As the trees begin to blossom …


… one’s thoughts turn to pollination (plus the fact we missed out on doing curly leaf prevention this year…) and thus bees. I’ve been watching a few winter hardy bees on the lavender (especially the prostrate lavender; quite prolific this year) and on the early broadies in the past couple of weeks.

After doing a natural beekeeping course at Castlemaine Continuing Education earlier this year, I’ve been investigating top bar hives as a way to host bees that could be both bee and human body friendly. And perhaps in the garden.  Adrian Iodice is running a course in Warranwood at the St Michael Centre on September 3 and 4. The Centre hosts Biodynamics in Community, and a biodynamic community garden, so I’m keen to check the garden out as well.

Here’s the link to find out more about the course.

It’s also a reminder to sow more bee-friendly seeds and to incorporate flowering plants this spring (see Penny Woodward’s article) wherever you garden.

Heaps of good greens

the final  heap with it's straw blanket

We had ten gardeners help out with the compost make on Sunday, with three hard core composters, Julia, Angella and Gordon, lasting the whole shebang. Thanks Julia for the pics.

We had a little issue with water supply (!) but once sorted hopefully will have drenched the heap enough. The ingredients were all fresh, green andmoisture-rich though, which hasn’t been the case with many of our previous builds and bodes well. If you are walking past the garden in the next week, especially in the cold of the early morning or evening, check for rising steam!

The big heap should slump down by a third, or even half, once the microbes and BD preps get into action. It’s a little disappointing, seeing all that hard slog minimised, but that is the point. And it shows that we have created the right conditions to make very good compost. The garden will love it in the months and years to come.

I think the hard core composters will still be getting over pains and aches all of this week, maybe into the next, but there’s still enough greenstuff and manures for at least another go, carbon sources – and composters – willing, sometime soon.

Don’t forget the next working bee on Sunday 28th. One of the jobs will be weeding, but there’ll also be some other pleasant tasks, like sowing seeds for the Festival of Gardens plant sales, and giving things a foliar feed of fish emulsion and worm juice.

August times

winter in the garden

It feels like spring is in the air, however unscientific that is. Lengthening days and signs are about, in the bush (flowering wattles and hardenbergia, sundews seeking protein, orchid flag leaves and rosettes unfurling, bird activity) and in the garden (stonefruits budding, the odd asparagus spear, weed growth and oxalis flowering, globe artichokes getting active, broadies flowering) and the sense of things to come. Warm days ahead, even.

Perhaps this is Sprinter, as Tim Entwisle (Director at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne) has coined it?

On that note, the August ones are now posted and it’s time to make a move. Hope you can emerge from winter hibernation and get out into the, or your, garden and enjoy watching it all unfurl next month. There’s plenty to do this time of year and you’ll be rewarded when the warmth does arrive.

Don’t forget the Produce Exchange on Saturday 6th and our Working Bee on Sunday the 28th. Dare I mention compost? Probably not. See you in the garden.

Stay home Sunday

cold, damp, dull; a real central victorian winter

I’ve had more apologies (and thanks so much for them, it’s very good to know, rather than wait about for people, wondering) than yes’s (and probably not a quorum!) and of course the weather will not be “good” – but wet and cold – which we do want from winter.

I think I should keep setting dates so we keep getting this precipitation?

Stay home anyway. Or visit the garlic if you’re about. I’ll have to eat the cake.

Get set for spring though. And be warned!

Trying again on the compost front … and garlic update

weeding and mulching at the garlic fundraising crop

We didn’t get a quorum for compost building on Saturday (perhaps Sundays are a better bet for the garden, and the more usual thing?) And what would a compost quorum be, you might ask? More than Saturday’s, though Julia and I enjoyed coffee and cake and have made things more ready. Let’s try, for the fourth time, next Sunday 11am.

Compost is at the heart of every good garden and we’ve been making a large heap every year since the garden started in 2010 (usually as a workshop for non garden members; and usually well attended!). The big BD heap is a critical way to get enough humus back into the soil on an annual basis, especially for our large growing area.

The beautiful rain has been good for edible greens, as well as weeds (all compostable!). The garlic is a case in point. Mulch time, to avoid more continuous weeding. If you are passing the paddock, and have a little time to spare, please add some mulch to our growing fundraising crop. Garlic sets clove numbers during winter and fills them during spring (clove size), so care and nurturing during these colder months will set yield potential.