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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thanks to the Lemon Tree Project

Thanks again to our fantastic friends form the Lemon Tree Project for bringing along 4 lovely citrus tree to plant in our garden on Sunday. We were so grateful for your help and the opportunity to share the day. Here are a few pics, hope to see you again soon.

Our communal bed looking lush and green

Hardworking tree planters

Sneaky tree planters looking sneaky

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What to do with all our Amaranth and Purslane

Pretty soon after we planted our west communal bed in November last year two plants started taking hold throughout the garden - Amaranth and Purslane. They were THRIVING! We pulled a lot out and mulched with it until someone pointed out we could actually eat these plants and they became for most of us, our first exciting new food discoveries at the garden.

On Sunday at the garden, we were lucky enough to have Enda show us what she does with Amaranth and Purslane. (thanks to Libby for making a note of these and sharing them)


Amaranth salad
Blanch amaranth (washed and roughly chopped) in boiling water
Add olive oil, clove of chopped garlic, little chilli, white vinegar

Purslane up close
Purslane Rice dish
Lightly fry off onion
Add - rice
       - Purslane (leaves removed from stalks)
       - A homemade tomato/capsicum puree (lightly spicy)
       - water
Let this cook down together

Serve with lashings of yoghurt

A friend added this: purslane, high in omega-3, it also contains glutathione, is rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus, and nicely compares to spinach in its iron content!

Monday, February 25, 2013

What's that? Amourous amaranth

(Thanks to John for this)

...Well maybe not amourous but I am really attracted to the deep burgundy colour of the dense long plumes of flowers. This would be the aptly named cultivar 'Amaranth Burgundy' (Amaranthus caudatus) according to my Organic Gardening book (Botanica's Pocket Organic Gardening, Random House 2004 pp 158-159).

Amaranth (the purple streak) amongst the pumpkins 
Apparently very small seeds the size of a poppy seeds will appear all over the plume of the flowers in abundance. It is a grain crop in South America and Mexico and is also known as Inca wheat or Kiwicha. My book reckons it has been calculted that there are more than 100,000 seeds per plant. I pity the poor buggers who had to do all that counting.

This would also indicate that it would spread easily which explains Diana's suggestion last week in the garden to start removing the flowers from the plants.

The seeds are reallly nutritious and are quite popular as a puffed breakfast cereal in health food stores. I would be interested to let one or two plants go to seed to see if we could harvest them before the seeds get blown to all parts of the garden. Is this worth a try?

I've been eating the leaves and found them quite tasty although I can't really describe what the flavour is. I've used them in stir fries with some lemon and herbs. It's like spinach but doesn't go as mushy when cooked.

There is also another amaranth plant in the garden with flowers of a lighter purple colour. I'm guessing this is a different cultivar. Would anyone know what this is called?

Well I hope you enjoyed this little blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Amaranth plant (or any other plant in the garden).

Happy gardening!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Last few little things for Sunday...

Hello everyone,
I'm pretty excited about Sunday, only two more sleeps (or one if you're reading this on Saturday)!

Prep is almost complete, lots of people have been mucking in and all you need to do is come along and remember to bring:
  • a plate of food to share
  • something to drink
  • working gloves
  • a hat
  • suncream
Some of us will be there early from around 9 am but the fun (and organised stuff) really starts at 11 am kicking off with our apple tasting.

See you then!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Countdown to Feb 24th, power, bike racks, Landcare grant and more...

Some further bit and bobs you might like to know before next Sunday...

First help us spread the word, we want to really show off the garden and food forest and all the hard work we've been doing. Tell everyone you know!

Apple Tasting - 11.00 -11.30
If you're interested in growing your own apples but don't know what sort to grow, come and taste a selection of interesting apples from Petty's Orchard courtesy of the Heritage Fruit Society, rate your favourite.

Throughout the day from 11am to 3pm we'll have the following going on:
Two masters, their apprentice
and a big wooden box
  • Building raised garden beds (our first one was built yesterday and it's a beauty)
  • Installing our apple boxes
  • Yarn-bombing the north fence
  • Topping up the veggies in the communal bed
  • Tidying and watering the food forest
  • Finishing paths near personal plots
  • A bit of musical colour at lunch time
  • Tours of the garden and food forest to hear how we got here and where we're going
We're also working on a special late addition to our day involving the Lemon Tree Project. This will hopefully result in fruit trees being planted and sausages being sizzled and some fruit trees available for people to buy.

In other news...
  • Our communal crew met up for the first time yesterday and are planning what to do next (don't worry if you didn't make it to that meeting, more to come)
  • We have power! (thanks to the helpful people at the child care centre)
  • Our shiny new bike racks have been installed! (thanks to the helpful people at the council)
  • We received a grant from Landcare towards building our propagation area!!!
(I've used my exclamation mark allowance or the whole week so I'll wind up now).

See you next Sunday

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Something for the weekend...

Looks great doesn't it? And we aren't just growing sunflowers either.
(Photo by Gabriella Sarnataro)
Hi everyone, a few things for this weekend:

1. Communal crew kick-off - a reminder we have our communal crew kick-off for working out the mechanics of managing the communal beds at 10.30 on Saturday 16th. We need people in this group to make time for this so we can come up with something workable and that doesn't demand a lots of a small few. By the way, if you aren't sure if this means you but it sounds interesting come along.

2. Sunday Session - we had lots down there last Sunday so this time certainly seems to appeal. Come along this Sunday if you want to see what's happening and how the gardens coming along, if you haven't been for while, you'll see things have definitely moved along.

Don't burn yourselves out though, remember we've got our big working bee/open day on Sunday 24th! We need as many of us as possible there for this one, lots to do including building raised beds, yarn-bombing, apple tasting and more. Tell your friends and family.

Some other stuff (apple boxes) is being delivered on Saturday morning at about 9am so if you feel like lending a hand meet us down there.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Our extra special February Garden & Gather event (Sunday Feb 24th)

The Sustainable Living Festival is underway and our February Garden & Gather event (Sunday February 24th 11am - 3pm) is one of a bunch of events in Moreland that are part of it! With the additional attention, we'll hopefully have lots of people coming along to say hello, have a look around and see what we're up to, maybe we'll meet some prospective new members.

To celebrate being part of the festival we're planning some extra special activities for everyone to participate in including:

  • tours of the garden and food forest
  • yarn-bombing the garden fence to brighten it up (kids most welcome, we need lots of little hands!)
  • tasting some interesting apples courtesy of the amazing people from the Heritage Fruit Society
  • food swap your surplus stuff
  • hopefully some music to keep us all humming

Tell your friends and family, share our event on Facebook.

This is the same day as our monthly working bee so we'll also be getting on with some work including building or installing some raised garden beds, planting in the communal bed and doing some general maintenance of the garden and food forest.

If you're a regular, your help is keeping our project moving, it's going to be a big day with lots happening but only if we get lots of you down there. If we haven't seen you for a while (or at all!), come along and see how the projects are going, learn about what’s planned. If your interested you'll see how you can get involved. Make friends, get tips about gardening and growing food. If previous sessions are any indication, everyone will have a good time, we'll get lots done and leave feeling tired and satisfied and knowing more of our neighbours.

Sound appealing? Come along! Your community garden needs you!

See you soon.

Friday, February 8, 2013

This week's Sunday Session

Hi there,
Fancy popping in to our Sunday Session this week? We'd love to see you.

Remember this is now a weekly thing between 9 am and 12pm but no need to come every week or stay the whole time or even do any gardening, you can just come along, say hello and sit about and enjoy the view.

We had a very pleasant session last week. A few more personal plot holders were orientated (or is it oriented? I never know which), there was a bit of weeding in the food forest, plenty of picking and watering, our first broccoli seedlings in the ground, some prototype yarn-bombing and planning for the next big working bee (more on this very soon) and more.

There should be a nice new load of lovely compost ready for our personal plotters to dig into their beds.

We're looking at some more hoses for watering around the personal plots, if you think of anything else we ought to have in the shed (tools?), drop us an email or write it on the board.

We'll try to have someone from the organising committee there as often as we can but it won't be an organised working bee, sometimes we might use this time for orientation of new gardeners or other stuff.

See you on Sunday!

(By the way, have you liked us on Facebook? No, well apparently you should, it's all the rage.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Communal gardeners of Moreland rise up! Your time is here! (well almost) - Saturday 16th Feb 10.30am

Bountiful fresh food harvested a week ago!
More where this came from

OK, bear with me, this one’s a little lengthy but it's important.

When lots of you signed up, you checked the box marked "Member & Communal Gardener - I'd like to join others growing and harvesting food in the communal plots".

Now is the time for us to form an awesome, well oiled, communal gardening crew and really get this garden humming. Below is some background to the communal beds and why we have them as well as the next steps.

First, 5 reasons why we have communal garden beds?
Kindergarden - Born with black thumbs? Parents not gardeners? Never had a chance to grow food before? There's lots to learn and our communal beds provide a easy way for you to gain heaps of skills and knowledge, perhaps preparing you to move on to a personal plot later on.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sunday Sessions - going weekly, starting tomorrow (Sunday 3rd Feb 9-12)

Hi there,
Left this a bit late so I'll keep it brief...from tomorrow, you can head down to the West Brunswick Community Garden any Sunday morning between 9am and 12pm and garden in company at one of our...Sunday Sessions.

No need to come every week or stay the whole time or even do any gardening, you can just come along, say hello and sit about and enjoy the view.

Communal crew (more soon on kicking this off), there's a blackboard on the side of the shed now where we'll aim to write up what jobs need doing and what you should pick from the communal bed to take home.

A few other things to know:
  • Our Garden & Gather will stay on the 4th Sunday of every month 11am-3pm in case 9am-12pm is a bit early for you or you have other stuff on. That's when we'll get bigger stuff done around the garden
  • If you think of anything we ought to have in the shed, drop us an email or write it on the board
  • We'll aim for someone from the committee to be there as often as we can but it won't be an organised working bee, sometimes we might use this time for orientation of new gardeners or other stuff
See you soon at a Sunday Session.