WIC Gardening Update - 28 November 2012

Posted 4 years, 11 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hi and bonjour!

Many of you have been enjoying the warmer weather out in your gardens.  In Hamilton 2 weeks without rain is considered a drought! Heavy soils, like those at the Grandview Community Garden, hold lots of water and can cope for a week or two, especially if it is well mulched. The mulch looks dry but scrape it back and you will see the soil underneath is damp, where it matters.

This is a busy week for food and gardening related events:

Reminder: G4H Visit to Pakuranga College, Auckland

You are welcome to go along to the Gardens 4 Health meeting of community garden leaders in Auckland tomorrow, Thursday 29 November.  The meeting will include a presentation by Head Prefect Ben on the Pakuranga Organic Project (POP) vegetable garden and orchard, followed by a tour of the Pakuranga College.

Tim/Clare will be leaving Hamilton late morning and returning late afternoon.  Call them if you would like to travel with them (ph 021 0387623).  Free: All welcome.

Reminder: Indigo - A Gathering of Cultures Festival

The Indigo Festival 2012 starts tomorrow Thursday 29 November to Saturday 1 December in Garden Place. Click here to find out more.  Come along and learn about other food cultures!

Reminder: Join the Hamilton TimeBank

Time banking can be a great way to give or get gardening help using time rather than money.  If you are interested, learn more and join up on Friday 30 November 12:30 pm at Te Whare o Te Ata Fairfield Community House, 60a Sare Crescent, Fairfield, Hamilton.

For more information contact Cheryl or Ruth on ph 834 2249 or hamtimebank@gmail.com

Reminder: Cooking Class - stir fry vegetables

This Saturday Stephanie will be teaching you how to stir fry vegetables. 

Saturday 1 December, 10 am - 12 noon at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre kitchen in Boundary Road, Hamilton.   These are hands-on classes, you get to help make the food and taste the results!

Free: Everyone is welcome!  Just turn up, no bookings required.  If you need more information contact Waikato Ethnic Family Services, ph 839 4688.

In the last class, they learned to make wontons - the recipe is on Ooooby along with photographs of wood ear fungus, one of the ingredients.

Dried wood ear fungus is black.  In Chinese cooking, the colour of the food is believed to predict health benefits: black food is thought to be good for the heart. 

Reminder: Building a Shade House

At this free WIC workshop learn hands-on how to build a shade house.  If there is time you can learn more by helping to finish tunnel house.  A shade house makes a cool, sheltered area that stays moist longer. It is a good place to grow:

  • seedlings in trays and pots when the weather is hot
  • plants that like cooler weather 
  • plants that like shade. 

When: Saturday 1 December 2012, 9 am - 5 pm (remember to be sun smart!)

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road - look for the WIC flag. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.    

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623), the WIC Community Garden Mentors. 

While you are there you might also like to attend:

Reminder: How to Bring God Insects to the Garden, Weed and Feed

Learn how to attract beneficial (helpful) insects into your garden.  See how to weed and feed your garden. 

When: Saturday 1 December 2012, 2:30 - 4 pm (remember to be sun smart!)

Where: Grandview Community Garden. See above for directions.

Free: all welcome!  Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

While you are there, have a chat to HOGs members:

HOGs meet at the Grandview Community Garden

Join the Hamilton Organic Gardeners for their last meeting of the year: a tour of the Grandview Community Garden this Saturday, 1 December from 3 – approximately 4:30pm.  Please bring a plate of food to share and BYO (bring your own) drinks. 

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.   

If you are learning English, this is a good chance to practice on some fellow-gardeners!

Get Your Garden Ready for Dry Weather: Being Water Wise

Learn how to:

  • Collect and store rainwater for your garden
  • See a solar water pump being used
  • Minimise the amount of water you need to use
  • Water less often
  • Choose plants that don't need lots of water
  • Shape the landscape to make the most of your water.

When: Tuesday 4 December 2012, 9 - 10:30 am, repeated Saturday 8 Dec 9 - 11am

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.   

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623) or Tim (ph 021 2243109), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

Organic Pest Control

Come and see how to control garden pests the organic way at one of these free, hands-on WIC sessions at the Grandview Community Garden:

When: Monday 10 Dec 5:30 - 7 pm, repeated Wednesday 12 Dec 9-10:30 am.

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.   

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623) or Tim (ph 021 2243109), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

Access to Grandview Community Garden

The Grandview Community Garden entrance is on Grandview Road, (opposite number 183). Always walk in through this gate.

The community garden is separate from the Salvation Army – please do not wander around the Salvation Army site or park in their car parks.

If the Community Garden Mentors are on site, the WIC flag will be flying at the gate (see photo).  Anyone is welcome to visit the garden when the flag is out: if you have not signed up for a garden plot, please say hello to Tim, Clare or one of the volunteers when you arrive.   

Plant Senses and Companion Planting

In the WIC Update for 10 October I talked about how plants can 'see' their neighbours, but this is not the only sense they have: they have also been shown to 'smell' other plants and they respond to the touch of the roots of other plants - they can even tell if it is a member of their own family!  They also make sounds (mostly too quiet and out of the range that we can hear), so some scientists are investigating whether they hear and even talk/communicate with each other this way. 

Some plants don't like living together, often because they compete for the same food, or space, or light.  Other plants do well together because their needs complement each other. 

Companion Planting is based on observations of which plants like to live together and which are happier apart.  There are whole books on the subject! You can download a free herb companion planting guide here.

Sow now...

Keep sowing the seed of silverbeet, lettuce, rocket and other greens. 

You can keep sowing sweet corn and potatoes for just a few more days.

It is not too late to plant cucurbits like cucumbers, kumi kumi (also called kamo kamo) and pumpkins. These plants are vines.  It is said that they must ‘run’ (grow along the ground) by Christmas (end of December). 

Courgettes (also called zucchini) are a cucurbit that grows like a bush, not a vine. You can keep planting their seed until the end of December.  They are very productive, so they are great for small gardens.  They have a mild flavour and can be used raw or cooked.  

Clare says just two kumara tubers they planted in winter produced 30 plants for just $5 - much cheaper than buying plants (eg $9 for 25). 

Weed now...

If you remove the main weeds now, they will slow down over summer eg dock, couch (pronounced coo-ch), convolvulus (bindweed) and buttercup. Put some time into digging every bit of them out: these weeds will re-grow if you leave some pieces of root behind.  Clare has put photos showing how to dig out dock up on Ooooby.

Bob (a gardener at Grandview and a soil scientist) said that dock, like comfrey, is rich in potassium and makes good liquid plant food.  Put it into a barrel or big bucket and it will be ready in about 4-6 weeks.

*Buckets wanted: If you have any spare buckets or big empty paint pails you are willing to donate, Grandview Community Garden are looking for some: they use them when they are gathering weeds.

In season... 

Some of you are harvesting taro leaves at the moment (see H here). Several weeks ago I mentioned using taro leaves as an edible wrapping.  Palusami is the classic Pacific dish that does this: There is a recipe for this on the Gardens 4 Health website a part of their 'Healthy Eating on a Budget'  series.

Many of us like sushi which is a great way to use sliced vegetables, such as asparagus which is in season at the moment. If you like sushi you may also enjoy eating asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise.  The mayonnaise would also go well with a tuna or salmon salad.  Or how about a spring vegetable risotto, another dish made with rice.

Have a great week in your garden!

Kathryn

 



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