WIC Gardening Update - 29 Aug 2012

Posted 11 years, 6 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...


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!

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