WIC Gardening Update - 26 September 2012

Posted 5 years, 1 month ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hi and jom reab soor

Some of the carrots grown at Grandview are being harvested this week!  I on the program River Cottage Veg that the carrot tops (the green leafy part) are eaten in Japan!  The tops smell beautiful.  The Japanese recipe is here.  It is garnished (decorated) with the yellow flowers of shungiku, (Chrysanthemum coronarium) which grows wild here in the Waikato, and is eaten by many Asian cultures.

There are more carrot top recipes and photos here.

Some gardeners are finding it hard learning to tell the difference between plants, such as carrot seedlings and seedlings of the wild plant fumitory (Fumaria).  It takes a bit of practice to 'get your eye in' (ie get good at it, or in the case of foraging or telling plants apart, your brain seeing the pattern.)  Even plants of the same variety have some differences, you need to look at a few.

It helps to have a book with clear photographs or a friend who already knows the plant to help.  (You are welcome to visit the community garden when Tim or Clare are there so they can help you work on this.)

When seeds germinate (sprout, start to grow), the first set of leaves look much like any other plant, it is the second set of leaves, called the true leaves, that show the shape of the plant to come.

Look closely at the two plants:

  • what colour are they? Sounds funny, but fumitory leaves are a bluer-shade of green than carrot leaves.  (Some people, especially men, are colour blind and can find it harder to see the difference.)
  • what shape are the leaves? 
  • what shape is the stem - round, flat..?
  • are the leaves hairy, smooth, shiny...?  Both sides?
  • what does the plant smell like (you may need to crush a leaf)?

This is usually enough to identify your plant. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing!   

One clever grandfather would tell his grandson the name a plant before they set off on their walk each week.  If the child could still name the plant when he got home, he got a small treat.  The child learned a large number of plants this way, and went on to be a great gardener. 

Reminder: Auckland Community Gardens Meeting

The Gardens 4 Health (G4H) meeting is mostly for people involved in running community gardens in the Auckland area, to update each other on progress and opportunities.  The quarterly meeting is held at a different community garden each time. If you are interested in community gardens, you are welcome to go.

Tomorrow's meeting is at the Birkdale / BeachHaven Anglican Church Cedar Centre. It will include spending 1 hour helping to build a children’s garden.  Contact me if you would like a copy of the agenda. 

Contact Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, (ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109), as soon as possible if you would like to travel to the meeting with them.   Free.

When: Tomorrow - Thursday 27 September, 1-3pm plus travel time.

Learn English for Free

If you or your friends struggle to read the WIC updates or feel shy about coming to workshops because of your English, the free English language class starting this Friday 8am - 5pm at WINTEC may help you.  Contact: Elmarie Karg ph (07) 838 2450 www.wie.ac.nz

Reminder: Weed Control Workshop

At this free WIC workshop learn:

  • how to beat the weeds using healthy organic methods such as mulch
  • which weeds are the worst
  • which weeds are useful
  • what tools to use.

When: Friday 28 September: 10 am and 2 pm - the afternoon session is a repeat of the morning session. 

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

All welcome!  If you need help with transport, let us know.  For more information, call Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109.

Reminder: Grandview Community Garden Work Day

When: Friday 28 September. 

Everyone is welcome to come and help at the garden - why not do one of the weed control workshops and stay on to help for an hour or two?

There are all sorts of ways you can help, from planting trees to digging paths to making signs.

Bring boots, wet weather gear (there might be a shower), your own tools if you have them, gloves (we have some), lunch and thermos if you like a hot drink. There are toilets and hand washing facilities on site. Clare & Tim plan to start the day at 8.30 with a quick tour and briefing. They can repeat it for you if you’re coming later.

Enter the garden through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd, Grandview - look for the WIC banner. Bus route number 8 (Frankton). If driving, please park on Grandview Road.

If you need more info, contact Clare or Tim WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109.

School Lunchbox Day

Having healthy food to eat during the day helps children learn.  The TV show Campbell Live has been doing a series on children going to school without having had breakfast or bringing a lunch.  One of the Healthy Food Guide nutritionists showed how to make affordable children’s lunches – a healthy lunch cost just $1.70 (cheaper than buying a pie!) Part of the cost was for carrots and apples: you can make school lunches even cheaper when you grow your own fruit and veg!

You can watch the video clip about how to make cheap and healthy school lunches here

Last night they did a story about two women on a benefit who despite being short on money themselves were donating their time, cooking skills plus the surplus from their gardens to help provide school lunches.  Awesome!

This Friday 28 September Campbell Live is holding Lunchbox Day where people can text an automatic $3 donation to shout a child lunch through the Kids Can charity. If you are involved in a school, business, or other group that wants to host a fundraiser as part of this event, send photos of your event to campbelllive@tv3.co.nz and you may get your efforts on the TV! 

If you want to learn more about the need for food in schools, Poverty Action Waikato have just published a report Food and Waikato School Communities.  Contact me if you would like a copy of the report - it's free.

POSTPONED: The Organic Horticulture in the Waikato & Seedsaving Film is not on this Friday. 

Reminder: Garden Pest Control

Are you wondering like Lucy how to stop your brassicas getting eaten by green caterpillars? Do you wonder where the slugs and snails hide out during the day? Are there insects sucking the life out of your plants? Then the free WIC Garden Pest Control workshop is for you! 

The WIC Community Garden Mentors will be teaching you how to control pests using organic methods.

When: We will be running the hands-on workshop at least 3 times: 

  • Wednesday 3 October 10-11 am
  • Friday 5 October 6-7 pm
  • Wednesday 10 October 10-11 am.

Where: Grandview Community Garden.  Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Bus route 8 (Frankton).  If driving, please park on Grandview Road.

Everyone is welcome! If you need help with transport, let us know.  For more information, call Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109.

WIC Evaluation

The first WIC evaluation report is now finished, if you would like a copy contact me (it is free).  Tania Wolfgramm will soon be starting the final series of interviews with some of the people involved in WIC. This is to help us find out how well the project has worked.  You are also welcome to contact her directly with any feedback you'd like to give.  Her email address is: tania.wolfgramm@gmail.com

Free Damson Plum Seedlings!

Clare has got about 10 damson plum trees to give away.  If you would like one call her on 021 0387623.

Damson plums usually have a dark purple-blue skinned fruit that are yellow inside with a sweet-sour flavour.  They can be eaten fresh but are also popular for making jam and other preserves. 

And if you didn't like the fruit, you could always graft a different type of plum onto the tree!

Root Crop Recipe Competition

Root vegetables grow the parts that we eat under the ground.  If you've joined the Get Growing NZ gardening free weekly email, you may have seen their recipe competition.  Get Growing are working on their next recipe book, Homegrown Potatoes + Root Crops.  They are inviting people to enter your favourite root vegetable recipe. 

They're particularly looking for recipes that use: potatoes, radishes, kumara (sweet potatoes), swedes, parsnips, garlic, onions, ginger, galangal, carrots, beetroot and any other interesting root crops you grow here in NZ - like taro, yacon, Jerusalem artichokes ...  

Send your recipes in to getgrowing@nzgardener.co.nz  and you might win a copy of  the new cook book! 

Preparing for planting summer crops - Calcium

At Grandview they have started preparing the soil for planting heat loving crops late next month.  You can prevent plant problems like 'blossom end rot' by preparing the soil well now by making sure that the areas of the garden where you plan to plant tomatoes, peppers (chilli, capsicum), curcubits  (pumpkins, courgettes, squashes, melons), eggplants and carrots will have enough calcium

One way of adding calcium to your soil or compost is by drying and grinding up egg shells. There is more information about calcium here.  NB potatoes do not like lime (one form of calcium).

Healthy Bones & Skin

Plants are not the only ones who need plenty of calcium. We need it for healthy muscles and bones. 

We make strong healthy bones through a combination of calcium  + weight bearing exercise + vitamin D.

The best source of calcium is dairy products, like milk, cheese, etc or canned fish where you eat the bones eg sardines, salmon, anchovies, etc.  But some fruit, vegetables and nuts are also rich in calcium, including: kale, oranges, broccoli, soybeans and soy bean products like soy milk and tofu made with calcium sulphate (also known as gypsum), white beans, figs, turnip leaves, rocket (also known as arugula), almonds and sunflower seeds. These all grow here. There are photographs of some of these good sources of calcium here.

Weight bearing exercise is anything you do while on your feet that works your muscles and bones against gravity.  The simplest form of weight bearing exercise is standing (eg while admiring your garden, or waiting for the bus).  Carrying bags of potting mix and lifting pots are other forms of gardening-related weight bearing exercise. Running around the garden chasing the dog, or dancing around when your first seedling comes up is great for your bones too!

You can get Vitamin D through eating eggs and oily fish, but here in NZ we get most of our Vitamin D through sunshine.  However,  NZ has very high UV (ultra violet light) levels compared with most of the world, which has been linked with skin cancer (sometimes called melanoma).

So between September and April, avoid your skin being in the sun between 10 am - 4 pm each day: get your 'dose' of sunshine outside of these ours.  People with pale skin only need a minute or two of sunshine a day to get enough Vitamin D, while people with darker skin need more.  If you cover up most of your body for cultural reasons, you may need to get your Vitamin D levels checked - talk to your health professional.   

The good news is that Daylight Saving starts this Sunday: the clocks get put forward 1 hour, so it gets dark later - which makes it easier to garden in the evening (and get some sunshine, weight bearing exercise and calcium rich veg)!

Annabell Langbein - NZ Cook & Gardener

Speaking of calcium rich broccoli, Annabelle Langbein has a recipe on her web site for a Grilled Broccoli Salad with a Garlic Chilli Dressing.  All of the vegetables in the recipe can be grown right here in the Waikato!

Her television show The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures has started showing on TV1 on Saturdays at 7 pm.  It is filmed in the beautiful Central Otago in the South Island of NZ.  She is often shown gathering her home grown fruit and veg to use in her recipes.  You can watch the show online.  I recommend her Busy Persons Bread: a couple of friends who are learning to bake have successfully made this delicious, healthy bread. It does not need kneading or rising, which means it is quicker to make than many bread recipes - and it makes great sandwiches for those lunch boxes!  

One of my red cabbages is almost ready to harvest and I am looking forward to making her sweet and sour Braised  Red Cabbage recipe again. Hamilton City Libraries and South Waikato District Libraries hold several of Annabelle Langbein's cook books that you can borrow for free, as well as the DVD of her first TV series.  I think her recipes are delicious, so remember to watch your portion sizes!

On her web site there is a small gardening section, some cooking tips such as how to store potatoes and how to sterilise jars, and some useful conversions eg weights (kg/oz), temperatures (Celsius/Fahrenheit), volume to weight (1 cup of desicated coconut = 100g), etc. 

Recipe: Maxine's Backyard Salad

At the Tree Crops Association shared lunch last Sunday Maxine brought a fresh salad made entirely from out of fresh local food, all from back yards.  I've listed the ingredients on Ooooby - see if you can identify them in the photo.

Have a great week in your garden!



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