Melbourne at 7 million and slicin tomatoes!
Summer is almost here! We’re seeing fruit forming on our stone fruit and apple trees, the chooks are basking in all the extra sunlight and the bees are happily pollinating any flower in sight. It’s definitely time to get all your summer crop in if you haven’t already – corn, chillies, sunflowers, pumpkins – and everyone’s favourites – tomatoes!!
In the spirit of tomato-planting season, our Northern Soul hip-shaker of the month is Sliced Tomatoes by The Just Brothers
The ever-changing face of the Permablitz Collective
After two years of amazing work supporting the Permablitz movement, we’ll be sorry to see Chris return to his US homeland next month. However, life is full of change and the Collective is no different – as Chris leaves, Matt has just joined us, bringing his knowledge of gardening, aquaponics and beard maintenance to the group to share.
We recently put a shout-out for new members, and some amazing people have answered the call – we can’t wait to meet them!
Permablitz #174 in Reservoir
It’s definitely easy to spot which house on the street is about to be ‘Blitzed’ by the massive piles of soil on the nature strip! Lush mountains of soil, mulch and compost greeted the guests as they filtered in on Sunday morning to help Angie and her family transition their Reservoir home to something a little more permaculture-friendly.
Designer’s Guild Session #10 – Edible Natives with Karen
This month we’re in for a real treat, as our guest will be Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design, who will be sharing with us her pet passion – edible natives. As well as being a blitz designer veteran, Karen has over twenty years horticultural experience, and is well known for her garden designs – she’s even been employed by The Melbourne Zoo! Her home has often been part of the Open Garden program, and is jam-packed with over 200 interesting and unusual edible plants.
The Guild Sessions are designed as a way to gather, share skills, and meet the other great people in the Permablitz network. Even if you are new to Permablitz – come along! You’ll always find like-minded people and smiles aplenty.
And of course, if you’re currently involved in a blitz design, be sure to bring your designs along to share and discuss with the group.
For full details, keep an eye on this page.
Hero of the month
Fresh out of the ground yacon is very much like a baking potato to look at. However its flavour is a little strange for what you might expect from an underground tuber – it’s like a sweet cross between early apples, watermelon and very mild celery, with a touch of pear. Mildly flavoured raw when first dug, it’s the texture as much as the taste which sets yacon apart. The tubers have that fine texture of water chestnuts. They don’t quite collapse as such – they’ve more resistance than that – but, like a very fine sorbet, they do sort of give in.
To read more about this amazing plant, here!
Bits and Pieces
Melbourne at 7 million: losing farmland due to urban sprawl
The Foodprint Melbourne project has released its first infographic on Melbourne’s foodbowl, highlighting the potential threat to supplies of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables as Melbourne grows to 7 million people by 2050.
The project found that in 2015, the Melbourne’s city-fringe farmland grows enough food to meet 41% of the Greater Melbourne population’s overall food needs, and that these peri-urban farms make a significant contribution to meeting our vegetable needs, can meet all of our egg and chicken meat needs, produce enough red meat to meet the majority of our needs, and produce significant amounts of dairy and fruit.
As Melbourne grows to 7 million people, we will need 60% more food to feed the population. But at the same time, we will be losing farmland due to urban sprawl. If Melbourne continues on its current land use trajectory, by the time we have 7 million people Melbourne’s Foodbowl will have lost substantial amounts of farmland.
We will only be able to meet 18% of our overall food needs, and will go from meeting 82% of our vegetable needs to only 21%. We will only be able to meet 3% of our fruit needs.
The data doesn’t tell us exactly how much of the food currently grown in Melbourne Foodbowl is actually consumed in Greater Melbourne due to lack of data about how food is transported around the state and to and from other states, but they show how important this area is as a food-growing region. A report of the findings from the first stage of the project will be made available here in late November.
To read more about this important issue, check out further info here.
Say Hello To Nature
Want to boost your health, happiness, creativity, feel less stressed, lower your blood pressure and play?
Then go outside for a dose of nature!
Research has found that spending time in nature can help protect us against a whole range of diseases including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer plus many more. Not only can nature help boost our immune system, but gazing at a garden can help speed healing from surgery, infections and other ailments.
Connecting to nature can even make us better people – more empathetic and with more meaningful relationships and stronger community ties.
The Hello Nature Project wants to help remind you that you don’t have to travel outside of the city to find nature, it’s all around us, right here.
You don’t have to go outside of the city to find nature – it’s the plants and wildlife in your garden, it’s the trees in your street, it’s the succulents growing on your windowsill and it’s looking up when you go outside.
Sign up to receive daily emails throughout November with a fun, simple activity to help you connect to nature. The activities will include cloud gazing, freeing your feet and standing on the grass, listening out for birds and insects and taking your lunch outside.
It’s these daily connections to nature that can change a person – boosting your health, happiness and creativity and helping you become more connected to your community.
Read more about the Hello Nature Project here!
Back in the Garden
Spring is almost over and November brings with it the start of the really warm weather. Be sure to protect your plants from the wind and the sun! Make sure you’ve mulched your garden well so that as much moisture can be retained in the soil. And if you’ve not done so already, it’s definitely time to get your summer crops in! Tomatoes, pumpkins, capsicum, tomatoes, basil, chillies, corn – did we mention tomatoes?
Seeds you can sow in November include:
- Asparagus Pea
- Cape Gooseberry
- Chinese Cabbage
- Climbing beans
- Dwarf beans
- French tarragon
- Globe Artichokes
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- Lemon Balm
- Mustard Greens
- Summer Savory
- Sweet Corn
Some seeds do better starting off in punnets, some in pots and some in the ground. To get the best from your seedlings be sure to check the best methods first!
Til next month, from all at Permablitz Melbourne decentral – enjoy your spring gardening!