All posts by John Scott

We Had a Barn-Raising Day in April

On April 11th members and friends of the community garden descended on the Garden site to carry out a “barnraising” (working bee). We got all three projects completed, thanks to our wonderful volunteers on the day.

Thanks to the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, we have had funding to build a new fenceline and create new raised garden beds to greatly increase the food-growing potential of Corlette Park for our local community.
Thanks to the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, we have had funding to build a new fenceline and create new raised garden beds to greatly increase the food-growing potential of Corlette Park for our local community.

Thanks to a grant from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, Moss Vale Community Garden has installed a new fence behind our recently installed container/secure shed in the front area of our licenced area. We are in the process of completing the development of this area in line with the

development application approved by Wingecarribee Shire Council. This area will be open to the public at all times and we intend that it will be full of organically grown fresh fruit & veges by next summer. The fence bed will be planted up with more espaliered fruit trees that we have propagated ourselves, with edible groundcovers like white & pink-flowering strawberries and low growing berries like white currants, gooseberries and goji berries. Why not pop down and check it out. We are there every Wednesday & Friday and welcome visitors and prospective members.

The hothouse was moved on our Barnraising Day
The hothouse was moved on our Barnraising Day

The hothouse was lifted and moved across to a prepared base (thanks to Jim Skillen and Diny Jones for all of the work leading up to the event).

Axel Richter, Ed Messiah and John Marks put in a solid day to clad one wall of our container with mini orb, thanks to funding from the state government’s Community Building Partnership grant.


Our container is gradually being clad using recycled materials wherever possible.
Our container is gradually being clad using recycled materials wherever possible.

Then there are our regulars – those who not only keep the garden going from week to week, but also gave up a Saturday to pitch in and provide the muscle power to complete all of these projects as well as provide a scrumptious home-made lunch made with veges & fruit from the garden.




Our barnraisers breaking bread after a busy morning's working bee.
Our barnraisers breaking bread after a busy morning’s working bee.

Check out our prize-winning produce!

The community garden has been entering produce we’ve grown into the Moss Vale Agricultural

Blue ribbon fruit & veges at the 2015 Moss Vale Show
Blue ribbon fruit & veges at the 2015 Moss Vale Show

Show for seven years now. We are always thrilled to win ribbons, whether they are blue (first prize), red or green and as the competition in the pavilion from other local growers increases, we will be endeavouring to improve the standards of our exhibits. Supporting events like the Moss Vale Agricultural Show is critical to

Blue, red and green ribbons drape our first, second and third prize veges and fruit at the Moss Vale Show 2015
Blue, red and green ribbons drape our first, second and third prize veges and fruit at the Moss Vale Show 2015

keeping this important local tradition going and demonstrates that people in our shire are still growing food in their backyards.

MVCG & the 2014 CamelBak Highland Fling Sustainability Challenge

Over the past couple of years, Bundanoon Community Garden has been separating out the compostable waste from the annual mountain bike rally (the Highland Fling) and taking it back to their community garden to turn into compost. This year, they were unable to do it, so Moss Vale Community Garden was asked if we would take on the challenge.
A community garden has a great need for lots Lots of bike riders means lots of compostable wasteof compost to feed the soil micro-organisms to replace the inorganic fertilizers that are generally used in the growing of veges and fruit. Following the principles of Permaculture, we prefer to use loca, organic sources of soil food so with the area we garden, the demand for compost is huge.
Whilst half of our team was at theOur team was at the ArtFeast Berrima market Jo, Kathi, Mevagh, Charlie and Ian ArtFeast Berrima market (Jo, Kathi, Mevagh, Charlie and Ian) the other half were at Bundanoon, sorting out the compostables from the recyclables (glass, plastic, etc) and from the non-reclaimable material that goes into landfill as pollution.
It was a warm day and everyone was enjoying themselves – apart from those keen souls who rode 100kms in the cycle race and came back looking dusty and tired. Lots of great material that will make nutritious compost
The Community Gardeners have already layered this compostable waste along with masses of coffee grounds from Il Pranzo coffee shop, some cow poo from the saleyards and spent garden plants at the end of their growing cycle into a compost pile which will become part of the next cycle of fertility with a little help from our worms.

Nov 2014

The Container Arrives.

It is almost two years since our major break-in at the Community Garden when everything of value was loaded into our trailer and driven away by unscrupulous people with no social conscience.
We looked for a solution to our problem of theft as we were finding it disheartening to have to replace tools and equipmThe container arrives on the truckent every time someone jemmied open our sheds. Fortunately, we have some very generous people in our community who anonymously donated replacement equipment like mowers and tools. Anxious not to lose the next generation of garden implements, we applied successfully to Council via a development application to install a shipping container with lockbox and commenced applying for grants to cover the cost.
To our great joy, Councillor Holly Campbell approached some former colleagues by the names of Bill and Kevin Malouf about donating a second-hand container and they generously agreed. Will Carpenter, of Bowral Removals and Storage, kindly donated his time, energy and two trucks to transporting the container from Botany and then siting it on the purpose-built pillars.
On Tuesday 28th October 2014, I got a call from Will Carpenter of Bowral Removals and Storage to say that the donated container would be arriving the following day – and it did. At around 8pm the container arrived in the dark on the back of one of Will’s trucks, and over the The container is lifted into placenext couple of hours, was carefully placed on the pillars by crane using a second truck and two of Will’s sidekicks. It was fascinating to watch, by the light of the Wednesday evening social tennis.
The container is going to be clad over the following months and a pergola added on the northern side to make a useful addition to our secure infrastructure. In time we hope the roof will support some solar panels designed to supply us with all of the energy required by the Community Garden.
We are indebted to Holly Campbell, Kevin and Bill Malouf and Will Carpenter for their great generosity in supplying and installing our new “shed”. In early 2015 we hope to celebrate with a launch of the fully-clad article and will invite our community-spirited benefactors to join us.

How to Graft Fruit Trees


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.