Sunday, January 30, 2011


See the ABC story on a new national organisation facilitating landsharing, i.e. having other people use your land productively and you working on someone else's land to produce food you eat.

The following is a quote from the Landshare website:

Landshare is for people who:

+ Want to grow vegetables but don't have anywhere to do it
+ Have a spare bit of land they're prepared to share
+ Can help in some way — from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself
+ Support the idea of freeing up more land for growing
+ Are already growing and want to join in the community

Great idea and even easier to apply for fruits and nuts. That's happening around the mountains. The Quarry Garden at Blackheath is one example and the Cheriras Community Orchard is another. Think about expanding the idea.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


An update on fruit-picking at Cheriras Community Orchard at Mt Tomah — they have begun harvesting apples outside the large netted area 'due to intense interest from the birds'! Watch out for these apples, which are on sell regularly now at the Katoomba co-op any day of the week or at the Quarry Garden Gate, Connaught Road (off Govetts Leap Rd) in Blackheath, between 10am and 12 noon/1pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. (Turn left into Connaught Rd off Govetts Leap Road, drive to the end and turn left though the big gates.There is a sign out the front.) For more details contact Deb Hurley 4787 7429

Leura Goodies has fresh-picked (daily) blueberries from Mount Wilson suppliers for sale at the moment too.

This means that the up coming BM FNTN activity will focus on figs: 'the second (autumn) crop should be amazing and plentiful'.
We might get a fortnight notice time but it is likely to be March. Watch this space and, if you are a local to the Blue Mountains, make contact to get on our e-list so you get notified instantly!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


It's a new year and Cheriras Community Orchard is the new name for the Cloud Farm Community Collective (see post below, 1 January), where we expect to pick apples and figs once they are ready — probably February. 'Cheriras' is from the French 'to cherish' (chérir) — very cutely Google asked me if I meant 'cherries' when I searched it on the Internet!

Meanwhile Blue Mountains Slow Foods have a series of Summer Harvest Kitchen workshops. The following should be of interest to fruities and nutters:

Good enough to bottle – Tips for preserving using Fowlers Vacola equipment. Thurs 3 Feb, 10 am–1 pm and 2–4 pm @ Cloudlands, Katoomba. Cost: by donation. Bookings: 4782 7376
Learn the simple steps for using a Fowlers Vacola Electric Sterilising Unit. Look at equipment required and take home practical, step-by-step sheets to keep. A hands-on component as well, bottling antipasto vegetables. Light morning/ afternoon tea will also be provided.

Chooks Tour: an excursion to small, integrated backyard chookhouses/runs in the Blue Mountains: Sat 5 Feb, 9.30-2.30pm @ Various Chook yards across the Mountains. Cost $10. Bookings: 4782 7376
Small group visits to 6-8 backyards and talk with owners about their chooks, chookhouses and yards. Finish at Sun Valley Produce with display of equipment and feed for keeping hens, and chickens for sale. (Heavily booked, so contact presenter for date of 3rd excursion.)

Notice too the campaign to save the bees.

I made some brandied cumquat and orange marmalade in November — from our own cumquats, sadly we don't grow our own oranges in our Katoomba garden — and now we're having it on Hominy toast each morning for breakfast — yum!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cloud Farm Community Collective and Love's Harvest

About 25 people came to the Cloud Farm Community Collective open berry picking day today. It was great weather, but a little hot.

We took photos at the entrance of the one-acre netted food forest (left) and from inside, where garlic and other herbs grow adjacent with fruit trees and berry plants (above right).

Next month there will be other fruit to harvest, stone fruit will be ready in a number of weeks. The apples will take longer. To receive notification of such activities please register your email on our e-list.

On 31 December 2010 SBS screened one of a four-part documentary series, called Love's Harvest, on the experiences of organic farmers. The half-hour part on New Year's Eve was on a couple who established a commercial raspberry patch at Yandoit in Victoria. Especially if you like raspberries, and raspberry growing, it is worth a look.


We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)