Friday, 26 October 2012

Scarecrows, Eco-topia, gardens clean up and more...

In the news this week:
    Visitors on Eco-topia Tour at MCSL.
  • Scarecrows
  • Eco-topia Garden Tour of South West
  • Narellan Rhythms Festival - Seedling Giveaway
  • Gardening bee
  • Potatoes
  • Schools Visit
  • Farmgate Tour
  • Whats Growing.

Firstly a quick link to a story we picked up on this week and one that should concern everyone, its not a new story but a continuous one, the article refers to how aussie farmers are having to dump citrus due to a bumper season as they are litterally being squeezed out of the local market. Full Story

Dumped citrus. Image courtesy of Gary McCarten from The Weekly Times

Scarecrows move in, one could have been easily mistaken for thinking a crowd of visitors had moved into the community garden.

After a hugely successful scarecrow building workshop and then the scarecrows keeping the visitors amused at Narellan Rhythms Festival they have now taken up residence back at the Community Garden. As far as earning their keep, the local foxes seem to be oblivious to their prescence and the magpies dont seem to worry either although they have freaked out a few gardeners.
Anyway a welcome addition and the source of much amusement for locals and visitors alike, and a big thankyou to Plastic Surgeon Freya (check the link) for her help with the 50+ children that built them.
Eco-topia Garden Tour, Big thankyou the organizers of Eco-topia and to Sue Gordon of MDSI and Helen Byfield Fleming of MCSL for their help and support with a garden tour we put on as part of Eco-topia through the Community Gardens Network, the tour brought visitors together from across the country and was a great way to showcase the work being done by all our volunteers across the community as a whole.
The tour started at Campbelltown station, a great way to reduce the carbon footprint where we squeezed the 10 visitors in a 12 seater minibus organized through MDSI, we then made our way to Airds/Bradbury Mens Shed, what a cracker of a shed guys, ironically coordinated by a fellow I worked with 18years ago (good old 3 degrees of separation in Camden), The guys do an absolutely stellar job and have a community garden in the early stages, I believe there is also an open day on the 26th of October.
The tour then continued onto the Claymore Community Garden next door to Hume Community Housing HQ, this garden is slowly growing and has a few patrons, from there to the HJ Daley Library at Campbelltown and another new garden under the management of the Library Service Manager – Grant White, this is still under the setup process but will tie into the Library fantastically.
It was then on to MCSL, Helen really set the benchmark with freshly baked scones for morning tea and coffee, tea and bikkies, followed by a tour of the site, I think we may have some new residents looking to move into the area. Well done Helen. We then moved onto Camden for lunch and visited Argyle Gourmet followed by a bit of an informative walk to the gardens, this was a great chance to show the work that had been done to date on the project and where we are headed. It was a chance to share ideas and information on community gardens. From here we returned to campbelltown station and our visitors returned to their various corners of the country.

Narellan Rhythms, was on last weekend and we had a garden stall. This was a great chance to get more info out as well as giveaway lots of herbs, like last year the plan was to grow a few hundred seedlings, however un seasonal cold snaps 6-7 weeks ago slowed the growth of the seedlings together with i suspect a change in potting nedium, meaning we were a couple of hundred short.

Now a big thanks  goes out to John Vella at Leppington Seedlings and Ross Newport from Camden Rotary. After contact with Ross and John, John was kind enough to support our cause, giving us a few hubdred extra herbs to giveaway,(limited per person) these included,  mexican tarragon, basil, (supplemented by our own), sage, parsley, marjoram, chives and thyme. Leppington Seedlings would have to be the biggest supplier to the commercial market in the country and we thank them for their support. Thanks also to Ray Monahan, Hazel Neville and Jess for their help on the day.

Gardening Bee, a huge thankyou to all those that turned up for the gardening bee, a day that may have lacked in numbers certainly made up for in enthusiasm, amongst the volunteers present were some of those at the core of the garden, apologies have to be made for the catering (the lack of it, a slight oversight on the committees part given that Narellan Rhythms was on), qs had been raised over tasks for the day, and those mentioned in the email were merely suggestions should we get 20 folk turn up, massive thankyou from all of us for completing pretty much that list.

The coming week has seen some of the newer gardeners very active in the garden, be sure to check out Charlie and Grants stepping stones as well as Warren and John who have been building a bit of a trellis, if you are looking to grow beetroot i would suggest talking to Simon or Warwick and getting their secrets, for someone the other day who said he has trouble growing carrots the same cannot be said for his beets.
The communal spuds as well as NCCS spuds are jumping out of the ground, and we look forward to harvesting them with our volunteers closer to xmas, lets hope the foxes don't get a taste for them, if you happen to see those pesky 26spot lady birds, dare i suggest squishing them.

St Justins visit, it is great to report that we were approached by a teacher from the school at the weekend, the end result being that next week will see, 60+ school kids visit the garden (under supervision, DONT WORRY), we like to think that this will be a regular occurrence and a great chance for kids to learn and connect more with the origins of their food.

Farmgate Tours, these are now regular and coincide with the last market of the month and see a dozen visitors guided through the gardens before being escorted through the surrounding LGA, these are run by Nicci Peverill and Brooke Everett of Macarthur Food Tours and can be rerached on 0431 942 945. Well worth it in my mind.

What to plant and what's growing now. Wandering round you will see allsorts at the moment, Harry and Janet have had all sorts growing, checkout their English Spinach, Steves' asparagus is reaching for the sky but wont have much more as far as spears this season, look out next year, this stuff needs alot of patience, 2 - 3 yrs for a good crop, mentioned earlier checkout simons beetroot, Colin had a great crop of peas yet again and beets are going great guns. Spuds should be in already, and there are plenty around, bean season is upon us and tomatoes want to be on the way, at home they are 2ft plus already, the big question there those is do you nip the laterals out or not, if not, get alot of stakes ready, they say nipping them out can reduce production, (thanks tim for the hairy toms, we will see how they go), get your beans in, dwarf, borlotti, whatever, watch out for snake beans again. The Herb Garden is coming back, see if you can spot the Beefsteak Plants, basil has just gone in, great companion as well, and dont forget marigolds. Artichokes, a favourite architectural plant of mine are growing before our eyes, we have green and purple both in, also Peruvian Ground Apples, (there is a whole plot of them thanks to Colin Mills. Over near the spuds you will see some squash and further round pumpkins should start to appear. The boundary fence should start to sprout a few different crops as well, get the likes of lebanese cucumbers in now aswell, checkout the links page there are lots of useful links, checkout the companion planting guide as well.

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