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.

8 June 2013



Monthly Newsletter #3 Issued May 2013

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

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

May in your patch (North from Coffs Harbour)
  • Time to plant winter wonders - leeks, beetroot, celery, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, turnips, onions, kale, kohlrabi, spinach and silverbeet.
  • Check out the herbs - lemon grass, spring onions, chamomile, thyme, mint, rosemary and lemon balm, Try lemon balm in a pot around the outdoor area. It will stop it spreading and keep mozzies away!
  • Pretty up your patch with these flowers - marigolds, lupins, pansies, cornflowers, violas, snapdragons, stock, ageratum, verbena and lavender.  Growing these flowers will add colour and interest and attract beneficial insects.
  • Feed your plants with a seaweed tea, especially the new seedlings.
  • Keep up the weeding, mulching and watering when needed. 
Full details of May in your patch.
 More and to sign up for the Sustainable Gardening Newsletter here

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Around Casino Community Garden this Month
Every Tuesday from 8.30am: Join in at the garden for hoeing, weeding and general garden activities, planting still going on.

Every Wednesday 12 noon: 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 18th May Garden Clinic 10am - 2pm Free Admission
Bees in your garden - Eddie Handford
Home Garden Irrigation - Keith Day
Container Gardening - Shirley Wheatley
Recycling - Peter Cotterill (RVC) 

Sausage Sizzle Lunch provided (gold coin  donation appreciated) and we'll have the billy on. Bring your mug if you're not keen on a paper cup.   

And if you have a plant you can't identify, or you would like to chat over a problem in your garden, our gardeners may be able to help with your query.

Exciting News!
Casino Community Garden now on Facebook 
(works if you are already on FB, otherwise you will be asked to sign up)

Any ideas for topics for the Newsletter, please bring along to the garden
Wednesday lunchtimes. 

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Growing Your Own Food Demonstration  

By Shirley Wheatley at the "Living on the Line" session (run by On Track) at the Casino Community Garden on Thursday 18th April - with some editing by Jan Brine.

I've been given the honour of sharing my knowledge, through experience, of growing your own vegies, mainly in containers. 

I've been doing it for years, but in this day and age of sustainability, (the current buzz word), it has become trendy, and in order to feed ourselves, absolutely necessary.

Container growing is less hard work as it cuts out digging, and if you elevate the containers it cuts out bending.  It gives you a fair bit of control over the weather too, pots drain well, they can be shifted around, either into the best sunny position, or if they need protection from the hot sun just move them to a shady spot.  It is ideal for people who live in units, you only need a spot on a balcony for a few pots, and for people who rent, the containers of plants can be taken to a new address as easily as the furniture.
Any container that will hold soil is useable, but of course, the larger you want the plant to grow the larger the container you need.  Herbs can be grown in small pots. Herbs are so handy for your culinary needs, and they are easy to replace as the need arises.

Foam vegie boxes are ideal and are available from the supermarket or the fruit shop for free. Recycle is the name of the game.

I use black plastic growing bags and any thing I can get my hands on.  I'll grow parsnips in the deepest one. Lettuce and Asian greens are suited to the shallower boxes. Potatoes can be grown in a jute bag - you'd put two or three potatoes in a bag, acording to its size.  I really enjoyed growing mushrooms in a bag and a box in the pantry.

You'll need a good potting mix. I buy mine from Aldi, and I'm very happy with the quality - they don't always have it so I stock up when they do. A 22 litre bag is about four dollars.  As I age I'm happy with the size because I have to lift it. And that's heavy enough.

Phil Dudman says you can make your own potting mix. You need a nine litre bucket and a wheel- barrrow or something large enough to mix it in, two buckets of potting mix, one bucket of garden compost, some coir peat (I missed the amount but I would perhaps use one brick), wet it and mix it in (it's a great sustainable product), and using a 440g empty baked bean tin (more recycling), add two tins of chicken manure, like dynamic lifter (he's not allowed to say that on ABC radio) and one tin of trace elements and mix it all together.

Many years ago when I was a farmer I just dug up some soil and added lots of cow manure to it, it was wonderful.  If you have access to animal manure I still believe it's the best.

You can buy advanced plants or seedlings from the nursery or you can grow from seed. Seed raising can be done in margarine containers, keep the soil damp in a sunny position and they'll germinate in no time.

Phil Dudman has a top ten favourite list for pots:
  1. Salad greens (lettuce, rocket mizuna etc)
  2. Asian greens (pak choy, bok choy, tatsoi etc)
  3. Spinach (English sspinach and silverbeet)
  4. Roots (radish, beetroot, turnip)
  5. Kale
  6. Spring onion
  7. Bush bean
  8. Tomato and eggplant
  9. Capsicum
  10. Potato.
Don't forget to grow your herbs and rocket -always useful and easy to grow.  There are edible flowers like nasturtiums, calendulas, day lily and camomile.  Flowers and leaves are great in salads.  There's a great range of books on the topic at the Library, especially the Grass Roots Magazine.

I grow things all the time - there's a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, a gardener's therapy.  I have witnessed very young children picking a flower, sometimes just a dandelion, and I know of a lady at the end of her life whose dying wish was to be taken out into the garden to see the plants.

So how do you feel when you see flowers?  I get a great feeling, it doesn't matter if it's a prize-winning bloom you've grown, or whether it's a bud opening on a plant that's struggled against adverse weather conditions in your own garden.

I'd like to share with you the entry in the 'Friendship Book ' from Saturday March 2, 2013:
If, like our old friend Mary, you're getting a bit tired of the wind and rain this time of year often brings, then look forward to the Summer with these words from the second century written by Bishop Alexander,
"It takes God's weather to bring up God's flowers".

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What is Heirloom seed anyway?

The truth is that there is a fair amount of debate over what the term heirloom, in relation to seed, actually means, but lets start with three points that everyone agrees on first.

1) Heirloom seed must be open pollinated: Open pollinated varieties are plants that are pollinated by insects, birds, wind and other natural means.   They are more genetically diverse and if grown in isolation will produce seed that is 'true to type'.

2) Heirloom seed must be bred and stabilized using classic breeding practies.

3) No genetic modified seeds can be considered Heirloom.

So you have some seed that meets the above three points, is it Heirloom or isn't it?  Now is the part of the argument that is highly debated:

4) Heirloom seed needs to have been in existence for a long time, it's the actual length of time that is debated:
Some say seed needs to have originated over 50, others 100, years ago to be considered Heirloom. Others say before 1945 (end of WWII) or 1951 (beginning of widespread introduction of hybrid seeds).

To make all of this even more confusing some people use the term Heirloom seed in the literal sense
they simply mean a variety that has been nurtured and selected by a family, farm or small community over generations.

Do we value Heirloom seeds and give them space in our gardens?

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What is Permaculture? 

Permaculture is mainly a way to have an organic food garden that's stunningly beautiful, productive, and comes without any tedious garden work.... The term permaculture combines the words permanent and culture, or permanent and agriculture, and that is the first hint to what it's all about.  The philosophy behind permaculture was developed about thirty years ago in Australia.

Nobody digs and sows, plants and weeds, or sprays bugs in a forest.  Still, all those chores are taken care of somehow.  The forest grows and feeds its inhabitants.  If any task in your garden is an unpleasant chore then there is definitely a better way to do it or to eliminate it.  Nature has already developed a solution to every problem that you could possibly encounter in your garden.

Nature is also the ultimate recycler.  Everything goes round and round.  There is no such thing as 'waste'.  Everything is a resource.  And most importantly, it's sustainable.  It's something that works in the long run, not something that is based on inputs that will eventually run out, not something that creates waste and problems that will eventually upset the system.

The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term.  Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supporting  system for city and country, using the smallest practical area.

If you think ahead ad design your permaculture garden right, it won't take much effort, it will mostly look after itself, and it will also be incredibly productive and beautiful and attractive to wildlife.
Also see Zaytuna Farm at The Channon, home of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and featured in Kitchen Gardens International.
 Pic at Zaytuna Farm Kitchen Garden on Sunday 5 May, 2013 
(International Kitchen Garden Day)

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Recipe of the Month

Shirley's Delicious Rosella Jam

  • Prepare Rosellas by taking the fleshy red outer husks off the seed.
  • Cover seeds with water and boil for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Strain this water and reserve.  Discard seeds.
  • Add the water to red husks and boil for 15 to 20 minutes until it looks cooked.
  • Measure cooked Rosella mixture and add the same amount of sugar, cup for cup.
  • Boil this new mixture for about 45 minutes.  This will reduce a bit and be about to jell.
  • Test for jelling by putting about a teaspoon on a saucer and place in freezer.
  • Test by tilting the saucer and if the top wrinkles it is ready to jell.
  • If not ready to jell, boil a bit longer and test again.
  • Bottle and seal.

Casino Community Garden
A Project of the Casino Neighbourhood Centre
Coordinator—Jo Nemeth    Phone :  6662 5435
Weekly Garden Gatherings
Tuesdays from 8.30am and Wednesdays at noon 
for a free lunch - all welcome!  
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