Thursday, 13 September 2012

Springing into spring

You are invited to join us getting the garden happening for lots of spring and summer fun. Come along and meet some local folk. We have all sorts of friendly people involved: single and retired, couples with young or teenage kids or none!

Activities planned for the months ahead include completing more garden beds, mural painting, planting, mosaic workshop, BBQs, building a pizza oven for use onsite.

All are welcome to join our gardening run by local resident for the enjoyment of all. We gather regularly for working bees and informal social events. Details of upcoming events below:

Working bee Saturday 22 Sept 2012

9am -11.30am

  • Planting seedlings (bring a punnet if you can)
  • Painting plant signs (to tell us what is growing)
  • Setting a roster for plant watering

Working Bee Sunday 7th Oct 2012 

 3pm - 6pm (followed by BBQ (BYO meat & drink)

  • Mural painting (bring old paints, brushes. Kids welcome)
  •  Weeding

Wake-Up Sleepy Winter Garden

While the folk of Tighes-Hill-Ville have been hibernating through an unusually cold winter, the Terrace Garden has been quietly, slowly, almost imperceptibly - growing!

Winter vegetables such as kale, silver-beet, rocket and rhubarb have provided a steady harvest.  Many of us (including your dear chronicler) were amazed to learn that Brussel sprouts actually ‘sprout’ from a central stem!)  Carrots and beetroot took hold initially, but didn’t like the soil (too rich?). The compost has been busy composting (this important contribution rarely gets a mention, so “good on you compost!”). Also, what a star performer is the artichoke with its beautiful silver-green raiment and geometric design. Notice I said ‘performer’, not ‘producer’!  Now that we know it likes to show off by taking up as much room as possible, it will be relegated to a sunny spot all of its own where it can receive delegations from admirers, privately.

No one will be surprised to learn that Miss Mulberry Tree fell sound asleep about April or May. After a busy summer season producing several harvests of juicy berries, she was the target of a nasty encounter with a chain-saw. Against all odds, and having barely recovered from that trauma, autumn set peacefully upon her like a quietly setting sun. Resting peacefully and having shed all her leaves, she was seen to shiver only occasionally against the grey winter sky and the odd blast of chilly Antarctic air. If you have visited the garden in recent weeks you will see that Miss Mulberry is in fine form and almost completely recovered from her ‘annus horribilus’.  Sporting a trimmer figure (don’t mention the scars!) and new summer fashion of Sherwood Green cheekily trimmed with lime, the ensemble is tastefully finished with royal ruby earrings and speaks ‘confidence’ for a successful season ahead.

People appeared only occasionally in the winter garden apparently to undertake such diverse activities as harvest vegies, smoke herbs, meet lovers.  Although I did not witness these activities myself, there was sufficient evidence to be found while watering the vegies early morning or late afternoon.  During these quite, reflective moments I was often accompanied by a rather friendly and laconic magpie chick which seemed to enjoy walking a few steps behind me, nodding and chirping approvingly here and there, and occasionally sifting nearby debris with his beak.  His name is Col. Yes, apparently named thus by his southern-born parents after a football team called "Collingwood". Some parents should be shot! Now you know his name, please do say “hello” when next you see Col. Don’t be too upset if at first he appears to ignore you and does not reply.

Another unusual item to be found growing in the Terrace Garden over winter is a pile of what most of us would call “bricks”. They are in fact a pile of “old bricks”. And they have definitely been observed to be growing (in number, not size!). Word is going around that the bricks are gathering in great number for a "Pizza-Oven Making Conference" to be held on site later this year. Please keep an eye out for advance notice of this promising event.  In the interim, the bricks have agreed to host a gathering for local snails. Reliable word has it that this gathering will be followed soon after by a banquet for blue tongue lizards. The nice thing about community gardens is that everyone helps everyone else! 

Well that’s what has been happening in the Garden over winter...a lot...but not much, depending on your point of view.  So now we have caught up on all the gossip, let us spring into Spring before Spring is sprung.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Working Bee Saturday June 2nd 9.30-12.30

Well winter is upon us and things aren’t growing as quickly as they were a few months ago, however they are still growing, and so is the Terrace Garden.  The Mulberry tree has just about shed all its leaves letting a whole lot more light into the garden. It needs a winter prune. Other good news includes the arrival of two new beds. Thanks to the generosity of Wendy and John we now have an off cut from a water tank and to Karen who has donated her old bath tub. These need to be filled with soil and compost mixture. Seedlings are maturing and ready for planting, and there is lots of healthy endive and Kale for the picking. SO why not come along for a little while or longer, meet some neighbours and plant a seed!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Working Bee & BBQ Lunch- Saturday 31st March


The Garden had been growing over the past weeks. Come along and have some fun in the garden on Saturday 31/3/2012, 9am-12.30pm working bee followed by Lunch. Bring your favourite sausage and sauerkraut to BBQ for lunch!  There are a range of things to help with including: converting large plastic containers into Wiki-beds, collecting horse manure and wood chips; setting up and pouring a cement step; catching up with your fellow neighbourhood gardeners; levelling a work area and putting up a work bench and garden blackboard/noticeboard; using coloured chalk to unleash your inner artist on cement pathways; weeding; transplanting seedlings; establishing a herb garden (bring along any specimens you can transplant from your garden) putting your name on a watering roster.

Much Mulch

Well the Wiki beds are planted with winter vegies which have taken nicely. We also imported on site lots and lots of mulch from the recent Energy Australia tree thinning around the Suburb. Locally grown and harvested mulch for a local community garden! We have also been busy putting together some small fence planters made from recyled plastic containers. These have been planted with strawberries, climbing beans and herbs.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Two new garden beds constructed

At was all systems “Go” at our working bee this Saturday. Thanks to all of those who helped plant seeds and seedlings, weed and move what seemed like endless  wheelbarrow loads of horse poo and sand to fill our two new, water-wise “Wiki beds”.  Special thanks to Leigh at Newcastle Jockey Club who have been generous in donating “top-shelf” garden manure from his “fastest horses”. Thanks also Leigh for offering to load our trailers with your tractor - I reckon you took a couple of hours off the job and probably added a couple of years to our life expectancy!  In the next couple of weeks the Wiki beds will have settled enough for us to plant some autumn/ winter crops. Also the mural wall has been patch rendered and sealed in preparation for mural watch this space.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Something to chew on!

Happy New Year fellow gardeners, friends and neighbours.  After a rather sleepy Christmas break the Garden has continued to grow and is now calling us all to come eat and play! Our first aboveground bed has burst into life and now supports all sorts of flora and fauna! In particular the silverbeet is flourishing and needs picking. Why not make your own Gundagai Spinach Pie!  Other varieties on the way include tomato, zucchini, beetroot, climbing spinach & rhubarb. Corn has grown above the fence line and promises a good harvest in a few weeks. Also watch your step as you come in from Union Street as pumpkin and rock-melon tendrils try to outrace each other.

Santa Claus has delivered two new corrugated iron beds which will become water-wise Wiki-beds in the near future. We hope to have other raised beds established along the back fence as we move into the year as well as painting the mural, establishing a rainwater tank etc. We welcome your ideas for other tasks and activities also!

All in all 2012 promises to be an exciting and enjoyable year for the Terrace Garden. We will circulate emails to let you know the dates of working bees and post more updates as things develop. In the meantime, why not drop in and have a look and don’t forget to mention the garden to your neighbours who may also like to be involved, receive email updates or a bunch of silverbeet!  

Gundagai Spinach Pie

This recipe was provided by Mark’s mother, Norma who grew up in Gundagai,  NSW and modified this recipe from her brother-in-law Jack Castrission who was born on the island of Kythera, Greece. Mark’s Uncle Jack and Aunty Joyce Castrission owned and ran the Niagara Cafe in Gundagai for 64 years.  Mark fondly remembers visiting Gundagai and the Niagara Cafe over many school holidays. The Niagara was a magical place to visit due no doubt due to the fabulous Art Deco interior, the company of many mischievous cousins, and Uncle Jack’s shout of “lime spiders all round!”  Many Australians also have fond memories of the Niagara Cafe when the Highway ran down the main street and Gundagai was the half-way stop between Sydney and Melbourne.  Gundagai Spinach Pie remains a favourite recipe of our very large extended family then and now. Enjoy!

For more on the Niagara Cafe and the wonderful contribution of Greek born Aussies follow this link:

Gundagai Spinach Pie.
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 bunch if Silverbeet
250g pkt of Kraft Cheddar Cheese
2 teaspoons of butter or margarine
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and dry silver-beet well with paper towel and chop roughly. [NB the pie will be too moist if the silver-beet is not dried thoroughly]. Grate cheese. Beat eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper.

Line baking dish with baking paper.  Add bottom sheet of pastry (no need to pre-cook). Sprinkle with one third of the grated cheese, alternate layers of silver-beet and cheese. Pour evenly with beaten eggs, add two dots of butter then top with pastry. Brush pastry with a little of the beaten egg and milk. Pierce with knife to allow steam to escape during the cooking process. Bake in a hot oven 180 degrees Celsius for approx. 40 minutes.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Something green at last

The seed plantings of several weeks ago succumbed to the killer snails, and our enthusiasm for working bees dwindled after such an energetic start. Nevertheless, a few people have been pushing along and we will start promoting working bees again soon - so if you haven’t heard from us for a while you will soon.

In the meantime Dorothea found a tip that has kept the snails bay - snails hate pine needles. So a couple of weekends ago Enid and other hopeful planters armed with pine needles gathered by Karen, Charlie and Joe, sowed some more seed and at last - something GREEN is growing in our Garden!

John, Yassi and Mark planted a patch of zucchini and dwarf beans. Yesterday silver beet seedlings were also planted after a full morning of Mark mixing horse poo and Robyn and Lawrie carting soil to our now complete first raised bed. Soon we hope to have another couple of beds on site. Slowly but surely we are getting there.

Oh yeah - if your passing by you might be lucky to collect the last of this seasons mulberries!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Snails Pace Picks Up

Well the rain and the school holidays slowed us down a bit, but “my” haven’t the snails been busy! So far the main beneficiaries of our efforts have been the snails who called a convention on our seedlings and had a feast. No worries - we have more seeds and time, and we are getting some horse poo to kick things along, and a couple of new beds on order.

So you won’t be surprised that we have another working bee this Saturday 15th October to (you guessed it) plant more seeds; have fun painting some garden signs , shovel some horse poo and other bits and pieces that only your eye will spot needing to be done! Come along and join in the fun anytime 9.00 am -12.30 pm.

If you can’t make it in the morning you might like to drop in between 3.30-4.30 pm and say G’day as we will be there as part of the “Back to Tighes Hill” event on Saturday.