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


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