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Annette allocating out seeds to take home and sort.

Seed Savers – hot September

23rd September 2017

Today broke the heat record for September with 33 degrees. That didn’t deter the 30 adult members, 4 member’s children and 4 visitors from coming to Seed Savers for another huge month.

18 varieties out of 102 varieties from last month were transplanted to bigger pots. They hadn’t grown as much as usual, possibly due to the hot weather and no rainfall we have being experiencing. This month 64 varieties of seeds were sown and 5 types of plants propagated, these were rosemary, camphor basil, 2 lavender varieties and thyme.

The seeds planted were green and purple artichokes, beetroot, cabbages, capsicum, chard, celery, 8 types of chillies, comfrey, coriander, cress, cucumber, cumin, custard apple, 5 types of eggplant, fennel, gai lan, garlic, goji berry, kohl rabi, 5 types of lettuce, loquat, Sapodilla, Mild Mesclun mix, Moringa, Nettle, Orach, Silverbeet, Sunflower, Tomatillo, 11 types of tomatoes and Yam Bean.

Cleaning Marigold seeds

After our very busy morning it was time to slow down the pace with a cup of tea, cake, and great company to start cleaning the seeds that had been harvested. We cleaned 11 varieties including Red Salad Leaf Amaranth; Marigolds, Green and Purple Choy Sum, Salsify, Purple King and Great Northern climbing beans, and Mini Wombok, garlic chives, Bishop’s Crown chillies, Little Leprechaun lettuce.

We also received 3 varieties of seeds donated from members’ gardens to help build our seed bank. 12 varieties of seeds were sent home with members for direct planting: Cobra Melon, Purple King and Great Northern climbing beans, Bali corn, JAP and Small Sugar pumpkins, rockmelon, Yellow Button squash, Spaghetti Squash, Poona Keera Cucumber and Grey and Golden Zucchinis.

 

Seed Savers meets 9am-1pm on the 4th Saturday of each month at Bidjiwong Community Nursery, Baulkham Hills. All welcome, with free seedlings to take home each month. 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 Seed Savers.

Happy Gardening!

Penny Janson

pic showing Home grown Veggies

GOOF – Series on offer

Urban Permaculture in Practice

For a comprehensive information on workshops and services we offer!

PSW offers a range of workshops that teach you all you need to know about living more sustainably.

Several Western Sydney Councils (Parramatta, Penrith,  Blacktown, Cumberland, Fairfield ) offer them to their residents.

We can also tailor workshops to fit your group.

For more information about our range of workshops contact us.

 

 

 

 

kaffir limes

Kaffir Lime Health and Culinary Uses

-Citrus hystrix

Mostly grown for its aromatic leaves that add authenticity to Asian salads, stir fries and soups. BUT, did you know the fruit of the Kaffir Lime has medicinal applications, or that you can turn it into shampoo? Three quarters of rural families throughout Asia make their own. In many of the warm/hot climate Asian cultures it is common to have a kaffir lime in the backyard or common area for villager’s use.

pic of Kaffir limes
Kaffir limes

Health benefits: oral health, detoxify the blood, boost skin health, improve digestion, ward off insects, lower inflammation, aid the immune system, reduce stress, improve health of hair and cleanse the home. Juice can also be used to control head lice, deter and expel leeches, and fruit is made into shampoo.

Kaffir lime leaves
Kaffir lime leaves

Uses: Edible leaves for cookery, juice in drinks like gin and tonic, grating the rind for cakes, using fruit for making marmalade. Juice is also used to control head lice, to deter and expel leeches, and fruit is made into shampoo. That’s pretty versatile.

Kaffir Lime shampoo – halve if only wanting smaller amounts

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Seed savers group

Seedsavers -tomato varieties

26th August 2017

WHAT A BONZA MONTH!!! An incredible turn out and an incredible amount achieved!!

We were graced with an absolutely glorious sunny August day! It is not hard to see that spring is definitely around the corner. The count of willing hands this month totalled 27 adult members (including 1 new member – Welcome!) and 3 pairs of miniature hands (ie the kids). We also had 4 guests from Permaculture Sydney North. And how fortunate we were to have so many volunteers – it allowed us to plough through a WHOPPING 102 plant varieties (sown, transplanted, and propagated). Now please don’t ask me to list them all here – because I won’t – suffice to say that tomatoes were our crowning glory with 26 different tomato varieties sown! Phew! However if you would like to see the full list! Continue reading

Chioggia Striped Beetroot

From Seed to Plate- Chioggia Striped Beetroot

Chioggia Striped Beetroot

We have eaten the leaves of our Beetroot plants so often that I forgot they were beetroots and started thinking they were spinach! We ate the leaves raw as a snack or in salads and cooked in meals like spaghetti bolognaise. Today I peered a little closer and saw the Beetroot peeking out of the soil. They did not look like the base of my spinach plants. Luckily the plants are labelled and sure enough they were called Chioggia Striped beetroot. Oops! Just in time for dinner….

The seeds were planted at the end of March and harvested just over four months later. They were a similar size to a tennis ball. (I probably should have picked them earlier!)

Chioggia Striped beetroot
Chioggia Striped beetroot

On the outside they look like the usual Beetroot colour, but when sliced open at first they were a cream colour. I was surprised when I cut again at the beautiful rings of red that showed.

Continue reading

Seedsavers -July 2017 – Epazote

22nd July 2017

Annette
Annette

Dry July has left our plants thirsty, but what glorious sunny days we have been enjoying for gardening! 12 adult members, 2 new people and 2 kids had fun in the sun. Our seedlings still hadn’t grown much now we are well into cold winter weather. We did conduct an interesting experiment last month with half trays of seeds fertilized with fish poo and half not. The fish poo seedlings were far more vigorous. We transplanted 6 varieties of plants that we had planted last month in seed flats, into single cell pots. These and quite a few others went back into the greenhouse to grow a little bigger. Continue reading

Mammoth melting snow peas

Mammoth melting snow peas

Our Mammoth melting snow peas were planted at the end of February as seeds.

They lived up to their name, Mammoth melting Snow peas, by growing 1.8m high on a purpose built trellis. Some were planted with just a tomato cage to support them. This worked, but those plants didn’t grow as big and produced less snow peas. The snow peas fell over the top and down the sides on both the tomato cage and the trellis. It took about 2.5 months to get our first snow peas.

We grew one row 2.4m long with about 15 plants in it for our family of 5. Plus another 4 in tomato cages. Every snow pea has been eaten in a flash. We never had a surplus! Continue reading

Oberon at Monkey Bean 1 5.7.2017

Love Your Coffee – reduce landfill?

After watching the ABC’s War on Waste it got me to thinking, especially after finding that over 1 billion disposable coffee cups enter our landfill every year. How can we do our bit and take the next step to reduce that amount?

As a humble consumer and permaculturist who wants to do her bit, I can join with others to wield quite a bit of power when it comes to looking at ways we can all change our community eating places for the better. Sometimes it seems really difficult to find simple good, healthy food or enjoy a coffee as sustainably as possible.

Start by hitting up your own local community businesses. Ask them if they’ll give you a discount if you have your own cup or mug. Let them know there are other places close by that do, and that they should join, it will save them time and money, as well as giving savings to you, and benefit the community too – much less waste!

Some cafes are getting the idea that bringing the basics back works! Here in Australia we have a website called Responsible Cafes. Just type in your address and you can find your nearest cafes that will give discounts if you bring your own take away cup.

Choose to eat and drink more mindfully and help grow the momentum toward better, healthier, more sustainable communities and lifestyles. Start this conversation with your family and friends – you never know just how powerful you can become by taking the first small step.

Annette