Raindrops and sunshine with farmers markets and kids books!
It’s still wet outside, although we’ve just had a glorious weekend of sunshine! It’s the wet days that make the perfect opportunity for using produce from your own backyard, that of your friendly neighbours, farmers markets or food swaps to create your own home-made goodness – whether that be lemon slice, limoncello, lemonade or lemon butter (yeah – we’ve got a lot of lemons!)
In the spirit of lounging around while it’s raining outside, this month’s song of the month is from none other than Burt Bacharach with the timeless Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
Permablitz 183 - the video!
Last Saturday twenty or so volunteers descended upon Mei’s house in Clayton – and a transformation unfolded. There will be a full recap in a few days time, but for now – check out this video supplied by blitzin’ volunteer Marko!
Guild Session 12 - Polyfaces screening with Isaebella Doherty (Regrarians)
Isaebella Doherty of the Regrarians introduced the documentary, and spoke eloquently of how her family first met Joel Salatin and his clan, and the journey taken both literally and metaphorically for the film to be made.
The film itself was wonderfully inspiring – if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check it out!
This month's "A Herb for Thought" - Borage!
Naomi is back with the second installment of her successful “A Herb for Thought” column – this time with the bee-autiful floral herb borage!
Polyfaces DVD giveaway winners announced
We recently held a competition to win some Polyfaces DVDs – all you had to do was come up with your ultimate plant-based band name!
While there were quite a few great entries (I think my favourites were The Fruit Formerly Known as Quince and the Food Fighters), big congrats go to James, Michelle and Bec for impressing the judges with their pun-tastic band names.
Hero of the Month
The cape gooseberries is a soft-wooded, perennial, somewhat vining plant that can reach up to 1 metre in height. Under good conditions it can reach 2 metres, but will need support. The purplish, spreading branches are ribbed and covered with fine hairs.
Soil preparation is important – just enrich the soil with compost, pelletised manure, rock minerals and pea straw mulch. Plant it straight into a garden bed. It’s an upright growing plant so the berries can be picked off the bush. Give them a deep watering and then within five or six months there will be gooseberries for fruit salads and jams. Easy!
To read more about this tasty berry-bearing plant, click here!
Bits and Pieces
Another Reason To Buy Directly From Farmers: You Could Help the Local Economy More
There are many reasons to buy directly from farmers at farmers markets —higher quality produce, faster delivery times, supporting small farmers—but one that isn’t too well-understood is this exchange’s impact on the local economy.
A new study from UC Davis took a look at the way buying directly from farmers affects the economy in the Sacramento, California, area—which is only 4 percent of Sacramento’s total agricultural business. It’s a complicated question, but the conclusion is decisive: Buying directly from farmers has a disproportionately large impact on the local economy.
At its core, the study found that a dollar spent buying directly from a farmer has about twice the impact on the local economy as spending a dollar on food that goes through a middleman—a supermarket, for example. There are all kinds of reasons for that: Farmers who sell directly to consumers tend to buy more supplies locally, which can benefit seed and equipment sellers in the area; and they also tend to hire more local labor, which in turn benefits the community.
This translates directly in our local Victoria economy – many farmer’s markets actually sell food that has been produced less than 100kms from the point of sale. These producers can even get accreditation for this from the Victorian Farmer’s Market Association.
So when you can, DO buy from your local farmer. You’re helping yourself in the long run!
Excerpts from this article was originally published in Modern Farmer
Great kids garden books
Given half the chance, kids simply love exploring the great outdoors, and at the end of a long day, many parents will read their kids a bedtime story. We’ve come across a few crackers that the parents out there may enjoy too!
A Patch from Scratch by Megan Forward is a wonderful story of creating your own edible back yard, complete with chooks, water tanks, compost and companion planting. Amelia Ellicott’s Garden by Liliana Stafford is a story of a garden bringing a community together, while there are also timeless classics like Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiny Seed.
If you’ve got kids in your life, get them into the garden – they’ll love it!
In the Garden
It may still be cold outside, but you can the good news is you can start thinking about what to plant for your summer crops! If you’ve got a greenhouse or somewhere warm, think about getting some seeds in to get a head-start on your summer planting. Angelo from Deep Green Permaculture has some great tips on starting your annual vegetables indoors – check it out!
Seeds you can plant in August include:
- Cape Gooseberry
- Globe Artichokes
- Mustard greens
- Shallot bulbs
- Snow Peas
- Spring Onions
Remember: 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!
From the fox-proof chook-house of Permablitz Melbourne – peace out!