Category Archives: Workshops

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!

 

Seedy Sunday – June 2014

Sunday 8th June was a brisk winter’s day, but this didn’t stop 25 hardy seed savers from venturing down to Moss Vale Community Garden to clean and share seeds of our food crops from the recent growing season.

Dr David Murray gave us an informative and interesting talk about peas and beans, the challenges and suggested solutions for growing healthy crops for eating and saving seed. This being David’s speciality, he was able to respond to questions relating to rotation cropping and diseases in peas & beans as well as techniques for keeping the dried seeds viable for the maximum period before replanting.A great turn out at Seedy Sunday

David points out that the safest place for our seedbank crops is NOT in a seedbank, but rather, being planted out in as many local backyards as possible. Seeds, like us, only have a limited lifespan – parsnip only one year, large seeds like peas and beans about three years and tomatoes up to ten years in ideal (cool, dark, dry) storage conditions. Freezing extends the lifespan of a viable seeds so long as the seeds have been dried in ambient temperatures until the maximum amount of moisture has been removed before sealing and freezing.

As usual, our pot luck lunch provided by all of the members was varied and delicious and we managed to clean a large amount and variety of seeds for registering by Chris Ann into our current seedbank database. At our Spring meeting, we will be asking our members to foster some seed varieties – plant seeds and grow out for more fresh seed to save for next season as well as some for the local seed network seedbank.

A big thankyou to our backyard growers and seedbank members who continue to save seed and make it available to other local growers via our Permaculture Southern Highlands Local Seedbank. Local seed bank members help to stem the tide of food crop biodiversity loss which threatens our future food security. They are also good sources of seeds of crops you won’t find in standard seed company racks – seeds saved by families over generations which are then given to seedbanks to grow out and disseminate to more backyard growers.

Anyone interested in becoming involved with our local seed network can contact me via the Moss Vale Community Garden website:
www.mossvalecommunitygarden.org.au

It is a most satisfying hobby and growers get to complete the cycle of life in our backyards:
plant the seed, grow the plant, save the seed, plant the seed etc ….

Jill Cockram
June 2014

Winter Celebration and Hugel Kultur Demonstration

Well, some of you were planning to come to our Winter Solstice Party and Pruning Demonstration in June until the skies opened and 300mm of rain later we felt we had to either celebrate in wetsuits or postpone to another date.

So…. let’s try again, this time on Sunday, 4th August from 10.30am!

Instant Garden Bed from Prunings 

and …     

          WINTER FEAST/CELEBRATION

Entry is by gold coin donation – the cheapest cup of warming tea/coffee in town.

We will still be celebrating around 1.00pm with a roast lunch using local produce cooked in our wood-fired pizza oven (members – no charge, non-members $7.00)

But while that’s cooking, around 11.00am we plan to build a hugel kultur garden bed.  Read on …

Joanne Dodd of Lightfoot Education will demonstrate how to use all your winter prunings in the creation of a new raised vegetable bed.  Joanne has been running workshops on a variety of sustainable living topics like beekeeping, backyard food growing, chooks in the backyard, etc.  In fact, it is worth a visit to her terrific website: www.lightfooteducation.com.au  

Here is a photo of the hugel kultur bed in Joanne’s backyard:

Jo's Hugel Kultur Bed
Jo Dodd’s hugel kultur bed made with recycled cardboard, and woven fruit tree prunings in winter.

What a terrific way to re-use your backyard prunings.  A waste product becomes a resource!  And hopefully more organically produced food.

Bookings essential (for catering purposes).  Please RSVP by return email before 31st July:  email hidden; JavaScript is required

For further info you can contact Jill on (0414)545735

We’ll see you there!