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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?