Newstead Community Garden

It doesn‘t make sense to be gardening in the hottest months of the year, apart from regular watering and zucchini picking, but if you want to be eating vegetables through autumn and winter, January and February are exactly when you should be planting and tending seeds and seedlings. A couple of crops (leave a week or three between plantings to get an ongoing supply) of carrot, parsnip, cauli, broccoli, cabbage, kale, silver beet, beetroot, leeks, brussel sprouts, just for starters! Warm soil and regular watering will mean rapid germination and growth.

After several failures with carrot and parsnip seed this year, I‘ve found a fantastic method that works for all seeds. Soaking them in water (ideally tepid) for two or three days before planting in seed raising mix gives a reliable, very quick (within days) germination and strong seedlings. Change the water after a day or so (I use jam jar lids, saucers or small plastic containers) and label
your seeds. When you plant, don‘t let the seed raising mix dry out at all, or the seeds will "switch off". I‘ve had lettuce seed up with two leaves within a day of planting the soaked seed. Parsnip and carrot will take longer, but still a huge improvement. Planting at the  "right" time according to planets and moon phases also speeds the process. A great activity for kids who are interested in gardening because the process from seed to plant is pretty much observable. And quick.

It‘s going to be a great year in the garden – the fundraising dinner with Chef Charlotte Duckett in March and workshop with Penny Woodward on March 18th, just to start things rolling. By the time you read this Echo we will have held our gathering of all garden plot holders and diggers, to meet and greet new members and plan 2012 tasks and activities.

We will have also had a stall at  "Newstead Live" to sell our first cash crop of garlic. In the next month we will also welcome the installation of several of our art project pieces and look forward to getting the pizza oven in place and operating.

Penny Woodward is an experienced gardener and expert on companion planting. She is a radio presenter on 3CR‘s gardening show and an author, has had a stint looking after a National Trust mansion and eight acres of parkland in rural Victoria, ran a herb nursery and spent years helping her husband build houses. Penny will talk about pest repellent plants (including herbs) and address
some of our problems at the garden this year, namely slugs and snails. We‘ll find out what plants to grow to help deter these and other insect pests. In the afternoon a garden ramble and Q&A session, and another presentation on garlic and unusual edible alliums like tree, welsh and potato onions, as well as shallots and leeks. Look for more info on our website:

www.newsteadgarden.wordpress.com.

Sunday March 18th, 10am - gardening workshop with Penny Woodward at Newstead Community Garden.

Janet 0439 003 469 or Mary 5476 2593.
An initiative of Newstead 2021