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2022 Party ands Birak (first summer) newsletter

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Thank you for your support this year.
Please join us for a Party on the last DEG day of 2022, 10th December from 9.30-11.30am. Craft activities for all ages (make a herb wreath, seed bombs, or reuse a milk bottle to make a self watering pot and plant a herb seedling) Free or gold coin donation.
Bring some cash to buy something from our cake or plants stalls, or sausage sizzle.

Recent activities at the garden included planting the first of the trees to commemorate the Jubilee and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. We added several ingredients to improve the sandy soil. Clay, compost, blood and bone and slow release manure are among the good things we mixed in well before planting the trees. This creates a ‘soil tank’ to help retain more water in the root zone.

We have planted and harvested lots of good produce and saved seeds. Jim made a wooden spade and used it to dig out some of the bountiful sweet potato crop. Our versatile multitool can be used to hook down tall branches, or scratch weeds from between paving, as Jill is doing in the picture below. In October, our native verge was visited in a presentation by Chris Ferriera of the forever project. Jim refurbished some of our insect hotels with broad bean stalks cut into short sections, and wood drilled with a variety of sizes of holes.

We have already begun preparing the garden to cope in the hot weather. Shadecloth over the beds helps to reduce the direct sun damage to the plants. Mulch shades the soil and protects the soil microbes. If left uncovered, the top 5cm of soil gets cooked (feel the surface with bare feet on a hot day!) and the microbes are more likely to coat the soil particles with a waxy substance to preserve what little moisture they have. That makes the soil hydrophobic. It is much better to cover the soil. Living leaves (sweet potato, pumpkin and other low leafy plants) do this well. Mulch may be chipped garden prunings, or even stones! Whatever will shade the soil and allow water through to the soil below will work as a mulch.


On 27th November, City of Joondalup hosted a concert at Penistone Park in Greenwood. The concert highlighted the Noongar seasons. Kambarang was ending. Birak arrived this week with a hot couple of days. The Noongar seasons are not set by the dates on the calendar but are recognised by the signs all around us and changes in the plants, animals and weather.
DEG was invited to join other local groups who help care for the environment. We help by fertilising wisely and avoiding water wastage and runoff. You can too.
We ran an activity making self-watering pots. Many people took home a pot they had made from a reused milk bottle with a herb or vegetable seedling planted in the soil.



Do come and join in our activities next year. Here is a calendar of the planned DEG days for 2023. We have some workshops organised, as well as many ordinary gardening days where you can share knowledge and learn some tips and tricks from our regular gardeners. The garden community is a great place to spend time outdoors with some other wonderful people, working together to grow food in a public place.




What to plant for the hotter weather? The purple King beans at DEG continue to grow reliably well. Sunshine makes leaves into solar panels: Silver beet are a hardy leafy green, and in more sheltered areas, lettuce, and Kale and celery do well. Beetroot, Carrots and Radishes are all year rounders (especially if their soil stays moist). Beetroot leaves can be used long before the root develops. And this is the season to grow vine fruits. Choose some from the Solanaceae family (Tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chili) and some from the cucurbit family (squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, zucchini).

Whatever you choose to plant, water wisely. Make sure that the water you use does the job well. Remember to check the soil both before and after watering. Did the water penetrate below the surface of the soil? If not, maybe change how you apply the water. Gentle raindrop pattern watering penetrates further than squirting the water onto the soil with higher pressure. We add a tablespoonful of Seasol soil wetter to a watering can to treat the soil which stayed dry, then water again, making sure to wash any residues off the leaves. Now the watering should be more effective every time. Fortnightly visits with the soil water should help your garden avoid hydrophobia and make the water ‘wetter’.Remember to be sun-smart in your garden. Look after yourself as well as your plants!

Wishing you a happy new year in which you Grow Well.
Duncraig Edible GardenersLogoCopyright (C) 2022 Duncraig Edible Garden. All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Duncraig Edible Garden
DEG, c/o Duncraig Public Library cnr Marmion Ave and Warwick RdDuncraig, WA6023Australia

DEG Newsletter Spring/ Djilba/Kambarang 2022

Welcome to the DEG newsletter.
Have you noticed the changing seasons? Djilba has increasing clear cold nights and pleasant warm days with decreasing rain. Now is the time to plan your summer garden and sow seeds ready to plant out the seedlings when the days are warm enough. Kambarang is the time when rains finish. Warmer weather takes over with longer dry periods during the months of October and November.
Planting Now
As the soil warms more fruiting plants can be grown. Beans, capsicums, chillies, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, squash, peas, tomato and zucchini are all good things to get growing now. Greens such as celery, chives, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spring onions, silver beet and spinach can also be planted. Root vegetables to plants now include beetroot, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, potatoes, radishes and turnips.
Workshops
Many tools were sharpened, and their handles oiled at the tool maintenance workshop held in August.
On 22nd of October we will run a Herb Planter Workshop.
Make mini wicking beds from repurposed materials. You are invited to join us. Please register at https://events.humanitix.com/2022-deg-herb-planter-workshop-make-mini-wicking-beds-from-repurposed-materials.
The sunflowers that Duncraig Edible Garden (DEG) has grown in the past are the Sun King variety. We have found them easy to grow. They have a good germination rate and are fast growing. Sunflowers attract beneficial insects to the garden. The flower is attractive on its own or in a group. The plant will usually grow to 2 m tall.Sunflower Helianthis annuus var.Sun King
Planting spring to early summer
Germination 12 to 16 days
Flowering 12 to 14 weeks
Wildflower Tour
In August a number of DEG members went for a long drive together through Moora, Perenjori, Mingenew, Coalseam, Dongara, and Lesseur National Park. Wildflowers were blooming in abundance. We have written a blog post showing more of the photos. Go to our website http://www.duncraigediblegarden.org.au/ to read the whole story.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on 8 September 2022. The Queen reached the Platinum Jubilee milestone in June 2022. Earlier this year DEG received a grant to plant some trees in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee. Watch this space for ways to be involved.
DEG Multi Tool.
We had a dilemma at Duncraig Edible Garden. How could we more easily control the constant regrowth of weeds in our garden? We tried some tools but found them a bit cumbersome to use.Tony and Jim put their engineering heads together and developed several versions.
First they came up with an angled piece of sheet metal on a pole. This needed to be sharpened to cut through the weeds’ roots.
Mark 2 was developed from sharp spring steel to make a slightly curved blade. This was good but twisted when used on strong weeds.
Mark 3 was developed with the centre of the pole in line with the cutting edge that cuts the base of the weed. Bingo I think we have it now!
Mark 3 is the version of the Multi tool we now use in our garden. A limited number are available for you to try out and buy on DEG days. They are great value at $25. A true multi use gardening tool. Especially useful for those of us who no longer have full mobility as we once did.No bending down. Just grub those weeds out standing up. Also good for furrowing when planting out new seeds or seedlings. Pull down those high branches and prune where you want. Happy weeding from now on from the tool men, Jim and Tony.
Advance notice – the 10th of December will be the Annual DEG celebration/Christmas party. Please bring cash as we do not have EFTPOS available. There will be a few of the DEG Wonder-weeding Multi Tools available for purchase. We will have a sausage sizzle, plants, preserves and baked items for sale. Make a herb wreath for your front door. We look forward to seeing you then.
We would love to have you join us on a Saturday morning soon.
The next few DEG days are 24th Sept, 8th and 22nd Oct, 12th and 26th Nov.
Grow well.
DEG Committee

Exploits of a DEG gardener at home (Jill)

Do you have to have a magnificent home garden to become a DEG volunteer? Absolutely not! (Or I am here under false pretences!) I do grow lots at home – predominantly fruit trees. Oh – and lots and lots of weeds. Who knew that some of my weeds can be eaten?! I was an avid gardener in my younger days but that was a long time ago. The COVID lockdowns prompted me to take an interest in growing more food – kale, lettuce, spinach, rocket, herbs and more recently broccoli and cauliflower. Could I become self-sufficient? No way! For me being a DEG volunteer means a delightful way to spend every second Saturday morning being part of an active friendly welcoming community group and learning heaps.

Sunflowers are planted here. 2 weeks later they are 5 cm tall!

Sunflowers were mentioned in the DEG newsletter. I always miss the boat – thinking as I admire those in full bloom in others’ gardens each year that I should have planted some. So this year I have seed from the beautiful DEG sunflowers you may have seen near the library entrance (naturalised to local conditions) and planted them on 31/8/22.

Toilet paper rolls make great seedling starters.

I also have a prolific DEG cherry tomato. The one plant I was gifted cropped prolifically and continues to fruit. It occupies an area of about 1.5m x 2m. I read somewhere that you can grow tomatoes from a cutting. Let’s see if that works! The toilet-roll tubes here contain coriander seed, hopefully being raised for the upcoming DEG mini wicking bed workshop on 22nd October. (register at https://events.humanitix.com/2022-deg-herb-planter-workshop-make-mini-wicking-beds-from-repurposed-materials)

Shopping bags can be used as grow bags.

Also inspired by the DEG gardeners, I planted some of those horrendously expensive Kipfler potatoes in my raised garden bed in the hope of growing my own. Novice mistake – I have since learned that one should ‘hill up’ potatoes as they grow to increase the yield. (Thanks Tony and Chris.)  Not an option when the bed is already full to the brim. My solution is to cut an ‘X’ in the bottom of a shopping bag, slip it over the plant, and fill it with soil. We will see if that works. Two more bags are to be added. This bed also contains broad beans, rocket, spinach and self-seeded coriander. I tend not to fill beds with a single crop – I figure pests might have to work harder to find what they want in a mixed bed.

Wildflower Tour August 2022

Wildflower Tour 2022 – 20th & 21st August2022 Written by Susanne

Leaving Perth at 6 am on Saturday our first stop was Perenjori where we looked for some information on where to find wreath leschenaultia. Before heading off again we had a wander around the Perenjori Community Garden which was outside the visitor centre.

Perenjori Community Garden

The road that was supposed to take us to the wreath leschenaultia proved very difficult to find but eventually we got there and were rewarded by a large area with specimens that were just in bloom.

We continued on to Coal Seam National Park, which is a great spot for walks, views and everlastings, wattles, hibertia and twining fringe lily as well as nesting pink and grey galahs.

Yellow everlastings
Fringed Lily

The next walk we went on was at Depot Hill which is not far from Mingenew and offers an abundance of wildflowers including orchids such as cow slip, spider and snail orchid, conostylis and thryptomenes (which we have in our native verge at DEG), sundews, catspaw and dampiera.

Cowslip orchid
Spider Orchid
Snail Orchid

 

Thryptomene

After staying the night in Dongara and a visit to the beach there and in Leeman we arrived at Lesueur National Park one of the important flora conservation reserves in Western Australia. On our walk and stroll around the picnic area we saw a large variety of native plants and wildflowers such as native violets, Thomasia (which is also growing in our DEG verge), trigger plants, hakeas, banksias, various orchids and many, many more.

Thomasia

 Next year we would like to spend more time in Lesueur National Park as there is so much more to see and explore there.

2021 Annual General Meeting

The 2021 Annual General Meeting for Duncraig Edible Garden will be held on 17th July at 10.30am as COVID restrictions have eased somewhat. We plan to tend the garden then hold the AGM at 10.30am. Do join us in the forecourt of Duncraig Library and enjoy a bring and share hot lunch afterwards.

The meeting usually takes less than 30 minutes. We will hear reports from the current committee and elect a new committee.

Only current financial members of DEG can nominate for executive role or for general committee positions. The executive positions are Chair, Vice, Secretary and Treasurer. 
You are very welcome to apply to become a financial member.
Then you can vote and stand for election to the committee.
Membership and Nomination forms will be available at DEG.

Membership is for each financial year and becomes due on 30th June. Pay in cash on the day $15 for individuals or $25 for a family membership or transfer your dues by online banking to DEG bank account BSB: 633000 Account Number: 154918551

Please bring a mug, bowl and spoon so you can share in the hot meal afterwards.
Bring something to share, if you can, for morning tea or for the “share the harvest table”.


We look forward to seeing you. 
DEG Committee

Native Verge Garden at DEG

The native verge workshop at the end of April 2019 went very well. It went so well we are still going on about it. Thanks so much to all who helped, and especially to Richard McDowell for expert input. Here are a few more photos that may help.
1. We had Eva helping on the whiteboard so no one going to the library was in any doubt what we were doing.
2. We had Richard (in the yellow shirt) look at what we had before we started (and some of his stuff too.)
3. We had to chop through with a mattock as we found limestone underneath the soil we prepared.
4. Richard showed us how to get plants out of a pot by tapping the top of the pot to loosen the plant. There was no squeezing of the sides of the pot and damaging the roots. Claudia can be seen getting a handful of compost ready to put in the hole before the plant goes gently in.
5. Claudia then hand-watered the plant with a liquid soil-wetter and then watered the plant again with water to get the soil-wetter off the leaves.
Did you notice the hanging basket frames turned upside down over the plants? This is to prevent our helpers from accidentally treading on the plants and breaking them even before the plants had the opportunity to grow.

For those who want a list of what we planted look here… or go to the “Workshop Notes” menu item.

At the end of December 2019.
Credit to The Native Gardener for the photo (and the expert input along the way!)

Raffle Results

The winners of the DEG raffle:

First Prize to Karen  (prize collected)

Second Prize to Mike ( prize collected)

Thanks to everyone who came to our DEG Celebration Day. We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did, and that we see you again at the Garden in the New Year.

Preparing for a Verge Garden of Local Native Plants

Preparing for a Verge Garden of local Native plants
Grass is being removed in preparation for the planting of a verge garden of plants native to this area. The bared soil will lie fallow over summer to ensure the grass runners die completely, enduring the new plants are given the best start and are not choked.
“The Native Gardener” will run a workshop at the end of Autumn, on 27th April, and we will plant the space with tubestock, ready to become established during the winter rains.