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.

3 September 2013



Monthly Newsletter #7 Issued September 2013

Around Casino Community Garden this Month

Every Tuesday from 8.30am: Join in at the garden with Jo, Janine, Mark and Kevin, weeding, general garden activities, and planting still going on.
Gardening Wednesday morning also.

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 join in the chat with the regulars, topics include good food, gardening and healthy living.

Meeting September on Wednesday 11th:  Lunch 12 noon, MEETING 12.30 for about an hour.
Note: Meeting usually held first Wednesday of month.

Welcome to Spring Garden Clinic Saturday 31st August 

With thanks to our poster by a regular member of the Garden, promotion on Facebook and around town, and an item in the Richmond River Express, and no doubt word of mouth, we are thrilled to  report an attendance of about sixty, (including our regulars), at our quarterly event.

It was great to see how the afternoon flowed, and especially the friendliness and camaraderie.

A new idea was the opportunity to bring along spare garden items to share, and heartwarming to see this taken on board with an abundance of started plants, fruit, veges and even fresh free range eggs.

We also had a raffle, an advanced Guava Tree donated by Riverview Nursery and won by Linda Brooks.

Tea and coffee and a spread including home made cupcakes, bread, damper, scones, jams, a tasty pumpkin dish and a savoury banana flower dish were available for afternoon tea and several varieties of pizza from the cob oven, prepared on the spot.

Coordinator Jo Nemeth with Opening Remarks

The program commenced on a good  note with the Filipino Choir singing a medley of traditional folk songs in their language, followed by gospel songs in English, concluding with Amazing Grace. The crowd was invited to join in this number and the segment was well received.

The Speakers

Compost and Biochar -  Keith Larsson, Mara Seeds

Keith introduced himself with a summary of his background and deep love of agriculture and his drive to develop new products.

Through experience he found that there was no increase in production through use of chemicals and fertilisers, on their farm, and bought compost was not beneficial.  They started making their own, in the open, in rows at Mallanganee, using hay, sawdust, chicken manure and ti-tree mulch.  The product cycles up to 60C, which kills the weeds, and back down to 40C when it is ready for use.  They supply truckloads to horticulture, including the macadamia industry.  It is Australia Certified Organic.  
Available for $7 a 25 litre bag, or by the trailer load at Mallanganee.
      Compost production at Mallanganee.   Pic from Mara Seeds website

Biochar is a charcoal-like material which is applied into soil or potting mix to improve the structure and growth of plants.  Biochar is made by heating recycled organic matter at extreme temperatures until most gases and oils are released and recycled to produce green electricity.  This heating process is called Pyrolysis.  The remaining structure of the organic matter is Biochar.  

This structure is essentially the skeleton of the organic material and consists mostly of compounds such as Carbon and Silica.  Mara's is made from a sustainable source of recycled plant material which has a very diverse composition that suits a variety of soil microorganisms and is brilliant for holding water.  It is expensive and used blended with compost to improve water holding capacity and nutrients.  Green waste is obtained from Richmond Valley Council.

Mara is hopeful of generating electricity within 12 months.

Keith will be at the Casino Garden Club day at the Old Bowling Club, Richmond Street, Casino, on 28th September with stock of compost and Biochar.  $25 for bag Biochar.

Agnes Tierney - Use of Unusual Vegetables

Agnes gave us a handout which included details of several of the vegetables featured.  Her talk was illustrated with humorous anecdotes about the reactions to her unusual dishes.  Agnes had an array of vegetables to show us and made us aware of her interest in the nutritional content and the preparation and use of the vegetables for various health concerns.  She particularly mentioned bitter melon for diabetes and an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, riboflavin and folate.  

Other vegetables included in Agnes' talk were Luffa for juice, White Squash, Cassava, a staple food from which tapioca is derived, Okra, five varieties of sweet potato and use of the tops for vitamin A and a good sleeping patterns, Yam, mature (green) Pumpkin and Banana Blossom.  Some of us may have tried the banana blossom on the home-made damper or bread, as Agnes had a dish of it on the afternoon tea table along with her potato and coconut cupcakes.

Agnes also mentioned five Australian weeds that are edible for humans and animals.  Whilst vegetables are mainly cooked in her homeland, Agnes advocates that it is healthy to eat as many vegetables as possible raw, as it is very good for the complexion.

Agnes concluded by telling us she joined the garden to stay young.  Catch up with Agnes at the garden as she is always willing to talk about vegetables and their cultivation and use.

Linda Brooks - Alternate Energy Production and Methane Power

Linda presented an extensive report on her research on reclaimed or by-product Biogas - Biomass produced methane as a global alternative energy source.  Linda outlined why there is a need for alternate energy solutions - the fundamental problem being the world's population growth and that fossil fuel based energy is not sustainable.

Alternate energy is produced or recovered without undesirable consequences inherent in fossil fuel use - high carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.  The future of power lies with alternate sources that harness natural processes without harming the environment, harnessing wind, water, sunlight, wave and tidal movement and geothermal heat, natural sources that are replenished constantly.  

The solution Linda highlighted is Biomass Energy that is extracted from biological material, from living, or recently living organisms.

Plant matter can be used to generate electricity and is a growing industry as interest in sustainable fuel sources is growing.  A great deal of research involves algae-derived biomass due to it being a non-food resource and can be produced at five to ten times the rate of land based agriculture, and as a by-product of nutrient removal systems and waste water treatment.  Sources globally include forest by-products, sugar cane residue, rice husks, and poultry litter.

Biomass can be converted to usable forms of energy like methane gas or ethanol and biodiesel.  Our region is rich with agricultural, livestock and industrial enterprises with by-products capable of producing energy from methane.  Rotting garbage at landfills, agricultural and human waste (abattoirs, sale yards, piggeries, sewerage works, horse and greyhound industry to name a few) all release methane gas also called "landfill gas"  or "biogas" which contributes to greenhouse gases and global warming.  Sugar cane waste at Condon and  Broadwater sugar mills produces bio-energy.

Corn and sugar cane crops can be fermented to produce ethanol.  Biodiesel can be produced from leftover vegetable oils and animal fats.  Biogas harnesses the methane gas from garbage or sewage systems when waste is broken down by biogas digesters and the methane gas collected can be refined and used for heat and electricity.  These are being used in isolated and impoverished communities already.

Linda then outlined various successful projects already in operation, in USA and Australia in particular, including at the Nimbin Community Solar Farm.

Then Linda asked the question "Could Casino Community Garden become a Biogas producer with Poo Power after offers from the greyhound and racehorse industries?"

Communities need to find local answers to a global problem.  Ultimately the question is not when the global economy will switch from burning environment damaging and limited petroleum products to using more earth-friendly alternative energies but how will industry and humanity handle the transition.

An enormous thank you to the Speakers for giving up their time to be with us on a Saturday afternoon, and their efforts in preparing their extensive talks on such topical subjects.

Pic from web


This pic shows fascia on undercover area where signage acknowledging 
donations towards access path will be erected.
(Pic by Barry Brine)

Vegetable Planting Guide for September

Amaranth, artichoke (globe), asparagus, basil, beans, beetroot, broccoli, burdock, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celeriac, celery, chicory, chilli, chives, cocoyam, collards, coriander , cucumber, eggplant, endive,  Florence fennel, garlic. Jerusalem artichoke,Kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, Malabar greens, mangle-wurzel, mustard greens,oregano,  pak choy etc, parsley, parsnip, peas and snow peas, potato, pumpkin,radish, rocket, rockmelon, salsify, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, turnip/ Swedes,watermelon, zucchini. 

( Zucchini, pic from web)

 September in your Garden

September is a fantastic time to be alive for us gardeners!  The chill is almost gone from the mornings, and the afternoons are getting longer.   Blossoms are bursting and you can smell spring in the air wherever you go.   Now is the time to get out and get into it.

Improve Your Soil
Prepare for spring planting by improving your soil.  Lightly dig over the soil popping in plenty of organic matter including top-notch compost and well rotted manure.  Don't forrget to mulch the beds with a straw mulch.  The beds will be awesome come planting time.

Try some colour
Why not try some lovely colour in your patch as well like nasturtium, snapdragons, phlox, petunias, marigolds (French) and celosia. They are great at attracting pollinators andbeneficial insects to your patch, and they look fantastic as well. Now is the time to plant some sunflower seeds. Find a sunny spot where you would like to see some happy sunflowers later in the year and plant the seeds to double the depth of the seed. Cover lightly with dirt and wait… they’ll be popping their heads up in no time!

Citrus Gall Wasp
Check your citrus trees for gall wasp and remove affected sections by pruning well below the gall. Don’t compost this, just pop it in a bag and toss it in your normal bin. This is your absolute last chance to do this before they hatch out and take over the world, so don’t put this off!

Mulch Now!
Top up mulch on your vegie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose a sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down

Indoor Plants
Now is a great time to re-pot your Indoor Plants. Give them a bit of a feed with a seaweed tonic afterwards to keep them happy.
Thanks to SGA  - Sustainable Gardening.Australia

 Recipe Corner

 Gooseberry Bush at Garden
Ripe Gooseberries - pic from web

Gooseberry Jam
To every pound of fruit allow one pound of sugar and one cup water
Boil sugar and water together
Put gooseberries into boiling syrup
Boil briskly until a little gels on a plate when tested.
Skim as necessary.

When measuring in metric, use 500 grams fruit, 500 grams sugar and 250 mls water.

 Suggestions and photos welcome, by email to Jo or
Jan - email
Or bring to lunch Wednesdays or meetings
Ask Jo about being a member of the Garden $5.

50 'likes' on our Facebook page now !!!!!

If you are new here be sure to check out our back issues.

Pics by Jan Brine unless otherwise stated.

Casino Community Garden
A project of the Casino Neighbourhood Centre
Contact Jo Nemeth on 66625435  email
Location: Head for entrance to Queen Elizabeth Park at South Casino
Garden on left - corner Adam and Hartley Streets.