WORDS & PHOTOS: Julianna Rozek
On a gorgeous sunny Sunday, Horticultured gathered once more to work on our gardens.
We mattock-ed, forked and dug our way through a dense mat of weeds in the area that is destined to become the perennial-ish section. While clearing weeds, path-making and mulching are not most people's favourite gardening activities (although using a mattock on kikuyu is exceptional for relieving stress), they are incredibly important for setting up a garden. Using a bobcat or weed-killer might have been quicker, but would have damaged the soil and precious biota we rely on to, you know, grow stuff.
We also took plenty of tea and cake breaks, and chatted like a house on fire.
It was great to see the perennials we transplanted a couple of weeks ago into the border settling in. The alpine strawberries seem to be thriving - some are already putting out fruit! The rhubarb and artichoke are a bit slower out of the blocks, but getting better.
At the end of the day, we had created a blank canvas ripe for planting. What would you like to see growing there? Do you have a flair for planting design, or maybe an Australian native food plant you have read about but never tried?
Come along to our next working bee and share your wildest hopes and dreams.
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: Peter Lee, PHOTOS: Courtesy of Unimelb Science Student News
Horticultured held an awesome early spring herb planting workshop at the Parkville MUC Garden today, as part of the University of Melbourne's Science Festival.
From 12–2pm, we had two massive groups turn up for the herb planting workshops, around forty people altogether. The sessions were overbooked and hugely popular. Participants were treated to a demo planting of a mini herb garden, and then given a pot to play around with to try transplanting seedlings. At the end they could take home their very own herb starter garden!
With the hard sowing work done by Horticultured members in May, the seedlings looked great and after a rapid-fire lesson, the workshop groups were off and planting.
We had a great selection of herbs available and covered a few bases for most users. Workshop participants were given pamphlets describing the herbs and their culinary uses. Parsley, marjoram and chives were popular, and the Zataar also gained lots of interest, so we foresee there will be middle-eastern cooking nights coming up! Catnip was also a favourite.
Thanks to Pete, Julianna and Bec for running the workshop and giving great propagating advice!
If you missed out, don't worry, there are more great events on for Science Festival, check out the program here.
P.S. There's going to be an amazing panel on Greening Cities for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation at Burnley. Maybe we'll see you there!
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!
WORDS & PHOTOS: Julianna Rozek
A few dedicated members of Horticultured have been digging away at the community garden at Burnley. This event was a chance for our Community Gardens Officers (Brett and Bridey) to share their plans and the progress so far, and for interested folk to share their own hopes and dreams. There was also free pizza involved.
The forum started off with a brief intro into what the gardens looked like before (a hot weedy mess) and what they look like now (a slick empty canvas ready for planting). Bridey shared her plans for the gardens which she did as part of an assignment. It included a very thorough spring planting guide for the rotating crop raised beds, ideas for seating, shelter and a rhubarb/artichoke border.
Brett shared a potential idea to move the Red Container currently sitting between the nursery and SAB into the gardens and use it as a shed and additional planting area (green roof and walls). The container was previously part of a Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show exhibit, but is now unused.
Then the pizza arrived so it was pizza time, followed by breaking up into small groups and talking about ideas. There were colourful markers and big pieces of paper so it was just like being back at school. Finally, groups shared their hopes and dreams - giving Bridey and Brett some new things to mull over.
It was great to see 25-odd excited people show up. Most were new, and some were from Parkville (at Burnley for the very first time!). It was too wet and dreary to do any actual gardening, but a group went down to have a look. Spring planting starts soon, get excited and stay tuned for working bees!
What a productive working bee we had today! It was great to see some new faces and hear some brilliant new ideas and opinions. Fuelled with beer, cider and snacks, we gave our natives bed some TLC and installed a fancy new worm farm. We planted some new Chocolate and Bulbine Lilies, beautiful natives that have edible tubers, as well as a new Midgen Berry (one of the most delicious native berries!). We also transplanted some native violets to make a border of them around the edge of the bed. Our new worm farm looks great; it's bigger and will make harvesting worm juice and castings for the garden a lot easier. We hope everyone now feels recharged for the rest of exams. Good luck!
The sun came out today for a very productive and delicious working bee! We had a mini produce swap of lemons and feijoas, and harvested some beautiful radishes and chillies. We gave the compost some much needed TLC, and spent time picking coffee pods out of it which apparently are not compostable, despite what the packet may say! Even though there are construction works going on right next to us and we've sadly temporarily lost access to our natives bed and part of our perennials bed, the garden is looking wonderful. Winter crops are just beginning, with rocket and radishes in abundance and peas, broccoli, broad beans and coriander just around the corner. Winter isn't all bad!
There were just two of us brave enough to face the 16 degree weather at the garden today, so we pottered around and did a few little jobs. First of all, we pruned the apple trees, not hard (save that for winter), but just to take out a bit of their height. We should have done this in summer but time gets away from us sometimes! We also pruned the native raspberries back to their rough topiary forms - they grow so vigorously that it seems like we are always pruning them!
We re-planted the lettuces that have fallen victim to slug attacks and spread a lot of coffee grounds around them to hopefully keep the slugs and snails at bay this time (thanks Carte for the coffee grounds!). As we worked, we snacked on more midgen berries and alpine strawberries from the garden (sorry, no photos - they were too delicious to wait).
We have achieved great things. This week has been a fantastic display of meetings, food and mad dashes to Ceres, a whimsical hunt for hidden chocolates and mud dirtied fingers and toes. Our first general meeting has moved us towards boosting community involvement and engagement and ideas for a fresh lick of paint for the sheds corrugated walls.
The Bee started with a walk between the rows of the garden beds, glints and glimmers catching the eye. No, before you ask, the chocolate wrappers didn’t hold their shape for long but in their place we found a nest of new plants settled in their tiny portable pots - natives, greens, beans, leafy things...the edible bits that keep you going in the winter cold. Things for soups, things for bread and dips and things for tea. The sprightly morning trip to Ceres Environment Park Nursery, thank-you to Pippa and Jess, was highly successful and will render the garden eternally productive throughout these cold oncoming months.
And while we are excited for the oncoming crop, a formal note of appreciation must be made to the ever fruitful zucchini vine and stoic chili bush of summer gone. You’ve been great. You can fruits for as long as you like. We won’t judge you for it.
Bok Choy and Lettuce seedlings planted! (Please note the beautiful signage)
We pruned the rosemary, taking some cuttings and giving away the leftovers.
And finally, we planted a range of seeds including some leafy greens, leeks and everyone's favourite: Brussel Sprouts.
Thanks for all your help!
Read all about it: MUC Garden and Burnley Student Association share updates on their activities.