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July Newsletter

Hi <<First Name>>


Welcome to new members: Remy, Guy, Meaghan, Mary, Christine & Leslie.  

We now have 228 paid members.

If you have yet to renew for this year, go to our website and complete a new membership form, then pay your annual fee directly into the Sustainable Macleod bank account - details on the website.


 Vegie Swap - this Saturday

The July vegie swap will be held on Saturday, 17 July 11am-12 noon at the rotunda opposite the Macleod shops.

How the swap worksswiss chard and beets
Swaps are weighed, recorded and placed on tables between 11-11.30am, while we chat.  After announcements at 11.30am, people choose what they would like to take home, being mindful that everyone needs to receive a fair share.  Swaps can include fruit, vegies, herbs, seeds, plants, eggs, preserves and home made food items, and garden items.

If you would like to help set up at 10.30am we would welcome the help and the same with clearing up at 12noon.

As the last swap was cancelled, there are no produce stats for June.

Biodiverse planting for pest control in the orchard and vegie gardencandula and borage flowers

One of the best strategies for preventing insect attack in the fruit and vegie garden is to plant a wide array of flowering plants that attract beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are great at disposing of ‘bad bugs’, usually defined as sap sucking or leaf chewing insects (though to be fair to them they often also have beneficial functions in our gardens, such as breaking down plant matter for compost).

Read more

Can electric cars go the distance?

an electric car charging on the streetTo reach the very modest target of net zero worldwide emissions by 2050, a serious shift away from petrol driven vehicles is essential. ‘Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere (Climate Council, Australia).

Worldwide, there are 3 million plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). In some countries, the take up is strong, with Norway leading the way with almost half of all new vehicles being EVs.

Read more

Under Threat: A rare tree that’s been hiding in plain sight

If you’ve ever walked through Cherry Street Reserve in Macleod you’ll have seen one of A mature Studley Park gumthe endangered unique trees we’re lucky enough to have growing on our doorstep. You might not have realised though.

The Studley Park Gum (Eucalyptus × studleyensis) is a natural hybrid between River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis) and Swamp Gum (E. ovata). Unusually for a natural hybrid, it’s fertile, so can reproduce.

The Studley Park Gum was originally named after the place it was first identified in Kew.

Read more

Buy a Queensland Fruit Fly lure

We are now selling Queensland Fruit Fly lures with refillable attractant (at wholesale prices) in our online shop. You can collect it at the Macleod Organic Community Garden.
Qld fruit fly lure and trap


Upcoming events

Most of these events are free (all free to members!), but they need you to register to attend. 

SATURDAY, 17 JULY, 2 - 3.30PM
Queensland Fruit Fly workshop
Macleod Organic Community Garden
Join us for a free workshop with Angelo Eliades from Bulleen Art & Garden.
Queensland Fruit Fly is one of the most damaging pests of fruit, vegetables and berries in Melbourne gardens. In this workshop you will learn about the best ways to manage them, how to achieve the best control outcomes using a strategic pest management approach (IPM), what products to use, as well as how and when to use them.
This is a free event funded by a grant from Banyule City Council.

SATURDAY, 24 JULY, 1 - 2.30PM
Seed Planting for Spring workshop
Macleod Organic Community Garden
Seed planting is an art. Join Robin Gale-Baker and learn how to sow various vegetable seeds for the best results, when to transplant seedlings and how to protect them once planted out. Learn which seed should be planted now and which later, and some tricks to get early germination.
Free to members; $15 non-members.

Mudbrick Laying Workshop
Macleod Organic Community Garden
Join Paul Gale-Baker and immerse yourself in the joys of laying mudbricks. Paul will lead the group and provide instruction in preparing the site, setting up the guides and mixing the mortar. The aim is to construct a wall at Macleod Organic Community Garden to provide sufficient warmth to help our avocado tree prosper. Paul has previously built a mudbrick potting shed at home. If you’ve ever wondered about building with mudbricks, this is a great way to explore the art.
This is a free event.

Dirt and climate change workshop

On Zoom. Please register and the link will be sent the day before the workshop
Mitigating climate change is something we can all engage in, but how?
This workshop will teach you how farmers create healthy soil from dirt. Learn what carbon sequestration is, why it is so important, and why photosynthesis is so important in building healthy soil. It will also explain what Regenerative Agriculture is and how farming (and even farting cows) can be part of the solution to climate change. With Bev Middleton, an active member of Sustainable Macleod, and the secretary of The Healthy Soil Association.
Free to members; $15 non-members.

Please register for these events so we know you're coming!

Events of the past month

Due to lockdown most events were cancelled.  However, the Queensland Fruit Fly strategy workshop was held on ZOOM and attracted enrolments of 70 people.  Feedback was excellent!

The video of the workshop has been sent to participants and posted on Facebook.  Thanks to all who completed (or will complete) the short survey on Survey Monkey.  What you are asking for is more information on lures and baits and that will be coming shortly.

Get ready for the next Queensland Fruit Fly workshop on 17 July (this Saturday), hopefully in person, with Angelo Eliades.  Angelo is a local expert and we cannot wait to hear what he has to say. Make sure you register.

The new members' session went ahead with 5 new members in attendance.  Thanks to Nina for running the session and taking on this job bimonthly.

Why sprinkling used coffee grounds on your plants might be harming themcoffee beans and grinds

This is a must read article and I am very glad to have read it.  Last year for the first time my tomatoes looked tatty and produced less than usual - that is, the ones which I added compost to when preparing the soil.

6-9 months previously I began adding buckets full of coffee grounds to my compost. As I mow everything before it goes into the compost, my heaps break down quickly and this has been a disadvantage in this case for reasons explained in the ABC article.  It is clear to me that my problem last season was too many coffee grounds in the compost!  I also planted 5 saucing tomatoes in virgin soil without compost and these looked great and produced exceptionally.  Throughout the season I examined the affected plants for insect damage and disease but found nothing.

Given that spent coffee grounds inhibit plant development and suppress weeds, my weedy areas are in for a treat!

Written by Robin Gale-Baker

Read the ABC Everyday article 'The right way to use old coffee in your garden'

Thanks to Penny Webster

Penny Webster, mother-in-law of Suzy Sharpe, our website creator and administrator, has very generously donated money to buy an olive oil press for the community garden. We are so appreciative of Penny's kindness.

Congratulations to Sandra Macneil

Sandra was mentioned in Federal Parliament recently by Vicki Ward MP in recognition of her 35 years service and dedication to community basketball and support of her local community.  Basketball Australia gave Sandra their Gold Service Award for her outstanding contribution. 

Likewise, Sandra works tirelessly for Sustainable Macleod managing our seed library, being a supervisor at the community garden and working with kids on children's days.

Sandra Macneill at the garden


July Garlic Hintwilde pearl garlic

July is an easy month! All you need to do is keep your garlic weed free, netted to prevent cockatoo strike and watered if there is insufficient rain.

If you did not enrich your soil prior to planting, give each row a side dressing of blood and bone but if you did, there is no need.

Written by Robin Gale-Baker & photo of 'Wilde Pearl' garlic thanks to Gabrielle Guthrie.

President's note

The Macleod Vegie Swap and the Macleod Organic Community Garden are both up and running in July following cancellation in June due to lockdown.

This month is Plastic Free July and hopefully we are all reconsidering our use of single use plastic and finding innovative ways of replacing it.  Many thanks to Gabrielle Callahan for social media posts throughout the month in support of Plastic Free July.

On July 9, Australia's inaugural 'Repair Summit' was held in Canberra.  This covered a wide range of issues including a focus on manufacturers producing repairable goods.  The summit provided an opportunity for interested Repair stakeholders to genuinely engage with Government, policy makers and industry to discuss the emerging Right to Repair movement.

The Right to Repair movement is gaining momentum in Australia which is most welcome and we hope to report on its work in future newsletters.

Here are some useful links:
Mend it Australia 

Locally, let's not forget, that in the Macleod shops, we have 2 repairers:
- Chris the Cobbler open 9AM - 12noon for repairs to shoes and all leather items, some synthetic shoes, new zippers in cases, bags etc.
- Eliza at Wonderland 88 (next door to Mr. Macleod) for hems and sewing repairs.

Sustainable Macleod runs a garden tool repair workshop twice a year and Watsonia Neighbourhood House and Sustainable Watsonia run a Repair Cafe.

If you would like to see more workshops for specific types of repairing or you have skills you could share, contact me at

Paul Gale-Baker

Releasing balloons into the environment is now illegal in Victoriabubbles floating outside

From 1 July EPA now have increased powers to prevent harm to the environment from pollution and waste. There are penalties for releasing balloons into the environment. 

Read more about why balloons are harmful to the environment and find some great alternatives. 

News from Macleod Village shops

Music in the rotunda 
Music in the rotunda on Saturday, 7 August from 10am will feature Ben Clark from The Voice.

BANSIC op shop re-opening soon
The new front window has been installed in the BANSIC op shop and further work is underway, removing remaining glass inside.  New carpet and shelving is being installed.

New cafe
The new cafe on the corner of May and Aberdeen will be called 'My Sister and I - Caffe e Cucina'. It looks like it will be opening soon.

The supermarket is now an official IGA with all the cost benefits that come from being a member of the Independent Grocers’ Group.

Parking changes at the shops
Be aware that recently 4 parallel car parks along Aberdeen Road, on the park side opposite the IGA, were converted to loading zone spaces from 9AM - 3PM Monday to Friday. I am noticing cars parking in those spots, apparently unaware of the changes, and risking fines.

Written by Robin Gale-Baker

A glut of... navel oranges!

Given it's such a fabulous citrus year, here's another citrus recipe!

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake
Two whole oranges in a pot of water
  • 2 whole oranges (washed)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2.5 cups of almond meal or 250g of raw whole unsalted almonds blitzed up
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1.25 cups of white or caster sugar  
  1. Cover whole oranges in a pan with water. Boil for 15 mins.
  2. Pour off water and replace with fresh water.
  3. Boil another 15 mins.
  4. Drain and wait until oranges are cool enough to handle.
  5. Preheat oven to 170 C and grease (well!) a large cake tin.
  6. Cut oranges into chunks and remove any visible seeds. 
  7. Place all of the orange into food processor and blitz until smooth (scraping down the sides if needed).
  8. Add the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse enough just to mix them together.
  9. Pour into cake tin and bake for an hour. 
  10. Rest in the tin for at least 20 mins before turning out so it can firm up.
  11. Garnish with orange rind, icing sugar, slivered almonds or serve plain. In a cafe I worked in a looong time ago we used to simmer orange rind in a saucepan with orange juice and sugar to make a syrup, and pour it over the cake while still in the tin cooling. 
Great on its own or serve with yoghurt, cream, ice cream etc.
Keeps well for at least 4-5 days in a sealed tin. 
If you don't have a large cake tin you could use two smaller ones and reduce the cooking time. 
The double boiling of the oranges removes some of the bitterness from the peel. 

Submitted by Jen Willis

Got a orange recipe?

orangesIf you've got a recipe to use up a glut of in-season oranges - we'd love to see it.

Go to our Instagram or Facebook page and share it.

Don't forget to tag us @sustainablemacleod though!

And we'd love you to use the hashtag #sustainablemacleod as well.

Macleod Organic Community Garden news 

Hours of opening
Wednesdays and Saturdays 1 - 4pm

Garden tasks accomplished in June

  • Composting and mowing of all spent material for the heaps
  • Weeding of paths and beds and laying of new mulch
  • Washing of pots and trays
  • Addition of compost to asparagus bed
  • Pruning of all berry beds, composting them and adding of new crossbars to support wires
  • Addition of more hooks to hold the nets on the wicking beds
  • Building of the brick base for the mud brick wall
  • Pruning of some bushes
  • Relocating of male Queensland Fruit Fly pheromone lures into the canopies of evergreen trees
  • Planting seed of 15 varieties of tomato in Robin's mud brick potting shed on 19 June. All except 3 trays germinated by 1 July.
  • Clearing up after the storm

June harvest
Cumquats 19.65, lemons 38.85kg, limes 13.1kg, mandarins 35.95kg, oranges 18.1kg, pomegranate 800g, pumpkin 2.1kg, rhubarb 1kg, silverbeet 400g, tangelos 12kg.

Total 142.95kg
An additional 60kg was found NOT to have been recorded in April and May. 

Free mulch available again!
Mulch is now available. Bring a trailer, bags, or tubs and your own tools. You can drive in on Saturday afternoons but not Wednesday afternoons unless it is school holidays.

For sale at the garden PLASTIC FREE!
20 litre buckets of potting mix $5 - you can borrow a bucket from the community garden
10 litres perlite* $5 - bring your own container
10 litre vermiculite* $5 - bring your own container

*Perlite and vermiculite are mixed together for a medium for cuttings.  Perlite allows good drainage and aeration and vermiculite keeps the cuttings moist.  Cuttings grow vastly bigger roots in this medium. Perlite can also be used in the base of a plastic box for resting a mushroom kit on. In small packets from hardware stores, it is very expensive and comes in plastic.

Buy in bulk, save money and avoid plastic!

Thanks to those people who did out-of-hours jobs for Sustainable Macleod:

  • Chris for shopping and paying the bills
  • Sandra for packaging seeds and preparing some materials for repair work
  • The Communication team Jen, Suzy, Gabrielle, Amanda, Elissa, Chris, Robin and Paul for the newsletter, website and social media posts
  • Elizabeth and Jane for working on the Events program
  • Catherine Haar for compiling the garden produce statistics
  • Robin for shopping at BAAG
  • Chris, Sandra, Robin and Paul for working on our Queensland Fruit Fly Strategy and presenting the first seminar
  • Robin and Paul for editing the video of the Queensland Fruit Fly seminar
  • Amanda and Paul for making (a soon-to-be-released) video on how to use kaolin clay to prevent Queensland Fruit Fly and citrus gall wasp
  • Nina for looking after the new enrolments and running the new members’ session
  • Gabrielle for preparing posts for Plastic Free July
Sustainable Macleod website
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Sustainable Macleod on YouTube
Sustainable Macleod acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as traditional custodians of the land on which our Garden rests, and we pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.

aboriginal flagtorres strait islands flag

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