The chilly weather can't keep us away from our luscious garden. In this week's working bee we trained the native raspberry up a climbing frame to stop it from taking over the entire native edibles bed (and to give it more light and air). It had sent out many runners which we snipped off and potted up to give away and spread the native raspberry love.
A new working bee time of Friday 3-5pm saw us turning compost (looks good!), weeding oxalis and admiring our fresh strawberries and tiny asparagus.
We also met one of our compost donors - David from the vice chancellor's office. It turns out that the vice chancellor eats a lot of mandarins. Who knew?
In this working bee we continued our critter battle The upturned terracotta pot did actually redeem itself and attract a few slugs, but to give our seedlings the best chance of survival we also put crushed egg shells around the plants to try and protect them. Let's hope it helps! We also made some markers for different vegetables so that people stopping by will know what's growing.
Last Tuesdays meeting was particularly sweet. We harvested some herbs as usual and followed it up with home made iced cake and choc chip cookies. On the following sugar high, we transplanted silver beet seedlings, stirred compost, and made lots of plans for the holidays..
Some of our capsicums are morphing into flowerette shapes, and we all decided that eating sage straight from the bush is a little....furry. Well....we learn something new every week!
Cake, cookies, and some chilli thrown in!
Garlic coming up!
Passion fruit looking healthy.
Flowerette shaped capsicums..
It has been unseasonably warm here in Melbourne, and the garden is loving it (as are we!). We made the most of the beautiful sunny afternoon to do some planting and, as always, some eating! We put two grape vines in underneath the arch, which they will eventually grow up and over. We also planted rocket, spinach, coriander, swedes, turnips, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, parsnips and kale, so there's no doubt we will all be getting our greens this Winter! We rewarded ourselves for our hard work with a jar of peanut butter (thanks to Pippa!) and a few celery stalks.
We are waging war against the dreaded slugs! Sadly kale, lettuce and romanesco broccoli have all been victims so far. Coffee grounds around the base of the plants seems to have helped somewhat, but apparently some slugs will stop at nothing to devour our precious seedlings. So here is our second tactic: an upturned terracotta pot. A passer by told us that slugs will crawl into it. Why? Not sure, but apparently it works better if you place a dish of beer under it to get the slugs drunk...so we may add that next week! And of course, there will be some beer left over for us.
Celery with peanut butter
The harvest - celery, Warrigal greens (native spinach), beetroot leaves, sorrel, Thai chillies and garlic chives. Not sure about everyone else, but I turned my share of the harvest into a delicious soup (the perfect end-of-semester-exam-panic comfort food).
Handy tip: just like regular spinach, Warrigal greens contain oxalates so should be blanched before eating! You can check out more info about this edible native here: http://www.thebackyardfarmer.com.au/byf7/green.html
On this fine, sunny day, the garden was graced by the youth of new seeds - beans and peas, a housing relocation for the rhubarb and an interior redecoration for the compost . The ebb and flow of people throughout the afternoon ensured a steady pace of active gardening and, as usual, some down time in contrast to hectic, stressful schedules. It seems that no matter how pressed for time we are, being in and amongst the spiraling crawling vines and keenly leaning, sun-loving greens gives, rather than takes time.
If you've got a minute, or five, come down and explore for yourselves.
We'll be there in at the beginning of the week - usually on a lazy afternoon. Check out the events on our facebook page for details.
Good day all!
Our May the 5th bee saw the movement of greenery. New homes were found for the alpine strawberries so winter greens like lettuce, kale and broccoli romanesco could take their place.
Best thing: The coffee grounds spread around last week on the base of our chewed up kale seedlings did a real good job of protecting em from slugs and such! This turned out to be an ace trick considering how free they are from cafes. Coffee grounds are also useful as added nitrogen for composting or lasagna beds, I've found that, if you ask nicely, local cafes are happily to fill a whole green bin up for you if you leave it with them for a week. Enjoy!
The rain didn't slow us down too much in today's working bee!
We added plenty of coffee grinds and more layers of compost to the 'no dig' edible perennials bed, and planted four blueberry plants in it. If all goes to plan, they will eventually form a delicious hedge along the front of the garden.
Around the blueberries, we planted borage, alpine strawberries, calendula, parsley, coriander, dill and lamb's ear.
We said goodbye to the last of the tomatoes as we removed the plants, and welcomed the peas of all different varieties and broad beans that are coming up in their place.
Two of the community garden's large raised beds use the wicking system of watering, and our most recent workshop was how to make these on a much smaller scale. The concept is exactly the same, whereby water is drawn up from the reservoir at the bottom by the soil or directly by the roots. Unlike the large raised beds, however, these ones are portable!
Today in the working bee we built up the soil for the perennial edibles bed. We layered straw, compost and coffee grinds to make it a no-dig bed. Now all that remains to be done is to decide what to plant there!
We harvested a lot of oregano and hung it up to dry in the shed. Dried oregano has a stronger flavour than fresh so it one of the few herbs that is better to eat dried than fresh.
Read all about it: MUC Garden and Burnley Student Association share updates on their activities.