Natural Garden Remedies (session notes)


Hoverflies have many beneficial roles in our gardens. Photo: Karen Retra

Big thanks to Chiara Cass for facilitating our June gathering on this interesting topic. The evening was very well attended and we had lots of terrific discussion. Thanks to all who came along.

Below are some of Chiara’s notes. We also had many interesting conversations about related issues and potential solutions, some of which are also noted.

If you have a tip or experience to share, please feel free to leave a comment so everyone can benefit from it! Continue reading

Set your sights on saving seeds this spring

By Lou Bull

Please, we would love more peas …


Photo by Simon Dallinger

Coming across this photo again was a lovely surprise. Taken just over 7 years ago the faces in of our seed saving committee were a little bit different with a couple of familiar ones as well.

I found it while I was looking for some photos of pea flowers to encourage everyone to save some seeds when their peas take on a little spring fling. Continue reading

Notes from Andrew Christy’s Seed Raising Talk

Hot tips on seed raising and more

Plus a quiz for seedling spotters

By Jane Barlow

A wonderful turn out of folks came to listen to Andrew Christy give us a talk on raising seeds and the growing mediums that can be used, also containers, tricky seeds and ways to improve the way we raise seeds. Ideas and tools for success. Continue reading

Great night talking about protecting crops from pests and extending the growing season

Notes from our gathering on March 30th
by Wendy Smith

Row cover support options photo

Lou discussing different supports for row covers. Photo: Anna Sullivan

The row cover system can used lots of different ways: veggie netting to protect from fruit fly, cabbage moth or white butterfly, etc; builders plastic to create a mini hot house to extend the warmer season (starting tomatoes, beans and corn at the end of August!); or shade cloth to protect coriander from the heat.  As Lou mentioned, keeping your growing bed area to a standard size enables you to use the same set-up across all beds and for all sorts of protection.

Continue reading

Tomato Extravaganza Recap


Members brought their favourite tomatoes – we checked them out, tasted them, and some even went home for seed saving still in the fruit!

Our February gathering was a tomato-themed triumph with more than 35 attendees sharing their experiences, tips and questions. Big thanks to Karral Miller for her work to prepare and facilitate the session and to all who joined in.

Karral has also generously summarized the discussions so you can refer back to (or catch up on) the content, including tomato varieties, growing advice, pests and diseases, saving seed, dealing with the glut (yes, that includes recipes!) and even links for further reading.
You might like to grab yourself a cuppa and settle in for a little reading session. Continue reading

Karral’s garden journal

By Karral Miller (SSAW committee member)

Member's garden journal image

Another Seed Savers member’s garden journal – as much a work of art as a record of the garden!

My most useful gardening tool is not a favourite trowel or that cunning little device for measuring soil pH but something more ephemeral – my gardening journal.

I began several years ago jotting down planting times and sketches of garden beds on various bits of paper but this soon became inefficient and unmanageable. I graduated to small dairies where I could write under the dates when I planted and harvested, weather conditions and garden events but I soon found there was insufficient space as I wanted to make comments and reflections. Continue reading

What are wicking beds?

By Karen Retra

Height of summer and no heat stress in this wicking bed

Height of summer and no heat stress in this wicking bed; nor does the gardener feel pressured to water daily.

Wicking beds are frequently discussed at our Seed Savers gatherings, with quite a number of members having created this type of bed (or pot or other vessel) in their garden.

For those not so familiar with the concept here’s a quick overview and some resources for further reading.

Please proceed with caution – wicking beds are proving quite addictive! Continue reading

Worms – wriggly wonder workers

worm tower

worm tower

By Karen Retra
Did you notice all the worms out during the recent rain? Earthworms are great at breaking down organic matter. Their movement underground also helps to aerate the soil. Plus worm castings contain nutrients plants can easily access. Worm activity even increases the soil’s water holding capacity and improves drainage. In short, worms are wonder workers in a garden. Continue reading

First gathering for 2015: fruit fly a hot topic

Small but distinctive ... and with a huge potential to wreak havoc in the garden. It's a fruit fly.

Small but distinctive … and with a huge potential to wreak havoc in the garden. It’s a fruit fly.

Thanks to those who made it along to our first gathering for 2015 in February. We had an enjoyable evening chatting about summer seed collecting, and many attendees took the opportunity to deposit or take home some seed from our seed bank.

Our discussions as to members’ observations of the recent season in the garden were dominated by comments, questions and reflections on fruit fly (yes again, or is that still?!).

Continue reading