Friday, March 29, 2013

Figet the funding..we're still going strong..

'Yeah, you're right, they must have known I was off that day.'

Ms Tagalong was eavesdropping. She was admiring the incredible fluffy Chinese silkies at the Fig Tree Community Garden.

Yes this is a fluffy chicken!
The long, tall caretaker was chatting away about the loss of a cockerel a few weeks ago.

Whoever stole it, stealthily replaced it with a large one of an inferior breed. Did they really think no-one would notice?

Figtree seems to have undergone a few changes in the year Mr Ideasman and Ms Tagalong have been gadding about on their 'grown-up' gap year.

Gone is the large chicken run with geodesic dome coop.

Gone is the funding for a three day a week co-ordinator.

Gone are some of the beds as true community plantings; now seemingly 'owned' by an 'Emmy' or a 'Jo'.

Some things don't change; what still remains is the wonderful pizza oven and the party venue tucked away at the back. That's why our illustrious duo were there saying farewell to friends heading South. A great spot for a goodbye party. Which is your favourite community garden for a party?

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Growing patience

On her return from overseas Ms Tagalong was very excited about reacquainting herself with Warners Bay Community Garden and viewing their new abode.

Alack and alas, her recent queries discovered that nary a sod has yet been turned. They have a banner. They have volunteers. They have the know-how. What they don't have yet is a garden.

'We do have approval from the council,' said Ian cheerfully, as Ms Tagalong purchased coriander and mizuma seedlings happily wrapped in newspaper pots. The prominent stall at the recent Farmer's Market at Speers Point was bulging with seedlings, worm wee and volunteers.

How active, how busy and devoted the group are. Four and a half years in the making and still counting until they sow their first seed in the selected Cherry Road spot.

How smug did Ms Tagalong feel? Thankfully she decided not to gloat about how guerilla gardens are the way to go. 

No approval needed, just find an unused plot, gather a few extremely keen gardeners, appropriate the land and start growing!

Of course you may come up with a little resistance. Grow Food, Not Lawns has many photos of upturned guerilla plots! (So glad we have a new fence!) But so many more of wonderful green growing spaces.

Which is your favourite photo or idea that could be incorporated into a local community garden?

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lilly Pilly or Lilli Pilli?

Well, there were no suggestions out there on a Twitter plea for what to do with these gorgeously coloured lilly pilly berries !

The delicate creamy, puffy blossoms are followed by this mouthwatering fruit tasting of a cross between a Jamaican otaheiti apple and a crunchy pear with cinnamon and allspice overtones.

Oh but wait, that is why Ms Tagalong is reminded of otaheite apples; they are from the same family. When in doubt look up those botanical names! 

Lilly pilly - Syzygium oleosum
Otaheite apples - Syzygium samarangense. Well I never. 

Both have their origins in the South Pacific and are delicious stewed or crushed with ginger.

So what did Ms Tagalong do with hers?

She boiled and simmered them in water for about 10 minutes just covering the fruit in the pan.

She drained them.

She made a syrup of brown sugar, mixed peppercorns, bayleaf and some grated ginger and boiled until thickened.

She de-stoned the fruit, once cooled, easy as they were now very soft.

Finally the berries were placed back in the syrup and blended to form a sort of thick sauce. (Bay leaf extracted of course!)

Finished product, a jar of piquant sauce to be enjoyed hot or cold with lamb chops, vegetable kebabs or anything you like really!

Any other ideas for this wonderful abundant fruit gratefully received!

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Heaps and heaps of work!

So there was Ms Tagalong's great opportunity to get in amongst it again. To fill those wheelbarrows and shovel and mulch. A huge great pile of  mulch ready to spread about the garden, keep in the moisture and protect from the cold.

The heap couldn't be missed. It stood huge and brown right at the garden gate. Yes, dear readers you are correct, last week on a very wet and windy day Ms Tagalong had a quick preview of the garden and its progress in 2012.

But she failed to respond to the challenge. The few brave souls who did brave the heat this weekend must have made a dent. But Ms Mova assures me there is still much to do at next week's working bee.

This is probably not a good time to admit that Ms Tagalong will not be here that weekend either. In fact you may be forgiven in thinking that she really hasn't returned home. She has of course managed to find time to go to the wonderful Hewison Street community cafe.

Let's wish for some cooler temperatures and a more available Ms Tagalong who, it must be said, is actually planting seeds (chilli, red capsicum, tomato and coriander) on her mother's deck ready to bring back to the garden and continuing to visit other gardens when she can.

'Am I to be disappointed yet again?' said Ms Mova. Ms Tagalong truly hopes not!

A question for all of you. How many barrowloads will it take to move this lot of mulch?

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.