WORDS & PHOTOS: Julianna Rozek
Spring is here, the weather is beaut, and we have a garden that needs tending- what a brilliant combination. On Saturday, also Burnley Open Day, Horticultured gathered for the first of many weekend working bees. The main task of the day was to clear the eastern edge and plant a perennial edible border of artichokes, rhubarb and alpine strawberries.
We started with a lawn and lots of hope. It was quite a formidable task, but many hands, forks and shovels make light work.
The kikuyu, clover and other assorted hard-to-kill weeds we removed will be used in an upcoming hot compost workshop. Unlike cold composting, this should produce enough heat to render the seeds and runners dead.
We inherited artichokes, rhubarb and alpine strawberries with the gardens. However, they all needed dividing and the artichokes were being out-competed by weeds.
Arranging the artichokes in a border will demonstrate that edibles can be pretty too. Although at the moment it all looks like a sea of mulch…
All three species have survived utter neglect and no irrigation over summer for a couple of years. With a bit of care they should thrive. We’re pretty excited, so watch this space!
We also weeded the flower border planted a couple of months ago. There’s lots of buds, and with the sunshine and warmth finally kicking in they are taking off. And we began a rosemary hedge, using leftover stock from the nursery. A future task will be propagating cuttings from the existing rosemary bush and finishing it.
There is also heaps of fennel growing, so if anyone likes fennel…feel free to take it. Please. There is too much.
The day was extremely satisfying and provided a welcome distraction from assignments. Thank you to all that made it, and especially Brett and Bridey our community gardens officers.
WORDS & PHOTOS: Julianna Rozek
MUC and Horticultured have similar goals, so it was only a matter of time before we conspired together. On a not-too-cold Friday afternoon, members from both clubs gathered at the Burnley Nursery to give spring and summer vegetables a bit of a head start in a greenhouse.
While the end of winter is still too cold outside for most seeds to germinate – they’d prefer to wait for warmer and sunnier times – a greenhouse provides an environment conducive to growing. Particularly a fancy one set at optimum temperature, sunlight and humidity for seed sprouting like the ones at Burnley.
After a bit of discussion at the start about how many of what we should plant, and into what size pots (there are surprisingly many to choose from), the potting shed turned into a well-oiled planting machine. There were labels to be made (a critical and often neglected step of planting – how many times have you ended up with fifty mystery tomatoes, and only one capsicum?), punnets to be filled with seed raising mix (finer than regular potting soil, and with a bit less fertiliser), holes to be made with super-special dibblers (aka chopsticks) and seeds to be carefully dropped in and covered with a fine dusting of soil. Finally, all the trays had to be watered in gently ‘like rain’, so as not to disturb the seeds.
We planted Burnley Surecrop Tomatoes, which were actually developed at Burnley back in ye olde days, plus a rainbow of other tomatoes, sunflowers, a few capsicums and cucumbers, pumpkins and basil. They will go into the MUC and Horticultured gardens, and some will be sold at the Farmers Market.
We’ll keep you updated on their progress! Eventually they will need to be re-planted into bigger pots and moved to a brighter and less humid greenhouse to keep growing, so if you couldn’t make it this times, don't worry, you didn’t miss out on all the fun.
Because of the good turnout, we finished the seed planting early and had a bit of time to wander down to the Horticultured Community Gardens. We did some weeding (as always), put down more tanbark to keep the weeds down, installed a sign, AND DISCOVERED ASPARAGUS GROWING. Some of it was unintentionally blanched under a thick pile of mulch, but look at those big fat beauties!
Read all about it: MUC Garden and Burnley Student Association share updates on their activities.