Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Autumn News

Mackie Lane Update: 
Square metre garden
We have welcomed Autumn with the completion of another 2 large garden beds. These are now being prepared for the first of our feature ‘square metre gardens’. Come along during autumn and winter to take a look at how this highly efficient approach combines both organic gardening and companion planting principles. Our first plots are planned to highlight an all-round autumn veggie and herb garden as well as a ‘soup bed’ featuring root vegetables. 
The garden viewed from Mackie Lane
All the beds have now been nourished with manures and composts and are ready for autumn/winter planting. Seedlings, including peas, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and a range of onions and leeks, have been planted. At this stage, seeds have also been sown for more cabbage, silverbeet, chard, kale, a variety of lettuces, rocket, celeriac and broad beans.

Harvesting has seen a bounty of produce over the last month with beans, spinach, silverbeet, tomatoes, various herbs especially basil, chives, kaffir limes, eggplant, endive, celery and the last of our summer carrots and beetroot have been thoroughly enjoyed.
Sweet peas are in! Our thanks to Norma who has been championing the sowing of our sweet peas ensuring they were in on St Patrick’s Day! Here’s hoping they grow to grace our fences over the coming months as they did so well last year – a highly anticipated addition to the garden by all, especially the residents of The Manors and Mackie Lane who enjoy them as much as we do.
Thank you to Silvana Griffith: Mackie Lane Garden Coordinator Silvana Griffith is about to take on a new work project with heavy demands on her time, so sadly has stepped down as Mackie Lane Gardening Coordinator. Silvana has done a fabulous job and we are very grateful for her dedication and enthusiasm. She has assured us that she will still be coming to the garden. Congratulations Silvana and thank you from all the Mackie Lane gardeners.
Middle Head leeks

Middle Head Update: We’ve planted two beds after adding home-grown compost and cow manure etc.  One is a ‘Curry Plot’ with vegetables suitable for making curry such as, peas, onions, carrots, turnips, celeriac, mini cauliflowers, coriander and fenugreek. The other bed has celeriac, beetroot and broccolini. In another bed we have sown a green manure crop in preparation for planting soon in the hope of overcoming the issue of over-alkalinized soil. The tub that gave the wonderful garlic crop has been sown with parsnip, daikon radish and salsify. We’ve already had  finger limes from the three trees planted. We regularly harvest more bok choy, celery, eggplants, leeks and silverbeet than we can eat but are now planting winter crops and experimenting with one of Lolo Holbein's magic square designs for winter salads. The native beds have been huge success.
Tribute to David Luke: A sandpaper fig has been planted in David Luke’s memory and a lovely piece of sandstone found by one of the NPWS volunteers has been made into a plaque in David’s honour.
Beauty Point Public School: Mosman Community Gardeners continue to work with the school on the veggie garden. Many thanks to Balgowlah Bunnings who have offered to sponsor the school garden to run planting and composting workshops with the children.

Visit to Paddington Community Garden: A group of us (Silvana, Peter, Tina and Gill) went along to Paddington Community Garden and were very impressed by the flourishing state of their produce. They combine individually run plots along with communal plots and require members to put in a certain amount of time each week to the communal gardening beds as well as gardening their own. Each new member undergoes individual training for a few weeks to ensure they understand the principles of permaculture and organic gardening. Whilst the location is very different from our two gardens, being in a gully and surrounded by trees, it is well worth a visit. One of their hallmarks is producing their own compost from kitchen scraps donated by neighbours and organic veggie retailers (delivered to the garden) combined with horse manure from the police stables, so, after a number of years, their soil is highly productive. They also have a superb self-built permanent wooden shelter where they run workshops and gather for harvest meals. See the Paddington Community Garden website for more details.
Paddington Community Garden - a great source of inspiration
We hope to see you at one of the MCG gardens soon.

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