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This photo is of a cucumber called “Marketmore 76” left to go big and yellow for seeds.

Seedsavers- 27th May 2017

Another glorious sunny day for gardening. 20 members, 1 visitor from Permaculture North and 4 kids had fun in the sun. 4 new members came for the first time. Welcome!

We transplanted 3 varieties of plants that we had planted last month in seed trays, into single cell pots. These and some others went back into the greenhouse to grow a little bigger. We planted 26 varieties of seeds. (Last month was 30).

The vegetable seeds we planted were 2 types of beetroot, 3 types of cabbage, dragon carrots, cauliflower, 2 types of kale, 3 types of lettuce, 2 types of mustard, onions, daikon radishes, shallots, orange silverbeet and 2 types of turnips. The herb seeds planted were garlic and onion chives, coriander and salad rocket. The flowers seeds planted were 2 types of Violas. We all took home seedlings from last month to put into our gardens. So many choices! Red or yellow carrots, garlic chives, red or mixed beetroots, broccoli, cabbage and lettuces!

We harvested seeds from cucumber and a zucchini.

The community kitchen garden was cleaned up and the harvest was shared out with everyone. Little eastern froglets were spotted by Karlene while bringing seedlings up from the greenhouse. We also received seeds from 2 Bidjiwong staff members who are now involved – out of interest in what we are doing. Our visitor from Permaculture North is from their seedsaver group and came to learn to help their own group.

Seedsavers meets 9am-1pm on the 4th Saturday of each month at Bidjiwong Community Nursery, Baulkham Hills. All welcome. You are welcome to attend 1 meeting to see if this group suits you, if so you can become a single member for $25, or family member for $30 a year. Becoming a member is for the purpose of insurance cover and venue hire when you do any activities with us. Children from 8 years are welcome at seedsavers.

Happy Gardening!

Penny Janson

Living skills event -Blacktown Energy Initiative

* Our next Living Skills event is also coming up soon – wonderful hands-on practice at making 5 kinds of garden beds. What a learning opportunity!
And..
here is an invitation to attend an event hosted by Blacktown Council
* Blacktown Energy Initiative 15th June, 5:30 pm – 8 pm
Nirimba Rm L5
Blacktown City Council, 62 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown (Contact me for registration details)
Working together to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy – a collaborative approach. Several speakers.
No- to the proposed Incinerator in sydney West region

9 good reasons to oppose Incinerator

Jane Bremmer from the National Toxic Network, Kerri Bradbury and Melinda Wilson from No Incinerator for Western Sydney and Jeremy Buckingham from the NSW Greens were among the speakers.

Bremmer said: “Japan has hundreds of Incinerators. But they are also contributing 40% of the global Dioxin emissions and they have the highest levels of Dioxin in the bodies of their citizens. As the host community you are going to be living in the incinerator sacrifice zone.”

    No IncineratorNo Incinerator

Concerns About the Incinerator

  1. Co2
  2. Toxic organics – dioxin, furans, hexachlorobenzene, PCBs
  3. Toxic metals – lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic
  4. Particulates – PM 2.5 & PM 10 & nanoparticles
  5. Loss of embodied energy
  6. 1 tonne toxic ash contaminated with toxic heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants for each 4 tonnes of waste burnt
  7. Undermines recycling
  8. Destroys resources
  9. Entrenches the linear economy

The Incinerator is opposed by –

  • EPA
  • Health department
  • Blacktown Council
  • Penrith Council
  • Hawkesbury Council
  • Residents

What to do?

  • Contact your local council
  • Contact your state member
  • Let them know you are opposed to this technology!

 

Bouncing baby seedlings

What’s happening at Seed Savers

22nd April 2017

We arrived to a nursery full of beautiful bouncing baby seedlings! 23 members, 2 visitors and 3 kids had fun in the sun. We transplanted 21 varieties of plants that we had planted last month in seed trays, into single cell pots. These went back into the greenhouse to grow a little bigger. We planted 30 varieties of seeds. (Last month was 41).

The vegetable seeds we planted were 2 types of beetroot, 2 types of broccoli, 3 types of cabbage, endive, fennel, 6 types of lettuce, 2 types of mustard, winter radishes and tatsoi. The herb seeds planted were ashwaganda (Indian ginseng), garlic and onion chives, echinacea, fenugreek, marjoram, parsley and salad rocket. The flowers seeds planted were Alyssum, Aquilegia, Nigella and Marigolds. We all took home seedlings from last month to put into our gardens. Seeds taken home for direct planting were – Atomic Red carrot, China Red and Watermelon winter radishes.

Morning tea is always a highlight and featured Anzac biscuits for Anzac Day. Giveaways this month were bamboo sticks for support tepees and donated bread from Baker’s Delight. The kids then stuck 150 pictures onto envelopes to help members see what the seed they are choosing will look like. Many more to do! We propagated marjoram and harvested seeds from lab lab beans, lazy housewife beans, Chinese giant bell capsicum, chillies, cucumber, mustard, parsley, parsnip, jarradale pumpkin, winter radishes, mini-rockmelon, tansy and tomatoes.

marketmore cucumber
This photo is of a Cucumber called “Marketmore 76” left to go big and yellow for seeds.

Seedsavers meets 9am-1pm on the 4th Saturday of each month at Bidjiwong Community Nursery, Baulkham Hills. All welcome. You are welcome to attend 1 meeting to see if this group suits you, if so you can become a single member for $25, or family member for $30 a year. Becoming a member is for the purpose of insurance cover and venue hire when you do any activities with us.

Happy Gardening!

Penny Janson

The finished product, we have a keeper!

Constructing a keeper Chook Tractor 4G, article by Nevin Sweeney

If you read the article on the 3G chook tractor, you will know how happy I was with the design and you must be wondering why I would need a 4G if the 3G was so good. Well, one of the improvements of the 3G over the 2G was that all the wood bits got 3 coats of white paint to keep out the weather, and the rot. Unfortunately, even with all the extra work the service life was still only 5 years, which is not good enough! I had to do better.

The reasons for using wood in the first place were that it was cheap, available, comparatively light and most of all, I was confident working with it. Its major drawback was its lack of permanence, even after 3 coats of paint which proved to me that a new approach was required!

I happened to have a few 6.5 metre lengths of 25mm x 25mm x 3mm thick aluminium angle floating around from a previous project (OK,OK I bought the wrong size and never got around to taking it back….. happy?). While I was not hugely confident with it I came up with a design that would work, and I had my secret weapons – pop rivets!

Constructing the Frame Base

The first section which I made was the footprint of the chook tractor – a rectangle 1800mm x 1200mm. The idea was to cut out a 90° angled wedge of aluminium at each of what would become the corners, then fold each angle around to make the rectangle. I took one of the 6.5 metre lengths and made a pencil mark at 1800mm then 3000mm, 4800mm and then at the 6000mm mark. I got hold of a rectangular sawn timber offcut and used one of the corners as the 90° angle, holding it so that it was at 45° to the straight, then ran a pencil down the side of the timber to make a mark at the 1800mm point. I then used my hacksaw to cut out the 90° wedge of aluminium I had marked out. This allowed me to bend the aluminium into a 90° angle, two more cuts at the 3000mm and 4800mm meant I could bend the rest into the desired rectangle and then cut off the excess 500mm at the 6000mm point and then pop rivet the open ends together to form a solid rectangle.

 

 

 

To see the full article you can visit http://www.underthechokotree.com/

Or check out the article that has also been published under the ‘resources‘ page

Overall the new tractor is working well. It is considerably lighter than any of the previous models which makes it easier for Linda to help me to move it and it is considerably stronger. Also, the frame will not rot and collapse at some time in the future…….winner!

May’s Guest Speaker – Michael Mobbs of Sydney’s Sustainable House

Come to our May meeting on Monday 1 May 2017 at 7:00 pm sharp to hear Michael Mobbs talk about how he created his Sustainable House in Sydney’s suburb of Chippendale.

Michael Mobbs, the “off the grid guy” with Sydney’s Sustainable House will show you how to cut your bills, reduce your pollution and get healthy with local food you grow or buy.

Since 1996, his energy and water bills have been less than $300 per year.   His house has completely switched to solar panels and batteries.  You too can save hundreds of dollars every year by powering your household appliances using the sun, this means not paying electricity bills.

 

Gavin Gilchrist from The Big Switch says “It all the electric water heaters in Australia were replaced with solar ones, greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s households would be cut by one-fifth.”

Learn how it is possible to achieve clean water with almost no maintenance Michael’s sustainable house has four clever adaptations to produce fresh and save water.  More than a million litres of recycled water has been safely retrained on-site at his home since 1996.  It has been re-used for toilet flushing, clothes washing and gardening.  The family has experienced no human illness or injury from the system, and the soil in the wetland where surplus water is absorbed is healthy, supporting a range of vegetables and other productive plants.

Here is a link to Michael’s website if you would like to find out more about him.

http://www.sustainablehouse.com.au/my-journey/

Come along for a fun night.  See you there!

 

March/April Seed Planting Guide

Late March and April Seed Planting Guide 

Vegetables

Ashwaganda – Indian Ginseng
Beetroot – Golden Detroit
Beetroot – Mangel Wurzel
Beetroot – Mixed
Beetroot – Sugarbeet
Beetroot – Yellow Eckendorf
Bok Choy
Broccolini – Waltham
Broccolini – Italian Green
Cabbage – Early Jersey Wakefield (Sugarloaf type)
Cabbage – Golden Acre
Cabbage – Savoy Purple Verona
Carrot – Atomic Red
Carrot – Dragon (purple outer & red inner)
Carrot – Solar yellow
Cauliflower – Macerata Green
Endive- Tres Fine
Kale – Red Russian
Kale – Toscana DiNero
Kohl Rabi – White
Lettuce – Butter Crunch
Lettuce – Lollo Rosso
Lettuce – Mini Cos
Lettuce – Red Cos
Mustard Leaf – Red Giant
Onion – Gladalan
Silverbeet – Large white ribbed
Spinach – Perpetual
Swede – Laurentian

 

Herbs

Chives – Garlic
Chives – Onion
Parsley – Triple Curled
Parsley – Italian Green
Salad Rocket

 

Flowers

Aquilegia (Granny’s Bonnet)
Carnation – Chaboud Mix
Heartease – Johnny Jump up
Nigella – Mix of Persian Jewels
Viola – Bambini
Viola – Blue Perfection
Viola – Heartsease

 

Happy planting.