open day

Coffee-powered morning in the garden

Sydney summer is in full swing! It's hot, and it's humid, too. Recent rains have filled the rain gauge to the brim. The warm wet weather means the garden is prolific: the zucchini plants are putting on one zucchini after the next, the tamarillo tree is laden with fruit, and the cucumbers are flowering whilst producing plump cucumbers. 

 A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

Weeding is a good job to do now (isn't it always ;-) ?) to help vegies grow. And a feed is important, too. With so much to do yet so few cool(ish) hours of the day we have moved the Sunday working bees forward to the morning, commencing at 9AM.  

J.,  a PermaPatch member has been pulling out weeds since the start this morning. Sweat drops glisten on her forehead and there is  is a big smile on her face "I love this garden!" "Look at these beautiful little flowers" she says pointing to the sage showing off red and white hues "they add so much colour". And they are edible, too, adding a bit of colour when sprinkled over salads. 

This morning we are joined by our very own barista, T. from PermaCulture Sydney North. He is manning the coffee machine and makes sure nobody goes without a coffee to fuel our work efforts. And there is homemade cake, too - what great way to start the day! 

 Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

We also had bee-keepers inspect our hives. Unfortunately, unwanted beetles have taken over, driving out the bees. The infested boxes needed to be removed. 

This might be a bit of a relief for those of you who need to be careful around bees because of allergic reactions to beestings. Our bee-keeper has some good advice: "Avoid wearing any colourful clothing, or perfume". Basically anything that a bee might mistake as a flower. Also, bees can be attracted by the glistening of eyes, so wearing sunglasses is another good tip to keep bees away. 

Eventually we'd like to get another beehive established because they are so important. And in previous years we were able to treat our members to beautifully cold-filtered honey  straight from the garden. So hopefully we'll soon be able to welcome a new beehive!

 The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

All in all a beautiful morning in the garden - thanks to all who contributed with coffee and cake, hard work and community spirit. 

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Happy New Year - A Word From Our VP

HI all and happy New Year to you!

Just a quick update re. the garden.

1. For those of you who pop in to the garden now and then note that we've planted quite a lot of new seedlings  - two sections of the largest communal bed and 1 small section in one of the smaller horseshoe shaped beds. If you happen to be there and the seedlings look like they are lacking water please feel free to give them some - just until they are established by which time the new watering roster folk will be easily able to take care of things.

2. Hydroponics system - we had a power outage for most of Sunday and the other day one of the pumps was disconnected so lucky it wasn't hot and sunny - if you happen to see the plants on this new hydroponics system (currently strawbs and lettuce) wilting in  a big way - can you let me know and I'll try to investigate.

3. We've had a big increase in the chook flock with 5 new ones (thanks to Kim for arranging) - they are currently fenced off from the existing chooks but should be getting introduced soon.

4. Slight change in the designation of the three open compost heaps - I'll have signs up tomorrow to indicate state of affairs.

5.Harvesting - we'll be hoping to harvest more than has been done in the past and will be leaving on one of the tables whatever isn't claimed by the folk who attended and helped with the Sunday work bees (good incentive to come and work on Sundays - get the best choice of the goodies!)

6. We have a big new whiteboard on the shed wall and will be trying to use this plus other notice boards to better convey info re. happenings and status of things in the garden - so do have a look each time you go in!This will hopefully work in conjunction with our existing excellent  website  to provide info as to what is happening and what is planned.

Think that's all 
Hope to see you in the garden (don't forget Sundays 2pm onwards for work bees)

cheers

Colin Maltman

Vice President

Upcoming Events - Workshops and Open Days

Come along and share some afternoon tea in the gardens on Sunday 4th May between 2 and 4 p.m. International Permaculture Day celebrates sustainable living and gives people a chance to have a look at how others are growing amazing gardens of edibles, without poisons. Other Sydney gardens will be open. Have a look at the International Permaculture website for more information.

http://permacultureaustralia.org.au/events/international-permaculture-day-2014/

Learn more about how to get started with Permaculture at our workshop at the gardens on Sunday 18th May at 2 p.m. Also afternoon tea. See Events page for more information.

http://www.permapatch.org.au/events/

HELLO FROM OUR GARDEN MANAGER

Hello all

I'm just taking this opportunity to introduce myself to those I haven't already met.

I'm Colin Maltman and have recently taken on the role of garden manager at our ever wonderful and productive PermaPatch community garden.

In this role I'll be overseeing all the varied and interesting (and challenging!) tasks and operation within the garden.

As you probably already know every Sunday afternoon from around 2pm is a working-bee of sorts where members  come along and help out with the various activities within the garden - so please do come along on a Sunday afternoon and meet others, help out in the garden and have a well deserved cuppa!

Every now and then I'll be sending out garden management updates and notifications of activities for the Sunday work sessions - I'll try to get these up on our new website too.
http://www.permapatch.org.au/

As part of my first post as garden manager I thought I'd just list some useful information.

Compost - please bring your fruit and veg scraps and place in the big plastic compost bins - just follow the signs in the compost area for how to do this. When the bins are full we transfer contents to the large open compost bays.

Grass clippings - if herbicide and pesticide free we want them! – place them in the wooden pallet enclosures near the back gate

Leaves and leaf-mulch - same as for grass clippings BUT please no leaves from Camphor laurel or gum trees (they contain chemicals which can deter other plants from growing)

Coffee grounds - these are great to go in the compost bins but best not to spread over the garden beds or on top of plant leaves.

Private and communal plots - all of the raised wooden-sided garden beds in the upper garden (in the area between garden shed and chook shed) are private plots. The communal plots are the large bed and the 5 horseshoe shaped beds in the lower garden (plus herb spiral). However, the beds in the lower garden adjacent to the wall or the metal fence at the far end are private.

Worm farms -  There are three worm farms over by the chooks area, please just follow the sign on the side of the caravan (above the worm farms) for what and how to feed the worms. Food for worms is best chopped up into small sections.
If anyone has spare worms from a worm farm – not from their garden! Feel free to bring them and ad them to the worm containers, we’re a bit short on worms.  

Watering the garden - Pauline has already sent out information and a request for help with watering. We’re proposing that ‘owners’ of individual plots take care of their own watering (as part of the ongoing job of tending to their own garden plots) and that we have a roster for watering the communal beds and other areas.

Planting and harvesting fruits of our labour - We’ll be planning to plant out seeds or seedlings each Sunday as well as harvesting – so come along and help plant the seeds for our future meals!

Chickens - we have a well functioning chook roster for feeding, supplying with water and letting chooks in and out each day. A sign by the hatch on the chook shed has information as to what and what not to feed the chooks. Just remember best not to throw food in for them in the evening or late afternoon as they are less likely to eat it over-night and so could attract rats.

Tank water - we try to use this rather than mains water when we can – to use the tank water you’ll need to switch the electric pump on (or off and on if already on) – the switch is up close by the big water tank. After rain there is also a fair amount of water in the big containers  - 1 by the garden shed, 1 by the chook shed (fed from their respective roofs). These are good for using with watering cans.

Think that’s all – hope to see you in the garden!

Colin Maltman

Honey Bottling!

My very first trip down to PermaPatch was last year on honey bottling day!  It was held at the end of the month on an Open Day and there were about 15 people who attended the garden to help. It was pretty amazing to process a product made in the garden, knowing it was all being done by hand, by a community of people who were connected with their local environment and the food they eat...  and that this was all happening right across the road from where I live made me quite giddy!

There are so many health benefits to eating locally produced honey, not least of all that it reduces the severity of any pollen allergies.

The great news is that Honey Bottling Day is back!  And this time we are ramping up the excitement by having delicious honey laden pikelets to feed and energise the hard workers of the bottling production line!  

You can also buy a bottle of honey on the day! Sunday March 16 from 2 - 5pm.

Pastralia Day - Australia Day Long Weekend

Over 20 members turned up for our Australia Day Long Weekend celebration.  Gary had prepared a lovely spicy cherry tomato sauce from an earlier harvest of our garden's tomatoes and everybody pigged out on that and lots of scrumptious accompaniments that were shared by all.  More tomatoes were harvested and eaten fresh off the vine.  Everybody present decided it was a great success and should become a tradition from here on in!  Hurrah!

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