Gardening Through a Dry December


Have you thought about drought preparedness for your vege garden?

If not, now’s the time. Find some tips in the December Planting Notes, now posted.

For instance, I wouldn’t be planting corn this summer, unless I had oodles of ‘clean’ grey water or were growing it in a planting guild. Corn is a very resource-heavy crop. It needs lots of water, lots of nutrition, and lots of other corn plants around it in order for pollination to be effective (usually a block of at least 50 – 80 plants, I reckon, so that wind pollination will be effective) and even then, you only harvest two cobs from each plant. But grown with say pumpkins and climbing beans, you can spread the risk and make the most of resources.

On the subject of guilds, Ernst from Australian Biodynamics Victoria (ABV) supplied this handy guide to companion planting in the last ABV newsletter. He suggests laminating it and keeping it alongside/in your seed collection.

And on the subject of pumpkins, Joanne in Castlemaine has given us a few pumpkin seedlings to grow for her giant pumpkin growing competition and harvest festival. Along with Buda, The Hub Plot, Winters Flat and Castlemaine South primary schools, and a dozen individual growers we’ll be aiming for a whopper cucurbit! Ours have been planted in the raised bed so we can focus water, worm juice, compost – and love – on them …

Don’t forget the last Produce Exchange for the year, on Saturday 5th December, 10.30 – noon outside Dig Cafe.

Garden Fundraiser Postponed til 2016


We’re sorry, but we’ve had to postpone our twilight music evening scheduled for Saturday November 7. Too many other local events competing with the date, a dry garden and many garden members not available mean we will hold it over till 2016.

We weren’t able to sell enough tickets to cover the event expenses and have enough left over to bank to pay for our water bill (will be very important for this season and next…).

Apologies if you bought tickets and were eagerly awaiting the night; you’ll be refunded asap, if you haven’t been already. We’re disappointed too, but will come back with a grand affair next year. Thanks to all those who offered to help in any way. We’ll be having a low key get together – BYO picnic – for any gardeners who can make it down to the garden on the 7th anyway.

See you for the 2016 Dinner…

And don’t forget to look out for our garlic stall (fingers crossed) …

Garlic, Water, Sprummer

This sight is one that I’ve seen a bit locally in the past few weeks. And it’s only October.

We’ve had a bit of a water crisis today at the garden too, which makes one reconsider season, growth, water, life. It’s barely November, but feels more like early next year already. See the November Notes for some suggestions.

I’m thinking the garden plots may need a reconsider and a gardener meeting ahead of the calendar summer, since we’re on watering duties already. Perhaps we should compost and heavily mulch all the annual communal beds and other spots in the garden, then focus on composting, watering and heavily mulching our fruit trees and perennials, and also any other proven food producing, important crops? I could be catastrophising. But also thinking about resource and human energy expenditure.

My fortnightly turn for watering the fundraising garlic at Helen’s this evening. After a dry start and very poor germination, the garlic is looking ok, thanks to fellow waterers and some mowing, worm juice feeding and weeding (not enough weeding!). The cockatoos took a liking to the young garlic shoots, so we netted them earlier in the season and now the plants are stretching beyond their coverings. The bird netting has also been a valuable sunshade, allowing the plants to grow through their slow start. My guess is that we still have at least another month or more till thinking about harvest, curing, storage.

We still have tickets available for our other most vital garden fundraiser – this year’s Twilight music and food evening, on November 7th. Invite your family and friends and join us for a special evening. And don’t forget the Produce Exchange, Saturday 7th outside Dig cafe 10.30am – 12 noon – bring out your spring excesses.

Enjoy the early mornings and evenings in the garden. It will reward you.

Remember the compost build?

the results ... note that the bits of straw come from the outside covering, and not within the compost itself

Well it appears that the heap is now ready, judging by the look, smell and worm activity …

the results ... note that the bits of straw come from the outside covering, and not within the compost itself

the results … note that the bits of straw come from the outside covering, and not within the compost itself …

lots of worms, a 'sticky' feel, lovely smell, and no sign of original materials

lots of worms, a ‘sticky’ feel, lovely smell, and no sign of original materials – ready to go …

Parts of the heap seem a little drier than others so it’s probably worth a good water under the straw covering ‘blanket’. And we’ll need to look after this lovely, living, resource by covering it up and keeping it damp after we apply to garden beds, fruit trees and berries.

We, along with Frances from Newstead Natives, had a visit from a few of the Local Lives Global Matters conferencers on the weekend. They loved the look of the compost too! I prepared a bit of a map of the garden, as it can be a bit confounding when one visits the garden, trying to work out just what’s going on…

Scan garden

The hot weather of late has sped things along in the garden – globe artichokes, broadies, kohlrabi, leeks are all ripening rapidly, if not already ready for eating. And I’d be planting tomatoes (but not all of them) cup day or not. Feels like summer already to me.

Don’t forget our Working Bee on Saturday ahead of our fundraising evening. Tickets are selling, so get yours this week.