WIC Gardening Update - 12 Sept 2012

Posted 5 years, 2 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hi and konnichiwa

Spring does not mean the end of frosts: frosts are predicted for the next night or two.  So if you have frost tender plants, cover them up over night.

Back Yard Creatures - Conservation Week

This is Conservation Week and the Department of Conservation (DoC) is encouraging us to leave a little wild area in our garden to allow native species such as weta and skinks to survive.

Hamilton Zoo is running a series of talks Uncovering Back Yard Treasures which will show off some of the native creatures you might see in your back yard, including geckos, skinks and moths.  One of the stars of the show is a giant weta taken from near Otorohanga.  The weta you will meet in your back yard are much smaller.   You can also see some native birds that may visit your garden like morepork (a native owl) in the zoo.

When: September 9 - 16, talks are at 11 am and 2 pm daily.  The Zoo is open every day from 9am to 5pm, last entry 3:30 pm.

Where: Hamilton Zoo, Brymer Road, north western Hamilton, ph 838 6720.

Cost: Normal Zoo admission - $8 for a child, $16 for an adult, or join for a year at $24 for a child and $48 for an adult.  You can look around the rest of the zoo while you are there!

You can also learn about NZ back yard creatures on Ooooby.

Reminder: Waikato Community Gardens Network Meeting

Hear what is happening in community gardens at the next Waikato Community Gardens Network Meeting on Thursday 13 September, 12 noon - 2 pm.  There is food available at the cafe next door or bring your own lunch.  Coffee and tea will be provided.

Where: Anglican Action conference room, Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Road, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3251.

For more information contact Anna Cox or Robert Moore, (07) 974-4659.

Anyone interested in community gardening is welcome to attend.

Reminder: FREE Healthy Living Cooking Sessions

When: Fridays, 10am to 12pm. Starting this Friday 14 Sept to 2 Nov Where: Crawshaw School in Multi Purpose Room, Crawshaw Drive, Nawton. 

Each week covers a different topic:

  1. recipes using basic cooking methods
  2. meal starter ideas from basic ingredients
  3. stretching your budget
  4. 'Fast Food' to make at home
  5. healthy mince, sausages and boil ups
  6. what to do with seasonal vegetables and fruit
  7. healthy lunches
  8. healthy snacks and desserts.

To register contact Ioana on 849 5170 or 021 359878 or leave your name and number at the Crawshaw School reception.

Reminder:  Planting an Edible Hedge

On Saturday 15 September 2:30 - 4 pm WIC will be having a hands on practical session planting a hedge of edible plants. We will talk about:

  • The benefits of an edible hedge
  • Which edible plants make a good hedge
  • When to plant
  • Caring for your hedge.

Everyone is welcome! For more information, call Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109.

Where: Grandview Community Garden, bus route 8 (Frankton) Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road.

HOGs meeting: Crop rotation & seed/plant swap

Some plants don't do well when they are planted in the same place year after year.  What crops are okay to plant in the same beds and which ones are better moved to another bed?

Learn about rotational planting with Clare and/or Tim. People use different rotations for crops - hear what crop rotations people have tried and share your experience.

You are welcome to bring along your seeds, plants and produce to swap.  There will also be plants for sale.

When: Monday 17 September, 7:30 pm

Where: Te Whare o te Ata, 60a Sare Crescent Fairfield. Limited parking in the carpark. You may like to park on Clarkin Road and walk across the park.

All welcome! Gold coin entry to cover costs.

Potatoes – get ready to plant!

The soil is starting to warm up, so at Grandview Community Garden they are starting to prepare the soil for growing potatoes.  They are chitting (sprouting) several varieties of potatoes so they will be ready to plant. Potatoes are a good crop for a new piece of garden - they help to break up the soil.  

Learn more about growing potatoes:

When:  Wednesday 19 September, 10 am -12 noon and Saturday 22 September 2:30 - 4pm.

Where: Grandview Community Garden.  

Clare has been telling the Grandview gardeners that now is the time to sow carrots, celery, spring onions, lettuce, beetroot and peas outdoors - and all the tender summer vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies and zucchini indoors. 

You are welcome to join the Grandview Community Garden! Start your own vegetable plot or get a group together. There are already people from over 10 different ethnicities gardening there and learning from each other! Contact Clare ph 021-0387-623.

Tip for sowing corn: Cross-pollination between two different varieties of corn can lead to unpleasant tasting corn.  So if you want to grow more than one variety of corn and/or maize, sow the seed at different times so that pollination (and maturity) of each variety happens at a different time.  Allow at least two weeks between planting the different varieties.

Festival de la Primavera = Hispanic Spring Festival

If you are going to the Hispanic Spring Festival on Saturday 22 September 2012, 1:30pm - 4 pm, why not take a walk down to the sustainable back yard garden, herb garden and walled kitchen garden to see what food crops they are growing at this time of year?

Where : Hamilton Gardens, festival is in the Pavilion Hall.  All welcome!

NZ Tree Crops Association (NZTCA) Waikato Branch Social

Shared lunch and two speakers - Alf Harris and myself.  Sunday 23 September, 12 noon at the Hillcrest Scout Hall. More information next week.

Weather: Gales

Metservice is the government agency that puts out weather forecasts.  Last weekend the Metservice put out a Severe Weather Warning predicting severe gale gusts.

Gales are strong winds (62 km per hour/34 knots or more) that make walking difficult, can push over tall plants and break twigs off trees.

'Wind rock' happens when the wind keeps moving a young tree or plant so that the roots keep getting torn rather than growing. The plant can't take in enough food and water.  Wind rock will eventually kill the plant.  

We recommend securely staking tall plants and young fruit trees when they are planted in a windy place.  Putting rocks around the base can also help.  The SWPICS gardeners in Tokoroa recently did this.

Tip: if you look on the Metservice forecast web page for Hamilton, Severe Weather Warnings are on the top right in the orange box.

Free Pots

Want to grow plants in containers? There are some free pots (containers to put plants in) at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre in Boundary Road (just pop in or ph 853 2192) and at the Grandview Community Garden (ph Clare 021-0387-623). 

Fatter, Heavier, Longer: Big Vegetables

In England they've been running a kind of vegetable Olympics, with a new world record parsnip length of 5.6 meters (18.5ft) - enough to make 25 bowls of parsnip soup!  Read more and see photographs of other entries to inspire your veggie growing.

Do you have a nutrition question?

The Ministry Of Health has several booklets on nutrition for different age groups which are free: contact me if you would like them sent to you. 

At least three NZ companies invite you to ask questions of their qualified nutritionists – and the service is free!

Sanitarium, best known for making marmite and breakfast cereals, also has a dictionary of nutrition words.  They have recipes and Health and Wellbeing Information. You may also like to subscribe to their Good Food News which is a free quarterly email magazine. It includes tasty recipes, nutrition and health information. They have a free Recipe of the Week email service that you can subscribe to.

Healtheries sells vitamin supplements, herb teas, etc.  They have answers to some common questions on their site.  If you don't find what you need, you can ask questions of their nutritionists and naturopaths through their web site or call them toll free on 0800 848 254 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.  They also have some healthy recipes on their site.

What do you eat for breakfast?

I was wondering what sorts of things you'd normally eat for breakfast, then found Victoria Philpott's site that shows breakfasts from 50 different countries around the world.  It seems that in many countries, especially in Asia, you eat the same sorts of foods for every meal. 

New Zealand's breakfasts weren't listed, but there is a wide range.  Cereals (grain based sweet breakfast foods, usually served with milk) like Weet-Bix are popular - New Zealanders eat 312 million Weet-Bix every year; laid end to end they would stretch from Kaitaia to Bluff and then back to Wellington!  Fresh and preserved fruit from your garden go really well with cereal, helping you get the recommended minimum two portions (a total of about 1 cup) of fruit per day.

Another favourite breakfast food is toasted bread.  Last week I gave you a recipe for a yeast based bread.  You can also make a kind of sour dough bread that uses fermented potatoes (perhaps homegrown!) to make it rise.  In NZ it has become known as rewena bread or Maori bread.  In Maori, the rising agent is called rewena or kōtero. There is a recipe here.  Some of you top your toast with yummy home made plum jam from the preserving course WIC ran.

Breakfast Eaters are asking you to vote for your favourite toast topping and be in to win a $100 grocery voucher. They've got 5 vouchers to give away over the next 5 weeks!

To enter simply 'Like' their Facebook page, vote for your favourite toast topping, and be in to win! 

On both their Facebook page and web site, they have recipes and tips on healthy, low-cost food.

Foraging: Gorse flowers, Onion Grass

A bright yellow flower that is out at the moment is gorse (Ulex europaeus), a plant that has been described as NZ's worst weed because it grows too well. They have been pulling some out at Grandview Community Garden this week. It is a prickly shrub. (See the Environment Waikato Pest Guide that WIC posted out, p.32.)

If you look at the flowers, they look like those of beans and peas: like them, it fixes (makes) nitrogen in the soil.  The flowers are edible, smelling of coconut, with a mild, sweet flavour.  Sprinkle them in salads, over pizza, in stir fries, in baking, or made into drinks

Onionweed (Allium triquetrum) is a wild onion that is flowering at the moment in many parks and waste land areas around NZ.  It is also called three cornered garlic, because the stalks of the leaves and flowers when cut look like a triangle (three sides).  Like many of our weeds, it was brought to NZ as a garden plant, before escaping to the wild. 

Onionweed has white bell shaped flowers and its crushed leaves smell like onions/garlic.  You can use the whole plant in cooking.  It makes a good substitute for spring onions.  There is a photo, more information and recipes on Johanna Knox's Wild Picnic foraging blog. Or listen online/download her podcast on onionweed which includes recipes from NZ National Radio's This Way Up show.

 

Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentor, enjoyed meeting some of you at the Adult Learners Day last weekend. 

The people who attended the NZTCA grafting class last Monday went home with a new skill and at least two free apple trees!  There were over 30 people there from at least 6 different ethnic groups.  Some people had driven 2 1/2  hrs to attend: it is one of the Tree Crops Association's most popular workshops: look out for it about this time next year if you missed out. 

Happy gardening!


WIC Gardening Update - 5 Sept 2012

Posted 5 years, 2 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and welkom!

Tokoroa

Tim, Community Garden Mentor, will be at the SWPICS garden in Maraetai Rd, Tokoroa tomorrow morning from 10:30 am.  If you are in that area, contact SWPICS to find out more: Ph (07) 886-0010. 

Seed Sowing

If you want to learn how to sow seeds so you have seedlings (young plants) ready to plant outside late next month, meet Tim & Clare at Grandview Community Garden this Friday September 7th at 3pm: everyone is welcome!

Hands on seed sowing - a practical session planting vegetable seeds: see how to grow your summer veges from seed. Bring seeds and seed trays if you have them.  If you want to propagate kumara (make new plants), just ask how. 

People who want to start a plot at the Grandview Community Garden site are welcome too!

Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd. Bus route number 8 (Frankton).  More info? Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109

On the Kings Seeds packets, the sowing number 1 indicates seeds that can be sown under cover now - ie in a warm place protected from frosts.

One form of succession planting is planting a few seeds of the same plant regularly, so that you have a continuous supply of the vegetable rather than a glut. For example, 4 lettuces ready to harvest every two weeks, rather than 20 lettuces ready all at once then none for a month! It is also a good way to make the most of a small garden space.  

Reminder: Tulip & Daffodil Spring Festival

Free at Hamilton Gardens, this Saturday 8 September 2012, 10 am - 4 pm.  Take a walk to the Productive Gardens while you're there.

Reminder: Locovore: visit an organic market garden

This Sunday 9 September 2 - 4 pm. The garden is run by a Pacific Islander (Burton) and a migrant (Alison Worth) in Pukemiro near Cambridge.  They use biodynamic methods to grow vegetables, fruit and nuts as well as keeping chickens, pigs and cows.

Alison is a chef: she has promised a look at her preserves and will provide a yummy afternoon tea.

Bookings required by 4:30 pm tomorrow - Thursday 6 September - contact Kathryn to book and to find out where to meet.  We need a minimum of 5 bookings for this event to go ahead.  We can help organise transport, just ask.  If you need an interpreter, let me know.  

This workshop is FREE for Waikato based refugees, new migrants and Pacific Island people.  Other people are welcome at a cost of $10 each.

Reminder: NZ TCA Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

This is a hands-on workshop. After a demonstration, you have the opportunity to select two to three apple or pear varieties to graft at the workshop then take home. There will be a number of knowledgeable people there to help and assist.

When: Monday 10 September, 7:30 pm.

NZTCA will supply:

  • apple rootstocks (MM106 – semi-dwarfing).
  • pear rootstocks (Pyrus pyrifolia).
  • scion wood: there will be a good selection of apples and pears.
  • grafting tape.
  • plant labels.

There may be spare rootstocks at the end of the evening and these will be for sale at cost price. You can also buy grafting tape, plant labels, cook books and gardening magazines.

Non-members will have the opportunity to find out more about the Tree Crops Association and join up if you'd like.

Bring: 

All welcome.

If you are a refugee, new migrant or Pacific Islander, and would like to attend for free, send me your contact details by Thursday 6 September and go in the draw to win a free place on this workshop!  Winners will be contacted on Friday 7 September. Otherwise, cost is: $10 for NZTCA members, $15 non members. 

Where: Scout Hall, Masters Ave, Hillcrest. The hall is located behind the shops on Masters Avenue. There is plenty of parking behind the shops. Take the path through the trees to the hall (the hall is surrounded by bush).

Waikato Community Gardens Network

If you want to hear what is happening in community gardens around the Waikato, the next Waikato Community Gardens Network Meeting is on Thursday 13 September, 12 noon - 2 pm.  There is food available at the cafe next door (eg soup from $4) or bring your own lunch.  Coffee and tea will be provided.

Where: Anglican Action conference room, Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Road, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3251.

For more information contact Anna Cox or Robert Moore, (07) 974-4659.

Anyone interested in community gardening is welcome to attend.

The Waikato Community Gardens Network now has a Google Group that you can join to share information about meetings, open days, etc.

FREE Healthy Living Cooking Sessions

When: Fridays, 10am to 12pm, Starting 14 Sept to 2 Nov Where: Crawshaw School in Multi Purpose Room, Crawshaw Drive, Nawton.

There is more information on WIC's Ooooby comment wall.

To register contact Ioana on 849 5170 or 021 359878 or leave your name and number at the Crawshaw School reception.

*This is one of the Nawton and Crawshaw Healthy Living Projects*

WIC Demonstration: Planting an Edible Hedge

Is your fence part of your edible landscape? On Saturday 15 September 2:30 - 4 pm, Grandview Community Garden we will be having a hands on practical session planting a hedge of edible plants. We will talk about:

  • The benefits of an edible hedge
  • Which edible plants make a good hedge
  • When to plant
  • Caring for your hedge.

Everyone is welcome!  For more information, call Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109

Ngaroto Nurseries Closing Down Sale

Ngaroto Nurseries at 208 Ngaroto Road, near Te Awamutu are closing down.  They have at least 50% off the original price of their plants, with some selling for as little as 50c. They are selling out very quickly: most of the food plants have already gone, but you might get a lemon tree if you are looking for one. Ph (07) 871 5668 for more information.

You will need a car to get there - why not go with a group of friends? Their cafe has already shut down, but if it is a nice day you could pack a picnic and visit Lake Ngaroto, also on Ngaroto Road.  There is a 90-minute bush walk around the lake with signs about the local plants and animals.

 

At Saturday's Feed the Soil workshop they made a different form of slow compost.  They covered a huge pile of weeds with a sheet of black polythene. The weeds will rot down slowly into compost, ready to use in a few months. You can add more weeds, just uncover part of the heap and cover again when you have finished.  There is a photo on Ooooby.  This is a good way of dealing with some of the hard to kill weeds, like Tradescantia fluminensis, sometimes called Wandering Willy.

They also made a worm bin - see Ooooby for photos and more information.

Weather: Hail

Christchurch's hail storm has been in the news: some of you may not have experienced hail before coming to NZ.  Hail is balls of frozen rain. Hail and thunderstorms go together: the strong upward winds carry raindrops up into very cold air. 

Hail is white and looks very pretty, a bit like snow, but can damage your plants.  Generally this is minor and vegetables recover well. The leaves on your vegetables may look torn or be broken off.  Trim any badly damaged parts. 

Tree branches may break, the bark (ie tree skin) may have holes, blossom and fruit may be broken off or bruised.  Remove any damaged branches leaving a smooth, downward pointing cut (this encourages water to drain away).  Take off any damaged fruit. 

Some commercial growers cover their fruit crops to protect them from hail damage.  There is more information and links to photographs of hail damage here.

PSA disease on Kiwifruit

Green kiwifruit generally grow very well in this area and can be grown in your back yard.   It is a vine, so it needs support. You will need both a male and a female plant to get fruit.

The kiwifruit disease PSA has been found in the Waikato. There are photographs of the symptoms here.  If you have a kiwifruit vine in your garden and it is showing these symptoms, please call the Kiwifruit Vine Health team - they need to know, and can give you advice: 0800-665-825.

There is more information about PSA on the ESL News NZ Site.  

ESL News NZ is written for people learning English as a second language.  On their web site you can listen to New Zealand news, spoken slowly and clearly, using easy vocabulary, and read along. This can help improve pronunciation.  ESL News NZ also have a vocabulary list with each news story. 

Peas & Beans 

Planting or harvesting peas? There are several different varieties. Garden peas (usually sold frozen at the supermarket) are best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting for maximum sweetness (many of mine don’t even make it as far as the kitchen – very delicious!) The peas are ‘shelled’ ie you take them out of the pod, and eat the seed only (compost or mulch the pod).

Several types of peas are eaten pod and all - raw, blanched, or stir-fried:

  • Asparagus peas - have red flowers & frilly pods making it very pretty, tastes a bit like asparagus.
  • Snow peas - sometimes also called mange tout (French for 'eat all') in NZ, usually eaten while still flat/immature.
  • Sugar snap peas - looks like the garden pea but eaten pod and all once the peas are fat.

I tried growing Asparagus peas last year: the slugs and snails don't find them as delicious as the other garden peas. 

Remember to label your plants so that you can tell the types apart!

I've been asked how to tell the difference between a pea and a bean:

Pea pods are usually smooth and the seeds are green and round. They prefer cooler weather (autumn-spring).  Tip: If the pod starts to look dull and wrinkly, the peas are past their best: they will taste bitter.

Bean pods are slightly hairy, even rough, and the seeds are usually flattened and may be all sorts of colours depending on the variety and how ripe they are.  Most beans (apart from Broad Beans) prefer warm weather (summer).  

River Cottage Veg Everyday

Gardener and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has made vegetables the star in his new cook book and TV show, River Cottage Veg Everyday, showing on Prime TV, Sundays at 7:35 pm. 

After being told that his cholesterol was high, Fearnley-Whittingstall decided to give up meat, fish and alcohol for the summer. He lost weight, felt good and discovered he was enjoying his food more than ever!

He is based in England, which is slightly cooler than here, but similar enough in climate that we can grow all the fruit and vegetables he grows in the River Cottage garden. 

Some of the recipes from the show are also available online.

In last Sunday's episode he also went foraging along the seashore.  Two plants he harvested and used in savoury dishes also grow here in NZ: 

  • dulse (Rhodymenai palmata), a seaweed, which he chopped and cooked in a frypan with grated potato for about 20 minutes until tender
  • samphire (Salicornia australis), also called salthorn, is a plant that grows between the high and low tide marks, which is harvested in spring before it flowers.  It is crisp and salty.  He used it in a tart/quiche.

Another seaweed eaten here is called Venus' necklace (it looks like a string of beads) (Hormosira banksii).  It is usually eaten raw.   It was often eaten at this time of year by Maori in a kind of relish with chopped kina, or sea eggs (Evechinus chloroticus)

 

Remember: it is illegal to take anything (other than people’s rubbish) from Marine ReservesLook out for Marine Reserves on recent maps. 

 

There is more information about foraging along the seashore on Ooooby.

Recipes

Someone asked me for a wholemeal bread recipe, I have put my favourite up on Ooooby in the Eating! discussion.  It doesn't need kneading.  It makes nice toast and sandwiches eg with home made jam, egg, or avocado and pepper, or homemade pesto and tomato...  It can also be used in place of another carbohydrate like taro, maize or potatoes as part of a meal.

Nourish published a recipe for a filling, high fibre soup this week: Spicy Lentil & Tomato Soup with Coriander & Lime.  If you grow your own limes, you can freeze any surplus whole, or freeze the juice in ice-cube trays for use in recipes when the limes are not fruiting.  Zest is the outside (in this case green) layer of citrus skin.   

Happy seed sowing!


WIC Gardening Update - 29 Aug 2012

Posted 5 years, 2 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and pryvet

Many of the kowhai trees are in flower - kowhai is the Maori word for yellow, the colour of the blossom. It is our national flower.  For some Maori, kowhai flowering means that it is time to prepare your garden for spring planting, and to start sprouting your potatoes and kumara.  So at our WIC seed sowing and kumara propagation* demonstration last Saturday the gardeners made a batch of seed raising mix from pumice and compost, and sowed peas, cabbage, capsicum and tomatoes. The next seed sowing demonstration is on Thursday 30 August at 10.30am, Grandview Community Garden on bus route 8 (Frankton). Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. All welcome.  (More info: Clare and Tim WIC Community Garden Mentors ph 021 224 3109.)

*Propagation = making new plants.

Reminder: Fruit Tree Planting & the Nawton/Crawshaw Fruit Tree Project

Learn how to plant fruit trees! Tim will be doing a free planting demonstration Thursday 30 August at Grandview Community Garden, opposite 183 Grandview Road.  Choose your session: 9 am - 12 pm, OR 1 pm - 4 pm. Everyone welcome. 

If you would like to get some exercise as a volunteer planting fruit trees for 2 or more hours on 4 - 6 September (Tuesday-Thursday) in the Nawton/Crawshaw area contact the Western Community Centre manager@wccham.org.nz or ph 847 4873.

Reminder: NZ Gardener Magazine is running its annual NZ Gardener of the Year competition at the moment. Nominations close Friday 31 August 2012.

Feed the soil: why, when and how

Everyone is welcome to this WIC workshop where you will learn how to feed the soil and your plants with organic fertilisers.

Come and learn how to use worm castings/ worm wee, compost, seaweed, rock phosphate, liquid comfrey and dolomite. See how a compost heap works. Join in and make a simple worm compost bin from free recycled materials.

You are also welcome to talk to Tim or Clare about starting your own garden plot at the Community Garden, if you are interested.

When: Saturday 1 September, 2.30 pm to 4 pm.

Where: Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd. Bus route number 8 (Frankton) Clare and Tim WIC Community Garden Mentors ph 021 0387623 021 2243109

If you miss any of the WIC workshops or have any gardening questions, you are welcome to visit Clare & Tim at the Grandview Community Garden (they are usually there on a Thursday or Saturday morning) or send me an email or post your question on Ooooby.  

Many of the handouts from the workshops can be downloaded from Ooooby as well.  Our most popular handout is about where to get free or cheap compost and mulch ingredients - you can read it/download it from Ooooby.

Reminder: Interfaith Planting Day at Waiwhakareke

Learn about NZ wetlands and help the environment through planting.  Meet people from different ethnicities and faiths.  It will go ahead rain or shine.

When: Saturday 1 September, 2:00 - 4:00pm - meeting at 2pm sharp.

Where: Meet in the car park across from the main entrance to the Hamilton Zoo, Brymer Rd.

Bring: gumboots, a spade, a sunhat and a smile!

Download a map and more information from the Waikato Interfaith Council

Reminder: the annual Random Acts of Kindness Day

Saturday 1 September - how will you surprise someone with a kind act?  You can print "You've been RAK'd - kindness, pass it on" cards to give with your surprise at www.rak.co.nz . This day can be a lot of fun, we would love to hear your stories!

Tulip & Daffodil Spring Festival

To the best of my knowledge no-one eats tulips and daffodils, but their beauty does feed the soul!  Enjoy the flowers at the Tulip & Daffodil Spring Festival at Hamilton Gardens, and take a walk to the Productive Gardens to see what kinds of food plants they have growing at this time of year.  At the festival, there will be traditional Dutch food and cultural performances at this free event. 

When: Saturday 8 September 2012, 10 am - 4 pm. 

At the weekend, you can catch the route 17: Hamilton East & University bus to the Gardens in Cobham Drive.  (If you are 65 years old or older and have a SuperGold Card, you can catch the buses for free all day Saturday/Sunday and public holidays.)

Locavore: tour an organic market garden

One of our Cook Island members visited the Locavore market garden a few months ago and strongly recommends going along for a tour! The garden is run by a Pacific Islander (Burton) and a migrant (Alison Worth) in Pukemiro near Cambridge.  They use biodynamic methods to grow vegetables, fruit and nuts as well as keeping chickens, pigs and cows.

They sell fruit, vegetables, seeds and seedlings through local Farmers' Markets and from their gate.  They run workshops for gardeners and people on lifestyle blocks (like the pruning one last month). They are working towards a farm shop, commercial kitchen and cooking school (Alison is a chef). 

You might recognise Alison's name: she writes the Friday gardening column in the Waikato Times newspaper as well as food articles in the NZ Gardener Magazine among others.  Alison tutored one of our preserving workshops - she has promised a look at her preserves and will provide a yummy afternoon tea. 

When: Sunday 9 September 2 - 4 pm. Bookings required by 4:30 pm Thursday 6 September - contact Kathryn to book and to find out where to go.  We need a minimum of 5 bookings for this event to go ahead.  We can help organise transport, just ask.  If you need an interpreter, let me know.  

This workshop is FREE for WIC members - Waikato based refugees, new migrants and Pacific Island people.  Others people are welcome at a cost of $10 per person.

NZ Tree Crops Association (NZTCA) Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

Most of the fruit trees you buy have been grafted, rather than grown from seed.  Grafting fruit trees has several advantages, including: 

  1. they fruit more quickly than trees grown from seed
  2. you can be sure of the variety of fruit that will grow
  3. you can manage the size of your tree.

This is a hands-on workshop. After a demonstration, you have the opportunity to select 2-3 apple or pear varieties to graft and take homeAll welcome.

When: Monday 10 September, 7:30 pm.

Where: Scout Hall, Masters Ave, Hillcrest. 

Cost: $10 for NZTCA members, $15 non-NZTCA members. **WIN A FREE PLACE on this workshop!** If you are a Waikato-based refugee, new migrant or Pacific Islander, and would like to attend for free, send me your contact details by Thursday 6 September to go in the draw to win!  Winners will be contacted on Friday 7 September. 

More information on the grafting workshop next week...

Yacon

Eat: Yacon can be eaten peeled and raw, tasting a bit like juicy apple.  Grate onto breakfast cereal, chop into salads or coleslaw, add to stir fries, bake or roast.  They are crisp even when cooked.

Health Properties: Yacon contains inulin which tastes sweet but cannot be digested, it is a very low calorie food, great for diabetics and people trying to lose weight.

The Plant Place garden centre has a special for WIC participants: they have yacon plants available for half price - when you take it to the counter tell them you are from WIC and you will get the plant for $5 instead of $10. This will get you 6-8 corms (the part you grow from) and enough of the tubers for a good meal or two! 

The plants have been dormant (looked dead) over winter, but are just starting to show spring growth.

The Plant Place is at 78 Alison Street, near Hamilton Lake.

Gardening work (paid employment)

Clare has pointed out that tradestaff are advertising for casual staff with gardening experience. People who regularly garden at the community garden are gaining this experience.  I know that some of you also have orchard experience.

PG Organics are also often looking for people to work in organic horticulture.  Most start by picking fruit, which is casual. To do this you need reliable transport.  With the cost of petrol, it is only worthwhile if you can band together to work with a few friends. Workers who are reliable - ie turn up to work on time and let the employer know as soon as possible when they can't make it into work - and who are keen to learn will usually be given further training and more secure work.  If you would like PG Organics contact details, let me know. 

I have some brochures about working in the horticulture industry in New Zealand: let me know if you would like one and I'll post it to you.

Planning Ahead

You can get a free year-long wall planner covering September 2012-August 2013 at Hamilton Organic with any purchase, but you will have to be quick!  They have been very popular. The wall planner is designed for gardeners, showing the seasons and when to do some seasonal gardening tasks.

Hamilton Organic recycles garden waste, turning it into compost using hot composting which kills seeds and most diseases.  They sell compost and other garden supplies.

Hamilton Organic is at 18 Wickham St, Frankton, Hamilton, open 8 am - 5 pm, 7 days a week. 

Why not put some of these up-coming WIC events on your wall planner, calendar or in your diary? 

  • Saturday 15 Sept - Plant an Edible Hedge Workshop
  • Saturday 13 Oct - Water Wise Workshop
  • Saturday 27 Oct - Growing Kumara Workshop (time to plant seedlings)
  • Wednesday 5 Dec - WIC Harvest Hooley - Bring a Plate, Mate!
  • Saturday 22 Dec - Longest Day - harvest your garlic

Recipe: Frittata

Frittata is an egg based savoury dish that usually includes potato and/or pumpkin. Frittata makes a good dinner or lunch, and can be eaten hot or cold. Frittata is an easy way of using up leftover cooked vegetables, eg potato, kumara, pumpkin, mushrooms, peas, beans, silverbeet, broccoli, etc.    

The usual method is:

  1. Fry some onions until soft in an oven-proof wide pan (ie no wooden handles to catch on fire!)  
  2. Add the cooked vegetables. 
  3. Pour a milk, egg and spice/herb mixture over top, then a little grated cheese.  You could sprinkle a little paprika or grated nutmeg over this as well if you like the flavour.  
  4. Cook this gently on the stove top until nearly set. 
  5. Put in the oven under the grill (ie the top of the oven) to brown on top.  Serve it with a salad.   It usually takes about 40-45 minutes to make.

You can also add a little leftover meat, bacon or canned fish such as salmon, but this is not necessary as the eggs provide protein.

For more detailed recipes, see Sanitarium's recipe of the week - Onion & Potato Frittata, or the Weightwatchers Roast Vegetable Frittata recipe, or the Healthy Food Guide's Oven-baked Vegetable Frittata.

*I would be like to know if anyone has experimented with using taro in their frittata and whether they thought that was nice.*

Enjoy your garden and some sunshine this week!


WIC Gardening update 22 Aug 2012

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    2 comments

Hi and ni sa bula!

At this time of year, many of us wonder why we have chosen to live in such a cold rainy place.  A walk around a garden in a sunny moment between showers may cheer you up: the stonefruit trees (plum, peach, almond, etc) are either blooming (flowering) or about to flower. Some of the deciduous plants (the one that dropped their leaves over winter) are starting to show new leaves.  The raindrops hanging from the branches sparkle in the sunlight.  The bright yellow flowers on my bok choy are feeding insects and promise seed for next season's crop. I have more tui (a native bird) visiting - they look and sound beautiful. 

So while we are likely to continue to get frosts until late October or even sometimes November, spring is nearly here - it starts officially on 1 September.  And with spring on the way, there are lots of gardening events...

Reminder: WIC Seed Sowing and Kumara Propagation demonstrations

  • Thursday 23 August, 10 am. Grandview Community Garden. All welcome, no booking required.  Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd.  Frankton No. 8 bus route.
  • Saturday 25 August, 3 - 4 pm. Grandview Community Garden. All welcome, no booking required.

(Thursday night's demonstration is CANCELLED due to lack of bookings.)

Bring some seeds and seed trays (or flats) if you have them.

This workshop is also useful for people who garden mostly in containers (pots) as it shows you how to make your own seed raising mix and potting mix.

At the workshops you will:

  • Identify what is needed (mix, pots, seeds) to start growing from seed
  • Help to make a seed raising mix from pumice and compost and  potting mix
  • Note which seeds are appropriate to sow now (late august)
  • Sow fine and/or large seed in punnets to take home (cabbage and peas)
  • Look at a home made cold frame and how to make and use one
  • See a demonstration of kumara propagation using easy to source materials
  • Watch a demonstration of sowing seed in trays.

Reminder: Grandview Community Garden Trust Board Meeting 

Saturday 25 August 3-4 pm the Grandview Community Garden Trust Board will have its first meeting.  Everyone is welcome to attend. Where: Salvation Army Centre, 180 Grandview Road, Grandview (Frankton No. 8 Bus route).

The agenda (what we plan to talk about) and more details are on the WMRC Community Calendar. The Trust is still looking for a Secretary and a Treasurer. These roles are voluntary. We are prepared to train the right person. If you are interested, please contact me, preferably with a CV. 

'You Are What you Eat' - Free public talk

When: Wednesday 29 August, 6-7pm

Where: Playhouse Theatre, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato. Parking in Gate 2B, Knighton Rd, Hillcrest, Hamilton.

  • The University of Waikato’s Professor of Agribusiness, Jacqueline Rowarth, will be talking about the agricultural contribution to food in the Waikato region
  • local chef and restaurant owner David Kerr on the rise of good food in the Waikato over the years
  • Waikato Psychology Professor Darrin Hodgetts about poverty and food choices.

They claim  that if the people of the Waikato were to become locavores (people who eat food produced locally and nothing else) then we’d quickly become bored.  Given the variety of food I’ve seen grown in back yards here, that need not be the case!

Fruit Tree Planting & the Nawton/Crawshaw Fruit Tree Project

Learn how to plant fruit trees! Tim will be doing a free planting demonstration Thursday 30 August at Grandview Community Garden, 183 Grandview Road.  Choose your session: 9 am - 12 pm, OR 1 pm - 4 pm.

Learn about:

  • Fruit for different times of the year
  • Choosing the right place to plant - sun, spacing, etc
  • Planting techniques for different types of soils
  • Using compost and mulch and why it is important (demonstration)
  • Staking - why you would stake (support) a tree, which trees need it, where and how to place the stakes (demonstration)
  • Making sure trees are easy to care for and mow around. 

This training is being organised by WIC, Green Footprint and the Western Community Centre with support from HEHA (Waikato District Health Board).

The training is open to anyone, including volunteers for the Crawshaw and Nawton Back Yard Fruit Tree Planting Project. 

If you would like to get some exercise as a volunteer planting fruit trees for 2 or more hours on 4th-6th September (Tuesday-Thursday) in Western Hamilton, contact the Western Community Centre manager@wccham.org.nz ph 847 4873.

Feed the Soil: Why, When & How

Our WIC Community Garden Mentors will show you how to feed the soil and your vegetables with organic fertilisers. Come and see how to use worm castings/ worm wee, compost, seaweed, rock phosphate, liquid comfrey and dolomite.

We will look at hot and cold compost systems and learn how they work.

Join in and help us make a simple worm-farm (for worm-compost - no, we don't eat the worms!) from free recycled materials.

Saturday 1 September, 2.30 to 4pm at Grandview Community Garden. Look for the WIC flag and enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd.  It is on the Frankton No. 8 bus route.  If driving, please park on the road.

Everyone is welcome!

Interfaith Planting Day at Waiwhakareke

Learn about NZ wetlands and help the environment through planting.  Meet people from different ethnicities and faiths.

When: Saturday 1 September, 2:00 - 4:00pm - meeting at 2pm sharp for a brief orientation

Where: Meet in the car park across from the main entrance to the Hamilton Zoo, Brymer Rd.

Bring: gumboots, a spade, a sunhat and a smile!

It will be the first day of spring and will go ahead RAIN OR SHINE.

Download a map and more information from the Waikato Interfaith Council.  The Waiwhakareke site is: http://waiwhakareke.co.nz

This event supports the Waikato Muslim Association in their celebration of Islam Awareness Week: their theme this year is "the environment: our rights and responsibilities".

Random Acts of Kindness Day

International research across many cultures has found that money doesn't make you happy, but giving usually does! And no, I am not encouraging you to go into debt: you don't have to have money to have the pleasure of giving. With a garden it is usually possible to pick some flowers or vegetables as a gift all year round at little or no cost. Or you could offer to dig someone's garden, or prune their tree, or surprise them by mowing their lawn while they’re out, or...

When I was searching for work after finishing a training course and money (and food) was very tight, someone left a pumpkin on my doorstep. I cried!  I never found out who gave it to me. I still remember that act of kindness with thankfulness over 20 years later. The kindness of strangers is very powerful. 

Our culture is made up of the tiny individual actions we all take: if we want to live in a kind society then it is up to each of us to be kind!

Random Acts of Kindness Day on September 1st is an excuse to be kind to someone, whether a friend or a complete stranger!  Start planning now: will you put a lettuce in someone's letterbox?   

Reminder: Nominations for the NZ Gardener Magazine NZ Gardener of the Year competition close 31 August 2012.

Hamilton Organic Gardeners - HOGs 

No HOGs meeting this month but their blog has information on gardening by the moon and how to make a cheap codling moth trap. 

Codling moths are the main insect pest for apples and sometimes stonefruit in NZ.  The caterpillars eat into the fruit.  There is an old NZ joke about them:

Question: what is worse than finding a caterpillar in your apple?

Answer: finding half a caterpillar!

The moths will lay their eggs in late spring.  See pictures and learn more about them on Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

The Benefits of Compost

Composting is not just good for your garden and your budget (reduced rubbish bag costs), but the planet as well! 

Organic waste is a problem in landfill (rubbish tips) as it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas.  Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and rising sealevels.  Transporting organics to landfill also increases carbon use, and landfills reach their capacity sooner.  

Hamilton City Council has started an Organic Feasibility Study to see how the city can reduce the amount of organic waste going into landfill, particularly from businesses.

Composting helps to put carbon into the soil, rather than into the air.  So if you are composting: well done!

Where to buy herb plants

Anita was asking where to get lemongrass plants as she could not get them from the supermarket. To buy less common herb plants, you are best to go to a garden specialist - a garden centre or nursery. Many of the hardware shops include a plant section - eg Bunnings, Mitre10.  The best selection is from specialist garden centres.  They are listed in the Yellow Pages of the telephone book under 'Garden Centres & Nurseries'.  A couple in Hamilton include:

  • The Plant Place, 78 Alison St - near Hamilton Lake
  • Palmers Gardenworld 60 Lincoln St, Frankton - next to the Waste Transfer Station and Russell Recycling (who also sometimes have a few plants). 
  • Plants with a Purpose is a specialist herb nursery 10km West of Hamilton on the Raglan route 23 bus route: 1 Rothwell Lane, Whatawhata, ph (07) 829-8803). 

Remember that herbs are often grown from cuttings (part of a branch) or by division, so if you know a friend with a herb you are interested in, see if you can swap something... 

Lemongrass can be propagated by division.  It is native to India and Sri Lanka - both hot countries.  Some people in the Waikato say that lemongrass grows like a weed in their gardens, while others would only grow it in a warm place in a pot. It can tolerate down to -2 degrees Celsius and likes full sun, high humidity and well drained soil. It can go dormant (look dead) in winter - the dead leaves will help protect the roots from frost, so wait to trim the plant back until early spring. Trim to about 15 cm high to encourage new fresh growth.

Lemongrass Recipes

Lemongrass is a lemon scented grass.  You can dry the leaves for use in winter. 

Anita uses lemongrass leaves to make tea - soak the leaves in boiling water for about 5 minutes. 

I sometimes tie some of the leaves in a knot and add them to rice while it is cooking, especially if I am making a meat dish that only uses the white part at the bottom of the lemongrass leaves - I hate to waste that yummy flavour!

The Healthy Food Guide has lots of recipes that use lemongrass, such as Kumara coriander and lemongrass soup, spring chicken, Thai curry paste, steamed ginger salmon, gado-gado, yogurt berry rice pudding, fresh lime cordial...   

Happy gardening!

 


WIC Seed sowing and kumara propagation demonstrations

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    2 comments

Hi

The seed sowing workshops WIC ran last year were very popular so we are running a similar series again.  We will only run the demonstration next Thursday night if there are enough bookings: if you would like to come, contact me by Wednesday 22nd, 9 am.   

The seed sowing and kumara propagation demonstration times are:

  • Saturday 18 August, 10:30 am, Grandview Community Garden. All welcome, no booking required.
  • Thursday 23 August, 10 am. Grandview Community Garden. All welcome, no booking required.  Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd.  Frankton No. 8 bus route.
  • Thursday 23 August, 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm, Waikato Environment Centre, Central City. Bookings required by 9 am Wed 22 Aug.  Soup provided.
  • Saturday 25 August, 3 - 4 pm. Grandview Community Garden. All welcome, no booking required.

We will show you how to sow your spring vegetable seeds.  We will also show you how to propagate kumara (grow new sweet potato plants).

Bring some seeds and seed trays if you have them.

It is well worth growing your own plants from seed:

  • If you save seed from your best plant, the new plants have cost you nothing this season. 
  • If not, you can buy a packet of seeds for as little as $1.  There are often 500 lettuce seeds in a packet, which means a cost of less than 1 cent per lettuce (even if a few don't grow). 
  • A punnet of 6 seedlings costs about $3.50, so about 60 cents per lettuce. 
  • If you buy a lettuce on special at the supermarket or green grocer, it will usually cost you at least 99 cents.   

Growing from seed is the cheapest option!

Even if you put aside just 50c per week from what you would have spent on vegetables at the supermarket, you will have $26 per year to spend on buying seeds - that's enough to buy at least 10 packets of seeds. 

Most of us don't eat 500 lettuces a year, so you can swap the excess seeds or plants with others for greater diversity in your garden!   

Happy gardening!


WIC Gardening update 15 Aug 2012

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and talofa ni

Some of you are fasting during daylight at the moment - in the Moslem calendar, it is Ramadan.  It could be said that one advantage of living in NZ is that being winter, the daylight hours are shorter here than in most places around the world that observe the fast!  

Some research suggests that people who fast tend to live longer. Perhaps this is related to the annual 'hungry gap' experienced in many countries: in cold climates it is the time between finishing off stored crops near the end of winter and beginning to harvest spring crops.  We are very fortunate here in the Waikato: our climate is mild enough that with good planning you can harvest food all year round.  It also helps to be willing to eat a wide variety of foods.

Creating Warmth

Everyone is welcome to join the WIC Community Garden Mentors, Tim & Clare, to continue building the Grandview Community Garden tunnel house

When: Thursday 16 August, 10am to 12pm.

Where: Through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd, walk across the grass.   It is on the Frankton No. 8 Bus route.  Park cars on the road.

The number of people taking up the garden plots is growing, but new gardeners (groups or individuals) are still welcome - Tim and Clare will be there to help you get started on your plot, or call them to arrange a time to meet.  (ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109)

If you can't make it to our Grandview to learn about creating warm microclimates for your plants, there are photographs to inspire you on Ooooby. Most of the methods we've shown use the sun to create warmth.  Tim and Clare have also been putting up photographs Grandview Community Garden tunnel house being built.  It will also use the heat from the water tank to keep the tunnel house warm after the sun has set. 

Some gardeners combine the warmth of the sun with the warmth generated by microbes (bugs) breaking down compost.  (Tim measured the temperature of a tyre compost heap at Grandview two days after it was made: it had reached at least 50 degrees Celsius!) For example, planting strawberries or potatoes on a bed of layered straw (carbon rich) and manure (nitrogen rich) under the cover of a tunnel house or cloche will give you an early crop. 

Do you have any garden tips like this?  We'd love to share them with other gardeners! 

Reminder: Free WIC demonstrations at Grandview Community Garden on Saturday 18 August, both 10 am - 12 noon: all welcome!

Seed Sowing & Kumara Propagation

Knowing how to grow new plants from seed is one of the most important gardening skills.  It is much cheaper to grow from seed than to buy plants.

  • See what resources you need to grow plants from seed
  • Try sowing large seeds and small seeds
  • Learn about keeping seeds warm
  • Bring along your seeds and we will help you get your own spring plants started!

Tool use demonstration

  • Learn the English names for a wide range of garden tools
  • Learn what the tools are used for and how to use them safely.  

Free WIC Fruit Tree Mulching Demonstration 

Some of our Tongan members are starting gardens at Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Rd, Hillcrest, Hamilton. The site has some fruit trees. 

This Saturday 18 August in the afternoon Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentor, will be demonstrating how and why to mulch fruit trees. Everyone welcome! You are also welcome to stay on and get some great aerobic exercise helping to spread the mulch :-) 

For more information contact Tim,

Thank you HCC for providing the free mulch!

Reminder: Free WIC Seed Sowing & Kumara Propagation workshop (repeat) on Thursday 23 August in the evening. More information next week.

Grandview Community Garden Trust

Saturday 25 August 3-4 pm the Grandview Community Garden Trust Board will have its first meeting.  Everyone is welcome to attend. Where: Salvation Army Centre, 180 Grandview Road, Grandview (Frankton No. 8 Bus route).

The agenda and more details are on the WMRC Community Calendar. The Grandview Community Garden Trust Board meets at least 3 times per year.

The Trust is looking for a Secretary and a Treasurer. These roles are voluntary. We are prepared to train the right person. If you are interested, please contact Kathryn, preferably with a CV. 

Soils - Pumice

NZ is sometimes called the shaky isles because of our earthquakes and volcanoes.  The volcanoes have had a big impact on our soils, both through layers of ash (like that created by last week's Tongariro eruption) and pumice

Pumice is hardened volcanic froth: it contains lots of holes from the bubbles - it is porous. Soils that have pumice in them are fairly common throughout the Waikato, such as around Tokoroa and along rivers where it has been carried by the water - it floats.  Pumice comes in large lumps (stones) down to fine pumice sand. 

Because of the holes, pumice soils tend to be well drained - water will not pool top of the soil for long.  It is often used in potting mixes to improve aeration (plant roots need some air and space for roots) and drainage.  The downside of the good drainage is that you need to water more frequently and many nutriments are also leached (washed) away so you also need to feed your plants frequently. 

Ash usually contains many different minerals that make soil fertile. Pumice and most sands are mostly made of silica (so is glass). It has a neutral pH (about 7 - not acid or alkaline).  Pumice and sandy soils feel gritty/rough - gardening in these soils will make your hands rough unless you wear gloves. Some people use pumice stones to scrub pots or to scrub their body to remove dead skin.

Sandy soils are fast to warm up in spring.

The University of Waikato is more information about NZ soils including a map of soils around Hamilton here.

Whatever your soil type, you can improve it by adding compost and mulch!

Fibre in our food

Someone was asking me what foods to eat to prevent constipation. Constipation is when you find it hard to have a bowel motion (poo).  Healthy people usually have 1-3 bowel motions a day.  High fibre foods combined with drinking plenty of water help to keep you regular (exercise helps too!)

High fibre diets can help with people with diabetes manage their blood sugars better, can help with weight loss, and may prevent some types of cancer, help reduce heart disease and help prevent hemorrhoids (piles). High fibre foods help you to feel full.   

High fibre foods include:

  • fruit - especially apples, pears, citrus, stone (including prunes) and berry fruit
  • vegetables - especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, potato, kumara
  • legumes - beans, peas and lentils
  • cereals - especially wholegrain such as brown rice, oats, barley, bran, corn, wholemeal pasta. 

There is a lot of fibre in the skin of fruit and vegetables, so try to eat apples, etc with the skin on. 

High fibre diets are usually not good for pre-school children

If you are not used to a high fibre diet, increase the fibre gradually -otherwise you may have problems with wind (farting) and bloating!

Breakfast foods vary a lot between cultures, but often give the opportunity to use wholegrains.  The favourite breakfast of a kiwi-born friend of mine who had lived in India for a little while was leftover dahl (also spelt daal or dal) - a lentil or split pea porridge - on wholemeal toast - now that is high fibre cultural fusion! (There are lots of recipes for dahl, here's a spicy one with carrot.

Oatmeal porridge is a warming winter breakfast that is quick to make and can be served with fruit. At this time of year apples are still cheap (or if you have a good storing apple, like Granny Smith, you may still be eating fruit stored from your tree like I am): you could use them in the HFG apple and spice microwave porridge recipe. 

Muesli combines many high fibre ingredients such as wholegrains, dried fruits, oatbran or wheatgerm, nuts, seeds - and it is easy to make. (Some of us even enjoy muesli as an afterschool/work snack, or for dessert!)  Bircher muesli uses grated apple and yogurt. It is made the night before for a fast breakfast.

If you can, make a smoothie or fruit lasi rather than juice - a smoothie (like a milk shake) keeps the fruit or vegetable fibre and you can also add oatbran, wheatgerm or breakfast cereals like Weet-Bix to the blender.

Bran muffins are great in the lunch box.  Sanitarium's recipe of the week is for vegetable and pearl barley soup, eat it with a slice or two of wholegrain/high fibre toast for a hot lunch or as part of dinner. If you don't like wholemeal bread, there are high-fibre white breads available. Peanut butter and hummus are spreads that include fibre and can be used instead of butter. 

If you love instant noodles, Maggi's 'Extra Delicious' range includes fibre and has lower salt and fat than their other types they make. 

If you are making flour based foods like flat breads, dumplings, or cakes, try using half-wholemeal flour.

Learn more about high fibre food here.

Happy gardening!


WIC Gardening update 8 Aug 2012

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and Mingalaba

Access to fresh water is one of the biggest issues we have on the planet.   Even though we live in a region with many rivers and lots of rain, we still often have restrictions on water use over the drier summer months.  These usually start with restrictions on watering the garden.  Most Councils around NZ are working towards measuring and charging people for the water we use. 

It is not difficult to put a barrel or tank in place to capture some of the free rainwater from your roof for use over summer.  Some gardeners  believe that rain water is better for your plants than tap water.

Reminder: Thursday 9 August, 10 am – 12 noon, at Grandview Community Garden we will be setting up the water harvesting system. This includes installing a solar powered water pump.  Anyone is welcome to join in, to learn and help.  More information? Ask Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 021 2243109.

Reminder: NZ Tree Crops Association Waikato Branch - Pruning Workshop and Field Day

Where: Robb Fraser’s, 24 Innes Rd, RD3, Honikiwi (near Otorohanga)

When: Saturday 11 August 10 am  - All welcome!

This is also a chance to see a working organic farm of 374 acres. The Frasers have lived there since the 1960’s, planting most of the trees. They have run the farm organically for more than 20 years. About 250 acres are in pasture, 50 acres in timber plantation and the rest in bush.

There are lots of types of trees of different ages so it is an ideal place for us to learn more about the theory and practice of tree maintenance. Peter is an experienced plantsman and, at previous events, has shown his ability to inform and entertain – it will be a good day out!

  • 10 am            Get together for a cuppa (drink) and chat. Tea/coffee is provided.
  • 10.30 am      Pruning demonstration by Peter Cave. BYO (bring your own) gumboots
  • 12 noon        BYO lunch, then a farm tour afterwards.

The cheapest way to get fresh vegetables for your family is to grow your own from seed - especially if it is seed you've saved from your best plants in the previous season!    

Some of you missed out on last year's WIC growing plants from seed workshops, and some of you want to repeat them!  We will be running three more this year on Saturday 18 Aug, Thursday 23 Aug in the evening, and Saturday 25 Aug.   

There will be two WIC workshops at Grandview Community Garden on Saturday 18 August:

Seed Sowing & Kumara Propagation – 

  • See what resources you need to grow from seed
  • Have a go at sowing large seeds and small seeds
  • Learn about keeping seeds warm
  • Bring along your seeds and we will help you get your own spring plants started!

WIC Tool use demonstration -

  • Learn the English names for a wide range of garden tools
  • Learn what the tools are used for and how to use them safely.  

Thank you to Waikato Ethnic Family Services for providing the tools! 

There will be more information about these two workshops in next week's update...

Reminder: NZ Gardener Magazine is running its annual NZ Gardener of the Year competition at the moment. Nominations close 31 August 2012.

Wholefoods vs Processed Foods

One reason for making your own meals from whole foods or basic ingredients (ie cooking from scratch) is that you know exactly what is in it and (usually) where those ingredients came from.  For example, did you know commercial (pre-mixed) mayonnaise often contains sugar -even some of the mayonnaises that promote themselves as 97% fat free!

Mayonnaise also often contains processed corn - unlike homemade. In the book The Omnivore's Dilemma Michael Pollan gives a two page list of processed foods (and other products like plastic bags, toothpaste, bio fuel and wallboard!) that include processed corn. For example, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is often used in place of sugar in most soft drinks and many other foods.  Chicken nuggets are likely to be made from corn fed chickens and contain codified corn starch, corn flour, then possibly fried in corn oil. 

Why does this matter? 

A large portion of the world's corn is produced in the United States, along with soy beans (they rotate the crops with soy).  At the moment about 75% of the US is experiencing some kind of drought. In the main growing area, this is the worst drought since the 1950s.  It is threatening to push up the international price of corn. This may in turn push up the price of the products that use corn, either in its whole form or as corn derivatives - similar to the price rises we saw in flour and products that use flour when Russia had a wheat shortage a few years ago. 

Another reason this matters is that processed foods (two minute noodles, TV dinners, white bread, cakes, biscuits...) are often energy dense (high calorie) but are not usually nutrient dense: they are often low in vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein.  Wholefoods (fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, wholemeal flours...) tend to fill you up for longer (have a low glycaemic index or GI) and are more nutrient dense. 

So:

  • as much as you can, cook from scratch using whole foods for better health
  • if your family like corn or maize, save money by growing plenty this summer, freezing or drying the surplus to use next winter.  

In season

While the local limes have largely finished and tangelos are yet to fully ripen, there is lots of other citrus fruit available at the moment: my grapefruit, orange and lemon trees are all producing.

To get more juice out of your citrus fruit, roll it on the bench or cook it in the microwave for 10 seconds before cutting it. 

The juice of 1 lemon = roughly ½ cup or 100 ml.  

Lemons and limes are great flavour enhancers and tenderisers – they start to break down the fibres in meat and fish.  Insert a lemon into the cavity of a whole chicken for a tender and juicy roast.

On WIC's Ooooby Eating! forum we have several lemon recipes, including gremolata (used to give a burst of flavour to steamed vegetables, or as a fresh topping on stews) and several versions of citrus leaf tea.

Lemons and lemon leaves are also used in many sweet recipes.  In the Pacific they make cocoa rice, a kind of chocolate rice pudding made with coconut milk and a lemon leaf.  If you don't have a lemon leaf, use grated lemon zest - zest means the coloured part of the skin - don't use the pith, or white part just under the skin. 

An easy recipe for Lemon yogurt cake is thought to have originated in Greek, Turkish and Armenian kitchens – the recipe came via Tokoroa.  The recipe is from a NZ recipe book called Ladies, A Plate, which was an old NZ way of asking families to bring a plate of food to an event (these days, the 'plate' may have been cooked by a man).   

I would love for you to share some of your favourite citrus recipes - use the comment link below or put them up on Ooooby!

Happy gardening and healthy eating!  

 


WIC Gardening Update 1 Aug 2012

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and Halo Olketa

I’ve noticed that the people who come to our workshops tend to be friendly and happy to welcome others. Some of you have made friends from other cultures and have enjoyed learning from them. Most of the people who come to the workshops have English as a second language, and are patient if you find English a struggle.  If you are feeling shy about coming along, why not bring a friend? 

If you or your friends are just starting to learn English, you might enjoy two gardening readers set in Hamilton: Sokchea’s Garden and Going to the Garden Centre, put out by the Readers Action Group, English Language Partners WaikatoHamilton City Libraries holds the books; you can borrow them for free.  English Language Partners help migrants and refugees learn and improve their English, including through a free one-to-one home tutor service.  Like us, they see community gardens as a great place to practice conversational English.

Are you part of a group that has a property in the Crawshaw/Nawton area?  The Western Community Centre is looking for places to plant fruit trees where groups gather, so if your church, kindy, club etc is interested in some free fruit trees for you to plant out, contact Neil at 847-4873, or manager@wccham.org.nz as soon as possible

Tomorrow (Thursday 2 August) 10 am – 12 noon, Tim will be continuing to work on the tunnel house at Grandview Community Garden.   You are welcome to look, learn and lend a hand.  More information? Ask Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 021or  2243109.

This week is World Breast Feeding Week.  Does your culture encourage breast feeding women to eat special foods?  In Fiji breast feeding women are fed pawpaw and mango (yum!), while in Kiribati, the women are fed fresh coconut tree sap – a drink not available here.  In NZ, women are encouraged to drink plenty of water while feeding their baby and to make sure you eat healthy meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables regularly – don’t just graze.  If you don’t eat well your milk supply may dry up.  The Ministry of Health has a pamphlet on Eating for Healthy Breastfeeding – if you want a copy, just ask me. 

This Friday 3rd of August we celebrate breastfeeding with 'The Big Latch On'™. At 10.30 am in many different locations though out New Zealand women will all feed their babies for at least 2 minutes in an attempt to break a national record!  There are many venues around the Waikato, including here at K’aute Pasifika Services, on the ground floor at 517 Anglesea Street.  Pregnant women are also welcome to come along.  You can get help with any breast feeding issues from other women including Well Child Nurses.  Meet here at 10 am, a light lunch will be served afterwards.  (You are welcome to contact our Well Child Nurses at any time if you want support or advice about caring for young children.)

Did you know that babies taste the flavours of their culture even while they are in their mother’s tummies?  The flavours also come through in their mother’s milk. The taste and fat content varies even over a day to meet the child’s needs – for example the milk of the evening feed is naturally richer, helping the baby get through the night.  Children who have been breast fed may become less-picky about what they eat due to the variety of flavours they’ve been exposed to early on.  So if you are able to breast feed, do so – breast milk is best!

Reminder: Free WIC workshop/field trip, Getting Started with Back Yard Chickens – this Saturday!  It seems like everyone is keeping chickens at the moment – the NZ Lifestyle Block magazine has a regular column on chickens and is about to publish its second book on keeping poultry (poultry means any bird raised for eggs or meat), and the people at Kings Seeds have recently got chickens and have a few tips on their blog.  The WIC workshop is already half-full, so contact Kathryn to find out where to meet and to book your place! 

Reminder: Locavore’s Pruning your own Fruit Trees workshop near Cambridge, Saturday 4th August, 9am to 1pm. $48 per person. To book contact Alison or Burton, ph (07) 823 4154 or email info@locavore.co.nz.

Some of you had never cooked in an oven before moving to NZ. Each culture’s cooking equipment shapes their cookery – for example Asian cakes are often steamed on a stove top and look pale, while Western cakes are baked in an oven until golden brown. Horticulture NZ has information on different vegetable cooking methods

Roasting is done in an oven. It used to be traditional in NZ to eat a roast every Sunday for lunch. In my childhood, this was usually a leg of mutton (= mature sheep).  Usually the meat and vegetables were cooked with animal fat (saturated fat). More recently, meat is roasted with vegetable oil – a healthier choice, though less is better. Our mouths love the flavour that fat brings, but our bodies get sick when we eat too much of it. Sometimes people will ‘dry roast’ their vegetables: this is baking the vegetables without any fat. 

This Sunday 5 August has been declared NZ Roast Day with a competition to find the best roast recipes. NZ chef Michael Van de Elzen has made some healthier versions of the roast: his recipes for Roast Vegetable Kebabs and Roast Pork Kebabs are on The Food Truck site

Vegetables suitable for roasting include: potatoes, kumara, parsnip, onions, turnip, swede, pumpkin, taro, beetroot, fennel bulbs, carrots – mostly starchy root vegetables.  After hearing that the Chinese and Taiwanese eat the taro leaf-stems, Ma’ara (Cook Islands) has started including the stems in his roasts: he loves the result!  As usual, make at least half your meal non-starchy vegetables – like coleslaw (see recipes below).

Thursday 9 August, 10 am – 12 noon, at Grandview Community Garden we will be setting up the water harvesting system. Anyone is welcome to join in, learn and help.  More information? Ask Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 021 2243109.

If you missed our WIC pruning workshop, the NZ Tree Crops Association Waikato Branch is running a pruning workshop on Saturday 11 August on a beautiful farm near Otorohanga.  The pruning workshop goes from 10 am – 12.  You are welcome to stay on to eat your picnic lunch and have a farm tour – a chance to see a working NZ farm! (They also take WWOOFers.) More information next week...

NZ Gardener Magazine is running its annual NZ Gardener of the Year competition at the moment. Nominations close 31 August 2012.  There are some great prizes.  Why not nominate someone from your community?  The categories are:

• JUNIOR: Open to gardeners still at school. Let's celebrate the next generation of gardeners!
• NOVICE: For gardeners with less than three years' experience. This category aims to recognise people who, despite not having been gardening long, are already inspiring others.
• BEST GREEN-FINGERED NEIGHBOUR: Whether they've been generous with cuttings or have helped with gardening advice, nominate your great gardening neighbours.
• MAKE-A-DIFFERENCE GARDENER: Tell us about gardeners who are helping other people.
• GARDEN CLUB CHAMP: For someone who goes the extra mile at your garden club.
• BEST SCHOOL GARDEN/GARDENER: Let us know about great school gardens… and cheer for the inspiring teachers and volunteers who keep them going!
• BEST VEGE GARDENER: We want to find NZ's best vege patch.
• BEST FLOWER GARDENER: Tell us about the prettiest flower garden in your region.
• BEST COMMUNITY GARDEN OR PROJECT: An award to recognise green-fingered groups!
• BEST GARDENING GRANDPARENT: Tell us why yours is the best!

See the web site for more information.

FREEBIES (ie free things):

  • we still have spare plastic pots available from the K’aute Pasifika Services office
  • There are some more yacon corms available at the Migrant Centre in Boundary Road
  • Ali still has free topsoil available – contact me for more details
  • Cookbooks – most of you will have a copy of the Cheap Eats cookbook from the Heart Foundation: this is now available online, with their new Vegetable Cookbook (pdf).

Cabbages are growing well at the moment. If you need less than a whole cabbage for a meal, I’m told you can leave the cabbage growing, cutting out only the section you need.  Cover the cut area with a leaf.  The remaining cabbage will stay fresh until you are ready for it.  If you need a whole cabbage, leave the stem and a few of the bottom leaves behind to grow a new smaller cabbage or two.  A tall kind of cabbage popular amongst the African community is propagated from cuttings – if you are growing them I would love a photo for Ooooby!  

In Morocco (North Africa) they make a simple but delicious salad from finely chopped cabbage and parsley tossed with a vinaigrette. The Sanitarium web site has several cabbage recipes including spicy Asian Market Noodles.  The new Heart Foundation Vegetable Cookbook has a recipe for a colourful cabbage and corn stir fry (p.16), and on their web site Shanghai Pork & Savoy Cabbage Dumplings, Pisupo (corned beef stir fry), Spicy Indian Corned Beef and Crunchy Summer Coleslaw. Coleslaw is a cabbage salad that traditionally includes grated carrot, finely chopped onion and chopped celery. My winter coleslaw also includes: spring onion, raw broccoli broken into small pieces (crunchy, sweet), chopped parsley, chopped yacon (crunchy, juicy, sweet), sprouts, mandarin pieces and chopped kiwifruit. 

I toss the coleslaw with a simple home made vinaigrette: mix the juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Optionally add a pinch of salt and some pepper. You can either mix these through the salad or put in a jar and shake.  Allow up to 2 tsp of dressing per person. This recipe only takes about 2 minutes to make and is much cheaper than buying it, especially if you grow your own lemons!  If you haven’t got lemons, use about 1 dessert spoon of vinegar instead.  Serve at room temperature – the oil can go solid in the refrigerator.

It is more traditional in NZ to dress your coleslaw with mayonnaise.  Or cheat and make the vinaigrette but add some unsweetened yogurt, (as they did in the Heart Foundation Crunchy Summer Coleslaw recipe above).   Mayonnaise is easy to make, especially if you have a blender or food processor. Otherwise use a whisk.  This recipe takes about 10 minutes and makes 1 cup. You will need:

1 egg or egg yolk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp mustard (don’t leave this out – it helps to thicken the dressing)
A pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice, OR 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp water
1 cup of vegetable oil (olive oil is good)
  1. Combine egg, cayenne, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and ¼ cup of the oil in the container of a food processor or blender. Put the lid on.
  2. It will start to thicken when you’re about halfway through.
  3. If the mixture is thicker than you like it, add a little warm water or a little sour cream.

Congratulations to Free FM 89, the new name and frequency for what was Community Radio Hamilton, which re-launched today! You can sill hear about our WIC events on Monday nights at 7:30 pm.  Peni, our Fijian presenter, had his photo in the Waikato Times today (pg 3).

We are shifting offices this weekend.  Our new K’aute Pasifika Services address will be: Level 1 (upstairs), 960 Victoria Street (entrance off Liverpool St), Hamilton.  This is in the same building as the free K'aute Family Medical Centre.  Our postal address remains the same.

Happy gardening!



Shim