Wednesday, 21 December 2011

What your garden could be saving you today

I had a walk round my local Coles supermarket last night and here is what i found, and the savings that can be made made with your own garden not to mention the satisfaction of growing them is well worth it.

The Vegetables below we are all picking quatities of now:

Green Beans $4.98kg*
Spring Onions $1.98 bunch*
Spinach $3.48 bunch*
Beetroot $4.98 for 5 smaller than a snooker ball, (i picked 3 today almost as big as a softball)
Zucchinis $4.50kg
Fresh "8 Ball" Zucchini
Lettuce $2.48 each*
Lebanese cucumbers $5.98kg*
Herbs $2.48 bunch***
Pak Choy $1.98 for 2*
Garlic $17.98kg*
Fennel $1.28 each*
White onions $4.98kg*
Chillis $13.98kg*
Leeks *

*picked from my garden this week at home and Community Garden plot

Friday, 16 December 2011

City Farms, Community Gardens gathering and Power of Community.

Last week between jobs i had the chance to view the Power of Community documentary at the Macarthur Future Food Forum (say that fast) on saturday at the Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative building in Campbelltown, and visit the City Farms and Community Gardens network meeting hosted at Lilyfield by the Whites Ck Garden.

Firstly the Power of Community, this is something that we will hopefully look at screening in camden at a venue and time to be confirmed, or you can view the link below and watch the video yourself :)

Surviving Peak Oil and Power of Community

Hubberts peak oil graph extrapolated across gas and oil .

The Documentary shows how Cuba was thrown almost overnight into a Peak Oil situation, it is something i had never even considered or thought about and was certainly well worth sitting through if not for the underlying message but the whole power of community and sustainable gardens info.

Summer Garden Tips

Holiday Care

Here’s a few tips for surviving the holiday break over summer.

Don’t mow your lawn too low before you go away, otherwise you might find it completely dead by the time you get back. It’s always best to keep it a little bit longer in summer to shade the soil below, this helps retain more moisture in the ground and protect roots that are close to the surface.

Ask a neighbour

Take care of your precious work in the veggie garden by ensuring that a neighbour or friend can do some watering if you go away. You could try to rig up some shadecloth temporarily over sensitive plants or areas of the garden if you’re especially concerned about them.

Updates, News and some

We have found these little critters in the millions, how do i deter them from eating our vegetables, they seem to like tomatoes and strawberries, the ones pictured (right) have taken refuge around a thorn apple.

Just some of the Zucchinis donated to the local senior citizens club this week, as well as potatoes, leeks, spinach and beetroot. The small one is the size of a tennis ball to put the large ones in perspective

Artichokes are just one of the vegetables growing in the gardens, these particular ones are globe artichokes, more architectural than productive but nice to have in our garden, hard to believe that these were only planted from a 100mm pot back in late september

Friday, 2 December 2011

Love Food Hate Waste, who doesn't!!!

Here are some numbers to think about;
  • NSW households throw away $2.5Billion worth of food each year,
  • Over $230 Million in drinks thrown out,
  • Over $800 Million in fresh food thrown out,
  • Over $350 Million in pre packaged and Long Life products thrown out,
  • Over 300kg of food waste per household per year to landfill,
Some scary figures for sure, but we can all do our bit in reducing this needless waste, look at menu plans for your week, do shopping lists, look at storage options.

Be sure to check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for some great information, i would also like to add the following heading to go with the site, "Grow it", but its about growing the right amount.

With that in mind, take a look at the "Square Foot Gardening" principles its all about growing enough food for your family without waste, the Square foot gardening site gives some great info and tips on how to grow all your families vegetables economically and all year round.

Happy Gardening Steve

Friday, 25 November 2011

Pathwork, National Green Jobs, Mayor visits and Christmas is coming.

Just over two weeks ago we had an overgrown path, countless hours had been spent keeping the path under control, it had restricted access to certain sectors of the community and put a strain on volunteers working in the gardens , well fast forward to today and there is a marked difference, the new pathwork will now allow access for all to the gardens as well as giving much needed disability access to the amenities block on the Town Farm site as well. Maintanence has been reduced and that valuable volunteer time can now be spent on other projects in the pipeline, due to the choice of materials maintanence and upkeep costs should be minimalistic and help enable the community gardens to be self funding beyond the life of the Community Builders funding keeping it as a valuable resource for the community.

Other projects in the pipeline include a nursery and rotunda/covered meeting point, and an orchard which is in the early stage of planting. The resident animals on site are doing a great job keeping our weeds under control and should soon be joined by chickens, thanks to the National Green Jobs Project and its participants who built the chicken coup. While on site these young people also completed tree planting and alot of privet removal around the Town Farm precinct as well as Bicentential Equestrian Park and for that we are all very greatful.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Narellan Rhythms, The Gardens, and everything else.

Alot has happened over the last month, this update includes Working Bee, Narellan Rhythms, Happenings in the Garden, The Veggie Lady and snakes.

    Steve at the Community Gardens stand.
  • Narellan Rhythms - This was a chance to get some more information out about the Community Gardens, over the 6 weeks leading up to the street festival i had grown in excess of 400 pockets of herbs, covering coriander, basil (many types) italian parsley, daikon radish and Pak Choy, on the day with the help of a young helper i set up 2 garden beds adjacent to the Library, with asian and italian themed plants, (Thanks have to go to the folk at Patio Plants, you will find their huge range of plants on sale at the produce markets every 4th saturday at Camden Town Farm), we displayed information about the gardens and gave away all our plants over the course of the day, while surrounded by the Scarecrows that were built at the Scarecrows and Sculptures Workshop. Lots of info was on hand and this was complemented by the councils own enviromental team who were giving away native plants also.
  • The last working bee was a great success with a few hundred new rosemary bushes going in, a big thankyou to Colin Mills who organised the cultivation of these and these will be going in over a period of time, also thanks to all those that attended.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Art of Wildcrafting - by The Veggie Lady - Toni Salter

The Art of Wildcrafting

It seems that we have our very own food scavenger in our midst. Perhaps he might even be an imitator of the famous food forager Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from the UK TV series River Cottage. He’s in the community and he’s in our garden and he’s on a hunt for whatever wild food he can eat. It’s called ‘wild-crafting’ and it entails reaping a harvest from local, wild grown plants or weeds! It appears that we have no shortage of plant material to choose from, with a selection of noxious weeds growing in the community garden to forage.

I met recently with two prominent members (leaders even) of the community garden to discuss the possibility of running some workshops over summer, when I was distracted from the conversation by a question from one of them. 

“Hey, do you know what this is?”  He asked me this thinking that, as a horticulturist, I could identify every plant in the universe.  Of course, I had no clue what it was but it looked pretty weedy to me and I’m certainly no expert in bush regeneration and feral weeds.  But not letting the powers of deduction allude me, I was determined to work it out.

“Taste it.” He instructed me.  What was he thinking? I wasn’t going to eat some wild plant that I had no idea about.  But being a convincing type of guy, he led the way and gulped down a fistful himself.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Welcome to "The Veggie Lady"

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome onboard our new "blogger"  and green thumb extraordinare, Toni Salter, Toni will be conducting our "Summer Gardening Series" training courses to be held on the first Saturday of the month starting in December, but first a little about Toni.

Toni Salter is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone. She has helped hundreds of people, just like you, grow great tasting, healthy food in their own backyards – from inner city balconies to those living on acres and everything in-between.

As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (MAIH).

She has also featured as a talk-back guest on ABC Radio helping gardeners solve their gardening problems organically. To help as many people as she can, The Veggie Lady has developed on-line information, resources and iphone apps to help the general public to grow their own at
She is a regular contributor to Miranda Kerr’s blog and events such as the the Organic Expo and Masterchef Live.

Toni also spends her time running horticultural therapy programs, developing sensory gardens through a number of organisations including AFFORD (Australian Foundation For Disability).

To find out more and how Toni puts it went from "insufficient to self sufficient" click on The Veggie Lady.

About the courses, the courses will be open to all Plot Holders and Community Garden Association members, at this stage, there will also be a nominal fee charged which will be advised over the coming weeks to those interested, to register interest text your contact details to me via the contact number on the front, or email me via this link

Course Details as follows -

Venue - Miss Llewella Davies Camden Town Farm Community Gardens

Summer Gardening Workshop - Saturday December 3rd, 10am-12 noon.

Summer is a busy time in the garden so let your hard work reap rewards for you over the holiday break.

This workshop will show you

* waterproofing techniques to save your crop from drought, 

* holiday resourcefulness to keep plants alive while you're on holiday,

* basic pest and disease control when your garden needs it most.

Composting Workshop - Saturday January 7th, 10am-12 noon.

Have you tried to make compost to simply end up with only a smelly, seething mess heap that's not fit for anyone's garden?

Well this workshop will show you how to do it properly!  Second half involves hands-on construction of compost for the town farm community garden. 

Topics covered will include: 

* types of bins and bays to use, 

* layering a compost heap for effective results,

* choosing aerobic vs anaerobic methods of composting.

* hands-on practical opportunity (weather permitting)

See you all soon
Happy Gardening Steve

Cow - moo - nity News form the Gardens

Exciting times are ahead in the gardens, news in brief:

  • Working bee - Call to arms, mass border rosemary planting.
  • Scarecrows and Sculptures
  • Pathwork to begin soon
  • Narellan Rhythms
  • Welcome new gardeners

  • First off the bat this weekend will see a working bee on saturday invade the garden like ants or little worker bees, a call to arms is being put out to gardeners and a big thankyou goes out to Colin Mills and the team of volunteers he enlisted who have been quietly cultivating several hundred, (close to 1700 i think) rosemary bushes, these will be a main feature and form a hedge to surround the Platypus  and border our pathwork (near map the gardens and you will see what we mean). Anyone interested in helping out there will also be a free BBQ lunch on and refreshments, gardens open from 9am for working bee.

  • A big thankyou to Freya Jobbins, who facilitated the Scarecrows and Sculptures Workshop at the gardens on the 28th and 29th of September, all concerned had a great couple of days, although the weather did dampen spirits on the thursday forcing a change of venue to Camden Civic Centre, our nonnas and asian gardeners made a special appearance at the ArtStart Festival at Bankstown and will reappear at the Narellan Rhythms Festival and will then take up residence in the community gardens.

  • The main pathwork and disability access will commence over the coming weeks with approval for the first stage of the pathwork being approved at the November Committe meeting, the contractors are aware that these are an operating community garden and will not be closed, but as such we would like to request that once works begin that you please be mindful of them going on, this pathwork has been crucial for greater access to disability groups and as such will form a linking path back to the set down area near the barn as well as the toilets located on the town farm site.

  • Narellan Rhythms Festival is coming up, it takes place on the 29th of October, Camden Council will be giving away native plants to the public, getting their own faces out there as well The Community Garden will be running its own giveaway, the committee have over the past 5 weeks grown several hundred seedlings to give away, these include Bok Choy, Basil, Daikon Radish, Coriander and all being well Italian Parsley, (its just grown a bit slower than anticipated, note for next year). The festival gets under way at 10.30 am on Elyard St Narellan, there is plenty to get involved with, not to mention the Pizza Chef Relay @ 2.30pm, more info can be found on the Camden Council site here. Anyone interested in helping out on the day with the giving the seedlings please let me know via the contact details on the home page.

  • Welcome to our new gardeners, Lachlan and Joshua Newman join our young rank of avid gardeners, Tash, Jai, Tali, Gabrielle, and Warwick, also welcome to Hazel, Kristine and Mike.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The week that was and ahead....

Looking for something to do over the school holidays and want to get outside, here is a sample of whats coming up in the weeks and weekends ahead
  1. TASTE Food, Wine and Music Festival
  2. Scarecrows and Sculptures - Living on the Fringe
  3. Countdown to Narellan Rhythms Festival
TASTE Food, Wine and Music Festival, this Sunday and the Camden Town Farm on Exeter St, be sure to sample the many offerings and take in the ambience of the Town farm precinct, a great selection of local food, fine wine and great music will be showcased.

Glenmore House - Open Day is invitation only for pre booked "friends of the garden" only, apologies for any confusion as one of the local papers stated an open day on Wednesday. This was incorrectly reported in the paper.

Scarecrows and Sculptures - Living on the Fringe - Free Workshop, Miss Llewella Davies Camden Town Farm, Community Gardens, 40 Exeter St, Camden, a great initiative in conjunction with artstart and BYDS. This free workshop is on the 28th and 29th of September, open to 12 - 24yr olds, you must register via 46455106 to be part of this free workshop.

Narellan Rhythms Festival, 29th October, Elyard St, Narellan 10.30am - 3.00pm, there are lots of activities for the whole family, stall, prizes, giveaways, the Community Gardens will have their own stall, the Scarecrows from the workshop will also be on display.

Thankyou to all participants in the last working bee, a good time was had by all, some new faces dug in, and a good lunch was put on using some of the local produce.

Don't forget the next meeting is the 6th of October, it is the AGM at 6pm at camden library, nomination forms for committee positions are available to all Coommunity Garden Assoc Inc financial members and close on the 28th, call me if you require a form, via the contact number on the home page.

Happy Gardening

Friday, 16 September 2011

Working Bee plus more.....


This weekend will see folk descend on camden, the town be a hive of activity this weekend, the annual Goulburn Sydney Bike Race, NSW oldest bike race rolls into town on sunday morning, well maybe late morning anyway, Camden Park is open over the weekend on both days as well.

Working Bee

Its rolled around again and falls only a few weeks before our AGM, please make sure all membership renewals are paid up and all financial members are welcome to apply for spots on the Community Gardens Committee.

I put together a bit of a task sheet together for us on saturday, if all attendees at the working bee can sign the visitors book in the notice board it would be appreciated.

The working bee will be a good chance to clean up a few beds, these have been noted in the book and are marked with texta, thanks to all at the last working bee the herb garden is looking great and there is sure to be some produce used for the BBQ lunch. A big thankyou has to go to Vanessa Ferreira form Camden Council who kindly donated a BBQ to the Gardens last week, to be used at the town farm and for gardens events.

Other areas to be noted are:
  • more weedmatting on borders in readiness for hedge,
  • the herb garden doesn't need much attention, probably just water and a few stingers removed,
  • the area on the low side of the path, next to the cultivated paddock, (the one covered in nettles)
Scarecrows and Sculptures - Living on the Fringe

In conjunction with BYDS and as an initiative of ArtStart Youth Arts and Skills a Scarecrows and Sculptures workshop is being run at the gardens on the 28th and 29th of September, the workshop is FREE and being facilated  by local artist Freya Jobbins  Freyas Website and open to young people aged 12 to 24, refreshments and lunch will be provided, to register interest call 46455106.

Jack Frost

A few gardeners may have noticed a few deaths in the gardens early in the week, unfortunately the Community Gardens experienced a cold snap, the end result being potatoes, Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, Zucchini also suffered substantially. Preventative measures can be discussed amongst ourselves on the weekend.

Happy Gardening Compost Comrades.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Whats Happening in Camden

Camden Park Historic House and Garden

Looking for something to do on the 17th and 18th of September, why not visit historic Camden Park (c1835), designed by colonial architect John Vergen and built for wool industry pioneers John & Elizabeth Macarthur, Camden Park is one of Australia's most important and intact Georgian Houses.

On the weekend you will find :
  • Historic House Tours
  • Guided garden Tours
  • Macarthur History Talks
  • Devonshire teas
  • BBQ & Refreshment Stalls
  • Plant & Gift Stalls
Times :

Saturday 17th September 12.00 - 4.00pm
Sunday 18th September 10.00am - 4.00pm

Further enquiries can be made on 02 46558466, Tickets are available at the door, also visit Camden Park House

On the weekend follow the signs from Elizabeth Macarthur Ave, South Camden.

Garden only tours, $5, House and Garden, $10/$8/$30 Family

Friday, 2 September 2011

Spring is here

Spring has finally arrived, the cherry trees have burst into flower and the liquid ambers are getting that green tinge from the new shoots starting to emerge.

The gardens are extremely productive at present with gardeners harvesting all manner of things, cauliflowers, broccoli, broccolini, spinach, beetroot, cabbages, celery, leeks, shallots to name but a few.

The Salvation Army "Brunch to Lunch" recieved a big basket of veggies this week, and all concerned were very grateful for the donation.

A reminder to everyone that Brunch to Lunch runs every friday at the Salvation Army in Smeaton Grange from 10.30am to 1.30pm and is open to everyone.

The last working bee cleaned up the Herb Garden as you can see on the image.

The next generation of herbs are growing, we have planted chives, italian parsley, mizuna, celeriac and rosemary.

Springs veggies are on the way and were planted a few weeks ago, growing from seed at present i have coriander, radishes, spinach beet, peas, snake beans, carrots, hurakei, cucumbers, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, tomatoes and eggplants. These will slowly be migrated into various gardens over the coming weeks.

Its tomato time but watch out for the cold still, i have them planted out in central camden, but i am still very cautious about putting any in at the community gardens, potatoes are in as are "8 Ball Zucchinis".

Happy Gardening

Note next working bee dates and AGM.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Successful Working Bee and other news.

Talking amongst ourselves on friday it wasn't shaping up to be a great day for a communial working bee on saturday, but what started out a touch on the damp side didnt deter anyone, a dozen or so folk turned out and a big thankyou goes out to the committee members involved in the day, thanks to Jeff Ferrif the gardens president and his crew for putting together a BBQ lunch and thanks to Camden Council for their donations towards lunch.

The assembled troops cleaned up the herb garden, which has been a constant source of supplies for all association members, we can now distinguish chives poking through where once there were nettles, and the germinating italian parlsey has been given respite from the same beasties.

The shade trade with our seating will soon provide shade, it is now starting to sprout leaves and the almond tree had a solitary flower on it this morning.

Other plantings recently include potatoes for the Salvation Army "Brunch to Lunch" soup kitchen, these are in Bed 5, and Rocket in bed 7, Bed 4 is currently providing copious amounts of vegies for the Salvation Army in the form of Cabbage, Broccoli, Broccolini, Celery and Spinach, and is being tended by committee members, these have also been supplemented with donations of Leeks, Shallots, and several herbs from the communial herb section and other gardeners.

We will soon be adopting a marking system, using the Salvation Army logo, this will mark vegetables being donated to the soup kitchen, this will enable fresh harvesting of produce for the kitchen.

Floriade is around the corner, any association members interested in attending Floriade, the suggestion has been made we take a bus trip down, please register expressions of interest here, with preference for dates between the 17th of September and the 16th of October, using the same link also register interest in a bus trip around some of Sydneys' community gardens.

Happy Gardening Comrades in Compost


Friday, 12 August 2011

Something for the for the kids and more..

Looking to keep the kids occupied and do something for the enviroment at the same time, check out the following link, newspaper seedling pots, the quickest and most affordable method of making cheap plantpots, with the added advantage of avoiding any transplant shock for young seedlings, once you have your seedlings to a reasonable size just pop them straight in the ground.

Here are a few more handy ideas,

Have you noticed the latest RM Williams Catalogue, see if you can spot which page the gardens are on, look close, RM Williams Spring Summer 2011-2012, i will give you a hint, its not page 153 or page 1.

Happy Gardening - Steve

Please feel free to add any comments or other ideas

Friday, 5 August 2011

Crackn Caulis and Brunch to Lunch

Cauliflowers are just one vegetable growing in profusion at the community gardens, broccoli and spinach are also cranking along with many gardeners benefiting from great crops, the Arty Café in Narellan welcomed an assortment of herbs and spinach this week.
The Herb Garden
Shallots, Cabbages, leeks, fennel, daikon radish, beetroot, carrots, radish, lettuce and celery are also doing well, peas are growing well in a few plots as are broad beans whose flowers did seem to set before the cold snaps hit. Its good to see a wide variety of vegetables growing.

Thanks to The Green Corps folk who have been kind enough to offer up surplus vegetables to the community groups now in residence, namely Wesley Disability Services and Sylvanvale Foundation.
We are also happy to announce that we will partner with the Salvation Army office at Narellan and the Brunch to Lunch crew in supplying vegetables and herbs for their free soup kitchen being run on Friday lunchtime out of the Salvation Army rooms at Exchange Parade, furthermore any seed/seedling donations will be welcomed (these can be left in the noticeboard on site at the gardens) and the guys and girls will grow these on in the small greenhouse on site for use by the groups using the gardens and to be grown on for the free Brunch to Lunch.

I visited the Salvation Army today and shared a bite to eat with Bill Zunick and Capt Lindon Kinder who both welcomed the potential contributions that will come from the gardens and the partnership. While sharing a bowl of hearty soup and magic bread with Bill we discussed the harsh realities facing folk at present and being involved in the retail sector I also witness the effect the present economic climate is having on people. Anyone is welcome at the Salvation Army Church, more info on the Brunch to Lunch can be obtained from Capt Kinder on 46474162, and more info on the gardens can be obtained from Steve on 0467531972.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Costas Camden Odyssey

On July 8th i had the pleasure to attend the Camden Garden Club annual luncheon at the Camden Civic Centre, what a pleasure it was, guest speaker for day was Costa Georgiadis. How would i describe Costa? not easily, but in a nutshell this is as close as i can get, an enthusiastic, exhuberant, engaging, charismatic, passionate character and landscape architect who is at the frontline of the war on nature that has been waged over the last several decades.

Camden Garden Club President Harry Stait-Gardener and Costa

Costa passed on words of wisdom after discourging all manner of items from his own stash whose relevance became all too clear during the course of his engaging talk too the assembled masses.

Costa outlined his early childhood upbringing and how his grandfather had been a moulding force in his education of all things green and brown. His grandfather was into permaculture and organic practises in the 50s before it was fashionable or cool, he recycled everything in his randwick garden, from fetta cheese wrappers to olive oil cans, and everything he grew Costas Grandmother cooked, that included wayward pidgeons and rabbits, fed herbs as Costa joked as a sort of pre marinade from the inside out. He stressed the importance of the soil and compost, showing a sample he brought with him, and described it as a "lifeforce" and inshort our health is determined by what we put in our mouths and that compost is such a huge factor

His talk also touched on the fact that in the present age we have a duopoly which for many years has been dictated to by supply chain solutions and the growers/farmers feel they have to comply with this system, and in effect our health is governed by corporate profit.

There was certainly some interesting topics raised and all that Costa is very passionate about, the fact that one of the Northern Rivers shires had sprayed the best part of 320km of verge with biocide and this really frustrated him, to the point of contacting the local members, other issues discussed were Genetically Modified, or "GM" foods and having being involved in research where by i was working on canola oil and sunflower oil for use as hydraulic fluid, was something i could relate too, he also touched on the Free Trade Agreement blocked in 2005 and the coal seam gas situation presently in the media. (checkout Gasland on SBS), on the positive side the likes of the Youth Climate Coalition are making moves in the right direction, and also Costa commended the local community of Camden on its vision to retain and acknowledge the heritage of the area and loved that sense of arrival you got and the village feel of Camden albeit now having that large commercial stamp at its entrance.

As Costa put it we all posses the qualities of patience, observation and understanding and as individuals, groups and communities we can make a difference, and as his grandfather put it, soil/compost is the lifeforce for plants and we need to respect and nurture it.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Over the hump, Spring here we come.

We are now over the hump but winter isn't quite finished with us and decided to remind us by giving our gardens a frosty coating over the last couple of weeks, a few vegetables have had their growth slowed somewhat with gardeners trying to take control and initiate a few preventative measures to keep the warmth in the soil and their plants, concerns over flowers setting on broad beans and growth of various veges have been raised but i am sure over the next few weeks these thoughts will be behind us. The herb garden is still quite productive with Coriander and Sage trying to shrug off the cold, Curley and Italian Parsley are both growing well, Chervil and Dill also both growing really well, and i have to say went down very well on the sausage sandwiches that we enjoyed during the working bee.


Another great working bee on saturday, a big thankyou to all concerned, many hands make light work and thanks to the efforts of all concerned weed matting was put down on about 75m of perimeter, unfortunately alot of the kangaroo grass planted early on had failed to take hold. The redundant/spare/relinquished beds were weeded and allocated to new gardeners or existing ones wishing to expand. The mulch was all used up and we now await another delivery. Thanks to Annette for her work with the kids on the day with the installation of 2 new worm farms, Gabrielle, Warwick, Jai and Tali certainly enjoyed naming all their new friends in the worm farms, more worms will be delivered over the coming weeks.

If you are wondering what to plant at the moment the following can be put in - radish, shallots, spinach, peas, onions, lettuce, endive, chicory and kohlrabi.

Anyone interested in the gardens can find out by dropping us an email via the contacts link

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Did someone say Winter !!

Visiting the Camden Community Garden at the moment one could easily be fooled into thinking it wasn't winter. Talking to a fellow gardener over the weekend we both agreed had we been on an alottment in the UK in the middle of winter all we would be growing is grey hair :).

The benefits of the Community Gardens are many and varied the main benefit being the the social/sense of community aspect for members of the garden and public alike who can use or visit the gardens during daylight hours, certainly pay the gardens a visit and say hello to any gardeners working away, there is the communial benefit whereby the whole community gains from having such a great resource at their back door, and as it develops/grows this will only become more evident.

An added benefit but by no means the driving force in being a part of this is the monetary benefit, in the latter years from the outside the site seemed to be sitting quietly waiting for a new lease of life, that new lease on life has been established by the Town Farm Committee and the Community Gardens Committee, and with the tireless help of its members, volunteers and gardeners blossomed into a valuable council asset, this certainly has been helped along and funded by Human Services through Family and Community Services Community Builders Program and with the support of Camden Council.

Take yourself to the shops for your regular food shop each week and the potential benefit to your hip pocket is also evident, take the following in season vegetables as a rough idea:
  • Buk Choy - $1.96 for 3
  • Kale - $2.98 for 175g
  • Leeks - $2.38 ea
  • Shallots - $2.48 a bunch
  • Herbs - $2.45 a bunch
  • Red Cabbage - $4.98 ea
  • Cabbage - $3.98 ea
  • Wombok - Chinese Cabbage - $2.98 ea
  • Lettuce - $1.98 ea
  • Fennel - $1.78 ea
  • Parsnips - $9.98 kg
  • Swedes - $2.98 kg
  • Spinach - $3.98 a bunch
  • Pak Choy - $1.96  for 3
While its true the gardens are a valuable resource to the local communtiy and various groups, with the impending infrastructure work to be done over the coming months the gardens should cement themselves as a focal point for many folk and give visitors to the area something to admire and take home thoughts of.

This faciltiy is unique and the historical significance is of major importance, the property is listed on the State Heritage Register and as such careful consideration goes into the developement of the gardens.

Tasks on the horizon include pathwork from Camden Town Farm and through the gardens, construction of raised beds for aged as well as greater disability access, planting of more herbs, weed matting the borders, improvements to the composting, addition of worm farms, an orchard, also on the plans is a covered area for folk to gather and enjoy as well as a nursery/greenhouse to grow/propagate plants for the garden and potentially the community. Its hoped that not only this generation but generations to come will be proud to be associated with this facility and preserving the facility that Miss Llewella Davies left for the Community.

Happy Gardening

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Happenings in the gardens

Another great weekend for the gardens.

A big thankyou to the gardeners for mowing lawns and edges, thanks to the folk that tidied up the memorial garden as well.

Association members we are rapidly approaching the onset of the first frosts and as such may lose some herbs overnight, so please pick as your leasure.

We should have a key/guide to the herbs up over the coming weeks, we currently have the following growing.
    Foreground - Rocket surrounding the sage.
  • Basil, Normal and Thai, (frost may kill both)
  • Coriander,
  • Sage,
  • Chervil,
  • Dill - not quite ready to pick,
  • Italian Parsley - as above,
  • Oregano,
  • Thyme,
  • Marjoram,
  • Tarragon.
  • Rocket, this has seeded badly and will be cut back.
  • Nettles, these have been planted out in their own bed, worth reading up on for their various qualities.
  • Vietnamese Mint (you would have to search for this as its not in the herb garden yet, i have 1 plant in, and i am hoping to protect it from the frosts).

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Another Working Bee down and the latest.

Thanks to those that attended the latest working bee on the 18th of June, please put the 16th of July in your diaries as the date for the next one. They say many hands make light work and this time we even had lots of little hands with some of our younger gardeners digging in, thanks to Gabrielle, Tash, Jai and Tali for helping out. Thanks to Jeff the president of the gardens for organising lunch.

On the garden front some of the more overgrown beds were worked over giving their new owners a reprieve in the setting up process, and as such we would like to welcome Sylvanvale Foundation to the gardens who will be taking up one bed and now join the team from Wesley Disability Services on site.

After the GE Money visit the herb garden was given something of a makeover and has since been planted out with some new plants, presently we still have the following growing and cropping :
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Marjoram
  • Chervil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Coriander
  • Nettles
  • Tarragon (russian)
  • Vietnamese Mint
The recently planted herbs are:
  • Italian Parsley - now picking
  • Curly Parsley
  • Celeriac
  • Chives
  • Rosemary - in a couple of borders only so far
  • Mint
  • Bay Leaves
  • Oregano - Variegated

If you are wondering what people are growing and picking in the garden the list below should give you an inkling as to the productivity of the gardens at present, and going through our first winter.
  • Leeks
  • Spring Onions
  • Beetroot - Purple/Orange
  • Parsnips
  • Bok Choy
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage - red - savoy
  • Daikon Radish
  • Fennell
  • Lettuce
  • Kailan
  • Sprouting Broccoli
  • Rhubarb
  • Broad Beans
  • Spinach/Silverbeet
  • Russian Kale
Other happenings:

A big thankyou goes out to the folk at Carrington Centennial Care for the welcome they extended to myself this week when i spoke at their residents meeting with regards to visiting and sharing the gardens.

Happy Gardening


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Flavours of the South

Looking for something to do over the long weekend and dont particularly want to spent your day parked on the M5 or F3, why not kick of the weekend at Camden Produce markets today (check out our links page for more) and then make you way to the Southern Highlands.
Image thanks to Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms

Numerous venues and tours are on across the region till monday, check out Highlands Foodie Group for some great information, among the tours are tours of Li-sun Exotic Mushrooms in the old rail tunnels, these dont come up every day and are sure to fill up if they haven't already. you can contact them on 0248712524.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

GE Money Visit

On the 7th of June Camden Town Farm Community Gardens  had the pleasure of welcoming over 20 GE Money employees from across the region to the gardens as part of their "Branch Community Day"

"Every year, for one day, GE branches across Australia and New Zealand shut shop so that their employees can take part in a range of volunteering projects to support their local communities."

More info on this great intiative can be found here

For the Community Gardens this initiative was welcomed with open arms, the enthusiam shown by all the employees was incredible and enabled some major maintanence/cleanup work to be achieved. Gardens President Jeff Ferrif was also in attendance and even demonstrated his taste for nettles during the lunchtime welcome.

After a light afternoon tea the troops got stuck back into work with a timely arrival of mulch thanks to CPE Tree Services  arriving just before tools down. To the GE staffs credit numerous barrow loads where then spread across the rejuvenated community herb garden.
We would like to thank GE Money for their generous support on this day.

Thankyou and Happy Gardening

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Working Bee

Hi All

Cabbages and broad beans.
Finally some rain, the last couple of days has produced some good falls in the area, alas whats good for the garden is good for the weeds.
At the last committee meeting it was suggested we fix a date for working bees, that day will be the 3rd saturday of the month, it doesnt clash with the markets as they are on the 4th Saturday, so parking wont be an issue. We should also by the next one have access to the toilets sorted out as a new lock is being installed over coming weeks.

Any qs drop me a line via stephen.cooper(at)

Happy Gardening

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Winter in the gardens

The view towards the old town farm buildings from Exeter Street, Camden.
Looking north across the main section of garden plots towards Kirkham.

Gardeners combatting the onset of winter.

 Oregano thriving with minimal care.
 Thyme surrounding the Marjoram.
New crop of Italian Parsley well on the way.

Friday, 20 May 2011

BRRRRR, Winter is here :(

Hi All

Frost bitten Basil :(
Well winter struck with a blow last week, as mentioned in a previous post it was suggested we pick basil ASAP, we are sadly too late, carnage has descended on the pesto ingredients. Thai Basil and regular Basil have both blackened, if anything it will be worth collecting seeds and storing them for next season.

On other fronts, you learn from your mistakes, and i certainly have, the gardens have had crops in now for 3 seasons, the one missing has been winter.

Note to self and others, go down and see what everyone else is growing, the following crops are growing well, cauliflower, broccoli, asian greans like chinese cabbage, bok choy, choy sum, kailan, onions, leeks, potatoes, lettuces, spinach to name a few.

Crops that arent doing well, are beans, unless broad variety, beans need to have cropped before the first frost, have a look at the beans under the white nets on the left side, :( capsicums, tomatoes, eggplants and zucchinis have also suffered at the hands of the frost.

Thoughts on plantings in the communtiy sections, anything that is going to take up too much space in your own plots, the likes of pumpkins, melons, zucchinis, potentially tomatoes, potatoes, but be aware, these are designated community sections, if folk wish to harvest from these areas it would be preferred that work be contributed to those areas also.

Happy Gardening Folks and see you soon, Steve

Friday, 29 April 2011


 A big thankyou to those folk who have been active over the past week, there has been considerable work done on weeding borders and paths near the new plunge trough.

If any members of the association are looking for tasks to undertake in their spare time, any weeding would be greatly appreciated by the committee. Areas in dire need are around the herb area, please note: protective gear is a must, unless you are immune to stinging nettles (see photo)

A suggestion would be long sleeves and sturdy gloves, long trousers and covered sturdy shoes.

As an added precaution have stingoes on hand or similar product.

Working Bee

There will be a working bee for members and freinds this Saturday 30th April from 9am. Exeter St Camden.

Confirmation would be appreciated via text to (zero,four,six,seven 531972)

Happy Gardening Steve


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