15 April 2014

Gardens and Food Group Working Bee at Eve's Garden

Dear Gardening Friends

Eve's Garden has been selling splendid heritage vegetable seedlings to West Hobart for years. Now she's expanding into an organic market garden that already supplies Ethos Restaurant with locally grown, organic, in-season vegetables, intrepidly delivered by wheelbarrow / shopping trolley.

Setting up such an enterprise is a huge job for one woman - Liz Lelong - and GAF would like to support and celebrate her with a working bee.

Date: Wednesday 30th April, 2.30 - 4pm.
Place: 14 Petty St, West Hobart
Sustenance: Eve's Homemade Apple Cake
RSVP: <steadmanma@gmail.com> or phone 6234 5113 by Monday 28th April so we can plan both work and Apple Cakes.
Hope to see you there.

03 April 2014

Gardening notes - April

Dear Gardening Friends

Lovely autumn day today - I hope you can spend some time in your garden.

The Garden Notes (below) look light on jobs for April but I'm looking at the beginning of the autumn/winter pruning. I've cut back the boysenberries, the black and redcurrants are next. The hazelnuts are due a major cut-back this year - maybe I'll wait until my son visits, for that task!

Let Ann Hughes and/or me know if you have ideas for GAF - skills you can share or would like to learn, an offer of your garden for us to sticky-beak - that is always fun.

APRILWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
Broad Beans (1st planting)   x
Green manures                                                      x           x        x           x

Lettuce                                                               x           x         x           x       

Garlic                                                                  x            x

Best wishes


18 March 2014

Meat Free Week and invitation to vegan potluck meal

24th - 30th March is Meat Free Week, raising awareness of the impact of meat production on the environment as well as health and animal welfare issues:

Livestock production is a major cause of global warming, responsible for more global greenhouse gas emissions than all transport. Livestock production is also a major cause of land degradation, pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation and food and water scarcity. Over-fishing and aquaculture are also threatening marine environments.

Are you interested in thinking about food choices and connecting with other WHEN members?  If so, you are invited to bring a plate of vegan food and join us for a potluck meal on Sunday 30th March from 4.30pm.  A very short film (30 minutes) called "Making the Connection" will also be screened.  This film was made by The Vegan Society in the UK and it explores veganism.   Topics looked at in the film include food, fitness, nutrition, global food security, farming, the environment and animal welfare.

For venue details or more information, please call Trine on 6234 7376.

For anyone needing inspiration, Vegetarian Tasmania's website has a number of recipes and links to websites:

For anyone considering signing up for Meat Free Week, a list of vegetarian and vegan eateries could be useful:

01 March 2014

Gardening notes - March

The March notes are below. Time for planting broad beans again - where did the time go?

I hope your garden is flourishing and filling your table - I'm in serious bottling and drying mode at the moment, though it is touch and go whether the birds or me get the plums! My big garden news is the addition of 3 beautiful bantam pullets to my patch. I've managed the contaminated soil by giving 'the girls' an enclosure that is lined with weed-mat. I removed soil and gave them new clean soil. They are dealing very happily with the Tuscan Kale glut. No eggs until after winter apparently.

The other news is to remind you about the Food 4 Thought conference - it is the national conference in Hobart of the Australian Community Gardens and City Farms Network, in New Town 21-23 March (http://events.communitygarden.org.au/). There is a wonderful range of speakers (including Costa from Gardening Australia) and practical workshops. Do check the website and think about registering.

We are looking for people to billet visitors - a great opportunity to meet lovely people who share your interest in urban food gardening.  Can you offer a room, a patch for a tent - or a level driveway for a family combi (and access to a bathroom!)?

Please email me on steadmanma@gmail.com if you can help.

Enjoy autumn in the garden.


MARCHWeek 1 Week        2 Week         3  Week         4

Broad Beans (1st planting)
Spinach     x

20 February 2014

Excellent open garden, with muffins

Thanks so much to Di and Rob who welcomed us to their fabulous expansive garden in Newdegate Street last Sunday afternoon.  Di had prepared an informative outline about  the establishment of the garden, with details of the 'zones' and plants - we visitors felt most inspired about both the design and the productivity!
Raised vegie beds, bird netting, with 9mm dia plumbing pipe supports

Up the steps to the lemon  and hazelnut trees
Our produce table included zucchini, potatoes, plums, rhubarb and sweet pea seeds.

Please let us know what gardening/food/community activities you would like to be involved in and what organising help you could offer.
0439 954 818
PS Rob's muffins were the 'icing on the cake'

02 February 2014

The Story of West Hobart

Just published is this new book by Donald Howatson, a local historian.  He sets out to chronicle the development of West Hobart by tracing back the origins of each of the streets and explaining how they came to be named (and renamed).

While this might sound dry, it is a good read, being peppered with interesting anecdotes about past residents and developers, and photos of some of our favourite houses.  Donald Howatson has a wry humour which catches the reader by surprise now and then!
It's available at Winnings Newsagents and good bookstores - and it's inexpensive.

01 February 2014

How prepared are you for the bushfire season?

As previously advertised, our Bushfire Preparedness Assessment exercise took place this morning.  Perfect timing - it was a day of Total Fire Ban, and a lovely sunny day.

We had a good turnout of 14 residents at first Anne's house, then Meg's, to hear Steve Bresnehan, the Hobart City Council's Fire Control Officer describe the risks to our West Hobart houses and some of the strategies for dealing with them.  Steve was a great speaker, full of good stories from his years of experience, and unfailingly good humoured about what residents are doing (nor NOT doing) to protect themselves in fire situations. His first message was that we should all start our preparations in the months BEFORE the fire season.  The TFS' "Bushfire Survival Plan" booklet is a good place to start.

The main risk we face in our suburb is from embers being blown over from a fire on Knocklofty or from further west.  And if a fire starts up below our properties it may run up the hill.  We had some animated discussions about problems we suddenly realised we had with our own homes and gardens.

From seeing the particular fire traps around these two upper West Hobart houses, we all took different messages away for our own houses and gardens.  Here are just a few examples:
  • clear flammable growth from next to the house
  • get the TFS' "Fire Resisting Garden Plants" pamphlet - and be prepared to remove some of your plants and trees 
  • use a "low flammability" mulch such as wood chips of a large-ish size
  • keep mulched beds away from directly beside the house
  • have a water supply ready, such as a filled garbage can and have a cotton house mop in it, ready to take on little spot fires
  • protect the wood heap with a fine mesh screen to stop embers entering
  • on fire ban days, water garden beds near the house and cover with something to stop the mulch flying around
  • make a bushfire plan (which should include a range of contingencies)
  • have it written down on paper in case the electricity fails or your batteries run out
  • watch for nooks of the garden where leaves tend to accumulate - this is where embers may land
  • monitor TFS fire level predictions
  • get a windup radio
  • remove flammable "matchstick blind" privacy screens e.g.:

Some of our risks come from the practices of our neighbours and from the proximity of under maintained Crown land.  There is an important opportunity available to residents in the upper areas of West Hobart:  TFS is facilitating Bushfire Readiness Neighbourhood Groups to set up and work out neighbourhood wide solutions. Perhaps some of us will get together to form one of these groups.

Thanks Anne and Meg for being our guinea pigs today!

February gardening notes

Dear Gardening Friends

February planting notes - beautiful gardening weather today. My scarlet runner beans are at last yielding beans and the pumpkins are finally setting babies. Pretty much given up on the tomatoes this year. I hope your gardens are thriving.

FEBRUARY  Week     1 Week     2 Week      3  Week       4
Turnip (last chance)    x
Cauliflower  P to G       x
Spinach    x     x


27 January 2014

Bushfire preparedness Assessment exercise, Saturday 1st February

Are you and your house
ready for bushfire?

It’s been a relatively mild summer so far but we know that could quickly change.

With the help of the Tasmanian Fire Service, Hobart City Council and two local households, the West Hobart Environment Network has organized a demonstration home fire assessment showing us how to prepare our homes to reduce the risk of bushfire and how to prepare ourselves and family in the event of local bushfire.

Sat. Feb. 1 Two houses will be assessed (walking distance apart), beginning at 9.30am, 51 Poets Rd, West Hobart. The session should take about an hour.

(Note that both gardens have some steps.) If you need more information, phone Margaret on 0427 355 951.

Also, check out the Tas Fire Service website, where a wealth of information is provided on steps we should all be taking to reduce the risk of fire in and around our homes.

21 January 2014

Open Garden and Produce Swap - 16 February

WHEN's Gardens and Food group is holding another open garden day on Sunday 16 February.  It will be held at Di's place in Newdegate Street, from 3pm to 4.30pm, and will also be a produce exchange.   So bring excess produce/seeds/preserves from your garden if you have a surplus and perhaps something for afternoon tea. 

Come with ideas of what you would like the Gardens and Food (GAF) working group to be doing this coming year - make an offer if you can.

Contact Margaret on 0427 355 951 to join GAF and to get more details of the event.