Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Tis the season

The annual James Street Reserve Christmas Party took place on the afternoon of Sunday, December 19. Members accepted the challenge to bring a plate incorporating the harvest from their bed so we enjoyed many treats such as stuffed marrow and rhubarb pie. We even discoverd some delicious Adriana Zumbo macaroons growing in the one bed!

It was a great opportunity to toast the year's achievement in the garden, contemplate the possibilities for 2012 and have a good chat. '

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interesting article from Organic Gardener magazine

There is an interesting article in the latest edition of "Organic Gardener" magazine (November/December 2011), titled "Flower Power", which helps to explain the rationale behind our fallow area.

The article also contains a list of "What to plant now". The list is long so get planting!

Read the article here

November Working Bee

The garden was buzzing with activity on this gorgeous, sunny Saturday. The combination of rain and warmer weather has done wonders for our spring crops.

In addition to general gardening activities, members prepared more sections of the fallow area with newspaper and manure. A few brave volunteers attacked the compost bins by giving the material a good turn and re-mix.

A couple of new members have joined bed teams. Mish joins Melissa on the "Concrete Pipes" while Stephen joins the "North Bed", which will now be led by Robyn.

Congratulations to Leesa for becoming our new Education Co-ordinator.

Kati and Leesa harvested a bumper crop of pontiac potatoes and Hugo and Jess (a couple of our youngest members) harvested a bucket load of broad beans.

Thanks to Richard for sharing the shed design concept with everyone. Once members have had the opportunity to provide feedback, we look forward to setting up a pre-DA meeting with the City of Sydney to discuss our design.

Thanks to Jon, Kati & Leesa for answering some of our gardening questions and enlightening us about the art of tomato growing.

As always, everyone enjoyed the delicious brunch provided by Twig Cafe.

See you in December!

Doug Purdie on Bees

Bees are in trouble all around the world with Australia the last place on earth free from Varoa mite and Colony collapse disorder, the two major threats that kill 70% of the bees in the USA every year. Add to that insecticides and our bee populations are in serious decline. In the urban landscape we remove bee habitat constantly and as a result our urban bees are disappearing and our urban crops suffer from low yield because of low pollination.

The Urban Bee Hive places bee hives in community gardens rooftops and commercial spaces across urban Sydney, our aim is to produce a product with as few food miles as possible along with pollination support for the urban landscape.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kid's Workshop!

Last Friday we had another children's workshop with some of our members and friends. It was a wonderful event, so again, I would like to send out a big thank you to everyone that supported the day!

The workshop was organised around Garden to Kitchen activities demonstrating the life cycle of our food.
We embarked on our garden adventures looking at climatic zones and the micro climates we have in our garden. Next we focused on our fruit trees and gave them a little attention! After, we got our hands dirty with some soil testing identifying soil types (sandy, clay or loam) and testing the pH. Think we have some up and coming environmental scientists in the group!

Once we finished getting all muddy (thanks to all the parents who washed their clothes!), we prepared a light lunch with some things out of our garden and examples of what we are growing. On the menu were Fruit Skewers with mint yoghurt, Rice paper rolls, Almonds and freshly squeezed Orange juice. It also seems that we have some up and coming chefs!

Once we had food in our tummies we were ready to tackle some more practical jobs in the garden. This included planting sunflowers and cucumbers in the concrete pipes. We all began to understand the importance of the fallows and the role they play in balancing the ecology in our garden. This is because they promote diversity which is nature's way of keeping pests and diseases in check!
Our last activity for the day was to take home an edible garden ourselves, so we prepared sprouts! Love the imagination of our team... they found an interesting place to store their sprouts. Not sure that your heads are the right micro climate team!
Yes, it was another splendid day with a very clever and insightful group. Such a pleasure to share a day in our gorgeous community garden with you all... I'm feeling very inspired!
Just on a final note, I would like to send my gratitude to Nicole for volunteering again. Her support was instrumental to the success of the day!

Thanks all!


Working Bee with guest speaker Doug from Urban Bee Hive

With soil delivered and lots of seedlings thanks to John there was a bit to be done on this lovely Spring day  for a working bee. But many hands make light work and it was quickly underway. Doug from arrived and was well impressed by the garden itself and all the happy working bees for the community. Next, the morning tea cart just after 10:30am curtesy of Twig so a good time to hear from our guest speaker.

Doug mentioned he could talk until the bees got home but the brief summary of some of the issues surrounding problems and benefits of bee around the world and answering all of our questions was fantastic for us who all listened closely. The end result being that it is possible for us to have a bee hive as part of our community garden, so with a few plans to make hopefully we will have some bees of our own one day! We'll keep you updated...

  • Lots of composting
  • Harvesting of parsnips, kale, mixed lettuce and herbs
  • Installing new signs
  • I planted a mini pumpkin variety
  • Lots of other things panted in all beds

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bed Books

Hello JSRCG crew,

I hope that all the bed books are coming along nicely and that everyone is feeling comfortable using them.

Just a reminder that the garden bed profile questionnaire will need to be handed to me at our working bee this Saturday (8th of October).

Thanks team!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Children's Workshop

A big thank you to those who supported and attended our first children's workshop on Monday...

It was a wonderful day to share with our 4-5 year old members and their friends. Some of the activities included bug identification, composting and the planting of their very own pizza themed garden. They are an extremely bright group and I was so excited to share in their enthusiasm and knowledge. Thanks boys!

I was also delighted to have the Mum's and younger members of the family join us, enjoying some social time in our beautiful garden. We all shared morning tea which also included muffins made from our own rhubarb too.

A big thank you to Nicole and Cherise who volunteered on the day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

AGM and Our Garden turns 1!!

Celebration of our 1st birthday combined with our 1st Annual General Meeting, took place on August 25, 2011 at Twig Cafe (who hosted the fantastic night as part of their garden sponsorship).

Our guest of honour, Monica Barone, CEO City of Sydney gave a thought provoking and inspiring speech on the link between Sustainable Sydney 2030 and our garden, including the importance of social capital. Joining Monica were other City of Sydney guests, who have been great supporters of our garden, including Ashley Heath, Project Manager Local Action Plans, Russ Grayson, Community Gardens and Landcare Volunteers Co-ordinator and Lynne Welch, ex-Project Manager Local Action Plans.

The AGM formalities included the President's Report, which highlight the number of achievements over the last 12 months, the adoption of our financial report (2010-2011) and the election of the 2011-2012 committee.

A great night ended with a stirring rendition of "happy birthday to us" and the cutting of the exquisitve cake.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sponsors Commit to Supporting our Garden

Hello there! It's your new Vice President reporting from London. The influence of our garden knows no bounds, and I am proud to the sole representative of the JSR community garden here in London!

Whilst I am far away, I am still working hard to ensure our garden is a vibrant, sustainable project.

Whilst you have all been digging and planting I have been working in the background to shore up some ongoing support from our sponsors. The good news is that our major sponsor, Burts Bees, have committed to a five year sponsorship deal.

This is just wonderful news for our garden. Burts Bees have been supporting us for some time and are as committed to our wonderful community project as we are. The local team in Australia and even the CEO from America have got their hands into the dirt and planted alongside us, their media team have helped us with our blog and logo, and their ongoing financial support will keep us in manure, seeds and plants for the next five years.

Yay for Burts Bees! Yay for our garden!

See you all in November.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Spring Working Bee

Today was great in the garden. Spring was in the air, spirits were up and the garden was in fine form - looking greener than ever.

There were a few notable events today:

1. We had Russ from the City of Sydney visit the garden with a crew of phographers. They used the Garden as a backdrop to Russ being interviewed as part of one of the City of Sydney's project 'Tales of the City', in which they interview City staff about their work and film them on location.

2. Leesa introduced the concept of the 'Bed Books' - which will be the living record of every garden bed in the garden. The Bed Book will be maintained by one of the bed members - and will contain all the information about that bed - for example - what was planted when, what has worked, what hasnt etc

3. John gave us a run down on the 'Fallow areas' of the garden. These are the bits around the edges - between the raised beds - and they have been planted with a range of annuals and perennials such as varieties of mints and basils, as well as rhubarb which will be able to be harvested - but also species like poppies and salvias will also bring some beautiful colour to the garden. The Fallow areas are an ongoing project which will be managed by John with anyone who is keen to assist.

4. Everyone took advantage of the crisp spring conditions to plant out their beds with new seedstock that had been brought in by Renee. Sadly however it was Renees last day with us in the garden as she is moving to South Coogee. She will be missed!

5. Finally Twig cafe's wonderful sustaining catering provided a welcome opportunity to pause, eat, drink tropical punch and chat with our garden crew and the many locals who pass by . Janet's home baked scones put the cream and jam on top of another successful working bee in at the James Street Reserve Community Garden.

Ed is back

We are pleased to welcome back Ed, our scarecrow, after his post vandelism visit to Accident & Emergency.

In preparation for a warm summer, he has found a new home in the shade on the garden terrace.

Unfortunately, his new hat has already gone AWOL so he has now adorned with his old faithful straw hat.

Thanks Jon for cementing Ed in place.

Great Feedback from Garden Tour

On August 27, we hosted a garden tour for Mosman Community College. It was part of a "Sustainable Day" that included visits to Eveleigh Markets and a city farm.

Tour organiser, Diana Giese thanked us for hosting the tour and commented that "our half-hour with you was one of the most popular features of the day".

Some comments from the participants included:

‘Wonderful to see what dedicated people can create in small spaces’
‘What a splendid idea for the community, especially sharing the produce and getting to know one another’
‘Very impressive and inspiring. I could have spent even more time listening to their success story’
‘Good to see the community is still around and not totally lost. It shows how good ideas and people can grow other relationships within the community.
‘Inspiring to see a well-run community garden with enthusiastic people’
‘Inspiration in bucketloads. So well organised and to the benefit of so many from such a small plot’
‘A social experiment that is working so well. Redfern’s tarnished reputation repaired’
‘So inspiring—again passionate people caring for other people, the community and the planet’
‘What a wonderful job they have done turning a wasteland into a vibrant garden, but even more important getting the community together in such a positive and fun way’

Check the report from garden tour participants, Daphne & Dom Gonzolvez (see slides 55-71).

Photograph provided by tour participant Colleen Chin