Croydon Food Swap

Promotes and encourages sustainable gardening


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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 permacultureswap.wordpress.com 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!


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.

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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!


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 http://www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/EarthHour.aspx.  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!


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Finishing off the challenge…

They say that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray…well this definitely applies to me regarding our March recycling challenge. I had grand plans to create a big worm farm out of an old refrigerator – I had seen a video on an old episode of Gardening Australia and was inspired to give it a go, and when the lady over the road put her old fridge out it was my destiny! But at every turn I was vexed by the annoying requirement to get the fridge ‘degassed’.

Old fridges contain a toxic and lethal gas that needs to be removed in a safe and environmentally conscientious way. I got this quote from Southern Cross Metal Recyclers who say that: ‘Did you know that the environmental green house impact for every refrigerator or freezer that is illegally degassed equals the same effect as running your car for a 6 month period.’

Not willing to try to remove it myself and have a car running for 6 months on my conscious I rang around every recycler, refrigerator repairer and refurbishment shop in the area but no luck. The closest I got was a rough estimate of $200 to get a tradesman out to do it properly or a sketchy – I have an old fridge here but I don’t know if there is gas in it or not.

Alas my recycling plan B. In light of Karen’s fantastic post and video the other day about reusing old plastic containers to create wicking beds here is one in the same genre. I have been working on using some old polystyrene containers I picked up from my local Coles to create some wicking beds. They have worked really well and I’m super happy with the low water use. Enjoy and hope to see you all at our Earth Hour swap 🙂

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Get your box. About 10cm from the bottom of one side insert a small piece of tubing as an overflow pipe. I put a small piece of old cheesecloth type fabric around one end of the pipe and secured it on with an elastic band before inserting to prevent mosquitos from getting into the reservoir.

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Get a piece of pipe cut to the height of your box and drill 4 small holes 2-3 cm from the base – to allow the water you pour in, to easily distribute along the base of the box. Stand the pipe (holes down) in the box and add scoria or other medium to the height of the run off hole (this creates the reservoir). I have seen many different things used to create a reservoir including plastic bottles 🙂

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Lay a piece of cheesecloth, old fly screen/gardening mesh/fabric down over the scoria to stop any soil dropping into the reservoir and clogging the over-flow pipe and to help ‘wick’ the water up into the soil. Here I have used and old baby wrap that I no longer use.

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Add your soil and plant. I have put in some basil seedlings and a few lettuce seeds. Water the seeds and plants in to wet the top soil and then fill the reservoir via the grey down pipe. You will know it is full because water will begin to come out of your over-flow pipe. I have stuffed a small old piece of plastic into the top to again prevent mosquitos or debris entering the reservoir.

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And there you go. A few weeks later everything is growing nicely. I have only had to fill the reservoir twice so far as the rains have kept it topped up nicely and the whole thing only cost me for the soil and the scoria. A grand total of $7 for a self watering pot – cant complain about that!