Saturday 8th March until Sunday 16th March
Autumn is a wonderful time to be in the garden. The extreme heat has all but gone and vegie patches are overflowing with their summer crops. There really isn’t much for us gardeners to complain about. We celebrate edible gardening all year round at BAAG, but the Harvest Festival is the one week of the year that we really cut loose and party hard… in an edible kinda way.
Come down and help us celebrate the splendour and seasonal bounty of fresh local produce at BAAG’s annual Autumn Harvest Festival. Join us for 9 days of fantastic events and specials, all guaranteed to get you gardening enthusiastically and, most importantly, growing your own food. Read on for a list of specials and events!
Make a bird scarer – Sunday March 9th, 10.30am
A fun activity for the whole family. Bring the kids & make your own colourful / noisy bird scarer mobile from recycled materials to help scare the birds & possums away from your fruit trees or vegies! Join Kat Irwin for this free workshop on Sunday March 9th at 10:30am. Bookings are not required, just turn up before the start. The workshop will run for about an hour, maybe a little longer if everybody is having fun. All materials will be supplied by BAAG, but feel free to bring along anything shiny and colourful to add if you like (milk bottle tops, old cds etc).
Edible weeds in the garden. Monday March 10th – 10.30am
A number of our common garden weeds can be highly nutritious and surprisingly tasty, give them a chance in this 1 hour free demonstration where you will get an overview and introduction to using weeds in your culinary repertoire. Six of the best leaf vegetable garden weeds will be covered in this class, including identification, uses and benefits.
Bookings are not required, just turn up before the start.
It’s harvest time in your vegie garden, and time to think about what you want to plant in winter. It’s also a great time for making changes to your ornamental garden… the soil is still warm but the sun’s heat is not as intense. For those who have been asking, most of our autumn bulb range is now in stock. (including garlic bulbs)
‘Getting ready for your winter vegie patch’ – Saturday March 15th 10-11am
A free talk as part of our monthly vegie swap. Some fantastic advice on getting ready for planting your winter vegie crop. Bring some excess vegies to swap if you like! With Angelo Eliades. No bookings necessary, just turn up!
When it comes to planting good timing helps, but life goes on if you miss it. There are quite a few good horticultural reasons for planting trees, shrubs and perennials in autumn or winter; however life has a habit of ruining all the best laid plans. Plants are unavailable, you simply don’t have time, holidays are scheduled to suit school dates etc. I am often asked in the nursery if it is OK to plant in summer. My answer is that we keep plants alive in the nursery; you can do so at home, it is simply a commitment you make. Sometimes the plant you want isn’t released for sale until the warmer months, so you may have little option.
With Melbourne’s potential for very hot periods during summer, we need to be thinking about heat tolerant produce plants. Even though there are many garden plants that burn and suffer through the heat without protection, there are also those that just seem to soak it all in and actively grow. For the home gardener, fostering happy plants can involve many different factors including good plant selection, appropriate planting time and soil preparation. One might argue then that for tricky spots, such as the hot and dry ones, good plant selection is the most important. It can be difficult however, to know from the myriad possible plant choices which ones are then most appropriate for those conditions. On top of all that, if you are like myself and want every plant in the garden to be edible, medicinal or useful in some way, the planting palate can become even more limited, but then the results of careful selection are very rewarding.
Any concerns we may have had about the weather were needless. Bushfires close by a fortnight earlier, driving rain the week before… but no, our Passata Day was blessed with brilliant weather, so it all augured well for a great day.
What is a community garden and what’s the fuss about? There are many fabulous advantages for your community to have a shared garden. If you’re curious, or thinking about getting involved, here are a few aspects of community gardening you might find interesting.
An important strategy for organic gardeners is to enhance and maximise the natural biological controls already present in a garden ecosystem. Does your garden provide a nectar source for beneficial, pest-controlling insects? Planting particular flowers and herbs known as insectary plants has been proven to improve the natural balance and reduce pest outbreaks.
Good Bug Mix contains colourful re-seeding annual and perennial flowers including red clover, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, Queen Anne’s Lace, buckwheat, lucerne, dill, caraway, coriander and phacelia (when available), gypsophila. It blooms much of the year, providing nectar, pollen and habitat for wild and introduced beneficial insects, such as predatory mites and tiny micro wasps, ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, tachnid flies and predatory beetles. These beneficial insects or ‘good bugs’ are generally small with correspondingly small mouthparts, so they are only able to feed on particular flowers with suitable attributes. By providing a plentiful food supply the ‘good bugs’ live longer and reproduce more. Good Bug Mix is available in our seed section all year round, and is best sown during spring and autumn.
Thanks to Green Harvest for the information and pics – greenharvest.com.au.
We sometimes speak to customers who are a little confused about what exactly an indigenous plant is. Yes, they are all Australian Natives, however the definition is a little more detailed. Specifically, indigenous plants are those that occur naturally in your local area. Obviously this term will refer to different plants according to where you live.
Indigenous plants are unique because they are perfectly suited to the environment that they belong to. This means that they can usually survive on local rainfall patterns and thrive in the local soil. Since white settlement, vast areas of indigenous habitat have been removed or out-competed by exotic plants. Indigenous plants look great are a very important food source for a wide range of local fauna. If you are looking to establish a garden in sync with the local environment, indigenous plants are an ideal choice.
Terrariums are classified as “a collection of small plants growing in a sealed transparent container creating an environment like a mini ecosystem.” As early as 500 BC plants were kept under glass bell shapes for exhibition, but the art of the terrarium is generally credited to Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in 1852. He experimented with plants in sealed bottles on window sills and discovered that plants could survive and thrive for years without water or intervention.
During the 1970′s in Australia, terrariums had a popularity boom and terrariums of all shapes and sizes were popular in many households. As a 70′s child, I remember fondly the leadlight terrariums with little doors you could open, glass balls in Macrame hangers and some people even had terrarium coffee tables. Unused fish tanks turned into terrariums that became homes to frogs, lizards and bugs.
These little insects are 3-7mm long and covered in a white ‘mealy’ wax. Adults are slow moving and feed by sucking sap from the plant tissues. Females lay their eggs in a cocoon of waxy filaments, as many as 200 eggs can be laid in a lifetime and consequently their numbers can rapidly expand; particularly in temperatures around 25C (high humidity is also favourable for population growth – often seen in greenhouses).
Vegie Gardening in Schools
Session 1 – Tuesday 25th March – Autumn Plantings and Fruit Tree Pruning
Bulleen Art and Garden, Croxton Special School & the Victorian Schools Garden Awards would like to invite teachers to take part in one (or more) of our full day Vegie Gardening in Schools professional development sessions in 2014.
The days are designed to help your school manage & increase the productivity of your vegie garden by giving your staff the skills, knowledge and expertise they need. Meet the experts and then go to see a school garden in action. Places are strictly limited.
Natural Insect Repellents… Plants, recipes and ideas
I was amused, reading an article that stated “the success of insect repellent plants is part folklore, part experience and part wishful thinking.” I’d like to think that gardeners in earlier times used plants seriously for all sorts of purposes and that hundreds of years of experience has given truth to some of these uses. I also wish that as a society we could adapt natural methods of pest control. Too many toxic chemicals that poison our soils, our water, our wildlife, our plants and ourselves!
There is a vast array of information out there about using plants for medicinal remedies, as insect and disease repellents and for companion planting in the garden. I will give you a few ideas and some recipes to lead you down the garden path to more sustainable and friendly gardening.