Croydon Food Swap

Promotes and encourages sustainable gardening



Breaking news:

We are now known as Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap and are swapping at Glen Park Oaks Community Garden as of May 2015.  If you have stumbled upon here, please head over to our website at  It has all the goodies migrated from here plus more.  This site is just an archive/history.


Welcome to the Croydon Food Swap!

Join us for the latest, seasonal home produce from friendly, local gardeners.  Take home some fresh food, interesting plants and more inspiring tips to bring your gardens alive.  Put the next date on your calendars!

Thanks to all the keen food swappers who have been with us on the journey to make this group happen and welcome to new members who will start enjoying the swap. We hope that this blog will provide the necessary information for people looking to attend the swap as well as be a place to share our thoughts and the happenings in our gardens.


May 2015 Swap

Our first food swap at Glen Park Oaks Community Garden!  Look at all the wonderful goodies!

2 things to note. I’ve found out that the persimmons on offer are the astringent type which means that it needs to ripen till very soft before you can scoop out to eat, as opposed to eating like an apple for the non-astringent type.  I’ve been fortunate not to have eaten an astringent persimmon till now…it makes your whole mouth (and throat) pucker up and the description of having a mouthful of cotton wool is quite close!  Not recommended, unless you would like to understand what an astringent persimmon is!  2nd thing is that I described the mangosteen as having seeds in each segment.  Surprisingly, the one we got was entirely seedless!  Again something new to us but this is good news 🙂

A few admin news now.  We have changed our name to Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap.  So please note new name and venue.  I will be migrating this website to so this will probably be the last post here.  And I may be quiet for sometime while working on setting up the new website and updating everything else to reflect the new name.

As always, thanks for all your support and happy gardening!


Fermented tea, anyone?

Raw and fermented food and beverage is the trend now so I might as well hitch a ride 🙂  Actually, one of the swappers has requested me to write about this as she has excess to share but can’t describe/explain what they are.  So here I am writing from what I can find online, and not from personal experience.  Would love to hear your personal experiences which will be invaluable, especially to those thinking of trying or just starting to brew!

Firstly, what is Kombucha?  It is a sweet tea fermented with the Kombucha culture, resulting in a fizzy drink with live cultures / probiotics.  It should not be confused with Konbucha which refers to a different drink made from edible kelp.

The Kombucha culture is also referred to as the SCOBY which stands for a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.  The SCOBY, sometimes called the mother, looks like a large, flat mushroom but I also think it looks a little like the Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish, floating on top of the tea.

To make the drink, place the SCOBY in a sweetened black or green tea.  Leave for 7-10 days.  After 7 days, taste to test for the balance of sweetness and tartness according to your taste.  Remove the SCOBY for the next batch and bottle the drink.  You may flavour with juice, herbs or fruit.  If you like it fizzier, let the bottled drink ferment for another 1-3 days (secondary fermentation).  Then refrigerate to stop the fermentation process.  Do note that the drink carbonates so make sure you use bottles that will not explode!

You will be able to find a lot of information online on brewing the drink and caring for the SCOBY, etc.  Experiment to see what works best for you.

If you would like to get a SCOBY or 2, please post a request on our FB page and hopefully someone’s SCOBY has been growing happily and is looking for a new family 🙂  Yes, SCOBYs can be swapped too!

Recycling challenge finalists

The challenge closed Monday 20th April and I’ve been mulling over which entries to pick for voting.  So here they are…

Option A – From Joan and it was the very first entry
Cut the bottom out of a few old, large buckets and almost bury each one vertically in the ground. Add mainly kitchen food scraps, placing in a different bucket each time so that one doesn’t fill up too quickly. Cover each bucket with a barrier like a piece of flat metal to keep out snails, rodents etc and maybe a brick. When each one is almost full, pull out the bucket and cover the new compost heap with a layer of soil. This method is good for quite small gardens like mine. Pictured – a buried silver cylinder (lining from a rubbish bin) covered with a discarded electric frypan lid.

Option B – From Jess and it was the very last entry
See her detailed post here.



Which do you choose?  Please vote!

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Name change

We’ve recently been talking about change at church and I suppose no one can escape change even though we tend to dislike it (that’s me!).  As you may already know, we are starting at a new venue (Glen Park Community Garden) in May 2015 and our resources will have to be updated to reflect that change.

But before we do that, we have to revisit renaming our group.  This has also been in the pipeline for almost as long as the hunt for a new venue but has been moved to the back burner.  Now it’s time to revisit this topic.  I’ve created a poll with a few options below.  You will notice that most of the options have “Permaculture” in them and that’s because we are part of Permaculture Victoria and in an inside out way, practising Permaculture (we are starting with the food, LOL!)  Please share your opinions and ideas.  Thanks!

Bed slats need not be flat

Our neighbours were downsizing and we inherited a set of Ikea solid wood bed slats from their storage.  The wood can make a good shelving unit but we ended up with this ‘box’ which could very well be a pretty planter box, although I made it a seat / storage box.  It is quite simple to make and didn’t need much measuring as the pieces of wood were all either 1/2 or 1/3 of the lengths (unless you want to make it bigger).

What you’ll need:

Bench (to work on)
Set square (to make sure that the joins are roughly at right angles)
Bed slats

Make the bottom first.  Then the 2 longer sides.  Attach the 2 longer sides to the bottom.  Then make the 2 shorter sides and attach them to the bottom and the other 2 sides, to complete the box (without lid).  Lastly make the lid.  And there you have upcycled the wood, that you so often see thrown out or destined to be firewood!

1_bed_slats 2_cut_up 3_hammer_join 4_constructed 5_constructed2 6_box_with_lid

I don’t have very detailed instructions because there wasn’t really a plan…I just made it up as I went along.  It was based on this planter box idea.  The pictures should give you a good idea what to do.  Please ask if you have any questions.


Earth Hour Event

Just a short post to update on our next swap date.  It will NOT be the 1st Saturday of April.  We have moved it to coincide with the Earth Hour event which will be Saturday 28 March 2015 6.45-8pm at Maroondah Federation Estate, Ringwood.  For more info about the local Earth Hour event, please check  There will be many interesting activities for the whole family, with the theme of “Backyard Farmers”.  For future dates, please check latest dates on our homepage or more details on the Dates page.

While we are here, please take note that the CFS Recycling Challenge‘s deadline will be extended for another month to 20 April 2015.  Hopefully that will give more time to submit your ideas!