Sunday, 30 March 2008
13th April 2-4 pm Adults $8. Children $4.
An ideal opportunity to gain an insight into a successfully run biodynamic farm .This Garden Quality Farm demonstrates an integrated system incorporating orchards, poultry, native habitat & wetlands, home food production & hardy cottage gardens all rolled into a unique lifestyle.
Life in the slow lane. Advanced bookings only. Or Book your own tour anytime.*
VEGETABLES FOR YOUR TABLE.
Sunday, April 20th 9.00 -12 .30 $35
Autumn is an ideal time to build or renovate a vegetable garden. This morning will be a practical guide to establishing & maintaining productive & healthy vegetables.
FOUR SEASONS HARVEST
Sunday April 20th 1.30 4pm $35
Our climate offers many opportunities of growing food for your table all year round. Discover what plants to grow, and when. Practical tips & ideas to provide food year round.
For Bookings Contact
Deb Cantrill or Quentin Jones
NIRVANA ORGANIC FARM
184 LONGWOOD RD
PHONE 8339 2519
For those who missed out on the latest Biodynamic workshop. It was a STIRRING experience.Got the grey matter working and discovered amazing facts about mycorrhizal fungi & how Rudolf Steiner spoke about this in 1924 & how science today has 'dicovered' such facts.
If you are familiar with the skyline of the city, you will see just the dark shadows of the city buildings in the centre of this photo. We took this photo from a tree-less spot along the road from our house.
Here is a photo I just took with the flash, of the lanterns back outside - you can see I am up early (and the government expects us to be out watering our gardens at this hour (6am))! We have 6 of these and they glow with a soft yellow light every night, after some sunshine during the day. Perfect to hang in the lounge or a hallway at night.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Denver, United States
Gold Coast, Australia
Honolulu, United States
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lautoka City, Fiji
London, United Kingdom
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami, United States
Minneapolis, United States
Northampton, United Kingdom
Pasay City, Philippines
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Wellington, New Zealand
Official cities include:
Atlanta, United States
Chicago, United States
Christchurch, New Zealand
Montreal , Canada
Phoenix , United States
San Francisco, United States
Sydney, Australia (watch the video of turning off the lights on Sydney's landmarks)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Official cities are registered as WWF flagship cities and have local government support to participate. Partnering cities are those that have organised participation via community channels and grassroot activity. Earth Hour started in Sydney a year ago with support from local media, politicians, businesses and around 2.2 million Sydneysiders.
Friday, 28 March 2008
Cancer Care Centre Inc
SEEDS FOR HEALTH
AUTUMN 2008 Organic Gardening Course
Held at the beautiful Fern Ave Community Garden, Fullarton
This 7 week ‘hands-on’ organic gardening program is for those who are interested in improving their health by learning how to grow your own organic vegetables….. and having fun doing it.
This program is practical and is held in the organic Community Garden at Fern Ave, where you will experience the joy of home-grown produce. After each morning’s session, we enjoy a delicious Organic Lunch from our garden plot.
During the program you will start to sow “Seeds of Health” as you create your own ‘Take Home’ projects and also work in our ‘Cancer Care’ garden. There will be an interesting field trip along with some sessions including inspiring guest speakers.
As ye shall sow…. So shall ye reap
Intro to Organics & Permaculture
Seeds to Sow … a home-grown project
Kitchen garden inspirations
plus more seeds to sow…… Wheatgrass - What, why & how
The Good Earth - care of the soil with organic practices …. cultivating healthy soil – healthy plants – healthy people
By Design - from balcony gardens and beyond…..
plus All you need to know about heirloom seeds and the Hills & Plains Seedsavers Network
Compost – with Tim Marshall.
Tim, author of ‘Recycle Your Garden’, demonstrates why this is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and for the health of the planet right now.
Field trip to The Food Forest, Gawler - an inspiring model for sustainability and permaculture (twice awarded prestigious Premier’s Food Award for Sustainability)
Seeds for the Future - Kitchen Garden productivity
Course is held Wednesday mornings 10am – 12noon
( with delicious, organic ‘lunch from the garden’ 12 – 1pm)
COURSE BEGINS Wednesday 2nd April until Wednesday 14th May (7 weeks)
Course facilitator: Diana Bickford
COST : $50.00 for Cancer Care Centre members
$80.00 for non-members
BOOKINGS TO CANCER CARE CENTRE 8272 2411
I will never forget it and probably think of it every time I walk down that aisle, every Friday. Now it is a tear-jerking memory. Then, it was the culmination of 19 years of instilling in this lad everything that I feel and believe in. So, when your teenagers are revolting and insensitive and loud and you want to murder them, just remember that one day they will come good and all of a sudden it will seem like those times never happened!
And he is right; after all is said and done, life is a journey. I was thinking about this journey early this evening when I was packing up my gardening things. The cool breeze was rustling in the bottlebrushes, the magpies and crows were having a discussion about something in the distance and the softer light of autumn was washing over the gum trees and casting long shadows down the valley. The chilly air of the evening was invigorating and I glanced across at all the new season's plantings in the vegetable garden and thought that my journey has brought me to a space that I never thought I would find. I can see misty paths leading here and there into the future and, at last, I seem to be ready to choose which ones to follow.
This blog continues to follow our journeys in the search for peace and passion in the gardens of life.
From now on everything starts to come alive in South Australia. Some of the gum trees are coming into flower - such as the blue gums around my place - and I noticed that one wattle - acacia iteaphylla - has buds which are fattening by the day. Even some early correas have their first flowers of the year while others will wait until mid-winter. The fact that all these local, native plants flower and then put out new shoots during autumn and winter is proof enough that we have a unique climate and we must take advantage of every moment to get the most from our food gardens. Soon, maybe even tonight, they say, we will get some real rain and then you will see the botanical world around us smile with joy and soak up those tiny droplets of rain and use them to prepare for the heat of next summer. I say it every year - do as other gardeners in Mediterranean climates all over the world do - go forth and sow now. Unless you have been keeping space aside for sowing into then, like me, you will have a garden full of capsicums and okra and eggplant and beans and so on, so sow into trays or pots for now.
This afternoon I started to prepare the next area for planting out some more of the seedlings I sowed in late January and through February. One dreadful thing is that the soil is so bone dry it has become water-repellent, after so long with water restrictions and the extreme heat. Don't plant into dry soil - it will kill your plants faster than you can blink and, once they are planted or sown you won't be able to work the soil to get it damp. The area I was working on previously had been used for tomatoes but they were a failure and I had removed them months ago and discontinued watering that area. Here is what I did to wet the soil today: I soaked a 'brick' of coconut fibre in 1/2 bucket of water until it was all reconstituted - use too much water and you end up with a slurry. Then I sprinkled 1/2 of this over an area about 2m by 1m or so and lightly forked it in. (Save the other half for another section ). Then I got the regulation watering can and put the hose in it and, holding it with one hand I watered the whole area for several minutes. Meanwhile I held the fork in the other hand and twisted it over and over as I watered. At first nothing seemed to be happening and the water would not penetrate at all. Slowly though, with the watering and the twisting, eventually it started to work and the texture began to change and the moisture was absorbed. I put down the watering can and had a closer look - it was still completely dry only about 5 or 6" down. So off I went again, watering and twisting (who needs a gym to build up their biceps?) It took me over 1/2 hour to get anywhere near damp enough deep enough to consider putting my gorgeous beetroot, fennel and broccoli seedlings into. If you are not planting into it straight away, cover it to reduce evaporation and to start getting the life back into it.
If you can't manage the fork and the watering can at the same time, work them alternately but do not be tempted to think it will all come good when it rains. It will take too long and all that work in getting those seedlings looking so big and strong will have been wasted. Ideally we wouldn't have to bring in something from so far away, as coconut fibre and you could use Saturaid or some other water-granules but it has been a tough summer and I have never had to do this before. This soil is full of the best home-made compost I had ever made, that I added last spring before the tomatoes, so I am confident it will hold all the rain that falls from now on. If you doubt the wisdom of applying all this water to my vegetable garden in the middle of water restrictions, think about where your food comes from and tell me, with all honesty, that it was grown with less water and food-miles than mine!
About 20 years ago she bought a mango seedling from Chris Perry at Perry's Fruit and Nut Nursery, McLaren Flat. She planted it in a place in her garden in Lockleys, sheltered from the western sun by a wattle tree and from the wind from the west and south, by a fence and a shed. No particular preparation was made of the soil but the soil in Lockleys is excellent, as it was originally the flood plain of the Torrens. The water table is also very high and when established, trees can feed from it once the roots reach down as little as 60cm or so. She used to cover it every night during cold weather but, with subsequent seedlings, found this was not necessary although they rarely have frost in Lockleys.
It took about 10 years before the tree began to fruit and at first there were only 2 or 3 fruits. As the tree has grown it has increased its yield and this year, 2008, the crop was close to 100 mangoes. The tree is now over 3m high and as wide. Alternate years are better and often a lot of the fruit blows off in spring before reaching larger than thumb-nail size. This year, 2008, many more fruit stayed on, despite the dry conditions, and even the smaller fruits (the size of a pear) ripened beautifully.The mangoes usually ripen during April but this year they ripened from mid March and consisted of some of the biggest and smallest mangoes yet. An interesting difference this year was that each of the earliest ones developed a red patch on the sunny side, before ripening to the usual orange. Maybe this was due to the very cool February weather.
Jean has tried to grow another tree from a seed of this tree, several times but, although they germinate readily, they have produced trees which either have had stringy fruit, or failed to have more than one mango per year. She has also tried grafted mango plants but these have not been successful.Mango trees prefer to be on the dry side during winter and this is achieved by having them planted on the NE side of a fence and shed, causing a small rain shadow. The soil is also very free draining in Lockleys. Jean fertilises the plant in early spring with citrus food but otherwise does not feed it. She waters it deeply now and again, when the fruit are growing.
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
"Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away....."
I have had this song in the back of my mind all afternoon, ever since I lifted the cover off the soil we prepared last Wednesday when the garden group came here, and that earthy aroma of good compost, warmth and rain drifted up to me. Beside me, ready to plant out, were the trays of beetroot seedlings that I had sown in late February, ....but for ages - hours actually - I didn't realise the words had changed in my head....
"Give me the beet, boys, and free my soul
I wanna get lost in this beautiful soil and drift away...."
The sedums are still changing colourThese tiny capsicums are from a punnet of seedlings I bought called 'Mini Mama'. They are ever so tiny. Cute but a bit useless!
This is my Cherry Guava's first year and it has lots of fruit ripening.
Here are the wombok having just germinated 2 days ago.
One lone plant of Cath's yellow cornos capsicums is turning yellow. The rest are a magnificent red. I have put photos of them here before. Actually, I am glad they are red - they are so spectacular and sweet.
Another thing Silvio told me was about cornflakes. He explained that, as a child, they grew a lot of corn and ate a lot of polenta, even for breakfast. On the top of a wood stove they would fill in all the rings so there was just one big, flat surface. This would be oiled and thin slices of polenta would be fried to a crisp all over it. They put these in a bowl, hot, and poured over cold milk ! The original cornflakes !
Laura from Mas du Diable kindly sent me the template she made for making nice seed packets that you can fold up and seal, so I thought I would put Maria on the front of these cucumber seed packets, since they are from her family. Now we can easily make seed packets with any info we like on them...like this.
While I am writing this I am eating more of that toast with fried olives, for breakfast - it is my new favourite thing. I am nearly out of olives now and soon it will be just another memory, until we get some cuttings of that tree. Silvio has found it difficult to propagate but all we need is 1 success at first to keep the variety going. So much to do, how does anybody find time to work? Or am I just hopelessly addicted to blogging? (Don't answer that!!)
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
This is a huge responsibility because these seeds, as far as he and his sister-in-law, Maria (88), know were only ever grown by her family, near a place called Bari, in southern Italy. Silvio's wife died some 20 years ago but was the first of her family to come out to Australia as Silvio's wife, 50 years ago. One by one her brothers came out to Australia until there was only Maria and her father, left in Bari. Eventually they came out too and the seeds were left behind and grown on by other relatives in the same area. One day some of these relatives came out to visit the family in Australia and brought some of the cucumber seeds. Here the story becomes a bit of a secret but Silvio told me in confidence.....Anyway since then he has been growing them for his wife's family, every year, without fail. Some years later the relatives in Italy lost the seeds and Silvio was able to send them some of his from Australia or the strain would have been lost completely. Even now he does not recognise them as his cucumbers, but those of the Radogna family of Bari and he would not even be in the photo with Maria and the plate of freshly-picked cucumbers. He wants them to be known as Bari Cucumber, although Maria wanted them to be called by the name her family in Italy use - Caroselli Baresi.
For some time this is just what I have wanted - to have the seeds of someone's life in my hands, to have a connection to something historic and significant and to truly feel responsible for saving one tiny piece of the genetic biodiversity of the earth. However, like all meaningful things, it is quite a daunting thought. Moreover, anyone who grows this from now on will have to grow only this cucumber, as cucumbers cross readily, and, Silvio told me, it has special requirements. But when you receive such a gift you can't send it back!
As we settled down for a good talk, Silvio brought out a bottle of his home-made wine, made from grapes that he grew from some cuttings he imported from an area of Italy near Venice where he grew up. He has some land behind Morialta, at Norton Summit, where he grows the vines and the vegetables, as he only has a small back yard where he lives. I must say that I did enjoy that wine, called Prosecco, and he told me it is now one of Jamie Oliver's favourites since his series on Italian food. Odd but true, evidently.
Maria didn't speak much English and it was fun to try out some of my newly acquired Italian on her. I have only had 3 lessons and don't know much more than a few basic phrases so when she answered my introduction with a huge smile,and lots of Italian, I knew I must have got it right.
After talking about the cucumbers Maria led us outside and started picking leaves of herbs for me to try. Then she began to collect some very big olives off the ground and Silvio picked one up too and put it in his mouth, handing me one with instructions to do the same! Oh no, I thought!....It was strong but delicious and not at all bitter. This, said Silvio, is an eating olive and you can eat it without pickling. Maria was banging the branches with a rake and collecting the olives. Silvio said that for the most exquisite taste in all the world I had to take these olives home and fry them - not too hot and without much oil - until they were soft but still held their shape and looked 'boiled'. He said I could come back later in the year and get some cuttings - at the time I was more excited about this than the cucumbers.
I talked with Silvio and Maria for a couple of hours - about all sorts of things - until I just couldn't justify staying any longer. I gave them some of my spinach seeds that I have been collecting for maybe 15 years. I asked Silvio if there was anything I could give him as a gift and he said yes, he would love a quince tree. So, I will get one ASAP from the Rare Fruit Society, probably, and take it around soon.
As soon as I got home I cooked some of those olives and Roger and I had them and truly they are fabulous, especially when squashed onto a piece of toasted olive bread. Buonissimo!
Monday, 24 March 2008
....."A big intersection of political/economic power and environmental destruction is industrial agriculture. In pre-industrial societies, the ratio of energy out of food compared to the energy put in to produce the food was around 100:1. That is, for every 1 calorie put into making food, we got 100 calories from eating the food. In the past century, that ratio went down to 1:1 and then drastically further down to 1:100. For example, when the UK imports asparagus from Chile, 97 calories of energy are used in transportation for every 1 calorie of asparagus received. The whole industrial agriculture system — from the tractors to the pesticides to the transportation and refrigeration — is all running on oil. Now that we’ve hit the peak of oil production and the amount produced will slowly decrease forever, we’ll start to feel the pinch because we’ll no longer have a huge artificial energy subsidy. We’ll no longer be able to “eat oil”..."
So many people, my self included, have this desire to spread a form of food self-reliance at as fast a pace as we can. But, I tell you what, it is hard to get many people together who want to be helped! If you want to read more in the vein of the post above, check out 'Food for Thought', from the labels list on this blog. If you after something lighter, go to Anecdotes or choose a label from the list and have a lucky-dip!
It is so interesting to see where the visitors to this blog come from (via the Feedjit map) and what brought them here (via Feedjit live traffic feed). At 11am today, the last 100 visitors came from: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, India, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Armenia, Netherlands, UK, France, Ireland, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic, Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala. Hello and welcome to our gardens.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
The lemonade lemon tree is laden down almost to the ground. These lemons can be eaten or made into juice without sweetening.
The persimmons are beginning to colour.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
On the 7.30 Report on ABC TV tonight it appeared that the economics of not taking a forward-thinking stance on this was recognised by Penny Wong (minister for climate change) and the Government as ultimately costing the country more than bowing to the pressures of the big polluters, such as the coal-fired power stations that Australia has survived on for a century. An Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has been recommended by the review as the most efficient means by which to achieve the carbon reductions required as compared to other market instruments such as a carbon tax, as explained below:
"...To mitigate climate change effectively, a limit must be placed on rights to emit
greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and this must be reduced over time to the level
that prevents any net accumulation in the atmosphere. Governments, with their coercive
powers, are the only bodies able to impose such a restriction.
Under the ETS, this supply-side constraint is imposed by governments creating “permits”
that allow the holder of the permit to emit a specified volume of greenhouse gases to the
atmosphere. The demand side of the market is established by the government requiring
emitters to acquit permits if they wish to release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In
so doing, the government must have the administrative machinery to enforce such a
requirement credibly, as the requirement only exists by virtue of government decree."
Interestingly, the coal-power electricity companies are saying that they have been providing power for Australia all these years and should be given free certificates, and not have to buy them on the open market. I expected the government minister for climate change to dodge this issue but she faced it head on, claiming that they have had plenty of time to research schemes to deal with the carbon emissions of burning coal, such as carbon sequestration (ie burying it in the ground) and cannot now claim they didn't know this was coming. Moreover, she was clear that this may mean that some coal-fired power stations may go out of business as a result of the ETS.
As for compensation, the report is well-written and clear. Basically, what I understand in a glance through the paper and from the TV interview is that those communities that suffer because of the loss of many jobs in these effected industries will be able to apply for structural adjustment assistance. This does not mean that the companies can claim foul play and be paid out but that the communities may be compensated for the fact that the companies did not make adequate changes to secure their employment. If I have understood this correctly, then this points the finger fair and square at industries to get on with getting prepared and to stop trying to change the policy!
This next paragraph explains why all governments into the future must adopt these recommendations and not promise any compromise:
"...The faith participants have in the enduring nature of the institutional behaviour will
fundamentally influence all aspects of the ETS. It depends on the ongoing commitment
of policy makers
Institutional credibility is often acquired through reputation based on a history of
demonstrated commitment to established rules and observed behaviours (especially in
crises), and therefore takes time to develop. In the case of climate change policy, it will
also be influenced by the actions of other governments and indications of their
commitment to reducing emissions. This will be the case regardless of whether it is a
domestic or international institution.
Should institutional arrangements lack sufficient credibility, the market agents will factor
into their decisions and actions risk premiums or discounts in anticipation of institutional
failure. As the price does not reflect the true scarcity value, this behaviour results in suboptimal
resource allocation decisions and a deadweight loss to society."
For more details, please read the report. I am sure this is the beginning of a significant change in the attitudes of Australia and may help us to be a leader in our geographic zone, which I see as a first step in bringing Asia into this with us. This is just one part of the total review and I look forward to reading and hearing about other aspects.
Just as an aside - I do not hold a particular political view but I am hoping to find some leadership emerging in environmental awareness and action that no other previous Australian government has ever shown to date.
One month after the harvest moon comes the Hunters Moon. The paddocks are bare after the harvest, the wildlife are about.
These are things gardeners can observe and celebrate the summer bounty we enjoyed and the harvest now filling the pantry & any other spare cupboard.
This will be a much better use of the coming public holidays than the tons of cheap chocolate and soft drinks I saw being loaded into trolleys (some people had 2 trolleys full) at the supermarket yesterday. Fortunately for me my weekly shopping gets me through the 12 items or less isle. But I still had to endure the sill bunny ears worn by the checkout person.
Today (2 days before the full moon) I planted my garlic as well as lettuce, carrots, parsnips, swedes, kohi rabi, escarole, Kate's pale spinach, Mache, miners lettuce, spring onions, cress and a few peas both sugar snap and snow . I also interplanted a few broad beans where I could fit them, now have to wait until the summer crops finish to plant more and transplant some of last months plantings into their new homes. The moment I finished planting there was a shower of rain- a good sign for the next growing season.
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. --Orison Swett Marden
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
A variety of coffee plant (Coffea canephora or Coffea arabica) has become available to gardeners here lately, I have noticed. I did drop a few hints at Christmas time but it looks like I will have to buy my own or be more blunt when we get closer to my birthday! Evidently arabica will grow in our climate but probably won't produce anything worth roasting because it needs cold nights and only warm days and lots of water to produce a good flavour. The robusta (Coffea canephora) is hardier to heat but requires cross-pollination, and is probably the one for sale locally. Generally this is used to make instant coffee, and has more caffeine and a lower quality flavour than the arabica. Growing coffee in the shade can help produce a better flavour because it slows down the growth of the coffee and increases the production of more sugars and chemicals responsible for the flavour.
This is leading up to the interesting (well I think it is) fact that husband Roger is currently sailing a beautiful huon pine sailing boat from Hobart (Tasmania) to Adelaide (South Australia) with 5 other blokes and, this minute, they are just weighing anchor and leaving King Island. We are so lucky in Australia to be surrounded by the cleanest oceans in the world and the Southern Ocean is the best of the best. Here is part of the email Roger sent me (they have hired a satellite phone with limited internet connection, for the trip).... (the photos are from the King
Island Dairy website. )
It is now almost 10pm and we have just come back from the town of Grassy which is a few km up the road from the harbour. We had dinner at the Grassy Club. I had Venison broth followed by BBQ octopus with Greek salad, plum tart and a selection of King Island cheeses. It was all lovely and I am sure the tart was exactly the same one as the one you cook -- the one with the plums placed on the top!Before going up to town we filled up with water and fuel and are all ready to head off again first thing in the morning.