Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Working Bee - November 2012

Well what a day! There was a lot going on in this working bee with the addition of a new Esther Dean No-Dig bed that will soon be home to some lovely pumpkins for autumn and some structural additions to the garden creating some much needed height for our beans to climb. Not to mention a visit from a small group of Native American’s to check out our fabulous tipi.
There was no time to waste as our fearless leaders Kati & John quickly set the group to work. First up was the construction of a new archway for our beans to grow. It really is amazing what you can do with some metal stakes, rubber tubes and some string. This was a great learning experience for some of our less experienced gardeners in the group and definitely given our bed teams some food for thought as to what can be done in the garden and how to make the most of our space.
Thank you to Richard & Sasha who volunteered for the less enviable job of collecting the manure; this was an essential ingredient for our Esther Dean No-Dig bed, the home for our soon to be pumpkin patch. Who would have thought a lasagne of newspaper, hay, manure and some rock dust for seasoning would create such a nutrient-rich soil!
And that’s not all……..The kids were also in the thick of the action creating Native American Headdresses to go with our tipi…even Ed the scarecrow got in on the action! 
All in all, a very productive working bee that has got the garden looking great and really set us up for the rest of summer. I can’t wait to start picking the beans and dusting off the pasta machine for some pumpkin ravioli.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spring Working Bee September 1st 2012

It was a beautiful Spring day and several new members came for the first time. After Janet V. introduced them to the garden, Jon demonstrated the main activities ocurring on the big bed including harvesting some dutch cream potatoes.

The activities for the day included planting spring seeds, ordering the compost bins and layering compost on the beds, laying some pavers, building trellises for climbers both teppees and arches and harvesting crops.
Twig Cafe supplied a great morning tea as usual and Janet complemented this with Lamingtons.

Jon shows the new members and Rylie and Ryan the sugar cane plants.

Janet V.with new member Cassie enjoying the sunshine.

Sacha, Steven and Tom lay concrete pavers to make stepping stones(with expert precision). The pavers were donated and they are being located in the fallows. Once the pavers are set level, the fallow plants will be able to grow flush to the pavers and wont be trodden on.

Yvonne and Janet  and Ryan enjoy Janet's lamingtons.

Mungo and Melissa build a cucumber teppee trellis in the kid's garden with Nicky and Janet and Hugo watching.
Thanks Max for taking the photos- see you all in October!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 2012 Working Bee

Brrrrrrr…it was a windy day for our August working bee, but that didn’t stop our hard-core gardeners turning out in force this morning.
The wind had done some damage to a few of the crops and there was evidence of a fair bit of veggie-theft, but the bumper crop of root vegetables made up for it.  It seems that growing-under-ground has given us our best bang for buck this winter.  The North bed offered up an entire bucket full of parsnips and Amanda and Tam were able to rescue a fair number of delicious sweet potatoes from the fallow area.

Our delicious catering from Twig was topped only by the home-made cake provided by Janet – YUM!

The big activity of the day was digging out the floor of our lovely shed and laying blue metal inside.  It was a big effort, and well worth it as the shed provided much-needed shelter from the wind during our brief presentation session at the end of the working bee.  A special thanks to Mel's partner who made a special appearance to help with the shed floor!
Next meet up is our AGM on Wednesday, Aug 23 (7:30pm).  Come along for a really fun evening of lovely food, inspiring talks and the wonderful company of your lovely fellow-gardeners.  Remember to RSVP to your email invitation.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Super Shed!



Over the weekend, the amazing Dave with some assistance from Paul (Nicola's husband), Mick and Richard built our long awaited shed. It has been well worth the wait!

Constructed from reclaimed building products, our shed is full of character and sits perfectly in the back corner of our garden.  

The shed has many features, including a pitched roof and guttering to capture water for our new tank, metal meshing in the top section of the door that enables people to see inside the shed to deter break-ins, a solid roof that can house a bee hive and a fold down table (still to be constructed).

To adhere to City of Sydney requirements, the shed is 900mm from the adjacent boundaries.  To prevent undesirable activity behind the shed, this area will be fenced off and will double as an additional storage area (ie. for our wheelbarrow etc).

The work to complete the inside of our shed, to make it operational, will begin soon. 

Thanks to Richard for the great design, the procurement and project management and Dave, once again, for building us this super shed. 

Ed's Back

Ed, our fabulous scarecrow disappeared about a year ago.  Then completely out of the last week, Ed was back!  He was looking a bit worse for wear but back safe and sound.  The big question is where has Ed been?? A round-the-world trip perhaps?? 

Welcome home, Ed!

Monday, July 23, 2012

July Working Bee

On a very chilly morning, members gathered for our July working bee.  

The highlight was an education session by our amazing Jon about pruning the Almond Tree.  Who knew there was so much science behind cutting off branches?? Anyone keen to learn more about the art of pruning might like to buy copies of Jon's recommended reference books (see below).

There was an official Seed Queen handover from Ev to Melissa.  Thanks again Ev for all your hard work to establish and maintain this important role over the last 12 months.  Good luck Melissa - We know both the seeds and us are in good hands!  

Thanks as always to the wonderful Twig Cafe for keeping us so well nourished. 

We were all very excited to note that by next working bee, we will have a shed!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Indira Naidoo visits our Garden

On a beautiful winter morning at the end of June, members were invited to attend a Garden Life event featuring Indira Naidoo.  She demonstrating how to create a productive vegetable garden in pots on your balcony and terrace.  She also shared with us her thoughts and experiences on the benfits on gardening to the individual, the community and the world at large.

She also made some delicious pesto, which we got to taste.

Indira willingly signed copies of her new book "The Edible Balcony" before visiting our garden. 

We are delighted to advise that Indira will be the guest speaker at our Annual General Meeting this August. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bon Voyage Leesa

Leesa has decided to go to Spain indefinately from next week.  Consequently, she will no longer be an active garden member.  Whilst we wish Leesa the very best for her global adventure, she will be sadly missed. 

Leesa has made an incredible contribution to the garden.  During her internship she completed alot of valuable work, including development and delivery of two fantastic children's workshops, development of the Bed Books, refinement of the new member Inducation programme.  

Since she assumed the role of Education Co-ordinator, we have been lucky to have had many an interesting education session during working bees.  She has also conducted the last two new member inductions and hosted a variety of garden visits. 

Above all, Leesa's enthusiasm and committment to the garden have been inspiring. 

Some garden members attended her Farewell in the community garden today.  It was great to have the opportunity to say good bye and wish her well.

We presented her with a James Street Reserve Community Garden t-shirt, which we hope she wears proudly during her European Vacation!

Good luck Leesa and we hope to see you back one day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Working Bee - June 2

There were overcast skies, a load of horse manure, a pickle taste off, seedling planting, scones-jam-cream, Café Twig’s morning tea, the skies opening and a talk about soil in Janet & Mick’s garage……
Read on….for more details
When we first gathered it was cold and dry so the load of manure was collected and many hands, shovels and the wheelbarrow spread it on the paths beside the beds.  We learned later at the soil talk that unless the manure has been through a “hot” compost process it retains the chemicals the horses have consumed.  Gradually letting the manure break down means it poses no risk.

But a working bee isn’t just work – we’re a community garden – so we combined a bit of both with a taste test of pickles made by Kati and Robyn from our garden produce.  The consensus was both were excellent; Kati’s would be a great with cold meats and Robyn’s a tasty addition to a cheese platter.

The next diversion was hot scones from Janet and Eveline – on a cold and miserable day what could be better?
Plans to get seedlings started in trays and the planting out the seedlings which had already sprouted were challenged when the threatened shower looked very impatient.   We were going to enjoy the Café Twig morning tea with the talk but decided, in the absence of the speaker, to enjoy morning tea.   The official morning tea was delicious. The junior gardeners were very keen on the fresh fruit - a strawberry is just the right size for a little hand.

When our guest speaker Matt arrived we could no longer ignore the drizzle and in much haste packed up and retreated to Janet and Mick’s garage.

Matt’s topic: BACK TO OUR ROOTS: INVESTIGATING AND BUILDING SOIL was illuminating and the take away message was the value of compost in making productive soil. Matt is heading to Far North Queensland to manage the turnaround of a plantation from its traditional growing methods.
We found Matt’s talk interesting and on a sunny day our questions would have gone on and on, but we drowned gardening rats decided to make a break and get home before the next downpour.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More media about our garden

There have been two recent articles about our garden that you might like to check out....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Featured on Tim Bailey's Weather Segment

This evening, James Street Reserve Community Garden appeared on the Channel Ten News, Tim Bailey Weather segment as part of National Volunteer Week (view @   The purpose of the event was to promote the diversity of volunteering opportunities across NSW and announce the opening of nominations for 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards and to thank volunteers for their contribution to communities across NSW.

We were joined by other volunteer teams, including Sydney Eisteddfod, Children's Cancer Institute of Australia, Sydney Youth Engagement, Manly Warringah Pittwater Community Aid Service, The Centre for Volunteering.

Thanks to Yvonne, Sophie, Janet, Nicola, Patrick (and Will & Gemma!)...pictured below.. for braving the cold and representing us in front of 250,000 viewers!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Generous donation for our garden

A local business, NPS has kindly donated $238 to our garden.  This is the proceeds from a recent in-office garage sale, in line with the City of Sydney's Garage Sale Trail.   In the spirit of local community and going green, they decided to donate this money to our garden.   Thanks to Jacqui (our ex-member) and the team at NPS for their generosity.   This money will contribute towards the cost of our new water tank that will be fixed to our planned shed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May Working Bee

It was a beautiful autumnal day for our May working bee.   The smaller than normal group of members worked hard shovelling the truck load of manure (thanks Richard for organising this) into the fallow area and the compost bins. 

Our compost efforts over recent months seem to have been rewarded, evidenced by the abundance of fantastic worms! 

After planting some seedlings for our winter crops and doing some general garden maintenance, we grouped together for a discussion, while enjoying another delicious Twig brunch.  

Richard gave an update on the shed.  He is currently fine tuning the design and discussing its construction with a carpenter he recommends.   We are hoping construction  can begin towards the end of May/early June.  Very exciting! 

A group of volunteers was seconded to conduct our annual Garden Plan review.   

We also admired our flowering banana tree. Hopefully we will be munching on lady fingers in the spring. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hi fellow community gardeners,

There are a couple of events coming up that I am involved in that you might be interested in. 'National Permaculture Day' and 'Reel Food Nights' with the Youth Food Movement
The posters are below and if you click on them they put you through to the links. 

Hope to see some of your faces there,