COVID-19 update

You will be well aware of the health threats for all of us from the rapid spread of COVID-19 virus, and the Federal and State Governments’ requirements that we practice “social distancing”, restrict gatherings severely and avoid non-essential travel.

The committee has decided that for the time being, all Castlemaine and District Garden Club meetings and activities will be suspended. We thank the guest speakers who were scheduled to talk at our general meetings for their understanding and hope we can call on them again when it is safe to do so. The Committee will continue to meet via videoconferencing and email.

MULCH will continue to be produced by our new Editor, John Barnier, but will only be sent via email for the foreseeable future. It will also be available from the Garden Club’s webpage.

However, we can still enjoy gardening especially during this fine autumn weather, and we encourage you to send photos and observations to our email address, castlemainegardenclub@gmail.com, so they can be shared with other members via MULCH and our Facebook and Web pages.

Keep safe and healthy during these somewhat unprecedented times.

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Coronavirus update

Due to Health and welfare concerns for members and guests the decision has been made to cancel the meeting on 24th March. The meeting was to have featured a talk by Alison Pouliot on fascinating fungi.

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March meeting – Alison Pouliot is speaking on the fascinating world of fungi

Dr Alison Pouliot is an honorary fellow at Australian National University, and has published The Allure of Fungi. She runs fungi workshops, seminars & forays around Victoria. Her photography is spectacular and her knowledge of fungi is amazing.

Guests are welcome – cost for non members is $5 which covers the talk and supper. Please RSVP to castlemainegardenclub@gmail.com. The March meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 March at 7:30 pm at the Wesley Hill Hall

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Visit to Buda Historic Home and Gardens

A well-attended guided tour to Buda Historic Home and Gardens was held on Wednesday 26th February 2020 – this complemented the presentation by Tom Comerford at the club meeting on the previous evening. Jill Hildebrandt, Buda garden curator, highlighted the diverse range of plants in the garden which was designed and planted by the Leviny family over two generations and 118 years.

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March meeting – the fascinating world of fungi

We have been lucky enough to secure Dr Alison Pouliot as our speaker. Alison is an honorary fellow at Australian National University, and has published The Allure of Fungi. She runs fungi workshops, seminars & forays around Victoria.

Her photography is spectacular and her knowledge of fungi is amazing.

Guests are welcome – cost for non members is $5 which covers the talk and supper. Please RSVP to castlemainegardenclub@gmail.com

The March meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 March at 7:30 pm at the Wesley Hill Hall

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October Meeting – Gung Hoe Growers

Mel Willard from Gung Hoe Growers at Harcourt gave a very informative and entertaining talk.

From 2014 Mel has been working with her partner Sas to grow organic food on a larger / productive scale than backyards. Gung Hoe Growers was set up at the Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens location in 2015. It has become part of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-operative. The initial venture was to rotary hoe 1/8 acre and plant 30m of garlic.  This has expanded to grow many vegetables, herbs, perennials and edible flowers on 1.5 acres.

Harcourt has better soil than the Castlemaine area, but it is granitic soil, so very old and like sand.  It doesn’t have much in it nutrient wise and doesn’t hold much. The Gung Hoe Growers practices are all about building up the percentage of organic matter and soil life – microbes, fungus, worms, bugs etc. – building soil – which means better moisture retention and healthier plants. 

The plants you eat are only as nutritional as the soil in which they’re grown. 

The soil preparation process is to initially rotary hoe then add a sprinkling of either gypsum or dolomite lime and rock dust, broad fork the new bed, incorporate compost and either mulch the bed or plant directly into it.  The aim is to have the least amount of bare ground possible as this is what dries the soil out, puts carbon out into the atmosphere and depending on the season either freezes or fries the top layer of soil deriding it of life.

They rotate all of the crops every season depending on which section they fall under – heavy feeders, light feeders, green manures, alliums,  By using rotations you not only take from the soil, but you feed it too.

Gung Hoe Growers sell to select restaurants in Chewton, Castlemaine, Trentham and Bendigo. They cater for functions and sell veggie boxes via CSA for 6 months of the year. They have a stall at the new weekly farmers market in Castlemaine – held next to the Market building on Wednesday afternoons rom 3.30-630pm.

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Garden Market 2019

Another successful Garden Market was held on 3 November 2019. The new location in the car park of the Castlemaine Tennis Club proved to be very popular, particularly as the proximity to the monthly Artists Market and Farmers Market, enabled people to walk between all sites .

Thanks to club members who potted up plants for the market and assisted at the plant stall and entry points on the day. Particular thanks to those members who worked hard to find a new site for the market at short notice and organised signage, including balloons to assist people to find the new site; layout details; assistance towards printing new fliers and posters; and the myriad other tasks to ensure that the day was a success for stall holders and the general public.

Winner of the 2019 raffle!
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