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April News

Six people turned up at the garden on the rain soaked last Sunday of March – all of them thinking, “No one will be there, I’ll turn up just in case”. While the BBQ was canned, we all decided it was too good an opportunity to plant and so we did – raincoat or not. Nothing like rainy day planting to ensure a bumper crop.

Speaking of which, basil, chillies, corm, green leafy stuff, chillies and eggplants are ready to go now. Please drop in and reap some rewards. Join the hordes that are anxiously waiting for the first crop of passionfruit to change colour. If you don’t feal you’ve earned the right to harvest, just remember that a persons shadow is the best fertiliser for a garden, so anytime spent there deserves some reward.

If you would like to work or play in the garden in your own time please do. We have some guidance on the wall in the info room or go to about us.

Working Bee Sun 29 April

It is the perfect time of year to put trees into the native hedge and bushfood gardens in the park. If planting trees is not exciting enough there are plenty of other things to do, like play chess, play music in the sound garden, chat, plant seeds, spread compost or gravel or make a salad for lunch. 10am start to BBQ lunch.

Green Drinks

Green Drinks last month saw about 20 enviro thinkers turn up for BBQ and tour of the garden. All went away a little more inspired and there was talk of similar events in the future.

New Raised Beds

Recent discussions with a special needs group has prompted the construction of some more raised garden beds. Anthony and the crew are onto this, building beds between the chook run and Bocce Court. This area will eventually be the international companion garden, where we learn how plants from different continents find companionship. Spot the analogy.

Kids Arvo

There has been a little bit of interest from families who would like to visit the garden after school hours but would like to do so with other families. To get the ball rolling – can those interested in hooking up with other parent/ children teams write back and let me know what afternoon suits you. It’s NOT a commitment to a regular day, just identifying opportunities.

Annual General Eating

Sunday 27 May is earmarked for the Fig Tree A.G.E. On this day we will sit and eat gorgeous food. This eating will give us the brainpower to discuss important things that should be discussed at an A.G.E. There will be an agenda, there will be voting, there will be planning and there will be games. Lock it into your calendars.

Historic, News, Uncategorized

June News

Howdy Gardener,

There is plenty on the menu at Fig Tree; the garden is cranking thanks to that luscious rain that and the steadily improving soil. Get along any day and help yourself to spinach, Chinese veg, coriander, loads of lettuce, chillies, beautiful Italian parsley, radish, the occasional tomato (yes, ripe ones!), passionfruit (if your lucky) and the usual perennial herbs for your roast dinners and cocktails.

A little job that needs doing if you have some time on the site is planting. The hot house has heaps of vegies ready to go out.

Working Bee Sun 29 July
This is a big one folks. This day will be all about glory jobs. Come along and help finish the chook run, build some raised garden beds, finish the hopscotch and finish the international garden sculpture (curious). Plenty of goodies to make the lunch time salad. Hope to see you there.

Grow It Where You Eat It

The first of three TAFE Outreach “Grow it Where You Eat it” courses is into it’s fourth week. The last Friday was spent touring around to community gardens throughout Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. It’s a diverse group of participants from young parents through to seasoned gardeners, making for some funny and inspiring exchanges. The hands on learning is also productive for the Fig.

This free 6 week course happens Fridays 9.15am-2.45pm and has a rolling start so people can join in at any stage. If you want to start at the start, the next course commences Friday 10 August. Phone 4927 6766 to book a place. The course culminates with a trip to Hunter Valley Gardens.

Thanks to Work for the Dole

Anthony and the Work for the Dole crew have finished. Anthony has supervised three groups for six months each. In that time they have completed the awning off the container, hothouse, giant worm farm, the water tank installations, much of the chess board, the sound garden, cubby house, kitchenette, wood storage area, paving, the chook run and more. They have spread copious amounts of mulch and gravel and they have propagated plants and tended garden beds.

Needless to say the end of the Work for the Dole will leave a gap in activity at the site, however, the stage they have brought the garden too means that the place has become more inviting with more produce and more to do. What follows is more people more of the time.

Many thanks to OK Community Care, Anthony, Author and all the participants.


The numbers are in, the ballot has been finalised. Fig Trees new committee is like this:

President: Bill Robinson,
Treasurer: Cathy Seberry,
Secretary: Craig Manhood
Committee: Sarah Kell, Simon Emtage, Anthony Gibbs, Kerry Robson, Graham Callaghan.

Thanks again for stepping up to the tree.

There is room for more if you would like to be involved in the team to guide Fig Tree over at least the next 12 months.
Next meeting is Thursday 26 July 6.30pm.

Dates to Remember at the Fig:
Thur 26 July 6.30-8.00pm: Committee Meeting
Sun 29 July 10am-lunch Working Bee
Fri 10 August 9.15am-2.45pm: “Grow it where you eat it” Course.

Imported from figtree.org.au

Historic, News, Uncategorized

May News

Greetings Gardener,

Annual General Eating Sun 27 May

Rather than your typical working bee, the last Sunday of May is a little formal. We’re coming up to 2 years on the site and it’s time to sit back, pat a few backs, look at where we’ve come, talk about the future and feast. It is also a chance for enthusiastic people to step up to the plate and take on a few important roles, like “Bean Counter”, “Grant Grabber” or “Workshop Wrangler”. There will be a fair spread for lunch and you are welcome to contribute a dish but are not expected to. Kids as usual are essential.

This will be a fun day and a chance to cross paths with the many hands that make light work at the Fig. I hope you can make it. It goes like this:

10am: Potter in the garden.
11am: Chin wag, plan and pat backs.
12pm: Prepare to feast
Arvo: Could be interesting!

Margot Rooney has donated a great collection of gardening books to the garden. Virtually tripling the library. They are currently in the container, but we hope to make them more accessible more of the time. Thanks Margot.

In response to last months notice a couple of people expressed an interest in a Friday afternoon after school gathering. So we’ll put it out there now.
Friday afternoons from 3pm – gardening (or playing). If you are up for it, let me know (email or ph.4927 6766) and I will ensure you have access to a key for the container.

The 24th April 2007 was a sad day for Fig Tree and it’s companion Beanstalk Organic Food Coop. One of the founders of the Coop, Louise Micallef passed away in a car accident. In honour of Lou an olive tree has been planted at the garden. Look for it on the clubhouse side of the Bocce Court and spare a thought for Lou. She was a huge character in a little body having an immense presence in the world. With speed to the next life Lou. We will miss you dearly.

Imported form figtree.org.au

Historic, News, Uncategorized

March News

Hey Gardener,

Creativity is flowering this year at the Fig. The sound garden is taking shape, mosaics are being laid and sculptures are appearing. Sounds like the makings of an exhibition – Sculpture at the Fig!

Green Drinks in the Garden

Wednesday night 21 March from 6pm brings local enviro minded people to the garden for their bi-monthly Green Drinks event. These events are normally held at Customs House, but they are breaking with tradition and combining a tour and talk at the Fig with a few drinks and a BBQ. Green drinks events are about folk who work and think environmentally, downing tools, swapping stories and just relaaxxiinng! All are welcome.

Working Bee

Sun 25 March from 10am

The eggplant and zucchini fritters at the last working bee should be incentive enough to get a fair crew back for this next one. There are plenty of winter crops to be planted out and plenty of compost to spread. We also want have a chat about a few ideas emerging for this year. If you would like to be at the sharp end of the community garden development we’d like to have a chat with you on Sunday. Nothing formal (God forbid), just a chat about how we might direct some of the energy bursting out of you.

Metal Garden

A new comer to the garden – Barry (and Noelene) has brought with him access to a fantastic resource. Barry works for Simms metal recyclers and he has been delivering metal in various forms to the garden including water pipe, wire, sheets and odd shaped off-cuts, which lend themselves to be sculpted. Thanks for coming along Barry and Noelene.

The metal man standing near the kids club house was erected at the last working bee. That little kid magnet was donated holus bolus by local artist Tom Ireland.

See you at the Fig,


Imported from figtree.org.au

Historic, News, Uncategorized

February News

Howdy Gardener,

Some exciting things underway at the garden. Many hands lifted, pulled and pushed the mega mosaic into place at the last working bee. Some tiles were left behind, but all in all I think it qualifies as a success. Still some work to do on it but check it out in the middle of the path.

At the moment Anthony and the work for the dole crew are putting together a geodesic dome chook pen and the sound garden. The first piece in the sound garden is finished and I’m sure you’ll hear the results this Sunday at the working bee.

The Friday Food Lovers Frolic has started out slowly with as many as 7 and as few as 1 person turning up for the weekly gardening and vege feast. Graham is the mainstay for these little forays. In the cooler months they will start earlier but for now it’s a 5pm kick-off.

An Environmental Studies Student from the Newcastle Uni is moving in to the garden for their major study – it will involve waste, yabbies, fish, worms, chickens and compost. The student will be helping to implement the waste processing program funded by Newcastle City Council under the Small Environment Grants 06/07.

The Connect Links to Learning kids start up again on 27 Feb. These are youth at risk of not finishing year 10. If they walk away and still don’t finish year 10 at least they will know where food comes from. Megan Fenwick and myself will be there from 10.30 most Tuesdays during school term. All visitors most welcome.

Bill Robinson has started drawing various groups to the site again with his TAFE group due to visit in a couple of weeks. Play groups, schools and community groups are welcome down at the garden so if you are part of or know of a group that would like to visit, let us know and we will arrange for some garden members to host.

We will hopefully see the KU preschool kids wandering over soon as things start to cool down.

Other individuals deserving a mention include Kerry Robson – the master of the Web site – who is keeping it up to date and ensuring it remains the excellent promotional and educational tool for the garden. That’s www.figtree.org.au

Kelly Rae who frequents the garden through the week is a nursery woman from way back, hence, is responsible for raising many of the seedlings in the hot house. Kelly has also put her hand up to write a grant app or two. Thanks Kelly.

Remember we value your food scraps so if you don’t want them, bring them down and put them in the giant worm farm. If you want to go a step further, collect your neighbours food waste as well.

Hope to see you down there for the working bee Sunday 25 Feb from 10am.


PS. The record for the youngest member to join the community garden has just been set by Miss Tully Jae Manhood born 04/02/07.

Imported from figtree.org.au


January News

G’day Gardener,

A new year and a new world of opportunity at Fig Tree.

Food Lovers Friday Frolic, 5pm EVERY Friday

That’s right – every Friday afternoon from 5pm there is a social garden gathering with a little bit of planting, a little bit of weeding, a lot of discussion about what vegetarian delight will the garden offer for the evenings fair, a moderate amount of harvesting and then some creative kitchen work as the gardeners write their own recipe book with wooden spoon in hand. This vego’s verbiage will develop slowly over the year, but rest assured it will be on every week thanks to Iron Chef – Graham. For those looking to turn the earth, explore taste buds and catch up on a regular basis please come along.

Working Bee 10am Sun 28 Jan

The mammoth mosaic will be moved to it’s final resting place. The faint at heart can potter in the garden and look the other way. Should be interesting.

Projects for the garden and the garden community are sprouting up quicker than seeds (and seeds do sprout quick in the hot house). If you would like to immerse yourself in something big in the arenas of art, cooking, design, construction, education or even plain old gardening, then check out the Fig Tree Coordination Board next time your at the garden. It will help you find out about certain projects and who is doing them. It will also help you initiate that idea you’ve been thinking about – you know, the one with the velcro suit, the trampoline and the padded room.

See you when I’m looking at you,


Imported from figtree.org.au


December News

Seasons Greetings Gardener,
Tis the season to be jolly. Which is why we’re having a party in December instead of a working bee.

Everyone is welcome on
Thursday 21 Dec
@ Fig Tree
From 4pm, BBQ provided from 6pm

Bring a plate of finger food (if you have the time)

There will be music, there will be merriment, there will be pats on the back, sighs and laments of “how quick has this year gone”…and there will be lollies.

Come along for five minutes or stay for a few drinks. Nothing formal just a simple acknowledgement that we are a group of people working in the community for the community.

Newcastle Small Environment Grants

In the spirit of Christmas Council has once again complimented the garden with an injection of funds for activities in 2007. Under the Newcastle Small Environment Grants, the garden now has some cash to develop some quirky waste management demonstrations. Namely:
FOOD WASTE COLLECTION SYSTEMS in the form of bicycle trailers
Thanks NCC

Work for the Community

Who better to build these projects than the Work for the Dol crew. Well another six month stint offered by OK Community Care has just commenced. Anthony will once again lead them through the paces, but of course everyone’s input in these projects is appreciated.

Picking a Winner

Tomatos, zucchinis, beans, basil and corn (among other things) are on. Picking veges helps produce more veges. If unpicked fruit like beans, zucchinis and squash keep growing they sap all the energy from the plant not allowing it to continue producing and you end up with one big hard fruit. Pick them young and the plant just keeps on producing.

Thankyou for a Great Year

The garden is now 18 months old – still a baby. So many people contribute to the space in so many ways. Rather than run the risk of missing names I’ll just list some actions. So thanks for:

Building things,
Hosting schools, preschool and play groups
Writing grant applications,
Developing and maintaining a web site,
Involving new arrivals,
Promoting the garden,
Giving plants,
Bringing 500 preparation,
Organising events at the site,
Bottling worm wee,
Playing, and

As the messenger that espouses everyone else’s good work – thanks for that privilege.


Imported from figtree.org.au


November News

G’day Gardener,
Looks like the garden is getting over the change of season blues. It could be the little bit of rain we’ve been getting, it could be the yummy fertiliser that the new worm farm is producing, or it could be the mysterious biodynamic preparation (500) that Paul West brought back from his travels. Whatever it is tomatoes, eggplants, cucurbits, pumpkins, melons and loads of basil have reclaimed the garden. If these summer veges appeal to you then get down to the garden and pick some – any day or night of the week. Or if you like things a little structured….

Working Bee 26 November

For slightly more adult themes like composting, mosaicing, propagation and painting, perhaps the Sunday working bee is more your style. There will be ankle biters dressed like superheros, but the serious hardworking adults will contain their ankle biting powers. Bring your food scraps and grass clippings to this one for some compost action. 10am start followed by the lunchtime BBQ.

Play Group Mayhem

Thursday 23 November

Come down for a day of mini worm farms, treasure hunts, colouring in, a free BBQ…..and gardening! The kids club house will surely get a work out on this day.
The fun goes from 9.30 to 11.30am. The day is open to families with children 0-6 years.
Details are in the What’s on section of the website.


Imported from figtree.org.au


October News

G’day Gardener,

Fig Tree recently featured in Cuttings – an email journal from Sustainable Gardening Australia. This newsletter is always a good read, going to around 5000 readers.

Sleepers on the Job

We just received another load of railway sleepers from Railcorp to use in the next phase of development at the site. We are planning to build a seated area near the pond in the garden, multicultural gardens and a seating area/ beer garden near the clubhouse. If you have any ideas or resources to donate to this cause they are greatly appreciated.

Australian Open Garden Scheme

The open garden scheme visited Fig Tree the other week. Although Fig Tree was looking a little dishevelled, they saw through the Brassica’s to offer to run an open garden event at the site next August. A very exciting proposition indeed. Although Pete the gardening Godfather is not likely to attend, we can expect an equally auspicious guest presenter. Watch this space.


Work for the Dole have just completed a rather large worm farm at the site. This thing is a worm resort. We’ll be introducing the slimy little hermaphrodites at the working bee on Sunday. Not to be missed, especially if you’re a wormatic like me.

Working Bee

Sun 29 October

Straight forward working bee this one,…..except for the worm experience. A little gardening, a little catch up, a large BBQ. Hope to see you there for the usual fare.


September News

G’day Gardener!


OzAfrica Sat 23 September

We all walk past the bright coloured cloths and big smiles of our local African community. We occasionally have a chat and sometimes spark up a warm friendship with one of the Rwandan, Sudanese or Liberian locals. But if you want to see the creative culture that they bring to our community then get down to the Croatian Wickham Sports Club on Sat 23 September for OzAfrica.

Be treated to African food, song, dance and much more. Free afternoon festivities start at 12 pm with the big stage on the green and enough fun for everyone.

Ticket only evening event starts at 6pm with three local African DJ’s, Hip Hop, Reggae and Traditional African Music. Evening tickets are $8 or $20/ family.

Working Bee Sun 24 September

Don’t know how much work we’ll be doing after OzAfrica. This one will involve some pure unadulterated gardening followed by the trusty BBQ. Hope to see you there.

Stay tuned for the outcomes from the workshop at the last working bee.

Imported from figtree.org.au