The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. Wendell Berry
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5 November 2014

Hello everyone! Well: snow on the mountain in November - how very Spring! Hope your baby tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and so on survived. If not, just plant some more . . . they'll catch up!

Our vertical garden (see our August newsletter for the story) has been chugging along. The kale and pak choy haven't done very well recently, so have been replaced with more herbs and strawberries. The bathtub wetland plants are filling out beautifully (see photo below) and the peas, spring onions, violas (in the photo above), parsley and most of the strawberries are going gangbusters! We planted the peas up high so they could cascade down . . . which they are doing very nicely. Unfortunately they have lovely big pods which can't be reached without a ladder. Its all a learning experience!

FIMBY Seasonal Garden Calendar - Update

Thankyou so much for your awesome sharing, pledges and nice messages about the calendar and crowd funding campaign! Its such a boost to feel all that support. We are just over half way through the campaign: only 12 days to go! And we are just over half way to our funding target too - beautifully on track! However the hard yards start now, since we had the majority of our pledges land in the first few days.

So, please keep sharing the project with your networks if you are happy to do that. If we don't make the target, we don't get any of the money pledged so far. The link is HERE. Check out the cute video that Philip Bohm made!

Salad bar!

Here's a great idea from our delightful Fimbarista Jennifer in Sandy Bay. She looks after her large and totally gorgeous ornamental garden with great care and attention. Its beautiful, and pretty full! We've had fun carving out some niches for food plants, creating some spaces for spring peas, summer beans, carrots, beetroot, leafy vegies, zucchini etc. Runner beans and artichokes can be pretty ornamental too!

I had given Jennifer a few packets of lettuce seeds so she could start a 'nursery box' of seedlings, ready for planting out around the place. Well! When I came back for the next visit, she showed me the 'salad bar' where she and husband Brad have been picking lettuce almost every day for weeks! Its a series of polystyrene boxes sitting on top of a waist high retaining wall. Its alongside a narrow path at the back of the house, where you wouldn't expect to have a vegie patch. It doesn't get absolutely all day sun, but leafies don't really need that, especially in summer. I love a good improvisation!

Sustainable Living Festival this weekend!

Here's the ever gorgeous FIMBY co-founder Juliet at a Sustainable Living Festival stall a few years back. We always have a big vase of scrumptious artichokes on display, since the timing is spot on!

We'll be there (without Juliet this time!) at Princes Wharf 1 this weekend (8/9 Nov), with upcycled feed bags for sale, and endless enthusiasm to chat with you about your garden. 
Come and say hello and check out all the other great stalls and activities. It gets better every year! We'll have magic bean seeds, HOT chillies and bunches of herbs to give away, including tarragon, parsley, and lovage. All details at the SLT website.

Branza de Burduf

Speaking of lovage always brings our Fimbarista friend Nica to mind. Nica is from Romania, and has been taking us on a cultural and culinary tour of Romanian dishes using garden vegies. Our latest conversation was about a wild sounding cheese: Branza de Burduf. Its made from sheep's milk, and is matured in the stomach of a sheep, then (sometimes) wrapped in fir tree bark which imparts a resinous flavour. Probably not something you'd find at the farmers markets around these parts!

The cycle of life

Things grow, mature, then die. Then become compost. You know how it goes. Gardening is full of cycles: seasons, days, moon, rainy times, harvest times. 
Recently I finished the harvest of my broad beans. They were planted and harvested early this year. Sometimes they've still been producing in December. But it was a warm winter and spring, despite the occasional antarctic blast. Broadies are legumes and so have root nodules colonised by nitrogen fixing bacteria. This means they effectively 'fertilise' the soil for you.
When its time for them to go to the great compost heap in the sky, I mean, the corner of the garden, just snap the stems off at ground level and leave the roots in place. They'll rot down, releasing all that nitrogen for the next crop. A good vegie tribe to plant next are the cucurbits: zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin. These fellas are hungry.
If you're planting seedlings, you can just clean up the straggly weeds that were struggling along underneath the broad beans, and dig a hole between the stumps where the broad beans are. A handful of COF (complete organic fertiliser) and a double handful of compost, mix it all up a bit, and plant your new babies. I usually leave the soil bare a for a few weeks to let the birds clean up the slugs and snails, but I put a wire cage around the babies so they're not scratched out of the ground. I put a complete 'tunnel' over the cucumbers and use a bit of snail bait too, since they seem to be irresistible to the slimy raiders. Once they have grown a few new leaves, I mulch pretty heavily with compost, eventually removing the cages.

What's on the bookshelf?

This is the left and right side of my FIMBY bookshelf. I'm an avid reader, so this is one shelf of (far too) many bookshelves in the house. I'll do some reviews of my favorite food growing books in the coming editions of our newsletter. In the meantime, are there any in particular that you are curious about? There are a couple of borrowed books here that you might like to reclaim too! I know they are crappy photos - sorry! But if you can peer between the reflections and fuzzy focus, and see something you'd like to know more about, let me know!

Livin' the dream!

This is the life! Show Day, watching fimbarista Jane dig a hole for a fruit tree, blue sky, mountain view, gin and tonic in the foreground. This is what the Garden Craft program is all about! OH&S practitioners can look away for a bit. My drink is sitting on the corner of one of Jane's lovely dovetail timber beds, bursting with vegies. She's added more since we started gardening together, plus a berry patch, a spud patch, and fruit trees. Go Jane!

Garden transformation while you wait

While I've been writing this newsletter today, I've also been dropping in to supervise and bring morning tea to a fantastic team of garden fairies who are doing a garden transformation just up the road. Regular fairies Michael and Christine, and newly minted garden fairy Elias, have been working in the showery weather in friendly harmony. They've turned Tanzi and David's beautiful sunny patch from a bit of an overgrown mess (that was creating a psychic burden) into an easily managed productive haven. In another month when this has been planted and grown a bit, and the path tidied up and so on, this will look a million bucks! And it all happened in about 5 hours. Check it out!
It was a bit rainy when they started, but we decided to give it a go anyway.
Lunch time! The carpet is there to stop weeds and grass coming back.
Packing up in the rain, but after another sweep and planting, its gonna be gorgeous!
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