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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!