Thanks to judicial sandbagging and the foresight of earlier Newsteadians, our garden withstood torrential rain and floodwater. Sadly, many further downstream (and in the northern climes) were not so fortunate.
To counter the moist conditions and prevent mildew and disease, we sprayed a biodynamic brew of equisetum (BD508) and the compost preps (BD502 – 507) in a weak seaweed/fish emulsion. This was applied in the last suitable moon phase, early on January 19 (ascending, waxing and in an ‘air’ sign).
The garden will certainly come into its own when we see the availability and price of veges affected by the big wet. Garden members have been enjoying the delights of freshly picked beans, peas, lettuce and other greens, zukes, tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, carrots and more. Our communal plantings of spuds (13 varieties) are starting to flower and a range of heritage tomatoes (>10 varieties) were planted – late, small, but still hope-full of a harvest. The jerusalem artichokes are at their showy best (related to the sunflower) forming starchy tubers under ground. The garden is also abuzz with insect life.
Thanks to the mens’ shed group who have built sturdy shelving and hangers for our tools.
And thanks to Mount Alexander Shire we have been successful with $3000 granted towards our “Shared Table” project. Though not the full amount requested, the funds will enable us to involve local artists and craftspeople to create functional and beautiful garden furniture, and pizza oven. We will also hold a celebratory harvest meal.
For this project we want to utilise on-site, found and recycled materials and are keen to build with/on Newstead’s heritage – for example the elms which were once glorious street trees could have a second life in our garden. We would love to hear from anyone who may have seasoned timber, or other suitable building materials, to donate or trade.
Our garden runs well without the burden of onerous committee meetings and formalities. Members take responsibility for their own plot in the garden as well as communal areas; things run smoothly. However we do need to meet occasionally, to discuss finances and plans. On Friday February 4 at 5pm we will have a brief meeting at the garden, followed a picnic for those who would like to stay on and enjoy the spoils of the garden.
We also have plans for more garden beds to be installed in 2011.
AND don’t forget the first produce exchange for the year – Saturday 5 Feb at 1030am outside the Red Store (thanks Liz!).
You can check out some photos of the summer garden in the Photo Gallery pages.