Category Archives: Workshops

Boomerang Bag-Making Day

In July, we joined the Southern Highlands chapter of “Boomerang Bags Australia” in learning how to make shopping bags out of discarded fabric that was otherwise going to end up in landfill along with all of the plastic shopping bags we are hoping they will replace.

We plan to make enough to have at our local plastic bag -free farmers’ market (Railway Street Fresh Food and Produce Market) in Moss Vale. They are designed to be available in case a customer forgets to bring their usual non-plastic shopping baskets/bags and can “borrow & bring back” one of our cloth alternatives.

It was a fun day sitting around sewing machines chatting, laughing and creating.  We hope to do it again soon……..

RARE AND HERITAGE FRUIT TREE GRAFTING DAY AT M.V. COMMUNITY GARDEN – July 2017

For the second year running, Neil Barraclough of the Rare & Heritage Fruit Tree Association (Vic) has traveled country NSW skilling up interested locals on how to graft and maintain heritage varieties of fruit trees, some on the endangered list.  Not only did he share his knowledge and skills in the grafting process itself, but he brought along a huge selection of scion (grafting wood) to our community garden for participants to graft and grow on to maturity.

At the Garden, we hope to keep a register of which varieties are now growing in our shire for sharing wood at future events.

Neil also demonstrated how to set up a rootstock bed so that in the future, the community garden can be a limited source of local rootstocks for locals to graft wood from their desired trees onto.

A big thanks to Neil for his generosity.  And thanks also to all participants.  It was a pleasant and interesting day.

Moss Vale Community Garden Hosts Another Cheesemaking Workshop

In November 2016, with the support of our local Wingecarribee Shire Council Smartygrants, we organised our second cheese workshop for the year.

Our specialist cheesemaker, Nathan Burke, guided us through the process of making Halloumi, quarg and sour cream.  After a shared lunch, we headed next door to the Community Garden to choose some tomato seedlings to take home and grow on.  Mmmmmm…… Grilled Halloumi & tomato on toast.

Sterilising the equipment and materials
Sterilising the equipment and materials

Our local solar and battery bulk-buy is here!!

We’re so excited! We’ve just launched a local bulk buy program in the Southern Highlands with SunCrowd!

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To find out more and to participate in the local community bulk buy campaign for solar and batteries, RSVP now to attend the local SunCrowd event:

Where: Mittagong RSL
When: 6-9pm Wednesday October 26

Local groups Climate Action Now Wingecarribee (CANWin) and the Moss Vale Community Garden are teaming up to bring solar technology to you in a way that’s affordable! The local groups are teaming up to make it easy, accessible, and at lower prices. With a huge 3,000 solar installations operating in the Highlands, you can join them, or if you are already enjoying energy from the sun, enhance your solar potential and SAVE!

On the back of the huge success of SunCrowd’s (& Australia’s) first ever solar & battery bulk buy in Newcastle earlier this year, residents in the Highlands can now participate. The Community Groups will benefit, you will be able to access the latest technology at the best price, and get free ‘smart’ advice on being energy wise – ethically, with no hard sell.

Here’s what you can expect at the event:

  • Receive expert information
  • Get one-on-one advice
  • Q & A with your local installer
  • See the technology & meet the suppliers
  • Access the exclusive campaign offers
  • Find out what to do if your Feed-In-Tariff is impacted by changes on 1st January 2017

So RSVP now — You don’t want to miss out!

Two locals, Miles Lochhead and Andy Lemann, both with a long history of working and advocating for sustainable causes, have come on board as SunCrowd event co-ordinators for the Highlands.

They can’t wait to help their local community improve energy management and access technology, affordably and ethically…..

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How to Graft Fruit Trees

A LITTLE RAIN DIDN’T STOP THESE GRAFTERS!

Following a long, dry spell in the Southern Highlands, the skies opened and sent down a torrent of rain on the 17th August, the day we had scheduled our grafting workshop. Surprisingly, it didn’t deter this hardy bunch. All twenty participants turned up in their wet weather gear ready for action.
Explaining the grafting process

We crowded under our new, covered pergola for a bit of theory on why we might want to graft fruit tree varieties (to maintain heritage varieties, or graft onto rootstocks that dwarf the tree size for ease of management, or to top graft an old tree with new varieties, or even to multi-graft several varieties onto one rootstock to create a longer picking season for yards with limited growing space).
Time to start grafting

After demonstrations of various grafting techniques we practised using budding and grafting knives on some hazelnut tree prunings. I was holding my breath at this point of proceedings in case, despite demonstrations on how to avoid accidental severing of digits, there was a need to phone for an ambulance. All went well – emergencies averted! We were also fortunate to have some grafting pliers on hand – the omega cut as well as a commercial top grafting tool kindly loaned to us by experienced local orchardist, Ray Thiessen. Some people were determined to conquer the grafting knife, whilst others were pleased to have the ‘safer’ option of the grafting tools.
The job is easier with the right tools

By this time it was PIZZA time – a hot lunch was certainly the order of the day! Members of the community garden had been busy in the background making dough (Jo) and preparing pizza toppings (Cath). John and Kathi tended the fire and cooked the pizzas whilst Dini and Charlotte helped as gophers. Wood-fired pizzas have a beautiful flavour and were well-received. It was still raining!
Moving onto the next grafting job

Then we moved onto the ‘real’ thing. Participants selected from a wide range of locally-sourced scion whichever variety of fruit tree they wished to graft onto their complimentary rootstock. We had the option of four dwarfing rootstocks for apples, a dwarfing rootstock for pears and quinces and semi-dwarfing rootstocks for stone fruits and cherries. It was great watching people work in pairs to help bind the graft union with the grafting tape – probably the most difficult (and critical to the success of the operation) part of the grafting process.
Delicious woodfired pizza for lunch

By 2.30pm, (it was still raining) people were ready to head home to thaw out in front of the fire. It had been a successful day and we are hoping that by spring there will be lots of young, grafted fruit trees sprouting leaves at the participant’s homes. If the scion takes successfully to the roots, these trees will continue to grow on through summer, after which the grafting tape can be removed to allow continuing development of the young fruit tree.
Delicious woodfired pizza for lunch

If not, we are planning a summer budding workshop (it should have stopped raining by then!) at Moss Vale Community Garden for those participants whose rootstocks had survived but the graft union with the scion hadn’t. Budding gives us a second opportunity to re-use the original rootstocks and insert a bud of the variety we were hoping to graft.
A grafted apple tree ready to be planted.
WATCH THIS SPACE!