May the Garden Grow

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The arrival of May means the community garden is another year older – six years old – and it’s also time for membership renewals.

We are looking for new enthusiastic and active gardeners to join us. Enjoy the special space, good soil and water on tap!

May 29th is Membership Day. Come along and renew your membership, become a new member, meet other gardeners, find out how the garden works and what’s there to be done, enjoyed, shared, and just get inspired about gardening. From 9.30am am till 3pm; cuppas and cake provided, the pizza oven will be fired up for lunch (BYO toppings).

We have 15 individual plots (at least two are currently available) and also welcome keen gardeners who would like to join as ‘digger’ members (garden in the communal plots and general garden area, and share the harvests, stay in touch with happenings). You can also become a less active – but no less important – member by joining as a supporter or benefactor. See the details here.

If individual plots are all allocated we can put you on a waiting list till one becomes available and join us as a ‘digger’ in the meantime. We have several raised beds specifically designed for gardeners who aren’t able to bend or kneel.

The May Gardening Notes are also planted, posted – whether you are a member or not.

We had a very productive and congenial day in the garden at our last working bee on Saturday. Thanks to Dawn, Carmen and Angus, Lyn, Sally, Gen, Megan, Mary and Geoff, Louise, Saide, and all the offspring associated.

Don’t forget the Produce Exchange on the 7th, and for other events see the sidebar, or subscribe to the calendar. Or contact us at newsteadgarden@gmail.com.

And it’s Autumn, really it is

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Normally by now I’d have a crop of greens in, a green manure going, and even garlic and broad beans planted. But still awaiting the prolonged summer vege harvest. Eggplant have been hardy and promising, tomatoes short and very sweet. Zukes and pumpkins still offering flowers. Things have been very micro-climate (and water) dependent. It’s a bit confusing. But most of our garden survived the summer blast, which arrived in October last year. We’re still accommodating, reacting, hoping. Being optimistic, which gardeners tend to be; awaiting the next season and what it might teach, reward. Thinking what plants should stay and what might not.

But our Chinese Quince are looking promising, and the birds haven’t found them yet.

So, the April Notes are now posted, not with huge confidence, but assured of lunar and planetary  influences. Also at our last working bee (quite productive, thanks to the gardeners and especially Dawn) people were asking about the pomegranates which are looking pretty good. There’s more and added info about them here on the Crop Notes page – along with notes about all our garden crops, but that’s probably due for an update too. Along with our recipes pages. A hint?!

We have rescheduled our Neil Tait wokshop til late May, in part because the fire restriction season has as well, but also because we’re not quite prepared. We hope you will be by then too, to come and partake of pizza oven makings and to learn how to make them, and fire the oven, as well.

Stop by the next Produce Exchange outside dig cafe on Saturday 2 April, bring your excesses from the garden or pantry, or just come and catch up. We’re still working on the working bee areas in Quadrant 2 till the next working bee in late April.

And enjoy Autumn’s garden, at last.

 

Perfect timing

gardeners trim and grade the garlic for selling - it'll help pay our water bill at the garden

Lovely rain overnight, just perfect for a weekend weed and dig. A reminder it’s our first working bee for the year on Sunday. Join us at 10am for a couple of hours, or a little more. Bring gloves, hat, water, some lunch to share (cuppas provided). We’ll be finished by 2pm. Time to visit some local artists in their lairs afterwards, as part of Arts Open.

A satisfying snip

pruning our stone and pome fruits

You know how much better you feel after a good haircut? Well our fruit trees are also feeling quite unburdened after their annual summer prune.

Thanks to Dawn, Lyn, Carolyn and Sarah we’ve snipped our apple, pear, peach, plum and nectarine trees. For an explanation on why we prune in summer, read this earlier post and there’s more information on summer pruning and espaliers here. We left them with a slow hose to get a deep water this afternoon and will hopefully get some seaweed/fish emulsion into them over the next week too.

Timing-wise it should also be beneficial for the trees – the last few days have seen a descending moon (the lunar tropical cycle), in a fruit and root sign (lunar sidereal cycle), and although the moon isn’t waning, it’s still been in the first quarter, or waxing crescent phase (synodic cycle). We’ve also just passed a perigee moon which is closest to the earth this month (apsidal cycle) so more effect/impact from what else is going on.

Don’t forget our first working bee for the year, next Sundaysee the calendar or website sidebar for more information. We’ll be working on the communal plots in that quadrant, amongst other things.

It was good chatting today about our communal crops and how that maybe the reason the rhubarb has done so poorly where it is is because it’s blasted by the western setting sun. We talked about better spots for it, or planting other sheltering things for summer (even though most think of rhubarb as being the hardiest of hardy). Microclimates in the garden, especially in ours, are becoming of more and more interest and importance. It also means paying more careful attention, from the plant’s viewpoint.

Here’s some pics of the haircut, or at least the afterwards: (click over the image to see caption/open slideshow). Would also love Simon Rickard (remember that workshop? and then again) to come back to the garden and tell us what we’ve done wrong!

 

Garden visitors and the darling buds of March

ealy atumn in the garde, plus peter takes cuttings for budding our plums

It’s almost March (yes, there’s that extra day that we stick in there to be accurate). Autumn is my favorite season. Gathering stores of produce, preserving the harvest, enjoying the sun’s warmth and soaking it up (usually) before, yes, … well that’s another story/season.

Thanks to the hardy gardeners who’ve been keeping the water up, and also to the herb harvesters – Dawn, Gen, Louise, Lyn, Carmen – who are trying the drying of some of our herbs, including the rosemary, lemon verbena, thyme, marjoram.

In the last week or so we’ve had some garden visitors from way up North, the Utopia aboriginal community in NT where they’re establishing gardens at the Rocket Range outstation to support a nutrition/health program. Ingrid was showing them around the local area. And more locally, from Barkers Creek, Peter came to take cuttings from our plums for budding. He was particularly interested in the Coes’s Golden Drop, reputed to be an amazing tasting plum. By budding it onto his existing plum tree, he’ll get two varieties from off the same tree. Now’s the time for budding.

Check out the March Notes for more info on budding and other tasks this month.

On the subject of timing and garden tasks, we now have a calendar of events for the year. Dates are aligned with the biodynamic calendar, to get the most benefit from our work. We are trying a monthly working bee and will focus on one part/quarter of the garden each time, including helping out individual plot holders in that quadrant if they need it. Add lunch and pizza oven. There are also activities that will be time specific according to conditions, such as BD spraying, etc. so if you’d like to learn more about BD or fruit tree management, herbs, etc these are the ideal opportunity. These sessions will be for 1 – 2 hrs only and days/times will be confirmed closer to the action.

We’d like garden members to attend at least two working bee sessions and volunteer to look after one Produce Exchange for the year.

Download the dates/plans here – garden calendar – or visit the page – here.

Because the BD garden needs to be a bit flexible depending on the conditions and lunar rythym, you can subscribe to the calendar to keep up to date on the whole year, and watch the sidebar on this website for just the next few events. The Produce Exchange (Sat) and Summer Pruning (Sun) are first up, this weekend.

Yes, it’s almost March, but the year is just starting for the garden!