Monday, 10 September 2012

September Meeting

September Meeting 

Unfortunately our planned speaker on community gardens was unable to attend due to health reasons.  The meeting went ahead with members bringing items from their garden to share and swap and chat about the happenings in our gardens.  

The onset of spring and very dry weather have coincided to produce some pretty unique conditions in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.  The cool nights and dry sunny days have given citrus trees a chance to welcome the spring flush of growth and blossom without the onslaught of pests that can set trees back.  Conditions have also been good for grafted stone fruits on low-chill root stock.  The rain stopped in time for the trees to bloom and germinate with vim and vigor!  Low-chill apples and pears are slowly awakening and mangoes are starting to respond to the warmer days. It's a good time to feed these trees if you haven't already done so!  It's also a good time to feed passionfruit and grape vines before spring growth appears. If you've had paw-paws on your trees over winter, they might just be starting to ripen, bag them against fruit fly and leave them to ripen on the tree for maximum taste and sweetness.  Some mulberry trees are already laden with ripe fruit, I have just picked 2 kilos from my own tree!  Our group of gardeners noticed that the insects and birds have also responded to the warmer weather and are much more obvious around the place.  So, it is time to protect your immature fruit.  Net trees if you can and get your fruit fly traps dusted off and cleaned out.  Spray fruit trees with Neem oil, Eco oil or white oil against mites, aphids and scale.  We should have all had the chance to get some good compost or well rotted manure and rock dust on citrus and stonefruits by now.  If you feed them whilst they are trying to flower and set fruit you may sacrifice your crop for lush green foliage!
Most winter greens are finishing now.  Enjoy the last of those brasicas and abundant leafy greens while you can.  Mine have slowed right down with the switch from rainfall to sprinkler water!  Revitalise beds with compost, manure and don't forget the rock dust for trace minerals.  Mulch your beds thickly with pea straw to keep the moisture in and leave them to 'brew' for a couple of weeks before diving into some spring veges!  I can't wait for cucumbers, asparagus, capsicum and corn! Make this your next weeks activity in the garden and you will have beds ready to plant with advanced seedlings for early spring cropping.

Next month's meeting 2nd October:

How to effectively grow your own food from seed!This session will see the group working together to provide tips and tricks for growing edible food from seeds. Since this is a workshop, the plan is to have everyone actually undertake some planting. So we need you to bring some things along to be able to participate.

1. Pots or seed trays to plant your seeds into
2. A packet of seeds (of a crop that is coming into season, like cucumber, capsicum, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, bush beans, squash and zucchini) to share
3. Potting mix/soil/seed raising mix/compost or just your special mix
4. A willingness to share your experiences and participate in this activity

If you have a spare plastic tablecloth or some newspaper that we can use to place over the tables to protect them whilst we are doing this workshop we would appreciate you bringing them along.

Buy, swap and trade tableOver recent months we have been lucky to have a few supportive and caring members that have brought in copious amounts of their home-grown produce to share with members. However, the principle of the buy, swap and trade table is to share across members rather than having a reliance on a small number of kind-hearted  members supporting the broader membership. As such, a few members have suggested that if you would like to benefit from the buy, swap and share table held during the meeting it should be necessary that you bring something along to also offer as a buy, swap or trade. The offerings do not have to be significant or something edible. Suggestions of things that you could bring along include newspapers, boxes, egg cartons, glass jars, lids, plastic bottles for fruit fly traps, seeds, pots for re-use, edible offerings, worm wee or just a bouquet of flowers that you have picked from around your garden. Maybe in this way the generosity of the buy, swap and trade table will be realised and a lot more products will change hands and more of us will experience the warm, fuzzy feeling that you get from sharing with friends (both new and old).  

Looking forward to seeing you all there!