Sunday, 23 July 2017

Winter in Yackandandah Community Garden

The recent cold weather has really slowed down growth at the garden this winter but after weeks of waiting we can now see broad beans emerging in bed 1

There are also some tiny pea shoots just showing in bed 2 but you'll need to search closely to see them. they really are just showing through at the moment.

Brassicas are great winter crops for cold areas like ours. The broccoli, cabbage and Caulis we planted in autumn are well grown and slowly getting closer to harvest. The broccoli have tiny buds in the centre but it will still be a few weeks before they are ready to pick.

The bower birds also like some winter greens and started eating the leaves of our brassica seedlings. You can see where they have eaten the edges of this cabbage leaf.

To protect the smaller seedlings we re-erected the bird netting over one patch in bed 6.

Happy winter gardening everyone,


Sunday, 18 June 2017

JAPICKLES workshop

Hi Gardeners,
The 3rd Saturday each month sees our Yackandandah Community Garden alive with activity.

From 9:30 am there's the Produce Swap. This month we had oranges, grapefruit, eggs, mushrooms, raspberry canes and some seedlings on the table. Drop in next month to see what's available or to add something to the swap.

At 10 we take a tour round the garden discussing what's happening here and at home. Lots of discussion of garden problems, ideas and suggestions.

At 10:30 the monthly workshop starts. This month we had Yack resident, Sachi talking about Japanese style pickles and showing us how it's done.

Sachi spoke passionately about the importance of human gut health and said that pickled and fermented foods can help keep plenty of beneficial bacteria in our digestive tracts. 17 people from Yackandandah and surrounding areas booked in for this workshop. They all enjoyed the tasting and got to take some pickles home to help get them started with their own simple Japanese style pickling.

We have invited Plastic Wise Yackandandah to present our July workshop with discussion and ideas on alternatives to plastic. Even if you don't intend to go cold turkey, this should help us all to start getting off the plastic wagon. - Saturday July 15 at 10:30am

Don't forget our regular Garden Gathering. Every Saturday morning 9:30am to 10:30am. Discuss garden ideas, problems and solutions and help look after the garden.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Ornamental Gourds

Cold nights have arrived at Yackandandah Community Garden. That means the end of all the frost tender summer growing crops, including our ornamental gourds.

Many visitors have marvelled at the arch over the path into the garden as these have grown, flowered and developed fruit but the leaves are now showing signs of the cold so it is time to harvest the fruit and remove the vines so we can use this area for another crop.

Our mature gourds will be put aside to dry then they can be used in many different ways.

There are plenty of ways you can condition your gourds.
The simplest, if you have space, is to cut the stems and stack the fruit in a shed, under cover, while they slowly dry out.

If you have limited space try tying them on a string and hanging vertically.

For those with plenty of garden space you can even leave them on the vines and they will dry out a bit slower over winter.

As the gourds dry they develop mould on the surface. This is quite normal so don't throw them out at this stage. In fact, it leaves the gourds with an attractive, mottled pattern on the outside of the shell.
You'll probably find that the skin on some of the less developed gourds will be paper thin and won't be much use. Best to just keep the fully mature ones.
It will take several months for the gourds to dry fully. They are ready when the seeds inside rattle when you shake the gourds.
After that you can let your creativity run riot to produce all manner of interesting, useful or artistic things from the shells.

Just make sure you keep some seeds so you can grow another crop next season.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Sweet potatoes

Yackandandah Community garden has had the first frosts for 2017 this week. That means the sweet potatoes have now stopped growing and it is time to find out what we've grown this year. At today's Garden Gathering we pulled up the vines and dug up the tubers. We noticed that the ones that were put in late had much smaller tubers so it looks like it is important to get these growing early and into the garden as soon as possible in spring if you want to get good yields. Everyone took home cuttings of the 3 different sweet potatoes to grow some plants for next year. You can grow sweet potato plants several different ways but we've had good results from cuttings which are very easy to do.

Just take a piece of stem
and cut into sections with 4-8 nodes (nodes are where the leaves grow,
cut off the lower leaves
and put the pieces into a jar of water.

If you are lucky you might even find a stem where roots have already started to grow. You can pop these into a jar of water or into potting mix.

Keep your cuttings inside where it is warm and keep topping up the water as it evaporates. You may need to change the water every now and again if it starts to go green.

The cuttings should produce roots in the water and will grow slowly through winter. When the ground has warmed up in spring your new sweet potato plants will be ready to plant into the garden.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Garden Gathering - April 8th 2017

Hi gardeners,
4 hardy helpers attended Saturday's Garden gathering this week.

We planted lots of winter seedlings - spinach,

 and silver beet, both in the lower level of bed 1.

Broccoli, cabbage and khol rabi in the top level of bed 3 (which Vicki and Lee-Anne topped up with topsoil during the week - thank you both. That bed should retain moisture much better next summer and was much easier to plant into)

Purple broccoli went into the top level of bed 6

and the lower level of bed 4 is now planted out with onion seedlings which means we should have a very productive garden right through winter.

Yackandandah Community Garden is still producing good crops. The tomatoes have slowed down but you can still pick beans from the arch as well as edible pod peas and leafy greens in bed 5.
The carrots in that bed are not quite ready to pick yet so please leave those for another month or 2.

The sweet corn in bed 1 is now ready to eat so please drop in and pick a couple for dinner. Just look at all those plump, sweet corn kernals.

I don't think many people have noticed the lemon cucumbers growing in the wicking bed behind the fig tree. Take a look if you like cucumbers - there's lots ready to eat or pickle.

Our sweet potatoes in bed 2 are still growing so fingers crossed the tubers are also growing under the ground. These can be grown from cuttings. You're welcome to cut some pieces and root them in a jar of water on a warm window sill. Keep them inside your home in the water all winter and plant out only when the frost is finished in spring.

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