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With generous support from Newcastle City Council we are bringing you two more sustainable living workshops. A big thanks to Trish for continuing to bring us some great topics. To book in for either contact Trish on 0438 209 951.

Bee Keeping

16th October

• Have your own HONEY at home!
• Learn about : Pollination + Box Construction
Saturday 16th October, 9am – 11am
Presented by Ted Flowers
Cost: $15
Book Now – numbers limited.

Pickling & Preserving

13th November

• Make and take home JAM
• Learn about food preserving
Saturday 13th November, 10am – 1pm
Presented by Alice Lees
Cost: $20
Book Now – limit 8 people

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Play group excursion

Figtree hosted a playgroup excursion today. What better way to inspire the next generation of green thumbs? Bring together wheelbarrows, shovels, seedlings, enthusiasm and lots of small hands.

Followed by a picnic and more play. Perfect. Thanks to all of the mums and dads that came down and joined in some fun at the garden. As is often the case, it really is the more the merrier.

Come, and grow with others.

Imported from https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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Herbs in the burbs

Herbs in the Burbs’ is on Sunday 19th September from 10am – 3pm. A National WEA initiative to promote public awareness of Complementary Health It’s a Complementary and Alternative Medicine open day at Fig Tree. There will be stalls, food, entertainment, garden tours, a raffle and information about the relevent WEA Courses. The stalls will include: Naturopathy Consultations, Iridology, Remedial Massage and Organic food and beverages. Childrens activities provided. For more information contact Sue Johnston.

Imported from https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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Hey Gardener,

There is a spurt of activity around the garden and if none of the activities listed below float your boat then you may just want to go to the garden, pick and roast some fresh eggplant and capsicum in olive oil and serve with some halumi cheese on a bed of rocket. mmmmm

Trish Young has pulled together some amazing workshops with the help of Community Assistance Funding from Newcastle Council. These are just the beginning of a workshop series that will generate some healthy, happy and skilled up locals. There is even one especially for the kids.

Bookings are essential and places are limited. To secure your place at any of the following phone Trish on 0438209951 or email on planitam@gmail.com

Medicine for the Mind

Guided Meditation Workshop

Saturday May 29th


Cost: by Donation

Presenter: Ms Norma Taylor. Dip. Natural Healing, Dip. Medicinal


An introduction to the techniques and benefits of guided meditation, using the garden as a focal point, including the properties of various herbs and their use as medicine for the mind.

Grow a lot in a small space

Small container gardening suitable for all situations.

Sunday June 6th

10.30am – lunch

Cost: Workshop $5.00 + Lunch $10.00

Presenter: Gerry Bailey

Gerry presented a very successful workshop at Seniors Week this year. Gerry’s passion for gardening will enthuse all gardeners from the novice to the expert, to grow edible crops in small containers and enjoy the benefits of fresh home grown produce with a minimum of fuss.

Lunch will be wood fired pizzas of your choice, cooked onsite in the ‘gardens’ fabulous pizza oven.

Kids make pizza from scratch and a homemade drink

Saturday July 10th (school holidays).


Cost: $10.00 per child. Includes wood fired pizza lunch.

Presenter: Vicki Robertson

Learn how to make a pizza right from the start, toppings will include produce from the garden if available. Hands on workshop where the children will make and eat the pizzas, cooked in the gardens fabulous wood fired pizza oven.

Aimed at primary school aged children and their careers.

Also look out for Pickling and Preserving in August and Bee Keeping at your place In September.

Community Kitchen

Second Friday of the Month (11 June 5pm on)

This is the best time of year to be standing in front of a wood fired pizza oven. Bring a few ingredients and a pizza base and tussle for the front row at the pizza oven.

Working Bee

Sun 30 May 10am-lunch

We missed the last one thanks to Anzac Day, so we’ll have twice the socializing to do. We will be building a new garden bed near the containers. Hope you can make it. We’ll shout some pizza for lunch.

Fundraiser & Open Day

On 24 July Fig Tree will host a fund raiser at the Croatian. We’re talking bands, pizza and other shenanigans that Fig tree often does…..like pumpkin lawn bowls. Lock it into your calendar. If you would like to volunteer some assistance with this event we won’t say no.

Accoustic Garden Session

Sunday arvo’s at the Croatian, 2pm-5pm

Trish Young, is a busy woman. She is also helping to organize and promote Sunday afternoon gigs in the garden with the BBQ, some live music and the perfect beer garden.

Fig tree is now registered with Centerlink

So that those who are required to put some volunteer hours in can do so in the garden. Pass the message on if you know someone who needs some fun volunteer work.

Imported from https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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Fig Tree Stuff

Hi Gardener,

Autumn is an awesome season – it’s up there with spring. People reemerge from their conditioned hibernation, evaporation slows, and rain increases. This means good things for Fig Tree. It means food grows and people pull couch out….maybe. If you are going to pull couch out it is best to use a pitch fork and loosen the roots deep underground before working the grass out with careful but firm persuasion. If I sound slightly obsessed with this weed it’s because I am (it’s personal).
Moving on, heaps of cappo’s, eggplants, basil, some tomatoes, beautiful lettuce and the odd rock melon or pumpkins are there for the picking. If couch doesn’t interest you, you might like to plant some seeds in the hot house, spread some compost, or splash some water around.

Seniors Week Event Fri 26 March 10am-1pm

This Friday will be a great day for the seasoned gardener. It is a Senior’s week activity and there will be lots of seniors. There will also be wood fired pizza, kindly funded by Council. If you are a senior or you will one day be a senior you are welcome to attend. If you fall in the latter category, you will have to go to the end of the line when waiting for your pizza. There will be some hands on activities that may be of interest if pizza doesn’t float your boat.

Working Bee Sun 28 March 10am-lunch

The Committee is focused. We have been planning and strategizing about how to take Fig Tree into the next decade and it all starts at this working bee. Apart from slaying couch, planting passion fruit and planting trees, we will be weeding a bocce court so that we can prepare to grow more herbs to increase our local trade with restaurants like Three Bean in Hamilton and Barios in Mayfield. Followed by – you guessed it – wood fired pizza.
Community Kitchen Fri 9 April
BYO food and cook with wood. Our Committee meeting precedes the cook up so if you want to join in or just see how a highly focused band of garden organizers functions you can sit in.

Speaking of organized, the Fig tree Committee recently had a strategy meeting facilitated by that charismatic Irishman Rhyall Gordon who took time in lei .from his real job to get us thinking about what Fig Tree needs to do. He did extraordinarily well at harnessing the brain power of 9 people to help to take Fig tree into the future. Rhyall you are tops.

Everyone who gave up their day to lend their brains to the process are also tops – that’s Jenny Cameron, Bill Robo, Alex (Greek man), Victoria Phillis, Trish Young, Kristy Grainger, Jo Plummer and Shaun Hobson. I’m comforted with these people at the Fig Tree helm. You will see and hear about the outcomes in the coming months. If you have ideas for the site that need to be heard then don’t be shy, Fig Tree is where ideas are born every day.

Imported form https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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All happening at the Fig

Hi Gardener,

It’s back to business at Fig Tree. The January working bee was cooled by the rainy weather and around 20 people pounced on the couch. Some follow up through the week by super weeder Shaun Hobson (pat that man on the back when you see him) and we unveiled some veges. Get down there and pick some boc choy, silver beet, basil, capsicums, egg plant, zucchini, squash, enough chilies to start a fire and cucumbers to put the fire out. There is plenty of planting to do, some compost to spread and I think Shaun left a few weeds to pull. If you do plant, follow up with regular water, because you might be the only one who knows where you put it. If you want company on site there are always people floating around on Thursdays and Fridays.

Community Kitchen plus Farewell for Euri, Tom and Guillermo Fri 12 Feb from 5pm

Tom, Euri and Guillermo and part of the furniture at Fig Tree and if you have been to a working bee or community kitchen in the last 5 years, chances are you know them. They constantly deliver loads of joy, wisdom and plants to Fig Tree (not to mention their remarkable talent with that pizza oven).

This will be Euri, Tom and Guillermo’s last Friday at the Garden for a while, as they leave for 10 months in Venezuela the following week. Please come and share one of Tom’s bocconcini and anchovy pizza specials, or maybe even one of Euri’s Cuban style pork roasts. Tom says “They will miss friends and the figtree, and hope to come back with some good ideas on community organising and action from Venezuela, as well as sharing the Fig Tree experience with friends there”.

BYO something to bake or a few pizza toppings.

Thanks to Warners Bay Community Garden

Warners Bay Community Garden is an unstoppable force developing in Lake Macquarie. They are in the process of acquiring land as they have already acquired a big list of members, a stack of materials, a solid committee, a website and even money for resources. If you live on the northern end of the lake you might like to keep an eye on or even join this group. Steve Taylor, an active member of Fig Tree is a key driver for the group. He is building some strong connections between the two gardens. Check out http://www.warnersbaycommunitygarden.org/index.jsp.

The group also recently dropped off a few seedlings to Fig Tree that were left over from their fund raising activities and for this we owe then a big THANKYOU.

Working Bee Sun 28 Feb

If you are yet to engage with many people at Fig Tree, the working bee is the place to do it. And we put on a pizza lunch in return for your efforts. Hope to see you there.

Seniors Week Event Friday 26 March 10am-1pm

Once again Newcastle Council are helping to put this on for the seasoned gardeners. A morning of knowledge sharing in the garden and surrounds will be followed with some wood fired treats. It’s a free event to celebrate the wisdom of the elders. If you are a seasoned gardener, then come along and invite your friends and family. For catering purposes let us know with a return email if you are attending.

Imported from https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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Tales from Fig Tree

Happy New Year Gardener,

What can you say about 2009 at the Fig. There are so many layers, so many people and so many stories that it is hard to offer a summary of a year in a few words. There are exciting statistics on groups that visited, food produced, waste composted, hits on the website and events held. Amazing tales of support from individuals who turned up at the right time and place (too many of these to mention). But when I reflect on the year I think of stories.

There were moments in the garden when I felt really privileged to be there. Like the time a young Philippino woman walked through the garden with me, pointing out common plants and telling me how her mother treated various ailments with them when she was a child. She said that she never went to a doctor growing up the Philippines. Or like the time a group of hearing impaired kids got stuck into the sound garden. I’d never seen anyone bash that percussion with such enthusiasm. There were pets buried, trees planted for people passing, kids born (not in the garden) and birthdays celebrated (in the garden). There is a lot of meaning in a community garden. I suppose I state the obvious by saying it is a place where you grow a community.

Community Kitchen Friday 15 Jan 5pm
Following on from a committee meeting there is an impromptu community kitchen in lei of the one we didn’t have last week. This is an easy quiet cook up with the pizza oven, BYO food and grab a beverage from the bar. Can you think of a better way to ease out of the festive season? For future reference they are always on the second Friday of the month.

Working Bee Sunday 31 Jan 10am-lunch
There is some work to do folks. The garden is very forgiving but it has been ravaged by dry, heat, weeds and neglect (can’t blame people for not wanting to weed in this heat). Not too much to recover – it’s probably better than this time last year. Lunch is provided.

Coming Up
Seniors Week Open day – late March
Cheese making workshop
Bee Keeping workshop
Food Preserving workshop
(dates tba)

I’m sure the year ahead will offer some great stories. If you have dared to take only a few tentative steps through the garden without becoming too involved, I recommend you cut loose this year, light the pizza oven with a few friends, pick an entire feed from the garden (even if it is chips and eggs), meet a bocce player, make a bean trellis/ sculpture, create a story…

Imported from https://figtreegarden.blogspot.com

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October News

This is the monthly email sent out in advance to all the chicken surogates so that you are all aware of the drop off day on Friday. There are a few people whom are not on the mailing list. If you know someone who has the chickens – let then know they can drop them off on Friday from 4pm.

The bushfood garden in the park at Fig Tree has offered it’s first reward. Native raspberries were discovered near the chook pen at the last working bee. I’ve never been overly excited about the flavours offered by our native veg, but these little red raspberries are a yummy score. Next time you’re at the Fig look for the bright red berries just near the chook pen in the park next to the garden.

Wood fired Oven Workshop

Starting Friday 2 November, you can learn to build a wood fired oven and pick up some Landscape Architecture qualifications in the process. The workshop runs for six Fridays from 9.00am-3.00pm. A few spaces are left. See the attached flyer for details. Phone Newcastle TAFE Outreach on 49 237184 or email debra.l.peek@tafensw.edu.au for bookings.


The chicken surrogacy is nearing an end. While kids may be sad to relinquish custody of their feathered friends, I’m sure some adults are rejoicing at releasing the birds into the Fig Tree Chook Run.

At 4pm Friday 19 October an informal gathering at Fig Tree will herald the releasing of the birds.

Not all birds will be arriving back on this day, but all birds will be safe to enter the dome from this day. Some of the birds will be coming back on the working bee.

Some points to note about the Fig Tree Chickens are:
· The ladies will stay in the dome for a week or so before we cut the exit into the run. This will ensure they go back in at night.
· They will have a continuous feeder and waterer which will need to be checked daily, a roster is being set up for this.
· Food will be kept in the container in a rat proof box. The feeding roster will be there too.
· The chook house and run will be locked with padlocks and keys will be made available to those people who sign up to the roster.
· Food scraps are great for the chookies, but they need to be fresh as rotting scraps create problems for them. Anyone can throw the food scraps over the fence.
· Eggs will be a little way off yet, but when they come we’ll ensure that some go to the carers, some pay for the feed and some go to the working bee and other events.

Working Bee

Sun 28 October
Come and see the chickens roam free. 10am- lunch.

Happy Gardening

Imported from figtree.org.au

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September News

I have one word for you “STRAWBERRIES”. The fruit that will have nothing less than to share a pallet with chocolate and cream is on. There are a number of little strawberry patches around the garden and one big patch strategically positioned near the sand pit. The trick is to set the kids free to play in the sand while you stand close by supervising. Each time they look away reach down and remove a little bundle of vitamin C and eat. If you’re inclined to share with the kid(s) then that’s OK too. Or just try and get them excited about the snow peas.

The next Working Bee is Sun 30 Sept. Come and enjoy the most bountiful time of year in the garden. 10am start – lunchtime finish.

Wood Fired Oven & Outdoor Kitchen Workshop

The start of next school term will see the start of a wood fired oven workshop. One day a week (probably Thursday) will see about 15 participants and a landscape architect converge on Fig Tree to learn about building a wood fired oven and in the process build one for the garden. If you would like to participate email back or phone Deb Peek on 4927 3184 and register your interest.


Beanstalk Organic Food Coop are hosting a talk at the Croatian Wickham Sports Club. Dr. Maarten Stapper is an ex CSIRO Scientist and an expert in agriculture and GM foods. Put Oct 13th in your calendars and get along to learn where agribusiness is taking us with GM foods. A flyer is attached.

Here chick… chick… chick… chicky

9 Families became the surrogate parents of 20 chirpy chicks at the last working bee. The feedback is great so far. The chicks are getting lots of cuddles (I think that’s good) kids are getting a feel for the growth and change in a young animal and parents are getting the perfect pet (a temporary one). If you are one of the families that took the chicks home or you know one of the families that adopted the chicks, the spare food is now located at Kerry and Dans in Tighes Hill. If you need some food phone 4940 ****.

The chicks were about 4 days old going into their temporary accommodation and they will be about 6 weeks old when they enter their permanent home at Fig Tree. When that happens we will work out a ro(o)ster with garden members to ensure chickens are fed and watered and eggs are collected. If you want to be on the roster let us know with an email.

Friends of Fig Tree

If you were on the hunt for work you would have seen the position advertised in the Newcastle Herald or possibly on the Fig Tree Website for a Project Coordinator for Friends of Fig Tree (FoF). FoF is a program targeting youth at risk and others who are looking to be productive with their time. The project Coordinator will be guiding these people through the process of generating income streams for the Fig Tree Community Garden. Everything from bottling and selling worm wee, to plant propagation to an eco carwash. Applications closed on 14 Sept. Watch this space.

Happy Spring,


Imported from figtree.org.au

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August News

G’day Gardener,

Here comes spring. With a flood soaked ground and a good sense of humus Fig tree is about to explode into life. In fact the working bee approaching on Sunday 26 August is 2 days out from a full moon/ lunar eclipse and the computer says plant seeds!!!!! Summer seeds that is: corn, beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, squash. We will have plenty of these ready to go straight in the garden.

Passion for Poultry?

This working bee heralds the beginning of Fig Tree’s poultry party. No we’re not eating chickens – we’re raising them. In fact, on Sunday there will be 20 four-day-old chicks farmed out to 10 surrogate families for 6-8 weeks before they make their entry into the poultry palace at Fig Tree.

In the first instance the chicks will go to families with young kids and who are regulars at the garden. A few families have already expressed an interest. If you cant make it to the working bee but would like to be a surrogate family let us know with an email and we’ll see if we can keep a couple aside for you. If you miss out at this working bee, we will work out a rotating system.

All chicks come with food, resources and instructions. All you need is a bedside lamp with a +75 watt globe.

Web stuff

Kerry has been busy with the website. Under “Getting Involved” you can find 2 pdf’s of a promotional flier for the garden. Feel free to print some off, pass on to friends or post one up on a café wall.
Kerry also wants your recipes, particularly if they involve food from the garden. Just email the recipes to us and Kerry will post it up. No great detail – just tell it like it is.

Continual Harvest

Speaking of food, get down to the garden and go to town on the broccoli. It’s mostly small stuff now, but the small flower heads (brocolini) is tops! The best part is, that because of its size there are no grubs on it and the more you pick it the more it produces. There is also plenty of spinach, Italian parsley, coriander, more lettuce than you can poke a celery stick at, snow peas and occasional tomato and asparagus stalk. Pick pick pick!

Outdoor kitchen & Pizza Oven

The pizza oven plans are gaining momentum. It is a technical project so we will be enlisting the help of TAFE to run a series of workshops. If you would like to learn or instruct in the fields of making a concrete slab, bricklaying or building a pizza oven, let us know.

Happy planting!!!

Imported form figtree.org.au