they're in the compost). Weeds are popping up everywhere so dig them out while they're little. They won't know what's hit them. Then you can look forward to the next crop.

Spuds have been available in many nurseries for a while now - perhaps you've already got yours in. If not, look for virus-free seed potatoes which come in a huge range of different options so you can choose your favourite potatoey goodness, or perhaps experiment with a few different varieties. Here's one way to get a bumper crop. Simply choose a bit of ground that's not too weedy. Slash or mow the grass, if there is any. Then spread out a good thick layer of newspaper, and plonk your seed spuds on it with plenty of space between them. Cover them all in a thick layer of pea straw or lucerne hay, and then cover that with a layer of compost or rotted manure. As the plants come up and get bushier, layer more straw around them to keep the light from reaching the tubers. Then when they're ready to harvest (after the plants turn yellow), all you have to do is lift the straw and there they'll be. Magic. This is a great use of ground that has been neglected for a while, or that you'd like to turn into a garden bed for the future. You can use the same method in hessian bags or those polystyrene boxes from the fruit shop (punch a few holes through for drainage) or even a cylinder of chicken wire - so long as you can layer the straw and compost, and keep the light from turning the potatoes green and evil. Good luck!

There are stacks of other things you can sow or plant now:

  • Artichoke
  • Broccoli
  • Beetroot
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower 
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Endive
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions (late - try good keepers like Australian Brown)
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet or rainbow chard
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • Swedes
  • Turnips.

Traditionally, we plant our tomato seedlings around Cup weekend, to make sure all danger of frost has passed and provide them with a warm start to life. But if you're growing from seed in a nice protected spot or under glass, you can get them started in punnets now and plant them out later on. The same goes for basil, cucumber, eggplants,  pumpkin, zucchini, squash and even sweetcorn. It's also a great time to divide or plant rhubarb, and to sprinkle around seeds of coriander and parsley.

Lots to do. If you have any planting suggestions or tips, or fabulous recipes for our harvest, do let us know. Happy gardening!

PERMABLITZ #149: WEST BRUNSWICK - chicken yard/shed, wicking beds, fruit trees and more (Saturday 21st Sept)

If you came along to the Food Forest Permablitz, you've seen how much a motivated bunch of gardeners can get done in a day.

Now, that was not your "conventional" Permablitz though (is there really such a thing), typically they take place in someone's backyard. One of our very active members (Thomas, who hooked us up with the Permablitz crew, designed our compost palace and has run a few compost workshops) is completely renovating his backyard.  Read on for details...

Saturday 21 September 2013, 10:00am - 5:00pm

We're blitzing our north facing back garden, and if all goes according to plan, we'll:

  • build a fox (and dog) proof deep mulch chicken yard
  • cut down a couple of trees, and use the wood for huglekulture beds
  • construct a few wicking beds out of old apple crates
  • do plenty of digging to remove lead contaminated soil, put in mulch paths, and take measures to preserve water
  • plant orange, pear and banana trees, grape vines, potatoes, veggies, and herbs
  • build a pergola for the grape vines, to shade the house
  • build a chook shed
  • smash up some concrete, and replace it with mulch and ground beds
  • eat a fabulous vegetarian lunch

There’ll be workshops on the things we’re doing during the day, and perhaps others such as composting, pruning, wormfarming, and keeping chooks.  There will also be one on Lacto Bacillus from Ben (see this site, if that doesn't mean anything to you:

If you want to come, email, and we’ll reply with the address.  Let us know if you have any dietary requirements when you write.

If you haven't heard back after three days, please check your spam folder.
Please wear sensible shoes or boots, and bring gloves and a sunhat.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Midweek Gardening Meet Ups: Tuesday and Friday 10am - 12pm - starting this week

Do you fancy a bit of gardening in company through the week? Are you at a bit of a loss in the garden on what to do? Or do you have heaps to do but would rather have company when gardening? Maybe you’re just looking to get outside and see other people?

Maybe our new midweek meet up is for you.

Starting this week, on Tuesdays from 10-12noon and Fridays from 10-12noon there will be an informal meet up at the garden. It will be a nice chance to garden together, have a cuppa, share some stories or knowledge and enjoy the beautiful space we've created. Starting in September.

Everyone (including kids) welcome, come down and enjoy. See you down there!

*Weather dependant – pouring rain and howling gales (or even a bit rainy) are not everyone’s ideal gardening weather. :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Willing and able? Help raise our greenhouse: Sunday 15th September

Ever heard of barn raising? Even if you know what I'm referring to, watch the time lapse vid above. It's pretty jaw dropping what this bunch of determined people get done.

Why am I talking about this? Well, we're doing our own mini-barn-raising starting at 9am on Sunday 15th September. Instead of a barn though we'll be raising our (much smaller) greenhouse and working on our propagation area.

We need enough willing hands (not as many as they had obviously!) to get it finished in a day so if you can come and help please RSVP by emailing us at (or just reply if you're reading this on an email). 

I don't think it'll take all day, we'll have some lunch and some laughs and help place one more piece of our garden jigsaw in place.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Food Forest: working bee and next steps

The next stage of work in the Food Forest is about to start. After our mammoth Permablitz session in June, the trees and new plants are coming along beautifully. Hope you've had a chance to see all the blossom over the last few weeks.

So next up, we're having a Food Forest working bee on Sunday 8 September 2013 from 10am to 12pm.  We'll be doing some pruning, planting and having a bit of a clean up and weed (there's always weeding). We have  three pear trees and a hazelnut that need pruning and some of the olive trees could do with a bit of a thin out.  If you have secateurs/pruning tools you could bring that would be great.  Anna has offered to bring her blade sharpeners .  Also if anyone has a bit of metho that we could use to clean the tools that would be appreciated also.

Generous people have donated  lemon balm, Jerusalem artichoke tubers,Marionberries and two apple trees. If you'd like to donate spare herbs or mints, scented geraniums, ground covers and berries we'd be happy to accept them - just bring them along on the day.

Karen Sutherland has been hard at work on the plant list and a timetable of work that needs to be done and will have that for us shortly.  She has also been sorting out prices and a plan for the irrigation system  which will be happening soon apparently.  So big thanks to her. 
We look forward to seeing you down there and catching up afterwards for a cuppa and a chat .

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some news and other bits

A few bits and pieces to let you know about...

Bringing materials into the garden 
We try not to be driven by rules and we deliberately don't have many. One rule we do have is that
materials for supporting climbing plants are provided by the garden so please don’t bring anything in. We have plenty of bits of steel mesh hanging on the fence beside the shed, please use it.

If there's anything else you think we need, add it to the blackboard or email us at

Free seedlings for everyone!
We were lucky enough to receive a very generous donation of 5 TRAYS of free seedlings from the CERES Propagation team a couple of weeks back for everyone at the garden to use. Sorry if you missed out this time, if we receive more (fingers crossed!) we'll let you know where they are (and mark them clearly) so you can help yourself to what you can use at the community garden, or at home.

Rubbish in, rubbish out
Remember we have no rubbish collection at the garden so if you bring rubbish in or you see some in the garden, please take it away with you.

Blackboard ahoy!
Our blackboard won't tell you to hurry up (I'm showing my age, right?)

Our new, big blackboard is up, have a look at it each time you're down at the garden for news and activities. Add things you think we need. Draw smiley faces.

Friends of the Food Forest
Our Friends of the Food Forest (FoFF) had a great kickoff meeting a few weeks back with lots of you showing up and is now welcoming new members, email if you're interested. Stay tuned for news on what they have planned over the coming months.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunday 25th August Garden & Gather: planting trees and more!

Our next working bee, we call it our Garden & Gather is coming up Sunday 25th from 11am-3pm.

These are the days where we get together and get BIG STUFF done and take big steps towards our goal of building our garden. We'll need plenty of hands to help so please come along.

Our plans for the day include:

  • getting stuck into planting around the fence-line, mainly trees (for more about this go here)
  • completing prep for our propagation area and greenhouse ready to build in a few weeks (for more about this, go here).
  • trying to tee up another compost workshop

A few other things are happening too.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dream a little dream of....sheds?

What could our garden shed be like? Close your eyes and think for a minute.

Here are a few questions to get you started...

What would you keep from our curent shed?
What would you change, add or remove?
What facilities would it have?
How would it look and feel?
What words would you use to describe it?
What would you like to be able to do in it that you can't do now?
What would it be like inside and outside?
Verandah? Pergola?
Sitting space inside? Outside?

OK, now you've got some ideas brewing here are 4 ways you can let us know your thoughts (about this or anything else, well except politics maybe).
  1. Add a comment to this post on our website
  2. Send us an email at (or if you're reading this on an email from us, just reply)
  3. Add your ideas to the blackboard down at the garden
  4. Visit our Facebook page
As well as your ideas, we'd love to understand your reasons if you care to share them.

Got pictures? Send them too.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A message from your Compost King: come forth and help compost

Now that all the hysteria about the new royal arrival at Kensington Palace has calmed down, we can concentrate on our own palace, and the important georgical act of composting.

It all starts at the first bay, the one marked with the green arrows.

Ideally, lift up the cover, and stir the top of the contents around.  If it looks dry, add some water.  Then add your gifts of kitchen scraps or garden waste, put on a layer of ripped-up newspaper, and spray some more water on top.

If you’re short of time, as a minimum put in your kitchen scraps and add an equal amount of ripped up newspaper.  Hopefully the next person will have time to stir it up and add water.

What to add:
What not to add:
Vegetable and fruit peelings
Egg shells
Tea bags
Coffee grounds
Meat and bones
Dairy products
Diseased plants
Glossy paper
Dog or cat droppings

What else can you do to help:
  • Join the compost crew, help fork the compost and share the pride of a well run palace.  Send an email to or talk to one of us at the next garden and gather Sunday.
  • Bring along your newspaper (no glossy inserts please), and rip them up into the black bin next to the palace.  Please don’t leave them lying outside where they will blow about.
Future posts will talk about the compost tumbler, and the other bays.  Keep your eyes out for regular workshops at future garden&gather sessions.

From The Compost King

Monday, August 12, 2013

What's coming up part I: Building our propagation area

If you've ever successfully grown plants from seeds and cuttings, you know it is really interesting and tremendously satisfying. From the very beginning, our plans for the garden have included a propagation area designed to enable us to do this. It should create even more ways to learn about plants and growing food as well as new ways for people to get involved and hopefully it will help reduce costs.

This propagation area will be the next exciting piece of our garden project to fall into place.

To be able to undertake this project we received funding from two generous sources : Landcare (a Be Natural grant) and our Moreland City Council Partnership Grant.

How will we do this?
A couple of weeks ago our hard working Garden & Gather crew cleared and flattened out an area beside our compost palace where we'll lay a base of granitic sand (that's one of our jobs for the next Garden & Gather on 25th August).

On top of this base, right up against the compost palace, in September we'll build a greenhouse, inside we'll have some metal plant tables and a watering system. Outside, between the greenhouse and shed, we'll have an area sheltered from the sun and wind where we can harden off our seedlings before we plant them out into the garden.

Ok so it's a boring picture but can you imagine it?

This facility will be there for all of us to share. Eventually, hopefully, we'll even be growing from our own seed, growing plants using cuttings from the food forest, and maybe even grafting our own fruit trees.

With your help, it'll be fantastic.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Coming soon...planting around our community garden's fences

Sorry if you've already heard about this.

One of the remaining parts of rebuilding our garden is to plant around the perimeter of our garden. A little while back we canvassed people's thoughts on what we ought to plant. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions.

Potager du Roi in Versailles
The majority of people were keen on espaliered heritage fruit trees such as apples and pears, along with some fruit vines such as kiwifruit and passionfruit, underplanted with some edible flowers and medicinal herbs as well as a few more edibles. Gorgeous. It'll look just like the Potager du Roi in Versailles. Give or take a couple of centuries. We also reckon after these winter winds that a bit of a windbreak wouldn't go astray, so we're looking at a stretch of feijoas in one area too.

So pretty soon we'll get on to ordering the plants and some more compost to help get them started. We'll keep you posted about planting days once we know we've got the stock. If you'd would like to help out with this project, don't hold back, drop us an email at

A few people volunteered to donate spare herbs and berries - we are actually in need of those for the Food Forest right now and happy to accept donations at the next Garden and Gather on August 25. Just check in with Karen, Isa or Janelle on the day.

In the meantime, if you're at the garden and looking for something to do, feel free to pull out few weeds in those last strips inside the fence we haven't quite go to yet. Thrilling, I know, but it all helps.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What to sow or plant in August

It's nearly spring. We promise.

The days are getting a little longer and soon the soil will warm up. So it's time to get ready.

Here are a few things you can plant (seedlings or tubers) or sow (seeds) to get your spring garden off to a rocketing start:

  • Beetroot
  • Bok choy
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Globe artichokes
  • Jerusalem artichokes (tubers)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes 
  • Radishes
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet and rainbow/ruby chard
  • Spinach.

Not aliens: Jerusalem artichokes. 

We've had perfect gardening weather lately: clear skies, a bit of a chill in the air and a crisp breeze to stop us dozing off in the winter sun. So what are you waiting for?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fair Food Week at Coburg Farmers Market - volunteers needed (Sat 24th August)

Coburg Farmers Market

Hi everyone,
As part of Fair Food Week we're doing a few things including having a tour on Sunday 25th and contributing some surplus veg to an Open Table dinner.

Here's another way we can be involved.

The Moreland Food Gardens Network (which we are part of) is looking to host a table at the Coburg Farmers Market on Sat 24/8 between 8am - 1pm.

The market are planning to renovate the schools kitchen garden and promote a few local groups in a big tent. There will be a table which we and other groups in the network can staff to chat to people about what our groups are doing. It'll be informal and friendly, an easy way to spread the word.

Merri Corner Community Garden have committed to 8-11am, hopefully some other groups will step up too.

We need a couple of volunteers to cover 11am-1pm and to help with packing up. 
Who's up for it? Email us at if you are.

If you haven't been to check out the market, here's your chance!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Has it been a month already? July Garden & Gather this Sunday 11am-3pm - All Welcome!

Just a quick note to remind you all that this Sunday between 11am-3pm is our monthly Garden & Gather down at the West Brunswick Community Garden & Food Forest.

Here's what will be happening:

  • Catching up with each other and what's been happening in and out of the garden
  • General maintenance around the garden
  • Clearing the space between the shed and the compost palace in preparation for building our propagation area (yippee!)
  • Paint our blackboard (weather permitting)!
  • Participate in the amazing compost workshop at 11am!
  • Witness the progress in the north communal bed!
  • Wander the wonderful food forest!

We'll enjoy a nice lunch at 1pm so bring along something yummy to share for lunch

As always bring gloves and sensible shoes.

Sorry it's been a bit quiet recently, lots of planning going on. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll aim to let you know more about what's coming including:

  • our propagation area
  • building the remaining raised "access" beds
  • perimeter planting
  • shade and seating
  • Friends of the Food Forest
  • signage
Thanks to everyone who has paid their membership, personal plot and communal garden contributions. It's not too late, your contributions really do help. If you want to know how to contribute, email us at

See you on Sunday!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Soup and Mulled Wine recipes from our June Garden & Gather/Food Forest Permablitz

We've been asked quite a few times to share the recipes for the soups and mulled wine we enjoyed at our Garden & Gather/Food Forest Permablitz in June. Here they are! Enjoy.

Pumpkin Soup

This was adapted from the Covent Garden Soup Book. It suggests cooking 200g of the pumpkin separately and popping it into the soup after you've pureed it to give it some. It also calls for 150 ml of milk at the end to give a bit of a creamy taste/texture but I don't reckon it needs it.