FOOD IS FREEIt seems like a far fetched hippy idea that food can be free but in some centres around Australia, the idea has taken off.
|Lou Risdale started the first Australian "food is free'project in Ballarat photo Weekly Times Ballarat.|
It kicked off in America initially but has had some support in Australia as well.
To find out more I spoke with a project team leader from Ballarat, Lou Risdale.
Lou's project is in a laneway in Ballarat that runs alongside her house.
This laneway receives a fabulous amount of sunlight and is a perfect space for people to either drop off or pick up free fruit and veggies.
At the moment, Lou has 30 volunteers that pass through the laneway a few times a day to pick off any spoilt fruit and veg.
Lou’s was the first project of this kind in Australia. and now about 100 people a day come and go at peak times, to this laneway project and it has proven to be a great meeting place for them as well.
The gardens are built and offered for free using salvaged resources that would otherwise be headed to the landfill.
By using drought-tolerant, wicking bed gardens, these low maintenance gardens only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks.
This simple tool introduces people to a very easy method of growing organic food with very little work.If you’re interested in starting your own food is free project just go to http://foodisfreeproject.org where you’ll find a guide on how to do just that.
VEGETABLE HEROESHerb-Celery Leaf , Leaf Celery or Chinese Celery.
Leaf celery is also called Cutting Celery, Parcel, Smallage, Zwolsche Krul, and German celery.
Celery Leaf is botanically-(Apium graveolens var. secalinum).
Did you think there was only the celery with the stalks?
Maybe you’ve heard of Celeriac, well that’s a type of Celery too, but instead of stalks, it’s a bulbous root.
Well, there’s also a type of Celery that’s all leaf and nothing much else.
Before you say, I chuck the leaves away from the stalk celery, I say, hang on, this one tastes a bit better than those.
Celery Leaf looks similar to parsley but tastes similar but slightly better than regular stalk celery!
Some say it tastes a little stronger than stalk celery or celeriac.
Leaf Celery has been around for a long time and was in fact used by the ancient Romans as a medicinal herb.
Supposedly, Celery seed has been used for around 3000 years as a seasoning for food.
Did you know that crushed celery seeds are steam distilled to make celery oil?
The reason I’m talking about Celery seed I’ll get to a little later.
Some gardeners have run out of room in their veggie bed already-full of tomatoes, Basil and whatnot.
Never fear, Leaf Celery will grow in pots because it’s a compact plant that only gets to around 20 – 25 cm.
if you live in a cool temperate district, container veggies can be moved under cover during winter.
Leaf Celery is a darker green with thin stalks and leaves that look like a cross between the Italian Parsley and the Curley Parsley.
Celery leaf is perfect for container gardens because it’s a cut and come again plant and is great used as a herb in stews, dressings and salads.
When to plant:
In cool temperate districts, Spring and Summer are your sowing times, in temperate and sub-tropical zones, you have from Spring right through to Autumn, in arid areas, the only time you can’t really sow it is in summer, and tropical districts win the jackpot, because they can sow it all year round.
How to grow:
From putting the seed into the ground or pot, it’ll take around 2-3 months.
Like most veggies, Leaf Celery needs full sun but can do alright in part shade in soil that’s not too dry.
You can start them off in punnets if you like because they don’t mind being transplanted.
Keep in mind, Leaf Celery isn’t frost tolerant.
Sow the very fine seeds thinly, and only 5mm (1/4”) deep.
Be careful not to cover the fine seeds too much because they need light to germinate.
For fine seeds I tend to use a light cover of vermiculite which I then mist to make moist.
They can be slow to germinate taking up to 21 days at 100C-180C, so be patient.
In warmer areas, seedlings should emerge in 1-2 weeks.
Once the seeds have germinated it’s a good idea to thin them out around 30cm (12”) apart.
TIP: number 1: Don’t let them dry out.
TIP: number 2:-If you believe in companion planting, then leaf Celery is supposed to be an insect repellent for cabbage white butterfly.
Try planting some around your Brassicas like Broccoli, Cauli, and Cabbage.
TIP: number 3 and now for the Celery Seed.
If you leave your Celery leaf over winter, the plant will bolt to seed in Spring.
What can you do with that?
Apart from replanting fresh seed, the seeds are actually edible.
Ever heard of Celery salt?
What you can also do is grind it up in your mortar and pestle with a little sea salt. Better than from the supermarket shelf.
Plus you can enjoy the dainty white umbels of flowers.
After a couple of months, pick leaves as you need them to put in soups, stews, stocks and sauces.
A few leaves go well in salads with a strong blue cheese or some or cured meats.
Why is it good for you?
the leaves are brimming with five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks. They're also a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidant’
The good thing is Leaf Celery is low in carbs, and has even a small amount of fibre
AND THAT WAS YOUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY!
DESIGN ELEMENTSStarting a vegetable garden.
So you want to start a vegetable garden, but are not sure how to go about it.
Did you realise that it’s not just a matter of digging up a patch in your garden.
There’s so many more considerations and types of vegetable gardens to think about and over the next four weeks Glenice and I will be talking about all you need to know about starting a veggie garden.
Everything from the planning stage, to the build stage and planting out stage.
How do you start? Let’s find out…
|starting a vegie garden photo Glenice Buck|
Where you should locate your new vegie garden, ideally a sheltered sunny flat location with lots of organic rich fertile soil but this is not very often the case.
|Vegie garden photo Lyn Wood, Ulverston Tasmania|
Growing your own food, even if you start small is such a great way to save money, control what goes into your food, and pick fresh from the garden even if it’s just herbs.
Don’t toy with the idea, go out and do it.
PLANT OF THE WEEKPersimmons Diospyros kaki
This next plant is in fact a functional fruit with many edible uses.
They’re orange and can be put into your kid’s lunchbox unpeeled, and can be eaten sliced or whole like a pear.
You can dice and freeze them, adding them to a smoothie as a thickener.
They can also be dried, changing them from a crisp consistency to a soft, date-like, chewy texture. Eaten this way, they are deliciously sweet and taste more like candy than dried fruit.
What is this tree? Let’s find out..
The Persimmon tree only grows to 5m so it's a small tree that can fit into any backyard, courtyard or even a pot on a balcony.
|Persimmon tree has great Autumn colour|
The small, non-edible fruit from wild persimmon trees in Japan are crushed and mixed with water. This solution is painted on paper to repel insects.
This solution is also thought to give cloth moisture-repellent properties.