Recording the Newsletters issued by Casino Community Garden, located on the corner of Adam and Hartley Streets
(adjacent to entrance to Queen Elizabeth Park), South Casino, NSW, Australia.

The garden is a project of Casino Neighbourhood Centre, overseen by the Community Development Project Coordinator. As the flier concerning community gardens says, it is a place of beauty, joy, peace and kindliness, and friendliness too.

All links active at time of publication. Please report any broken link you come across to Jan. Thank you.

7 June 2013



Monthly Musings for April 2013

Vegetable Planting Guide by Gardening Australia
On website, click on subtropical, then vegetable, for description
Beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, burdock, cabbage (loose and tight headed), capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, chives, endive, garlic, huauzontle, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, collards, kohlrabi, leeks, mangle-wurzel, mitzuna, mustard greens, onions, oregano, pak choy, bok choy etc, parsley, peas and snow peas, radish, rocket,salsify, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, turnips/swedes.

Sustain Food has a Northern Rivers annual chart we can print.

April in your patch (North from Coffs Harbour)
  • Great time to plant your leafy greens, carrots and potatoes.
  • Plants still need feeding. A seaweed tea, or any low environmental impact liquid fertiliser, is perfect for giving them a kick start. Apply to the soil early in the morning.
  • Renew the herb patch with coriander, parsley, lemon grass, chamomile and oregano.
  • Put in some marigolds etc, to attract beneficial insects.
  • Water first thing in the morning, with a deep drink a couple of times a week.
  • Top up mulch on your vegie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds, to 7cm, after watering, especially important for weed suppression.  Keep mulch clear of plant stems, especially seedlings.
  • Keep up the weeding.  
For full details and to sign up  for the Sustainable Gardening Newsletter, go to:
Sustainable Gardening

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Around Casino Community Garden this Month
More help needed:   Anyone interested in being involved is invited to attend working bees on Tuesday moornings from 8.30am and/ or lunch 12 noon on Wednesdays.

Jo says:  "There are many different ways people can be involved from computer work to phoning around to track down bits and pieces we need and planting fruit trees, vegies and flowers to researching native bush tucker and building garden bed frames.
  • We need someone to come and help look after our fruit trees (some are looking a little worse for wear) - any experts there?
  • We hope to see work start on the tool shed which will be built with help from DIY ardware, and the tank stand should be going up.... Fingers crossed!"

Every Wednesday: Lunch gatherings every week at the garden, come on down at noon and have a bite to eat, a cuppa and a chat to the regulars.... we often talk about good things like good food, gardening and all things healthy living.....

Saturday 6th April:  Naomi from ACE will be holding the first of four workshops - Gardening with Rhythms of the Moon (10am - 4pm) Cost to be advised.

Wednesday 18th April: 'Living on the Line' information session (put on by On-Track Community Programs) 10am to noon.  The garden group will be doing a brief presentation to the participants about gardening in containers.

New sign erected recently by RVC

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Community Garden Enjoys First Pizzas
The community was out in force to try the first pizzas to come out of the new pizza oven at the Community Garden on Saturday 16th March.

"We've been using the oven to boil the billy at our Wednesday lunches at the garden but this was our first time cooking pizzas" said Jo Nemeth, Community Development worker from the Casino Neighbourhood Centre, "and they were delicious, even though we are still getting the hang of using the oven."

The pizza oven cook-up saw over 30 people in all, gathering and making pizzas at the Community Garden on the day.  People also supplied the gathering with home-made damper and jams and the garden itself also provided the herbs needed for the pizzas.

"The garden group again pulled together to put on a great day; mowing as much as the soggy ground would allow, making up batches of dough for the bases, managing the fire and clearing up afterwards, among other things.  Without this group of dedicated people and those who have worked hard up until now, there would be no garden for us all to enjoy".                    
                                                                                                                     The Media Release.

Pic- roasting a couple of eggplant from the garden before cooking the pizzas.

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Reading for April
Organic Gardening
The practice of growing vegetables and food crop plants without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides is what organic gardening is all about.  Carried out to produce food crops that are free of chemicals and therefore a healthier choice.

Starting or building an organic garden is based around the principle that 'The Soil Feeds the Plant.'  So it is by naturally increasing the health structure and fertility of the soil that we take steps towards a productive organic garden.

 Organic gardening also focuses oh the health and structure of the soil that we use. Beneficial or garden friendly insects are also encouraged in an organic garden.

It needs to be remembered that any residual pesticides etc will take some time to work their way out of your garden, so organic may not be immediate, but by following steps below you will be on your way.

Organic Gardening Tips
  • Stop using fertilizers, pesticides, weed killers and any other non-organic additives to all parts of your garden.
  • Choose a place in your garden that is sunny, away from buildings and drains and other areas that are possibly a source of contamination.  Clear the area and establish where you want the garden beds to be.
  • Establish an organic compost bin that you fill with pesticide-free grass clippings, leaves and other fine material.
  • Once the compost has started to decompose, spread a layer over the garden bed and dig it into the soil, not too deeply.  The beneficial microbes and bacteria do not like to be buried too deeply.
  • Obtain organic mulch to place over the top of the garden bed and keep the area moist.
  • Avoid soil compaction by not standing on the garden bed.
  • After a few weeks you are ready to start planting.  You will need organic seeds or seedlings to promote the organic nature of the garden.
Green Crops and Organic Vegetable Gardening
Green manure crops such as Alfalfa have a number of benefits and are used widely in organic gardens, where one basic principle is to 'never leave the soil bare.'

Green crops help prevent weeds, encourage soil micro organisms, fix nitrogen in the soil, especially pea and bean crops.

Sow a green manure crop immediately after you have finished with one area. Green manure crops can also be planted between rows.  Green crops can be dug into the soil after two months or so.

Composting and Organic Gardening
Another basic principle of gardening in the organic way is to compost, it's amazing how much valuable organic material can be returned to the soil with proper composting techniques.  Remember that compost not only acts as a fertilizer, it also improves soil structure and water retention.  How often do we hear that this plant likes a humus rich soil. Compost increases the amount of humus in the soil.

Mulch and Organic Gardening
Remember the principle 'never leave the soil bare'.  MULCH is a big part of this.
Mulch serves a number of purposes:
  • Mulch helps prevent weeds
  • Mulch helps retain moisture
  • Mulch helps provide a cool root run
  • And mulch encourages healthy micro organisms that are so important to soil health and a thriving organic garden.
Source:  Nurseries Online

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Autumn - Time to Plant Garlic

Pop garlic into any sunny, well-drained spot in the garden, or in a pot.

There are several reasons to plant garlic. First up, it is relatively easy to grow and highly rewarding.  Also, growing your own garlic means you get to eat a fresh, organic product and one that hasn't been imported.

Crops take many months to grow.  The bulbs are harvested as the foliage dies down in late Spring or early Summer. Bulbs can be stored and used over many months.

Step by Step
1. Separate the cloves
To grow your own garlic, buy organic garlic from a nursery, greengrocer or mail-order supplier.  Break the head up into separate cloves and plant them so the pointy tip of the clove is about 1.5 -2cm below the ground.

2. Plant
Pop garlic into any sunny, well drained spot in the garden or in a pot.  If you are a serious garlic eater, grow a crop by planting rows, spacing each clove about 15cm apart.

3. Weed and Mulch
Keep plants free of weeds (they don't like competition), water regularly and fertilise through their growing season using a complete fertiliser.  A layer of mulch around each plant keeps weeds down and moisture in your soil.

Words Jennifer Stackhouse      Homelife

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Recipe Corner

The Many Uses of Eggplant

This vegetable is quite diverse and more versatile, both in the garden and in the kitchen, than you might think.  It has been around for many centuries, used in cuisine of many countries.

Once harvested, eggplants will keep for about a week wrapped in perforated plastic in the refrigerator.  Fruits can be sliced or cubed, then blanched or steamed, and frozen up to eight months for later use.

Cook your Eggplant
Eggplant has chemicals that can cause digestive upset if eaten raw, so is usually cooked.  It can be grilled, stuffed, roasted, served in soups, stews and on kabobs, and used in curries and stirfries.  Eggplant is nutritious, being low in calories, fat and sodium.  It is high in fibre, and provides additional nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin B6 and A.

To prepare eggplants
If  you want to keep the calories and fat low, cook in broth, wine, or vegetable juice instead of oil or butter.  Since the flesh discolours quickly, use right away after cutting.  Salt slices or cubes and stand aside for ten minutes or so during preparation.  Then wash off the salt, drain, and pat dry before cooking.  One satisfactory method is in a pan with a splash of olive oil.

Dietary Fibre
Eggplants provide dietary fibre in abundance.  They aid digestion and promote health for your heart.  Additionally, they also help to lower the level of cholesterol in your body.  One cup serving of eggplant would contain approximately 10% of the recommended dietary fibre.

Use the skin of the eggplant
The skin, especially, is loaded with fibre, so it is essential that you include the skin in the dish to reap its benefits.

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Make your own Eggplant Dip - Easy Baba Ghanosh

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 cup (65 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup (85 ml) olive oil
  • pinch salt to taste
Pierce the eggplant 4 or 5 times with the tip of a paring knife. Microwave on High for 6 to 8 minutes until softened, then place on a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

Peel off the skin and stem, discard. Roughly chop the eggplant and place into a blender along with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.  Puree until smooth, adding water if needed to make a thick paste' season to taste with salt.

Serve with pita bread, crackers or selection of raw vegetables, e.g. carrot sticks, capsicum, cauliflower florets, and celery to taste.

NOTE: Tahini may be replaced with mayonnaise.
Casino Community Garden 
A Project of the Casino Neighbourhood Centre 
Coordinator- Jo Nemeth   Phone 6662 5435
Weekly Garden Gatherings - Tuesdays from 8.30am (all welcome)
Weekly Garden Lunch Gathering -Wednesdays at noon (all welcome)

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