Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas party

After a slow start on Sunday 9th Dec., we ended up with a good turn out at our Christmas party and we all had a lovely time getting to know our great new members, who all turned up.

It has been a difficult year for the Gardens, so it felt good to be able to end it on a positive note, with lots of new energy and good will.
Already the Gardens are looking much more cared for, and our new members are top quality!
Hopefully next year we will be able to sort out a water tank, get lots of rain, and be able to work (and play) together more as a community.

Merry Christmas, Happy Summer Solstice and a Bounteous and Joyful New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An Important Website and a Garden member speaking at the Climate Change Festival

Hi. Our Ben is speaking at the CLIMATE CHANGE FESTIVAL Saturday 8th.. "Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture Cultivating Communities". For more Info go to:

Ben has also told us about the Ethical Buying guide so do have alook at it.. The link is on the side of the main blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Meeting and welcome.

Firstly, welcome to our new members Kate and Benedict! Kate and Benedict have helped out at working bees in the past and are now fully fledged, plot holding members of the gardens.

Yesterday (Sunday 25th) was the day we had all agreed on to be our next meeting to re-elect office bearers and discuss the rules and guidlines to be submitted to the Consumer Affairs Dept.
Unfortunately there were not enough members present to hold the election.

Those present (Ros, Marijka, Jane, Chris, Rebecca and Vince) were able to have a productive discussion about the new rules and guidelines thanks to the amazing amount of work Marijka and her partner Steve have put into researching, writing and typing up the submission. Thank-you so much for all that time and effort Marijka and Steve, it's not a fun job!

Ros (looking stunning in her new "I love Community gardens" tshirt) has contacted Mitre 10 and Bunnings in an attempt to get them to help out with a water tank (or 2) and has had an offer of discounts from Mitre 10, but is still waiting to hear from Bunnings. Also Marijka has some info. on grants being offered early next year and anyone interested in helping organise our submissions for these will get together on Sunday 3rd February.

Our Christmas "Do" has been organised for 12.30 Sunday 9th December...it would be great to see you all there and please bring a plate.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome to our new gardeners..Mushroom compost

There was great excitement at the station er no read that at the Gardens... Yes Chris (the new one used to be known as the young one.. How long will this go on?) spent Sunday fighting the tangle of roots on his plot... murmuring "it's not too bad" as the mound kept mounding and mounding...It will be a true test of character if he is seen in the vicinity next Sunday ..Then there was more excitement as Fiona, Mark, Charlie and Tom and a four legged friend came into the garden claiming a piece of land for themselves...Yes friends there was movement at the station er not again read this as movement in the Gardens...Rebecca had flown in and left the application forms for them which were immediately filled out...and fees paid.
So as Roz has commented there are only two plots left...or only one and a half...on ya Roz.
Ceres has spent mushroom compost for $2.00 a block. Thanks to Ben for the info and to Rebecca and Roz for valiantly persisting in getting some. Even our Roz who has biceps of steel wasn't able to lift one by herself..great value, the mushroom compost that is...:-)

Vacant plots

Well, we now have one less vacant plot thanks to Chris- he has made the leap from Non-Plot Holding member to Plot Holder, and as the only original member from the founding of the Gardens we are delighted he has done it! Well done Chris.
Now, one down and only 3 to go...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meeting reminder and Agenda

Our next meeting to re-elect officials is on Sunday 25th November at 1.30 pm, and it'd be great to see all our members attend, both plot holders and non-plot holders.
Jane has already suggested a few items for the agenda, including:

the water tank issue,
general communication issues of day to day business,
and managing gate keys to the garden.

Addition to the agenda
watering roster,
Working Bee times during Summer
Presentation of the Rules for the garden..

So please add your ideas to the blackboard at the garden, or leave a comment on this post, or both. (Remember, you can leave a comment as "anonymous" and you don't need to have an account, but just sign your name at the end of the comment so we can identify you.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Day at the Races...sorry the hats confused me...

I couldn't resist the similarity.. The caption on this ancient Greek art work read.."A woman perfuming clothes".

A lovely time was had by Rebecca, Chris and Marijka..a tad too hot weather wise. Rebecca pummelled her plot into shape and planted butternut pumpkins and tomatoes.. Chris was seen diving feet first into the pond trying to rescue a water lily by clearing away some of the Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum crispatum) when lo and behold he uncovered another one as well as a bud..

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

November 4th 2007.Working bee in the Glorious Rain.

Kim demonstrating the art of sawing..
Biggles and Chris demonstrating the art of.......

Louise, Ruby, Kim, Joshua, Roz and Marijka braved the wet, glorious wet, and sorted out the accumulated rubbish behind the shed..ready for a skip. We are sorry to loose Louise as a plotholder but she is staying on as an associate member.. Yay...
Also Malcolm has let go of his plot but is staying on as an associate member.. Yay...
Diana has also let go of her plot and we are hoping to twist her arm to stay on as an associate member..
Roz is patiently going through the waiting list...
The T-shirts on Redbubble are selling like hotcakes...

Published by marijka
Photos marijka

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NCGardens Christmas card at Red Bubble

Buy these at Red Bubble and spread the seed saving, home grown message along with Christmas cheer....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We sold two of these today! Check out this design and our new cards on Red Bubble ! Christmas is coming, so tell your friends and spread the word about our tshirts and cards.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Membership renewals

This is Chris's plot just before harvest a few weeks ago.
It's that time of year again when we need to renew our membership, and pay our plot rental fees. Louise has decided not to keep her plot this year, because she now has space at home to grow veges, but very fortunately for all of us, she will remain a member of the gardens and attend working bees etc. We certainly don't want to lose you Louise!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Calendars and Red Bubble

Thanks for your comment Anonymous. Actually we did not lose or make any money from the calendars but that was discussed heavily from the beginning. It was an experiment to see how it would go, and if we had ordered a lot more to be printed their individual costs would have gone down, and we could have sold them and made a profit, but that would have required taking a risk that no one wanted to take. The only cost was the time involved in designing it and getting it printed and collecting the money. Most people enjoyed having the calendars for themselves and to give to friends.

Sorry to have not explained the Red Bubble site more clearly. The Red Bubble site is totally and utterly free, and once again the only cost involved is time. There are no set-up costs as everything is made to order. It is up to every individual to decide if they want to purchase something or not, and once they place an order then Red Bubble make it. It takes a couple of weeks to get the final product sent to you. If people are not comfortable buying on the internet they may be able to organise to pay cash to someone who is comfortable to buy it for them.

Red Bubble set the base price they need to make their money and we choose a percentage mark-up for the money we want to make. For example a card is $4.00- it costs Red Bubble $2.50 to make and we have set a 40% mark-up so we get $1.50 on top of that. We can make a fair bit more from the tshirt sales- about $8.00 per tshirt. We can increase or decrease our chosen mark-up at will.
We will have a cheque sent to us when we make $100 or, we can opt to have it direct deposited in our account once we reach $20. Currently we have chosen the cheque option so as not to risk the bank account details on the internet in case members don't like that.

We may not make a cent from this, but it will not cost us anything either....except time. Recently a site on Red Bubble whose entire profits go to an African village sold a large number of cards and wall prints and made quite a bit of money, so it is possible.

The Red Bubble site can be very easily removed completely if it is offensive to members.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

T Shirts and cards

Well, we now have our own little shop at Red Bubble and although there's not much to chose from yet there will be! Here's a look at the first couple of tshirts available in both men's and women's styles...they take a couple of weeks to be printed but are of a good quality.
The cards will be up soon too, ready for Christmas or just general greetings.
Please contact Rebecca or Marijka if you have a burning idea for a tshirt or card!
We may not make a fortune out of it, but it will help put a little bit more into the coffers at absolutely no cost to us, except time.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fund raising and meeting

Louise, Ruby, Marijka, Ros, Chris and Rebecca met on Sunday at the gardens and had a further discussion about the rules etc. We're slowly getting there and should be able to finish it up soon.
All input is welcome from all those who are passionate about this issue.
There will be a mail-out of membership forms this month, and we will all need to fill them out and send them back to Jane (our temporary Treasurer),as well as this years membership fees. Details will be included in the mail out.
Louise also mentioned she's interested in having a go at some fundraising via a t.v. games show- could be interesting! And there are plans afoot to make some fund raising NCG Christmas cards available via the Red Bubble site, in place of the calendar this year.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thankyou cards from Westgarth Primary School

Westgarth Primary School has sent a thankyou letter from the Principal along with thankyou cards from the school children for NCG's donation of a wheel barrow and mulcher towards the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation program. NCG's support has also been acknowledged in the school newsletter. Below is a lovely sample of some of the cards.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Next meeting

Yesterday we realised that next Sunday is the High Vibes Festival in High St Northcote, so we have postponed the next Committee meeting until the following Sunday 30th September.

We also managed to get quite a few more indigenous plants into the ground, and notably put in two more eucalypts behind the basketball hoop, ...hopefully there'll be a lovely stand of trees there in the future. We also put in a few more shrubs around the seat near the front gate, with hopes of turning that area into a bit of a showcase for our local indigenous plants.

On the vege front, many of us are thinking hard about what will survive in the coming months, especially with Stage 4 water restrictions looming large. Things such as beans, zucchinis and pumpkins may be able to withstand less watering than things like tomatoes and corn, but it's hard to predict what the situation will be. A water tank is becoming more and more imperative for the survival of our vege plots and everyone's input into how to secure a tank will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Indigenous plants at NCG

Indigenous plants flowering in our garden at the moment.Brachyscome multifida. Cut Leaf Daisy. Hardy and drought tolerant. Flowering from September to February. Tolerates severe pruning. A couple of specimens down by the bottom pond and at the entrance to the garden.
Eutaxia microphylla. Small Leafed Eutaxia(pea). Flowering from August to December. Drought tolerant. Can be pruned severely. This beauty can also be seen down by the bottom pond and at the entrance to the garden. A plant much beloved by one notable member of the garden, Roz. Acacia acinacea. Gold-dust wattle. Flowers from July to November. Likes a bit of shade. Drought tolerant. Provides food for insect and seed-eating birds eg. wattle birds can often be seen in the vicinity.
Grevillea rosmarinifolia. Rosemary Grevillea. Extremely hardy and drought tolerant. We did not loose any during last years summer drought. Red, spider-like flowers from August to November. May be pruned severely. Provides food for nectar-eating birds.
Just a nice view...

Published by marijka

Photos marijka

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sustainable gardening

Spring in Gower St, Preston!
I've added a link on the left to SGA online which is a very useful site about sustainable gardening in Australia, with information sheets on veges, water saving, weeds, composting...heaps of up to date good stuff. It also lists all the Sustainable Nurseries in Australia...so far!

Monday, September 10, 2007

latest Rules discussion and gardens history

Last Tuesday evening Benedict, Jane and Ben met at the Northcote library to discuss the rule changes, and were happy with the progress they made. Benedict suggested we clarify aims and the purpose of the gardens, and Ben suggested position descriptions ideas based on those of Cultivating Community's.

Yesterday Ros, Marijka, Louise (and Ruby), Rebecca, Vince and Chris met at the gardens and began a discussion about the rule changes. Louise suggested clarifying the philosophy of the gardens first, as a way to guide the new rules and aims we may want to establish. This led to an interesting discussion about the history of the gardens and how they were established.

Chris, as the only remaining original member, was able to explain how the main point of the gardens was actually to establish and maintain the whole area as a public park with indigenous plantings and a basketball hoop. This was in exchange from Darebin Council, Telstra (who own the land), and Connex to appease the community members who protested against the Telstra tower.

The plots were actually a secondary and later addition devised to encourage more people to be actively engaged in the maintenance of the whole area, when it was realised how much work was involved. In fact ponds were filled in after the gardens were built to create extra new plots to entice more people to help out.
Louise was quite surprised to hear this, and said that it changed her perspective on the whole purpose of the gardens and responsibilities of garden members. She suggested that not everyone may be aware of this.

It was then agreed on by the people present that one of the key changes to the rules should be an alteration to re-focus on the entire area, not just the plots. One way of doing this would be to abolish "Associate Members" (who currently pay $5.00). We would then call all those who have paid this fee and actively participate in working bees "Members" with full voting rights, but add an additional fee for Plot-Holding Members.
In this way we hoped that people would appreciate that the entire area- inside and outside of the fence- is the Northcote Community Gardens, and that our primary responsibility is to maintain the whole area, not just our individual plots.

We also hope to arrange another time to discuss the rule changes, with a view to getting this all finished so that we can move on to other important stuff like gardening and trying to solve our water problem... and maybe having a bit of fun....maybe.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Another 27 indigenous plants were planted yesterday mostly from the area bordering the basketball hoop and train line down to the station. Hopefully we will have some rain to help settle them in, and in years to come we will be able to feel proud at the beautiful indigenous park area we have created, and that was entrusted to us as a condition of us getting the private plots in the first place. Local people often walk through the area and comment to us on how nice it is, and there are always people playing basketball at the hoop while we garden, which makes for a pleasant sense of community.

As yesterday was Father's Day and many people were busy, we arranged for next week (Sunday 9th August) to be the temporary committee meeting at 1.30pm to begin discussions about the rules. Hopefully we will have a decent attendance, and we will be able to resolve this issue quickly, and get some more people actually COMMUNITY gardening after that. Cross fingers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Morning Visitors

Maybe it's the same pair as previous years.
Plum Blossoms behind the shed.

Photos marijka

Monday, August 27, 2007

Annual General Meeting 2007

We managed to have quite a productive meeting yesterday and resolved to form a temporary committee to create a new set of rules for the gardens. In three months time we will gather again to discuss these rules and re-elect positions.

It was a lovely warm and sunny day, and we had a good attendance with all plot holders represented.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Addition to Sunday 19 8 07

Clematis microphylla on the back fence..doing its beautiful thing.
The reveg crew Chris, Rebecca and Ros doing their beautiful thing. Weeding , saving the previous year's local plants and adding some more..
Vince doing what Vince does best mending and wise cracking.

Photos marijka

Home made Beer and Wine festival and more planting

Here's the flyer for the festival, and it's a lot of fun with not only plenty of good and truly terrible wine, but Greek singers and dancers and apparently this year there'll be free food too! As a bonus you get to vote for your favourite wine too.

Yesterday turned out to be a lovely sunny afternoon and we managed to get another bunch of our indigenous plants into our revegetation area. Despite some losses through the drought, it is heartwarming to see how well that area is doing, and we are really contributing to the whole community's quality of life by maintaining it.

Vince has put in the first of this year's tomatoes under a clever plastic bottle contraption, so we'll wait with bated breath to see how they go!
(Don't forget AGM on next Sunday.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Grant awarded

Marijka and Ros before the Ceremony

Greek ladies providing the entertainment for the evening...

Last night we were all invited to attend the ceremony to give out the Darebin Council Community Grants at the Shire Hall in Preston. It was a lovely reminder of how multicultural this country is and especially the Darebin area. We had Greek ladies dancing, African ladies handing out delicious nibbles, Anglo Australians advocating sustainable living and teenage girls of various backgrounds promoting their indoor soccer club. We were delighted to get our cheque and congratulate Marijka on her efforts in securing the grant.

Now we just need to get gardening...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Indigenous planting

Here's some photos of Vince's new plantings in his plot, Marijka shovelling some mulch around the new indigenous plants and Ros and Jedi admiring her beautiful crop of broccoli.

Yesterday we managed to put about 10 indigenous plants in outside the gardens along the path, near the rosemary bush. They included goundcovers such as Einadia nutens and Chrysopcephalum apicalatum (a daisy type flower). Small plants like the native blue-bell (Wahlenbergia), dianella and hardenbergia (mentioned in an earlier post) and Knobby club rush (Isolepis nodosa) in the sunken area where the big round mosaic was, because they don't mind being immersed partly in water. Also Correa glabra which has a sweet little bell shaped flower. All these plants are indigenous to our local area, and cross fingers they'll thrive and spread.

We also moved the tub from behind the shed to beside the herb garden with plans to fill it with soil and plant communal veges in there in Spring, perhaps pumpkins or something similar. Also, Vince repaired the gate at the bottom pond.

Our mulch pile is getting noticably smaller, perhaps due to others helping themselves, so we hoped that we could all do a wheelbarrow or two when we visit just to help use it up before it's all gone again.
How lovely is that rain??

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More photos

Here are some more photos. Rebecca has unleashed a genii. These photos are from when the rains came in previous years.

Photos marijka

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

new plants

We now have a nice collection of local indigenous plants ready to go into the ground after our trip to VINC and SKINC (St Kilda Indigenous Nursery Coop) yesterday.

Marijka had listed what we wanted for our revegetation area, and despite not being able to get any grasses, we managed to pick up about 75 small plants that will need to be planted over the next couple of weeks.... so get your gardening gloves on.

Here is a photo of one of the plants we picked up -the Hardenbergia violacea (Purple Coral Pea)- like the one currently flowering next to the front gate.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Our blog and August working bee

Hello all and welcome to our new blog. Hopefully we will all be able to use it to share information and images, and strengthen our community of gardeners. Anyone can leave a comment on this blog by simply clicking on comment, and if you don't have a google account or blog you can easily leave an anonymous comment without any need to sign in.

Today was our August Working Bee, and Ros, Marijka, Chris, Rebecca and Kym (and Joshua) spent some time weeding out at the front of the Gardens and emptying out the sludge that used to be the water chestnut bath behind the shed. We also dismantled part of the berry enclosure behind the shed with hopeful expectations of needing that space for a water tank in the future.
Earlier in the week Malcolm had whipper-snipped around the area in front of the gardens which made it look a lot neater.
Over a cup of tea we discussed what indigenous plants we would like to buy with the grant Marijka managed to get for us, and tomorrow Ros, Marijka and Rebecca will try to order some of them from VINC.