Saturday, February 27, 2016

Time to plant Oca/New Zealand Yam cuttings

I've written before about how you can save space and time with Oca by taking cuttings from mother or stock plants in mid to late summer into early autumn and plonking these into spare space that becomes available as another crop finishes. All the reasons for doing this are here:

It's all about being realistic about the fact the Oca will not start forming tubers until after the autumn equinox (March 20 this year in Melbourne). We have very mild autumns here, perfect for Oca, and as they strike so easily from cuttings, there's no need to devote vast amounts of space to Oca plants  in spring when nothing is really going to start happening until around late March.

Today, February 28, I put this theory into practice as I now do every year. I pulled out some mostly dead heirloom tomatoes (with poor resistance to wilt!) and replaced them with Oca cuttings from a spot I had planted with Oca in September. The photos below more or less show the whole process: from the bed with the dead tomato plants, the tree kale bed with the Oca mother plants, the cuttings ready for planting and the cuttings pushed a few inches into the ground and mulched. I didn't add any fertiliser given the amount preparation that went into the tomato bed in spring. I'll post about the progress of this bed a couple of times up to harvest in say late May or June. It's a great trick and makes Oca one of the most convenient, easily grown crops in our warm temperate climate.

Tomatoes - embarrassingly dead and diseased, time to go!

Tomatoes cleared

Oca stock or mother plants growing under a Tree Kale

Mother plants cut back and stems removed as cuttings

Oca cuttings ready to be planted in old tomato bed

Cuttings planted and mulched February 28 - they should be ready to harvest from mid-May into winter

5 weeks since the cuttings went in - growth to April 2

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I'm speaking at Eat Drink Talk Think at Shebeen, Manchester Lane March 1


Eat Drink Talk Think: Autumn 2016

Eat Drink Talk Think is a networking and conversation night about sustainable fair food, held on the first Tuesday of each season. Each event hosts inspiring short talks around a theme followed by discussion and networking. The evening gives those working and volunteering on sustainable and fair food projects an opportunity to meet, be inspired by others’ projects, discuss ideas, forge new relationships, imagine new collaborative projects, and stay connected with what’s happening.
The Autumn 2016 edition of Eat Drink Talk Think asks the question
“How are people using the food system to welcome refugees in Victoria?”
Event details:
Tuesday March 1st, 6pm-9pm
Shebeen, Manchester Lane, Melbourne
The evening’s speakers include Dr Chris Williams from the University of Melbourne, Meagan Williams, Victorian co-ordinator of the Welcome Dinner Project, and Russell Shields, manager of the ASRC Food Justice Truck.
Chris is a lecturer in urban horticulture at the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne where he runs a Novel Crops Project. The project aims to bring new or underutilised crops such as Sweet Potato into home food gardens and edible landscapes. Many of these plants represent culturally appropriate foods for diverse migrant or refugee communities in Victoria and Chris and his students have worked on food growing projects that link novel crops to communities who want to see these plants in their gardens or on their plates! Chris will talk about the Novel Crops Project, including an ongoing trial in the City of Dandenong, Victoria’s most ethnically diverse municipality.
Meagan is the Victorian co-ordinator of the Welcome Dinner Project, which brings together newly arrived Australians and established Australians over a meal in someone’s home. The project uses food as a place to bond and build community, and the format of the dinners allows a form of equality and stripping of labels that is really powerful.
Russell is the manager of the Food Justice Truck, an award-winning, mobile fresh food market that enhances food security for asylum seekers in the Victorian community by offering locally sourced produce including fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, tea and bread at a 75% discount to people seeking asylum. It’s a social enterprise initiative by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and was launched this year to tackle the growing food insecurity felt by more than 10,000 people in Victoria who are on bridging visas.
Tickets $8 online, or $9 on the door.
Purchase your tickets.
About us
Eat Drink Talk Think is endorsed by 3000 Acres, the Victorian Eco Innovation LabOpen Food Network, Sustain: The Australian Food Network, Melbourne Farmers’ Markets, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Fair Food Challenge, and more.
Sign up to our newsletter to receive invitations to future Eat Drink Talk Think events.
This is a not-for-profit event. Once costs have been covered proceeds will be distributed as donations to the three speakers’ projects.