January Garden Guide & What’s On…

And just like that, it’s another new year. Another loop around that great flaming ball of gas that keeps us going and our gardens growing but sometimes seems about to fry us alive. More on that later…

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White peach tree with VegeNet cover, tied under the canopy.

The top comments I keep hearing from Adelaide gardeners this month are:

  1. Everything grew so much this spring!
  2. Then the lorikeets ate everything, or…
  3. Something else ate everything but I’m not sure what it was!

Certainly the lorikeets have been more numerous and persistent than ever in our garden, attacking every variety of fruit while it’s still hard and green, until thoroughly netted out. This is the downside of having fruits ripening every month – they just never have a reason to go away! The VegeNet over our peach tree has been more effective than the bird netting that’s on most of our other trees, as they can’t sneak their confounded beaks through it quite so readily – although some human passer-by has still found it necessary to tear their way in rather than just asking for some fruit! And although we generally have more than enough grapes without needing to exclude birds there, this year we’re preparing to protect a few select bunches using this method.

I was lucky enough, while riding to the library this morning, to spot an old beach umbrella in a hard rubbish collection. Perfect timing to offer a little sun protection to our small mango tree, whose fruits are all too prone to sunburn. Some might say it’s almost as stylish as this sun-smart white sapote tree, with its collection of recycled paper bags protecting its recent grafts (thanks Mum!). It’s in a slightly more discreet corner of the garden, thankfully.

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Haven’t planted anything in the last month, except for poking bush bean seeds into all the gaps in the veg bed. The rest of the time has been taken up with watering pots, training all the climbing veg and vines as they grow another foot every day, and making Christmas presents.

 

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But it’s just about time to pop in some more seeds and seedlings. (* signifies those to sow direct, otherwise seedlings):  Basil, beans*, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot*, cauliflower, chives, corn* (sow in a block for better pollination), kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, parsnip*, radish*, rocket*, silverbeet, spring onions, and really, really last chance for (advanced) tomato plants.

I’m not selling seeds at this point – but you can buy great Australian organic and heirloom seeds online from these suppliers: in SA, Heirloom Harvest and Red Ochre Organic Farm; and from interstate, Greenpatch and Eden/Select Organic.  And of course you can save your own – and share them on Grow Free carts 🙂

There is so much I’m looking forward to in this new year of ours, but at the same time there is such a sense of urgency to deal with environmental and climate crisis, and such an underlying sense of grief as one loss after another comes to light. As this great post by Meg McGowan discusses, we need opportunities to grieve for what we and our planet are losing, and for how our society is largely failing to prevent this. Grieving is an essential part of the emotional cycle that renews us and helps us make ourselves available again for hope and for action. To quote Meg:

“I think the reasons for feeling sad are not limited to the climate, but include species extinctions, the continuing massive growth in human population and the absence of thoughtful, visionary leadership from most individuals, governments, organisations and businesses” … “You see, grief burns away denial and distraction. It helps us to remember who we are and what we want to stand for. It reconnects us with our values, and with each other. We have good reason to be sad, and in coming together to be sad, I think we will also find the energy and the imagination to keep going.”

I have spent a bit of time grieving changes lately, and I will again. Some of these are changes to our local and global climate, changes in the impacts of technology on wellbeing, and to the prospects I imagine for my child’s generation on this planet. Mum and I have also celebrated and farewelled our local community market, where we enjoyed hosting our garden stall and various other activities over the years, and where we regularly met friends in the ‘village square’ atmosphere. We wish Organic Corner Store and all our fellow stallholders well in their new ventures!

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Joining hands to appreciate and celebrate our market community

Here’s what I’m most looking forward to in 2019:

  • Joining with other Adelaide community members in the Climate Ready Champions group to organise the Climate Ready Forum in March at the Joinery. An event to share what we can do as citizens, households and neighbourhoods, to adapt to the new normal of our more challenging climate.
  • Exploring possibilities for ‘Culture Club‘-type community fermenting get-togethers in Adelaide (both centrally and more locally) – sharing locally adapted cultures, SCOBYs, starters and fermenting knowledge and experience.
  • Further developing suburban permaculture workshops, in collaboration with Permaculture SA and other local groups and building on RetroSuburbia.
  • Continuing to visit home gardens around Adelaide and helping to re-imagine and co-design them towards productivity, biodiversity and beauty.

And there is so much more happening in our neighbourhood and nearby…

  • Seacliff Community Produce Swap returns monthly from 9.30-10.30 on the last Sunday of each month (next date Jan 27, at the small reserve on the corner of Wheatland Street and Kauri Parade, Seacliff)
  • Seacliff Summer Nights – Fri Jan 11 – music and food trucks in Angus Neill Reserve by the beach 5.30-8.30pm.
  • Glenelg Sunset Markets – Sunday 13 January at 4:30pm – 8:30pm, south of Glenelg Jetty.
  • Glenelg Street Party – music, dance, fashion parades and fun activities for kids, Friday 18 January at 5:00pm – 11:00pm.
  • Mandalas and More with artist Sue Norman, Brighton Beach Thursday 24 January at 9:30am – 11:30am.
  • Loose Parts Junk Play Maker Space – Wed 16 Jan 10.30-2.30 at Cove Civic Centre, bookings 8375 6755.
  • Marion Outdoor Pool Open Day – Jan 27 $3 entry
  • Living Kaurna Cultural Centre workshops including Aboriginal art, history and environment tours, yoga and relaxation $11.50. Jan 10 + 24.
  • Marion events calendar – art, crafts, fitness, relaxation, social events & more at community centres & libraries…

Meanwhile, the thing I look forward to most about summer – some extra time for reading! Here’s what’s on my bedside and coffee tables just now. This combo has me harvesting, preparing and sharing a whole lot of great new salads and veg-based meals while enjoying a few laughs and surprises with the family.

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While my hands are full of books, Mum’s are as full of plants as usual – propagating, grafting, re-potting… always something available to plant if your garden is ready!

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Enjoy the best of summer. See you out and about at community events, on facebook, in your garden, or back here next month 🙂

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