Allsun Farm Organic Fair

With the temperature forecast to get to 29º today we decided to head out to the Allsun Farm Organic Fair. We arrived in time to catch the tail end of the farm tour, before reviving ourselves with a cup of coffee. The ice cream stand was also doing a roaring trade.

At 11.30 we went to the talk on green manures and hand tools. (Whatever turns you on). Wade gave a very informative talk with lots of good tips for both the suburban garden as well as smallholders. He then gave a demo of using the scythe (an Austrian mowing blade, as opposed to the scythe used to harvest grain crops). He uses the scythe to mow a green manure crop which he then uses to mulch his vegetables.

Exhausted by watching someone else work – actually he said he found the movement fairly gentle – we struggled back up to the stalls.At the Dalton’s stall, tastefully housed in one of the straw-strewn sheds, I bought Jackie French’s Chook Book – no we haven’t quite got to the chook owning stage yet but I fear it is only a matter of time. I also got Andrea Gaynor’s Harvest of the Suburbs: an environmental history of growing food in Australia’s cities. It’s good to be reminded that the return to home veggie growing is just that, not something that hasn’t been done before.

The next sidetrack was the Italian Gardener with a good range of Italian seeds. We’ve grown several types of Italian seeds already onion Rossa di Longi Firenze and a Chicory, green splotched with red, which we purchased the seed for at Tutti il Mondo in Mawson. This time we have Beetroot Cioggia, Erba Stella (Buck’s Horn) and Silene Inflata (Scuplit) both salad greens, a type of Chicory grown for its root and Chicory ‘Red Orchid’ and Scorzonera (Salsify) ‘Giant Black Russian’.

As the garden has expanded we’ve started sourcing seeds from a wide range of stockists, particularly through mail order companies. Once you have a look at their catalogues you realise there is a whole range of vegetables and varieties of familiar plants you’ve never seen before. As well as European plants we are also growing more Asian plants. We’ve had great success with bok choy, pak choy, komatsu and mustard greens.

We had a very tasty falafel wrap for lunch washed down by home made lemonade and Turkish apple tea. We collected our Australian native seedlings, Hardenbergia, Bracteantha and Tasmannia lanceolata (Native Pepperberry) and headed off home.

There is supposed to be a thunderstorm this afternoon. We appear to be on the edge of it but have had no rain yet – we hope it is falling in the catchment at least. Dam levels yesterday were 53.5%. Tomorrow we are expecting to go to 31º, so a bit of rain wouldn’t go astray.