From Fork to Fork

food from June 24thThe Blog has been quiet for a while, but the community garden has been full of action!

We were recently invited to cater for a human rights for LGBTIQ event organised by the Elizabeth Evatt Legal Centre and the Katoomba Neighbourhood Center (KNC). This was a particularly exciting opportunity as we have some amazing chefs who are volunteering with us at the moment (one of which-Kim- you may find cooking up a storm outside the coop on a regular basis!) It was a wonderful experience creating meals around what we are growing in the community garden and providing local, fresh and delicious food to such satisfied customers.
The profits from this catering will go towards the garden, and what’s more it looks like it may be the beginning of a delicious relationship between the community garden and the KNC as we have been invited to come back for catering in the future!

Autumn has passed quickly, the leaves have fallen and the Winter sun is filtering through the bare branches of the fruit trees, some of which have been pruned, ready for Spring flowering and fruiting.

After a long dry spell, the big rains have filled the creek with water. It looks amazing! Fred, Leon and Michael have been working on another pond up stream, including an island. We have had some ducks visiting, perhaps checking it out as a possible home? If you haven’t seen the creek restoration before, wander down now and check it out. It is impressive.

We have lots of Winter veg happening from broad beans, carrots, kale, salads, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage and peas, among others.

Working bees continue to be on Friday’s from 10am, with shared soup for lunch. Everyone is welcome to come along. See you there!


Planting Ahead for Spring

Group of three seedlings in repurposed toilet paper rolls
So many decisions to make at this time of year. What should I plant, where and when? As with so many things in life in 2015, I can definitely say there’s an app for that! In point of fact there are quite a few that can help in designing your next planting sessions. A really simple one I’ve used for quite a few years now to help remind me about WHAT I can plant WHEN is at

Gardenate on the web or via a low cost app for your phone gives a good list of annual plants to get you started, tells you whether it’s the month for sowing seeds or seedlings for lots of edibles.  To get going you just need to say which country (the app covers Australia UK) and what climate you have. Being in the upper mountains I chose cool mountain, but in the lower/mid mountains the growing season starts a little earlier and winters are less, well, wintery, and so you’d mainly go for temperate. A sunny protected spot and even an upper mountain gardener might look to see which plants are ‘planting now’ for temperate neighbours and might be started off optimistically early.

If you buy fully formed seedlings from a shop then it’s a bigger financial risk to chance your bigger initial investment. It’s worth it if you want to grow plants which are marginal in the area usually, like grosse lisse tomatoes. As the name suggests these are big, and need a lengthy season of sun to get to their mature ripening size. Source them early to get a head start on mountains shorter season. Cherry tomatoes on the other hand are a much safer bet in the upper mountains.  It’s also well worth thinking ahead a little and seeing what seeds you can buy, without too much more work you can get a lot more plants for your money. Get an even better deal by hooking up with seedsavers, friends who garden and save seeds to see what’s grown well for them in your area and if they have any seed to share. In truth, knowing exactly what to plant when is a lifelong learning experience. You can optimise for a good outcome based on the information you’ve collected before, but you can never understand everything. It’s what keeps gardening interesting and sometimes infuriating!

Thanks to, gardeners around the world can now share our growing experiences and seeds beyond immediate gardening friends.  The more gardeners join up and share information and experiences the more we can all learn from each other about what grows well in our areas. There are nearly fifteen hundred gardeners around the world connected up, and already a couple in the mountains.

GrowStuff Aus Map

The project is run by a geek-meets-gardening community as an open source project, so as well as tracking your seedlings, your friends, and cousins tomato plants in QLD or overseas, you can even contribute to improving Growstuff code if you like.  Find out more at Growstuff on Github

Image of Seedlings by Stacie

Spring is in the air!

Mizuna and new seeds near the kitchen door.

Mizuna and new seeds near the kitchen door.

Though the blog has been quiet over Winter, volunteers have been steadily working in the gardens all through the cooler months, doing garden maintenance, cleaning up and organising the kitchen, continuing with the creek restoration and flood protection and practicing our gardening skills. Also going on in the gardens is a noxious weed removal program being run by Amanda, completely spray free and 100% carbon neutral – All the weeds are processed on site, with all their nutrients being buried in Hugel beds.

New Hazels are in!

New Hazels are in!

Over the past few weeks, we prepared two new garden beds and are using them as a seed-raising area as well. We also constructed some seed propagation boxes and sown them as well, transplanting the first Mizuna of the season last Friday. Also to go in the gardens last week were some small Hazels donated some time ago by Cathie and some Yellow Raspberry canes from Kat. As the Community Gardens have no regular source of income, we’ve even potted up a few plants for sale on Fridays by donation!

With so much going on and so much to do, learn, share and enjoy, new volunteers are always welcome! For more information, go to next week’s Meetup page.