Sunday, 31 July 2011

The First Winter

The First Planting Day
Our first planting day was a great success.  The sun shone brilliantly all day and the Winter gardeners, visitors and Friends of the Garden managed to complete a mass planting out, as well as learn a great deal from the experts present.  We were gifted with a large number of plant donations and the NLFG thanks its supporters including John Pinnegar, Peppertree Place Coburg, Angelo Eliades and Bunnings Preston, as well as countless individuals who donated cuttings and seedlings.

Pathways marked out ready for planting

Plum trees in the Food Forest

The back garden bed.  Look at all those plants!

Watering in at the end of the day

The Winter Season

Despite the slow growing season, planting out a new garden in Winter has provided an excellent opportunity to plant bare-rooted fruit trees, berry canes and root crops, and to establish perennial ornamentals and edibles in new homes.

The Food Forest has taken great shape under the direction of Angelo Eliades of Deep Green PermacultureThree plum trees (Santa Rosa, D’Agen and Donsworth), three apples, and a mulberry tree now stand as the forest canopy, with a dwarf mandarin, berries (raspberries, currents and a jostaberry), and scented and companion plants forming the mid-layer.  Ground covers include wild (alpine) strawberries, lettuce, Asian greens, herbs and violets.

The Food Forest Plan - Angelo Eliades

Winter edible planting throughout the garden includes strawberries, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tat soi, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, kale, silverbeet and rainbow chard, garlic, onions, leek, spring onions, edible cannas, lettuce varieties, mustard, parsley, coriander, watercress, dill, Warrigal greens, Jerusalem artichoke, rhubarb, nasturtium and broad beans.

Companion, scented and flowering plants form an important part of the garden and a third of the front garden bed has been planted with a variety of plants including lavender, daisy varieties, calendula, cornflower, hollyhock, salvia varieties, as well as some native ground covers and shrubs.  These plants are dotted throughout the seasonal beds as well and will act as bee forage, attract beneficial insects to the garden and act as ‘helpers’ to our fruit and vegetable varieties.

August in the Garden
  • Trellis will be erected for the berries in the Food Forest, an additional berry bed and for a planned passion fruit plant near the water tank. 
  • Pathway construction awaits some enthusiastic volunteers!  Stepping stones will criss-cross the garden beds and the Food Forest and will allow for easy access to plants.  We plan to construct these paths from reclaimed and re-purposed materials, such as bricks and timber.
  • Succession planting will be an ongoing task in the garden and the back garden bed has been planned to ensure there will be food to harvest every month from the garden.
  • Growers will begin to propagate seed for the coming Spring season this month and we’re hoping to grow some interesting heritage/heirloom varieties.

The Darebin Council Sow What When brochure is helping to inform us of suitable planting times as well as the plants that do and do not get along together!

The next planting and working bee day is on Saturday August 20th from 10am.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

About the Garden

About the Garden
The Northcote Library Food Garden has been developed by the City of Darebin as part of its sustainable food program. A community consultation process began in late April 2011 and the first community planting day was held in July.

The garden is managed by a committed group of residents for the benefit of the community. It will become a productive growing space, as well as a place for gathering, for education and for demonstrating sustainable gardening practices. The Northcote Library Food Garden joins an exciting array of sustainability and gardening projects and networks operating in the inner-Northern suburbs of Melbourne.

The garden features two large communal growing beds, which have been planted out with annual and perennial edible plants, as well as a variety of companion and beneficial plants. In addition, a Food Forest is taking great shape in an additional bed. The Food Forest follows the principles of other forests, with a canopy, mid-layer and ground covers, however, the Food Forest’s layers are made up of fruit trees, and edible shrubs, berries and herbs. Children will love stepping along the forest pathway through the fruit trees, searching for berries to munch on!

The garden has been established as a communal plot in order to maximize growing space. It will function using a communal planting and harvest model. A monthly planting, harvest and working bee day will take place, with gardeners committing a further 1-2 hours a week of their available time. On the community days, the available harvest will be shared with those present, and gardeners are welcome to harvest a reasonable share of anything that is ready to pick at any other time. The garden will be chemical-free and operate using broad permaculture and organic principles.

Future plans for the garden include establishing a native plants and bush food area and growing a children’s sensory garden. Gardening workshops are planned as part of broad educational aims for the garden.

The Northcote Library Food Garden is open for members of the public to enjoy and it is hoped that it will become a place where the community can meet, children can explore and people can learn about growing their own food.

Becoming Involved with the Garden
Community members are invited to become involved with the garden, either as a Friend of the Garden or as a Gardener.  Please register your interest and join our mailing list by emailing the garden:

Donations of plants are always welcome.